An Around Midnight Publication ©2012-2014. The truth needs to be free and we want to liberate it.

The views expressed on this blog may not be those of any trade Org or Union.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mick Cash wins election for RMT General Secretary

Mick Cash wins election for RMT General Secretary

TRANSPORT UNION RMT confirmed this afternoon that Mick Cash has won the election for General Secretary.
Read full article

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“I want to thank the membership of RMT for giving me an overwhelming mandate as the newly elected General Secretary. I am proud and honoured to have been given the enormous responsibility of now taking our fighting and militant union forwards, six months after the bitter loss to the Labour Movement of Bob Crow.

“Let me make this clear. There will be no deviation from the industrial, political and organising strategy mapped out by RMT under Bob’s leadership. Our fight on pay, jobs, working conditions, pensions and safety continues on every front and in every industry where we organise members.

“I want to thank the other four candidates for what has been a comradely and hard-fought campaign that has engaged RMT members the length and breadth of the country.  RMT stands united and determined in the on-going struggles we are engaged in on London Underground, on the railways, offshore, in the shipping industry and on the roads and buses. This union is in fighting shape for the battles that we know lie ahead.”

Are your fares to high or is the Flag-Fall to low? Have your say

On the 17th of September 2014 the London Assembly Transport Committee invited 8 Groups from the Taxi & Private Hire to City Hall to speak at the hearing re investigating the way forward for both the Taxi & Private Hire industries.

First up was Jo Bertram and the Über Team who said public safety is their number one priority. They are based in London, are a registered company in the UK & pay required tax.

Second up was Ron Zeghibe Chairman of Hailo and Russell Hall. They explained they are a British technology success story. Now in North America, all of Europe and most of Asia, with 60,000 drivers.

Third up was Simon Rush and Steve Garelick from the GMB union who said a 'minimum living fare' needs to be introduced for drivers in London. They recommend a code of conduct for the trades.

Forth up was Steve Wright Chairman LPHCA.
He said that Taxi and Private Hire enforcement has failed. He then explained that in his opinion signage doesn't work and showed his solution to safety issues, a registration plate prefixed by a red P (originally disregarded from the Taxi and Private Hire consultation)

Fifth up was Grant Davis
He said t consider there are too many satellite offices and not enough Taxi ranks. They want a review of TfL's status as a licensor/regulator.

Sixth up was Charlie Miller and Nick Gilbert from the LSTDC who want a review of sector boundaries in locations where they believe there is unmet demand plus more island ranks for suburban drivers.

Seventh up was Paul White and John Leach of the RMT.
The RMT London Taxis Branch says the Mayor sends out mixed messages on Pedicabs. 
Should they be licensed, or are they illegal? They want greater clarity.

Eighth in was Geoffrey Riesel Chairman RTG 
Mr Riesel said that in his opinion the Knowledge takes too long and is to complete. He said it is a barrier to trade growth and wants to see the KOL revised & modernised. 


TfL’s 2013/14 Taxi and Minicab Customer Satisfaction Survey, showed that over two thirds (68 per cent) of passengers thought that taxi fares were either a little too expensive or much too expensiveⁱ.
Are your fares to high or is the Flag-Fall to low?
You have till the end of the month to put your written submissions in.

Please send written submissions to the 
Transport Committee 
London Assembly, 
City Hall, 
The Queen’s Walk,
London SE1 2AA, or email:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

International hunt for Holloway Minicab Driver who helped student’s murderers.


Kyriacos Phantis, who has been convicted of helping the murderers of Mohammed Abdullahi, is on-the-run amd may have fled to southern Cyprus.

An international arrest warrant has been issued for an on-the-run minicab driver after he was convicted of helping the killers of a student in King’s Cross.

Kyriacos Phantis, 56, from Holloway, drove the killers of 20-year-old Mohammed Abdullahi to and from the scene of his brutal stabbing in York Way on June 29 last year, the Old Bailey heard.

On Friday, Phantis was convicted in his absence of assisting an offender in connection with the killing outside a takeaway shop and given a three-year jail sentence.

Following the verdict, police issued an appeal for help in tracking him down, saying they believe he has fled the country and could be hiding in southern Cyprus.

Former Acland Burghley School pupil Mr Abdullahi, a criminology student from Kentish Town, was knifed to death in a bungled revenge attack by Kyle Sober-Froud, 20, and Calvin Jerelle Collins, 19, both of Bloomsbury Street, Bloomsbury, and Dean Winston, 20.

Sober-Froud, Collins and Winston were convicted of murder and jailed for life in March.

The trio wrongly believed he was behind a shooting two hours earlier at the windows of Winston’s home in Torriano Avenue, Kentish Town. Nobody was injured in the shooting and there was no evidence linking it to Mr Abdullahi.

Phantis, of Carleton Road, had been placed on bail and was due to be tried separately, but he failed to appear at the Old Bailey last week.

In his absence, the trial heard how he ferried the gang around north London on the hunt for those responsible for the shooting outside Winston’s home.

Phantis delivered the three men to York Way where Winston, Sober-Froud and Collins were caught on CCTV punching, kicking and knifing Mr Abdullahi before driving them from the scene as their victim lay dying on the pavement, the court heard.

Prosecutor Kate Wilkinson said Phantis, who was employed by Fleet Cars in Junction Road, Tufnell Park, drove the gang around for 40 minutes.

She said: “The three men attacked and killed Mr Abdullahi in just over one minute, then ran to the waiting car and were driven away by Mr Phantis.”

Anyone with information on Mr Phantis’s whereabouts can contact police on 020 8358 0200 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

                       Still licensed by TfL
         More Proof TfL Are Totally Failing London

Why wasn't his license suspended as the international warrant was issued?

    Source: Islington Gazette

Letter To Editor: Who's The Real Hypocrite ?

At the forefront of Baroness Jones mind was to get home safe, so naturally she chose to get home late at night by taxi whilst highlighting to the Mayor that she had no choice other than to use a taxi that uses an engine that TFL are happy to licence.

Perhaps she should insist that TFL should demand manufacturers to use better engines before being licensed.

I'm sure the Baroness knows that Taxi drivers don't like the engines that are foisted upon us in order to do our jobs

Kind regards,
Mick Smith

Mick, from the figures supplied, it would seem that the Baroness only claimed for 35 Taxi journeys in a 36 month period. That's approximatel one Taxi journey every month and in our opinion, not an overly excessive amount. Although an avid cyclist, cycling isn't always an option.

As for the expences, Peter Hendy probably spends more on magazine subscriptions to vintage bus publications (which is reclaimable through his TfL expenses). I notice Assembly Member Andrew Boff never bought that up.

I totally applaud Baroness Jones's use of the best Taxi service in the world, after all she has a choice!
I'm happy to pay taxes to insure Assembly Members and staff, after working late, can be transported home in a totally safe manner.

What would Mr Boff have the Baroness do, go home to Camberwell on the night bus?

Perhaps Assembly Member Andrew Boff time would be better spent, campaigning for funding to find a cleaner engine for London's fleet of 25,000 Taxis.

Perhaps Mr Boff should look at the facts: 
For nearly three years, mayor Boris Johnson and TfL have been removing older Taxis that have less polluting emissions standards than new Taxis, under his 15 year age limit. 

Boris introduced the Age Limit without any serious scientific research, based on predictions from computer modelling. In plain English, guesstimates. 

Doesn't  this make Boris a total hypocrite, in big Hollywood in style letters?

The RMT have been heavily involved in pushing the Mayor for some form of scrappage payment scheme. 
In a recent press release, after giving evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee, Boris said he was supporting proposals for a scrappage grant of £1,000 to £2,000, to remove the most polluting diesels.

Going on the latest DEFRA and Kings College reports, does this mean that older Taxis, which have been shown to be less polluting than brand new vehicles, would be exempt from any scrappage grant?

Surely, the only thing that should be scrapped, is the unlawful 15 year age limit on Taxis, which was never evidence based.
Jim Thomas (TtT).

              Even more hypocrisy from TfL
     Ten Year Age a Limit On Private HireVehicles ?

    Pictures by kind permission of Darren Wigley.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Visa To Stop Processing Credit Cards, Over Smart Phone Apps From End Of September: Chip And Pin Only.

Taxi Leaks has received unconfirmed reports, that from the end of September, Hailo will no longer be processing passenger credit cards, over the phone through their app.

We have been told, if a driver wants to clear a CC using the Hailo app, then he has to get the passenger to sign up with their Card details and open an account with Hailo on the journey.

We've also been informed, this is not policy from Hailo but it is in fact Visa who are refusing to process payments made without chip and pin security.

It's been alleged that the growing amount of fraudulent transactions made by Uber drivers, is the main reason behind Visa's decision.

Currently, TfL refuse to deal with complaints against minicab drivers in the same way they deal with taxi drivers. Complaints made against PH drivers are sent directly to the Operator to deal with. 

Uber's terms and conditions state that they are not responsible in any respect for transactions made between passenger and driver and any complaint must be taken up with the driver.

Again more proof that TfL are incompetently unfit to be a licensing authority. 

Victims of Uber driver fraud have been left with no other alternative but to complain en masse to Visa and other card services. It is believed that othe card suppliers will follow this line.

We now wait for a press release from trade companies who currently allow credit card clearing over their smart phone apps.
More news as and when it comes in.

This taken from an Irish Taxi forum
posted August 15, 2014:

This is a bit of a disaster.

I assume Cab:app aren't being similarly sanctioned by Visa?

Fast Pay is Going - but 'Pay-with-Hailo' is coming shortly - and Chip and Pin

Due to legal action from VISA and other credit card companies, we unfortunately have to retire the fast-pay feature of the app at the end of August. Fast Pay will continue to work on the brand new driver app until the 27th of August.

VISA have deemed these street-card transactions as high-risk and are no longer willing to offer a processing service using this method.

We understand this was a hugely useful feature for many drivers - so we are delighted to announce a brand new innovative feature that we call 'Pay-with-Hailo'. We will be sending more information about Pay-with-Hailo next week but in summary:

Pay-with-Hailo will allow customers who wish to pay for a journey on their card to 'check-in' to a Hailo taxi and pay using the card on their Hailo account. This will be extremely useful for regular customers and new customers alike.

Drivers will pay zero commission on 'Pay-with-Hailo' jobs.

In addition to this, Hailo has secured a highly competitive rate for our drivers for chip-and-pin devices. We'll announce more details shortly on this but if you are interested in purchasing one - please register your interest here.

Vito Taxi Suppliers Eco City, Sees Shares Suspended: Company On Verge Of Collapse.

Eco City Vehicles, the firm behind the Mercedes Vito London black cab, today saw its shares suspended as it stood on the verge of collapse just two years after rival TX4-designer Manganese Bronze did the same.

The company, founded by ex-cabbie Peter DaCosta, broke Manganese’s monopoly by converting Mercedes people carriers into cabs approved by the Public Carriage Office.

But now its future looks bleak after Eco City admitted its subsidiary One80, which owns the intellectual property to the crucial steering technology that adapts the Vitos to comply with London taxis’ strict turning circle rules, looks set to collapse into administration.

With no more Vitos at present being built after a lack of sales led to a pile-up of stock, Eco City admitted One80 cannot survive because of a “lack of production revenues” as well as an impending legal case against its 76.6% subsidiary by one of its licence holders.

“The group continues to experience challenging trading conditions requiring Eco City Vehicles to seek additional funding,” the firm said.

It added it was in talks with a potential backer but warned those negotiations “may or may not lead to additional funds”.

That uncertainty saw Eco City suspend its shares — which have plummeted by more than 80% in 2014 — at 0.3p “pending further evaluation of its position and future structure”.

Eco City only has one person left on the firm’s executive team, finance director Jonathan Moritz, who did not return telephone calls today.

In August, Eco City blamed San Francisco cab-booking app, Uber, for slaying London’s iconic taxis trade. It said that its collapse in revenues — which were down by a third in the six months of July — were “mainly due to the emergence of Uber”. But the Vito is also facing challenges from new taxis from Metrocab, which is making an electric cab, and Nissan.

Eco City’s struggles follow Maganese Bronze’s collapse in 2012, just two months after the Spice Girls sang and danced on top of five of its cabs in the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games. The firm was later bought by China’s Geely, for £11 million, and restarted production.

    Source: Evening Standard Business: Lucy Tobin

This From The Rugulator:

19 September 2014

Eco City Vehicles PLC


("ECV" or "the Group")


Share Suspension and Trading Update


Eco City Vehicles PLC ("ECV"), the sole distributor of the licensed Mercedes Vito taxi, provides the following update regarding One80 Limited ("One80").


One80 is the Group's 76.6% subsidiary, which owns the intellectual property rights to the rear wheel steer technology and other design rights used on the Mercedes Vito taxi.


In September 2012 ECV acquired the benefit of a short term loan made to One80 by Cabvision Network Limited. This loan has now been repaid and the security over One80 assets has been satisfied. 


As previously announced on 12 August production of Mercedes Vito taxis remains on hold owing to existing stock levels of completed vehicles.


With a lack of production revenues and, also previously announced the impending legal case against One80 by the non-exclusive licence holder the directors of One80 have notified its shareholders of its intention to appoint an administrator for One80.


As previously announced the Group continues to experience challenging trading conditions requiring ECV to seek additional funding. ECV is in negotiation with a potential funder that may or may not lead to additional funds.


With the potential administration of One80 and the resulting contractual frustrations encountered with third parties in executing disposals under the Group's strategic review, together with the continuing challenging trading conditions there is uncertainty as to the Group's financial position and prospects, as a consequence, ECV has requested a suspension of its shares pending further evaluation of its position and future structure.




Eco City Vehicles plc

John Swingewood, Chairman

Jonathan Moritz, Finance Director

+44 20 7377 2182

Numis Securities Limited

Stuart Skinner (Nominated Adviser)

+44 20 7260 1000

David Poutney (Corporate Broker)

Luther Pendragon

Neil Thapar, Sam MacAuslan

+44 20 7618 9100