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Friday, October 24, 2014

Questions In The Commons.

John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead, Labour)

What steps he is taking to improve passenger safety in taxis and private hire vehicles.


Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport); Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative)

The Government’s principal role in relation to taxis and private hire vehicles is to ensure that the legislative framework and the guidance to licensing authorities are fit for purpose. Our best practice guidance for licensing authorities stresses the importance of adequate safety checks and enforcement to ensure that these services are safe.


John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead, Labour)

But the Government are also planning to allow taxi operators to subcontract calls to other taxi operators without consent. What implications will that have for safety, especially for women?



Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport); Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative)

All the taxis will have been licensed, albeit by a neighbouring authority. I cannot see the difference between getting into a minicab in York to go to Scarborough, so I am being driven around Scarborough in a York minicab, and a firm in Scarborough ordering a York cab for me because it is so busy owing to the success of our resort.


Julian Smith (Skipton and Ripon, Conservative)

I urge the Government to look one more time at the provisions in the Deregulation Bill, which is currently before the Lords. In northern towns such as Skipton, taxis have been a key part of the problem of child sexual exploitation.


Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport); Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative)

It is up to licensing authorities to carry out all the necessary checks. If people who are not the designated driver are driving vehicles, it is a matter for enforcement. The changes that the Government propose would make no difference to that.

Editorial comment:

Robert Goodwill mentioned the word "ENFORCEMENT" twice in this report.

When any authority dishes out licences/permits/authorisation, etc, it is absolutely essential that that authority has a stringent and efficient ENFORCEMENT programme fully operational and effective, built into the structure.

Without it, abuse and total breakdown of compliance is the obvious outcome.

London is a classic and prime example of what happens when a Government Authority dish out licences, without first ensuring that an adequate and effective ENFORCEMENT programme is backing it.

TFL have an Enforcement Team, but we have seen them in operation, absolutely woeful.

I have extensive contacts in elite security operations, and believe me, if any of TFL's Enforcement & Compliance Team gave their CV's to my contacts, they would be laughed out of town !

Massively inadequate compliance, ludicrously off target most of the time and an appalling rate of successful prosecutions.

So although Robert Goodwill mentions the need for active enforcement, actually acquiring a professional unit capable of serving the remit, is a different ball game.

8829 Semtex 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dundee Taxi Driver Attack Caught On Video.

Police are investigating after a video of a woman and a taxi driver apparently fighting in Dundee was uploaded online. 
In the clip, which appeared on YouTube, a woman in a black top can clearly be heard shouting and gesturing at a man in the driver’s seat. 

About 25 seconds in, she can be seen leaning into the cab and appears to wrestle the man, setting off the cab’s horn twice. 
The pair continue to struggle in the cab seat for almost a minute before the woman walks away. 
In the background there is traffic chaos as cars are forced to drive round the vehicle, which is pulled over across one side of the road facing oncoming traffic. 
The incident took place on South Road and was reported to police. 
The video description reads: “This is after about 10 minutes of arguing, she stopped the cab and opened the driver’s door, leaving the cab half on a busy road.”
A police spokeswoman said officers were making inquiries into an incident between a taxi driver and a woman.
“Anyone who has information that could assist with inquiries is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101.”
The taxi driver is in a cab that has “Premier” written on the back, but when the Tele contacted Premier Taxis, they declined to comment.
Graeme Stephen, chairman of the Dundee Taxi Association, said: “I don’t know what happened in this case, but in general safety is a concern for taxi drivers. 
“You’re picking up lots of people — sometimes groups of them — and you’re on your own. 
“You don’t know if they’ve taken alcohol or drugs, or whether they’ve just argued with their partner. 
“A whole host of things could have upset them and the taxi driver gets the brunt of it. 
“I find that it’s helpful to have CCTV in the taxi. 
“Lots of taxis in Dundee have it, I’ve had it for six and a half years and it’s very good. 
“The system is set up by the council and the police and they are the only ones who can play back the footage.”

    Source: The Evening Telegraph.

Uber hit with French “deceptive practices” fine, UK tax complaint and Uber no longer operating in Tuscaloosa

Uber keeps getting disrupted by European laws. 

On top of those recent >Dutch driver arrests<, the U.S. quasi-taxi outfit has now been >fined €100,000 ($128,000)< in France for falsely marketing its paid-for UberPop (a.k.a. UberX) offering as a carpooling service, and told by the Parisian court to warn its drivers that they face “criminal conviction.”

 Meanwhile, in the U.K. transport authorities have >referred Uber to the tax authorities< for, unlike other taxi firms, not paying any tax in the U.K. (Revenues go to a Dutch subsidiary that’s >owned by a Bermuda subsidiary<.) 

Indian authorities are >also on the firm’s case< over tax, so at least it’s not just Europe.

Click on links >...< to read full stories 

    Source: Gigaom

Uber no longer operating in Tuscaloosa

Police Chief Steve Anderson told the City Council on Tuesday that the Uber ride-sharing service is telling its drivers to stay out of Tuscaloosa.

"It appears they have ceased operations in Tuscaloosa for the time being," Anderson said.

The city said earlier this month that Uber drivers would face arrest unless the San Francisco-based company complied with a series of vehicle-for-hire regulations that are enforced on other, more traditional taxi services.

City Attorney Glenda Webb said she had not heard from Uber's legal representatives since Oct. 7.

"Like everything else Chief Anderson and the TPD handles, they did a great job on this," said District 6 Councilman Eddie Pugh. "We appreciate what you did on this, chief."

Uber is a global transportation company that recently expanded into 24 new cities, 22 of them college towns like Tuscaloosa, prior to the start of the 2014 college football season.

Uber officials said the service it offers is not that of a traditional taxi cab business.

Uber doesn't own the vehicles or employ the drivers — each is an independent contractor who uses his or her own vehicle — but the company said drivers must pass records checks going back seven years.

Because of this, Uber officials said the city's "outdated rules" governing traditional taxi and limousine services do not apply to them.

    Source: Tuscaloosa news

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Warning: KPM Rental Drivers Uninsured.

If you have a rental cab with KPM, you should be aware that the group insurance policy covering all KPM's rentals has been cancelled and you should not drive the vehicle. 

A letter sent out today, confirms that the company has gone into creditors voluntary liquidation.

If you have any queries, you are advised to contact 
David MacCormack at Close Bros on:

Assembly Member Darren Johnson Shows Support For Taxi Trades Concern Over Uber Advert.

After receiving TfL's reply from Vernon Everitt, Taxi Leaks editor Jim Thomas, in conjunction with the RMT London Taxi Branch Press Officer, contacted assembly member Darren Johnson over the Uber advert on TfL's website. 

Darren understands our concerns and has tabled a formal question to the mayor over the advert, in light of current outstanding legal matters.

We received this email earlier today.

Dear Xxxx
Many thanks for copying me in. I completely understand your concerns and have tabled a formal question for the Mayor of London as follows:
Given legal questions surrounding Uber’s operation in Greater London are still awaiting clarification, is it appropriate for the company to be advertising on the TfL website?
I will let you have a response as soon as it is received.
Darren Johnson AM 
Green Party Member 
London Assembly 

Darren also posted this on Twitter a short while ago


Things You Should Know About Uber...Who's Driving You?

What is it about Uber, that makes TfL bend over backwards to support them as a fit and proper company to hold a Private Hire Operators Licence in London?

This company has carried on operating in European cities where it has been ban, with no regard for being compliant with the rule of law in that country. 

How can TfL advertise this company on their website without it being a conflict of interest?

TfL say the Uber Advert meets their in-house guidelines!
It may fulfil in house 'guidelines', nonetheless it's completely inappropriate for a public authority that (in the case of Taxi and PH licensing) exercises a quasi judicial function, to carry material from a licensee.

No other UK regulator or licensing authority carries' any such advertising and an internet search has found none anywhere in the world that so do!

TfL not only have to be beyond reproach in these matters, but perhaps just as important, they need to be seen to be so.

Would the Civil Aviation Authority carry a link to Ryanair on their website, or the rail regulator carry one for the Heathrow Express?

Of course not, neither should TfL.

Watch the Video below and find out the truth about 4 Uber Myths.