Friday, March 21, 2014

There are people on the pitch, they think it's all über, It is now! Jim Thomas

Yesterday, Italian Taxi drivers marched against smart phone ride-app Uber, a company backed by the same people behind Google, giving them access to billions of dollars. Uber, a Silicon Valley prodigy, has drawn furious opposition as it seeks to become a global force.

The international minicab service provider has already faced severe opposition in many places like Paris and Chicago, and it has been blocked by law from operating in several US cities.

Demonstrators are demanding authorities crack down on ride service apps that taxi drivers say are illegal. Banners held by protesters and draped over cabs make it clear the main target was the increasingly prolific Uber.

With all this protest going on world wide, you would think that here in London TfL would have investigated the legality of the way this operation works, before issuing any form of operators license. 
But you would be wrong. 

Peter a Hendy, the man who refuses to issue temporary licences to Taxi drivers waiting for Licence renewals (therefore forcing many off the road and out of work for months on end), has OK'ed and issued Uber with an operators licence.

Under the private hire act, bookings must be made through an operating centre and then dispatched to the driver. With Uber the booking is made ASAP between the customer and the driver. This would mean that by using the app, the driver is virtually plying for hire.

Not only that, Uber uses the smart phones GPS technology to charge the passenger for both time and distance, which (in our opinion) is a virtual Taxi meter. Only licensed Taxis can use a Taxi meter.

As we've seen in the past TfL only invoke the rules and regs when they fit with their own personal agendas. Obviously it now suits them to license this illegal service.
As far as Taxi drivers are concerned, in the eyes of TfL, we are guilty first, until proven innocent. But Private hire are granted licences first and then investigated afterwards ...pure bias on the part of TfL.
But even more worrying, we have been told by the Chairman of Radio Taxis, in the form of a tweet, that he heard the Mayor said Government are leaning on TfL to give Uber an easy ride.

Now add to this:
* Garrett Emerson refusal to accept that Uber using smart phones to make charges to customers for distance and time, amounts to a virtual meter. (In the presence of the Mayor and members of the LCDC)

* The Law commissions refusal to define plying for hire in law

* No visible enforcement from our licensing authority, or the Police. TfLs reluctance to prosecute wholesale the illegal plying for hire.

* Peter Hendy's snub and refusal to engage with the whole trade. The scrapping of the Cabbies Cabinet, with no other mechanism for engagement in place. 

Nothing could be clearer. 
Unless the trade is willing to unite (and that includes the seemingly benign LTDA), stand together and fight back....our days as a viable transport industry are numbered.



Anonymous said...

O well you. Can allways come and work the suburbs when u have no work left in town this really is the end..Surbuban review is irelivent
This is big ...

Gerald Coba said...

Again Jimmy, an epic piece.
But will the trade sit up and take notice?

TfL are killing us off, replacing us with PH and the trade is making it easy for them.

Keep it up James, I wish I had your energy , but fear that one day soon you will say "sod this you lot", and walk away.

Anonymous said...

i think we will become relics just like routmasters and red phone boxes..and other post card sceens from the past there will be the odd black taxi driving round prob on a heritage route.and prob black as well lets face it folks we are not wanted i think it as been said on here anyone doing the kol need there heads exaimened by a doctor

Anonymous said...

This is old news LTDA told us this months ago, also more recently on their twitter page on 2nd march.....keep up!

Editorial said...

Old news, LTDA on the Ball first mentioned this on their twitter page 2nd of March 2014

That's 18 months after Taxi Leaks first bought up the danger from this companies onslaught. Check out 14 august 2012 on this blog

Still that's pretty good going for the politburo from W9 only 18 months behind the news.

Anonymous said...

I could not careless about the cab trade no one sticks together there use rmt ltda untie s/bags lcdc. And little groups there as got be one only

Citizen Kane said...

There is no other source of up to date trade news than THIS blog.

Taxileaks leads others follow.

Anonymous said...

Not surprised the LTDA knew Uber had an operators licence before every one else!!!

Of course they would know, Oddy is part of TfL.
Just surprised they kept it so quite.

Probably didn't want to rock the boat, incase Oddy lost his lucrative seat on the board.

By now to attack this blog is unacceptable.
Typically LTDA tactic, let someone else do all the work, then step in and claim the glory.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:15
Have a look at this thread

Anonymous said...

Citizen Kane is right.

It's a shame that this technology is twenty years too late, because I honestly believe that if a platform like this had been available when Tfl started testing the waters and setting precedents with the suburban sectors at the turn of the century, then the few All London drivers who think further than the next pound note would have seen them omitting areas from licences that drivers had completed the knowledge for and realised that the London cab order of 1937 was irrelevant to them.

This would have been a useful heads up to the contempt for the law and drivers that would grow and intensify over the years.

If Jim could have warned you then, who knows how far things would have gone!

Still, they removed areas from drivers licences, and many Ybs protested by continuing to service the full area they had completed the knowledge for and been licenced for!!

This was subsequently referred to as working out of sector, but tell me with your hand on your heart, if Tfl issued your next licence with limited to 'north of the river' or 'south of the river' depending on which side you live, how many of you would take it laying down?

The writing has been on the wall for many years, unfortunately the wall has not been as readily available to everyone to access for nearly as long.

Having cultivated the out of sector stories by only giving half the story, rumors and exaggeration became rife to the point that it put ideas that would never have previously existed into a few bad apples heads and soon the rumours were being fulfilled to become facts.... All stirred up by you know who!!!

Well now we have the technology and the entertaining bloggers but the stigmas and differences have been so engrained that I fear all may be lost!!

And it's a real shame. But we can enjoy the last few months before we have to decide whether we want to chuck it in or demote ourselves to the new expected common standard, because I promise you, it won't be long before the punters will automatically start directing us because they think they know better than we do.

but at least all london drivers will continue to have the entire greater london area to compete for work in, as will private hire. Only Suburban drivers will still be restricted to the are they are licenced for. That equates to between 1/33rd to 4/33rds of the whole area.

Really, History proves again and again who the real mugs are having put 18 months - 2 years in only to get bent over and shafted without as much as a kiss on the back of the neck!!

20 years of warning and we can still only wait to see if they can be bothered to use lubricant!!

LCY Len said...

Yet another huge threat to our existence is exposed and cab drivers think its more important to argue over who exposed it.
How can we surive if our interest in our living starts and finishes with trying to outdo each other.

Chris St John said...

Can anyone confirm or deny Hailo have dedicated drivers who are guaranteed continual work. This information was passed on to me by a customer who was in my cab.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jim for another brilliant piece when I eventually get my bill back I will be printing your articles for my customers to read and become wise to and hopefully spread word and we really can get this fight on 😜👍