Wednesday, March 01, 2017

First call Woodfield Road....by I'm Spartacus


So In the week that a long overdue crackdown on mobile phone and use of devices in the vehicle will attract 6 points and stiffer fines.

As expected TfL & the Met are silent on the matter but be sure other constabularies will do their duty, we expect them to give a special look at those interacting with a certain app outside their area of licensing.

Apps can be adjusted so they only work below 4 kph, it's probably safer that they only work when stationary.

So maybe back to the future voice despatch for Taxi's, who doesn't miss it? Swop shops, quizzes, banter, cheating, mad dispatchers, all part of the fun.

Somewhere in stores are a lot of old radio sets, rumour has it some are in the back of what's now the wine cellar at Woodfield Road.

So In the week that a long overdue crackdown on mobile phone and use of devices in the vehicle will attract 6 points and stiffer fines.

As expected TfL & the Met are silent on the matter but be sure other constabularies will do their duty, we expect them to give a special look at those interacting with a certain app outside their area of licensing.

Apps can be adjusted so they only work below 4 kph, it's probably safer that they only work when stationary.

So maybe back to the future voice despatch for Taxi's, who doesn't miss it? Swop shops, quizzes, banter, cheating, mad dispatchers, all part of the fun.

Somewhere in stores are a lot of old radio sets, rumour has it some are in the back of what's now the wine cellar at Woodfield Road.

How much longer can TfL defend the indefensible, no excuses not to act and pass regulations prohibiting in motion use.

'Can anyone offer a time?'

I'm Spartacus

Drivers Are Being Cautioned By Police For Accepting AppBased Jobs On Mobiles In Cradles.




Are TfL purposely misleading drivers over the change to the legislation that governs using a mobile phone in a vehicle? 

Yesterday we asked our regulator if it is legal for a driver to accept a job booking through an app based platform whilst driving?
They replied as long as it was in a cradle... it was legal. When pointed out what the Surrey and Nottinghamshire police were advising they said " as long as common sense is used you should be ok" 

YOU SHOULD BE OK!!!!!
In fact what TfL are saying here is as long as you don't get caught, you'll be OK. 

They also insisted that the law hasn't been changed just the penalties. This would mean that TfL are aware that they have licensed app based systems such as Uber, Gett and Hailo, knowing full well that the systems require the driver to break the law laid out in the Act of 2003.
Is this why they are refusing to make a statement of any kind, in a notice to the trade?

Going by what Surrey police are saying on their Twitter page, using certain Credit Card phone based apps such as PayPal and iZettle etc requires the driver again to contravene the 2003 act. But TfL authorised these systems and insist the drivers use them.

Taxi leaks has spent two days asking  TfL if they would make a statement to the trade, to clarify the legality of mobile apps and using a phone to clear credit card transactions. 
TfL have flatly refused to make such a statement. 

The only trade org who have asked questions of TfL on behalf of their members is the London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC). Their chairman, Grant Davis put this out on social media yesterday.....


"We have contacted Tfl today asking for clarification regarding the new mobile phone laws and the repercussions for taxi drivers using their apps:
Tfl did not have any impact assessment on any apps and I have stated as our Regulator, should any drivers be charged, I assume you will be representing them."

It's been left to Surrey police to make a statement which incidentally contradicts what TfLTPH have been putting out on their Twitter account. 

This is what Surrey police have said 
We've receiving lots of questions about using a mobile phone whilst driving.

The attached images below should answer most…



The burning question on every Taxi drivers lips is....
"How can an uber driver, currently undertaking an UberPool job -sanctioned by TfL- accept a second or subsequent  fare legally?

Again this is a complete mess from our licensing authority TfLTPH and again shows them to be woefully inadequate as a regulator. They have have many years to sort this out. By their actions, they should be held as complicit should any legal action be taken against a driver by the police.  

TfL's incompetence in regulating, also affects 120,000 private hire drivers who currently use their mobile phone, while driving, to accept jobs and job details. 
The Uber drivers Union has asked TfLTPH what is the legal definition and TfL's guidance on what is 'common sense/good judgement' in this context. 



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting Launches Inquiry Into London’s Black Cabs Today

Parliamentary inquiry into the future of London’s taxi trade, chaired by Ilford North MP Wes Streeting, is inviting black cab drivers to have their say.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Taxis, meeting for the first time today, will examine whether enough is being done to protect the public, and to determine whether an overhaul of current taxi regulations is necessary.

To do that most effectively, they are hoping black taxicab drivers across London will get involved with the group over the next month. 

Mr Streeting said: “The issues facing the taxi industry in London and right across the UK need serious action, and we hope that this inquiry will add to the debate about what the trade will look like in the future. 

“I know that in London the black cab is an icon that everyone would like to see continue to serve our capital.

“We welcome submissions from Taxi drivers across the UK alongside the expert witnesses we will have contributing to the inquiry.”

The APPG will hear three evidence sessions – today’s on public safety before taking a look at the effectiveness of current regulation on March 14.

They will then reconvene on March 28 for their final session on the future of the taxi trade.

Written contributions to the inquiry can be sent to: APPGTaxi@newingtoncomms.co.uk

Unbooked, Unlicensed Minicab Warning After Woman Was Sexually Assaulted.

Wrexham County Borough Council’s Licensing Section is reminding people of the dangers of using unbooked private hire vehicles following a recent sexual assault of a woman. 

The woman was sexually assaulted last weekend by a man who approached her and posed as a taxi driver.

Reports have also been received from other parts of the country where people suffered injuries after travelling in unbooked minicabs and were unable to claim compensation because the vehicles were uninsured.

Wrexham Council’s Licensing Section are now reminding people to take extra precautions and check the vehicle is licensed before using it.

Cllr David Griffiths, Chair of the Council’s Licensing Committee said: “The only way that a private hire vehicle is legitimate is if it is licensed by the Council and is pre-booked through a private hire company. 

Uber cars licensed by TfL are not licensed to work in Wrexham 

“It is illegal for a private hire vehicle to accept custom after being hailed down in the street. Only Wrexham licensed Hackney Carriages (‘Black cabs’) are allowed to ‘ply for hire’ for business in the street.

“The Licensing Section, in partnership with North Wales Police, work actively to combat unlicensed cars picking up passengers and any report of such activity should be reported to them immediately.”

A licensed private hire vehicle will display licence plates on the vehicle and the driver will wear an ID badge and display a copy in the windscreen. All private hire vehicles in Wrexham display distinctive yellow stickers on the rear passenger windows.

All licensed drivers will have been DBS Checked for Criminal Records and DVLA motoring convictions.

A licensed Hackney Carriage will display a rear plate and an illuminated roof sign displaying the word ‘TAXI’.

To enjoy a safe journey, Wrexham County Borough Council’s Licensing Section have issued the following tips:

  • PRE BOOK– Plan ahead and always pre-book through a licensed operator, alternatively use one of the Hackney ranks in the town centre.
  • CHECK THE DETAILS – Ask for details of the car when making the booking and make sure that the driver knows the destination and the name it was booked under, when it arrives.
  • CHECK THE PLATES – Make sure that the vehicle is plated with private hire licence plates on the front and rear of the vehicle. Private hire plates are white, Hackney plates are purple and on the rear only.
  • ASK FOR ID – Ask to see the driver’s ID badge. He or she is obliged to wear this badge in such a manner as to be distinctly visible. There is no reason a driver should refuse to show this to the customer and they must have it in their possession to carry out licensed journeys.
  • DO NOT give any personal details to the driver, other than what is needed to get to the destination.
What they are saying on social media today :

 

It Could Only Happen In An Uber, Passenger Taken To Croydon Via Bristol...Then Charged £440

Uber passenger in London taken home via BRISTOL on £440, 240-mile trip that should have cost just £20



A MAN hoping to nip home to Croydon from Brixton ended up travelling via Bristol and was charged £440.

In a journey which should take about 30 minutes and cost about £20, Aaron Wray was in an Uber for five hours and 21 minutes after falling asleep.

Aaron Wray was shocked to wake up and discover he had been taken to Bristol

The journey took more than five hours and cost more than £400
Boozed Aaron Wray, 18, fell asleep and woke as he was heading back to the capital on the M4.



He said: “My phone was dead so I just had to sit there. I tried to ask the driver but he couldn’t really speak English. I have no memory of it stopping and I didn’t get out of the car.”


He went on a round trip of 240 miles in a journey which is only just under eight miles – and he insists he didn’t enter the wrong address into the app.

The computer science student insists the driver confirmed their postcode when he got in and believes a Bristol address was then mistakenly added. However Uber claimed the original destination was input as Bristol — where Aaron goes to university — and the driver eventually turned round after arriving at the wrong address.

Aaron only realised he had been to Bristol and back when he got his £467 receipt, which a pal later posted online. He said: “I got home at about 8am or 9am. It was all my money for a month gone. I was furious.”

The pal shared a conversation she had with him following the adventure in which he said he had woken up with two hours left of the journey.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Tough New Mobile Phone Driving Law Comes Into Force Wednesday - All You Need To Know

New laws will be coming into force on Wednesday.

We've asked TfL for a statement, as to how this affects drivers using SatNavs or driver Apps. 

Could they be putting themselves at risk to a £200 fine plus 6 penalty points, leading to an eventual ban.

All we've had back so far is this tweet from TfLTPH.

We have had to get information from Nottingham and Essex Police forces. 

Basic changes are 3 points to 6 points and you mustn't so much as touch the phone at any time, while the key is still in the ignition. 

Nottinghamshire Police have warned.

New laws will come into force from March 1 which will see the penalties for mobile-using motorists double - meaning people can be handed six points on their driving licence and a £200 fine. In more serious cases, police can also prosecute drivers for careless or dangerous driving.

Since 2003 anyone caught using a mobile phone while driving faced a £100 fine and three penalt points.


Motorists will no longer be offered the opportunity to go on a driver awareness course once the new legislation comes into force.

The change in legislation can lead to an automatic ban for young and newly-qualified drivers as they could risk having their licence revoked following a first-time offence.

Police say while it has been illegal to use a mobile phone held in the hand while driving or while stopped with the engine on since December 2003, there has been a worrying shift in attitudes to mobile phone use behind the wheel.

The RAC surveyed 1,714 motorists and 31 percent of them said they used a handheld phone behind the wheel compared with 8 percent in 2014.

A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Police said: 

"Warning - the law changes in two days time.

"Don't risk the penalty points and fine, or more importantly, endanger yours and other peoples' lives for a telephone call or text message; it can wait."

MOBILES AND DRIVING : ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW!

Can you use your phone at traffic lights?

No. Even when you're stationary it's still classed as driving and you are still in charge of the vehicle so using your phone in traffic or at lights is still an offence.

Can you press buttons on your phone to answer/hang up a call on hands-free?

No. The phone must be secured in a holder out of the 45-degree angle of the driver's view. You can't touch it while driving.

Is it OK to answer a call while driving if your phone is on loudspeaker on your knee?

No. It's still classed as using your phone while driving whether it's in your hand or not.

Can you use your phone as a sat nav?

Yes – as long as you programme it before you start the car and set off and it's in a holder out of the 45-degree angle of the driver's view. You cant re-programme or touch it while in motion, the same rules apply for any sat nav.

Surely these new rules will greatly affect driver apps such as Uber, Gett and MyTaxi as you will only be able to interact while the Taxi/Minicab is stationary ?

What drivers have said on Twitter :

Also, Surrey police have informed us that you cannot have anything fixed or stuck to the windscreen in the areas of the wiper sweep


This means that the front Credit Card Stickers are illegally sited under current TfL directions. 

We asked TfL for a statement on this and believe it or not, this was their reply.


So there you have it from the horses mouth.... 

'The stickers should be fine!!! '
But will TfL be paying the fine if we come up against a stroppy traffic cop?

This reall isn't good enough, as we deserve to know if we are committing an offence!

This just goes to show how incompetent our licensing authority really is.