Friday, June 02, 2017

EXCLUSIVE :TaxiApp Files Challenge Against TfL Relicensing Uber. ....by Sean Paul Day.

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TaxiApp have today filed an official challenge against TfL relicense get Uber. The challenge has been made on behalf of a technicality which is a primary consequence of TfL licensing an illegal operation. 

CHALLENGE:  TRANSPORT FOR LONDON (TFL) RE- LICENSING OF UBER LONDON LTD (ULL) AS A PRIVATE HIRE OPERATOR (PHO)
 
Re: the above
 
TAXIAPP UK has a duty of care to ensure (to the best of its ability) the well being of its members. 

We consider the health of our members, both physical and psychological, to be a crucial underpinning in providing a safe and effective public service. 

We (TAXIAPP UK) will endeavour to support the licensed taxi trade at all times and contest policies that are injurious to the working model of TAXIAPP UK and/or harmful to individual drivers or as a collective.
 
On the 3/ 07/ 2015, Uber London Limited (ULL) admitted under oath that from the point where a passenger determines to find a car (and driver) to the point where the passenger is in the car they (Uber) are not party to the procedure. Uber’s working model constitutes a breach of the Private Hire Regulations ACT 1998 and should not be licensed as a PH Operator.
 
CITATION: City of Toronto v. Uber Canada Inc. et al., 2015 ONSC 3572 COURT FILE NO.: CV-14-516288  DATE: 20150703
 
A rudimentary description follows that software is downloaded in advance of the intended booking, which isactivated by the passenger at the time and place of his/ her choosing.  The server then relays messages between the passenger and prospective drivers using their respective versions of the App. The driver himself then directly makes the booking.  
 
TfL Operator License terms state that a Private Hire bookingcan only be accepted by a licensed operator at their registered operating centre. To disambiguate, the Act also references that no person other than a Private Hire Operator (PHO) shall make provision to accept a booking.  
 
(1) No person shall in London make provision for the invitation or acceptance of  Private hire bookings unless he is the holder of a Private Hire vehicle operators license for London (In this Act, referred to as London is PHV operators license
 
(2) A person who makes provision for the invitation or acceptance of Private hire bookings or who accept such a booking in contravention of his section is guilty offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level four or standard style.
 
The defining characteristic of a PHVs is that it must be booked through an operator. Accordingly, none of the respondents can be described as meeting statutory regulations of either a Taxi or PHV/D business model as set forth and arbitrated by Transport for London (TFL). Furthermore, the ultra viral use of existing technology allows PHV’s to emulatethe fundamental elements of exhibition and availability(plying 4 Hire), the server then sends the message to the driver and crucially, the driver then takes the booking  
 
The primary assumptions for this breach in statutory regulations are as follows,
 
ULL is guilty of misapplication, 
 
TfL is abusing procedure 
 
TfL is guilty of a corporate structure that facilitates the breach in statutory regulations.
 
A limited investigation conducted by TfL in 2014 into Uber’s operating model concluded that Uber wasn't acting outside the parameters of their operators license. 
 
'Neither Uber BV or Uber drivers, make provision for the invitation or acceptance of PHV bookings in London,  nor do they accept such bookings'
 
(TfL's Operating Model Investigation. Executive Report, Section B, dated 14. 08. 14)
 
When a costumer books a ride through ULL, it is safe to say that the customer believes they are booking the ride/ creating a contract with Uber (the organisation). The fact that Uber does not pay VAT infers the contract is made solely through the driver.
 
Ubers terms and conditions state that Uber is not responsible for the behaviour of the third party providers (the driver) and all complaints should be directed to the transport provider (the driver) The abdication of responsibility reinforces the claimthat ULL is merely a conduit for the driver to make provision/ to solicit for and take a booking. 
 
Any alteration that transfers the booking from the operator constitutes a fundamental change in the way PH are booked, and I don't recall it's inclusion as part of the lengthy and thorough PH consultation? 
 
Although TfL refuse to discuss the specific circumstances that might effect the relicensing of ULL, I would assert that theconclusions drawn from the aforementioned investigation are now redundant and decisions (regarding TfL’s licensing criteria) must be made with adherence to the PH Regulations ACT 1998. 

As the UK Government deemed the prevailingstatutory regulation relevant enough to retain, then the subsequent re-licensing of Uber, and its operation thereof, is illegal and subject to a Judicial Review
 
For reasons pertaining to safety and liberty, the remit of TfL has a concomitant responsibility to ensure London's taxi industry- both driver and vehicle- meet the ‘required standard’ and ‘conditions of fitness’ respectively. 

Uber’s working model emulates that of a taxi, except it caters only for clients with smartphones and credit cards. 
And unlike a taxi it neglects the needs of the disabled and the hearing impaired. There has been numerous instances where the driver has been demonstrably homophobic as well as refusing  journeys to those accompanied by assistance dogs.
 
Uber’s single payment method ensures data amassing and instils a class warfare.  Bias confirmation disregards the fact the company falls foul of discrimination laws. If Uber denies it's a transportation company, then at the very least it should not perpetuate the belief that those doing the transporting are responsible to Uber. 
 
Clarification should be a priority as no impact data or risk assessment has been carried out on the effects of Uber’s aggressive business practices. 

The Secretary of State for theDept. Of Transport (DoT) has reiterated its policy to ‘create a vibrant and competitive Taxi and PH service’, yet the unfair competitive drive of a heavily financed multinational that subsidises fares is indicative of a company whose intention it is to wipe out the competition. Enabling a predatory pricing policy is a practice that is illegal in most advanced economiesbut seems to be of little concern to the DoT. 
 
It must be noted, there has never been a limit imposed on taxi or PHV licenses issued. Neither has the licensing systemafforded an individual or company to amass taxi licenses so the incentive to engineer market scarcity for financial gain doesn't exist. That changes dramatically if the shift in ‘labour’ ownership is transferred from the service provider to the corporation(s). 

Evidently, the only way ULL can demonstrate efficiency is to oversupply the market. The re-licensing ofULL in London could render licensed taxi driver’s investment in committing to study the  Knowledge and purchasingcompulsory ‘purpose built’ taxis worthless and in some cases unviable. 
 
In the interest of fairness and safety, and to establish confidence and trust in the efficacy of TfL’s ability to regulate and to implement enforcement measures that reflect this. With this, we trust ULL will not be relicensed for any period of time up to five years.
 
We look forward to hearing from you
 
Yours Sincerely 
 
Sean Paul Day  
TAXIAPP UK