Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Why Have TfLTPH Given A PH Operators Licence To A Company That Doesn't Dispatch PH Work ?

A few weeks ago I contacted TfLTPH on Twitter, reporting a Toyota Prius which had a small advert on the rear, promoting the car rental company Otto Cars. This is something I've done frequently and have always in the past been met with the same reply "thank you for reporting this, we will pass on to compliance. 

The last time I reported this I got a different reply, "Otto cars is now a licensed private hire operator, and as such can have his name on his vehicles.... 

I do believe the TfLTPH is not playing by the rules!

Although, we regularly see the likes of Addison Lee, displaying their name on the rear window (which is allowed).... Private hire cannot have adverts on the body work. This has been explained in grant detail by TfL notice on more than one occasion. 

Having said on earth have Otto cars been granted a private hire licence???

As far as we know, Otto cars do not advertise a passenger service under the name Otto Cars Ltd, and do not dispatch work. Virtually all their cars are rented out to work on the Uber app as they are an Uber preferred partner!

However, they do advertise the fact they have teamed up with a company called FarePillot. This is an free app that informs Uber drivers which areas are busiest, and also keeps a record of their Uber takings.

So if they do not dispatch work, and only rent cars to Uber drivers, why have they applied for and received a private hire operators licence?
What is TfLTPH up to in granting such licence?

I was under the impression that before any PH company was granted an operators licence, their operation was inspected and scrutinised by TfLTPH compliance, to make sure that everything was above board and legal. 

Perhaps Helen Chapman's replacement Graham Robinson would care to answer the question, "How have TfLTPH granted an operators licence to a company that doesn't dispatch private hire jobs, but rents vehicles to drivers to use on the illegal Uber platform???"

We know that TfLTPH have been bending over backwards to support any form of operation in competition with black cabs and it's obvious they are heavily into our demise. 
They knew back in 2013 that Uber were operating illegally and said nothing. They have allowed 13,000 Uber drivers to carry on working even though they know and have known for over a year that these drivers have fake DBS certificates. 

It has also been bought to our attention that NWCars of Cricklewood London NW2, have started to put door and boot adds on their vehicles contra to the Private Hire vehicles act 1998. There vehicles have been seen all round central London. 

One of NWCars vehicles carrying luminous adverts on the boot and both driver doors. This is not a new company, established ove ten years and should be well aware of the laws governing advertising on vehicles.

Perhaps they need a visit from TfLTPH compliance team. 


Taxi Leaks editor has recently written to Graham Robison asking for an explain action as to why TfL took no compliance action over the fact that a black Taxi only app was dispatching private hire work to Private hire drivers without being in possession of a private hire operators license?

So far Mr Robinson has failed to reply!
We will post the letter sent later this week. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

With Morale At An All Time Low, Has The Fight Gone Out Of London's Taxi Trade ? Jim Thomas

RWhen we've had problems in the past with minicabs touts forming their own ranks outside clubs and bars, and because of TfL’s lack of enforcement, drivers took it upon themselves to do something about it. 

Tiger Tiger and the OnAnon bars were surrounded every night by Minicabs claiming that had the right to rank outside because Dismond Cars held a satilite office licence. Disgruntaled Cabbies felt enough was enough, and so reformed hit squads -groups of vigilante Taxi drivers-  which proved to be very effective. 

As the illegal minicab ranks started to appear outside clubs and bars, hit squads blocked in the touts and took back the work. The militant groups of drivers stopped the work being stolen.

Back in 2014, troubles re-emerges and so black cab drivers again took the law into their own hands by targeting illegal minicabs in London's West End. The problem was highlighted in the BBC  Inside Out programme. (See video below) 'How Safe Are Your Taxis' produced for the BBC by Manami Szymko.

"London's Taxis rated the safest in the world"... Says BBC's Louise Hulland.

Cabbies again formed squads, the most militant being ‘The TaG (Twitter Action Group) Hit Squad. track down illegal drivers and roadblock them, as they seek to preserve their night-time trade. 

By the end of 2015, we saw the rise of the more organised hit squad (The Mayfair Mob) Their action in itself, saw many more ranks appear. Drivers showed a black cab presence was required outside restaurants and bars such as Hakassan, Nobu, Novikovs, The Arts Club and Forge in the City Of London. 

But now we have a serious problem that could split the trade in half. A problem that could hasten the demise of our right to ply for hire. 

Sitting on Taxi ranks at stations, hotels, bars and restaurants, Cabbies are seeing black cabs (most with livery from Gett or MyTaxi) pull up and spirit away jobs that should be going in the waiting Cabs plying for hire on the rank. 

We’ve even seen Minicabs working on the same app (Gett) as Taxis!

One Taxi garage owner has recently removed Gett livery from all his rental Cabs and the London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC) have refused to carry Gett’s adverts in their Badge publication. 

Things are starting to come to a head with reports of violent arguments outside bars and restaurants, not between Taxi drivers and touting Minicabs, but between ranking drivers and Gett and MyTaxi drivers.

The silence from our largest orgs is deafening !

I find it increasingly difficult to believe anyone, especially Org leaders and reps, cannot grasp the genocidal ramifications of unregulated apps.

Trade reps who accept unregulated apps, are willing coconspirators of this trade's demise.


It has now been bought to our attention that HEATHROW airport is about to introduce a turn up and go service later this summer, to facilitate the increase in app pick ups. Drivers on prebookings from Gett, MyTaxi, Addison Lee and Uber, will be allowed to go straight to terminals to pick up. 

Again, we will be seeing drivers on these Taxi apps jumping the queue and taking work away from drivers already doing five hours in the feeder park.
Will Jaguars be added to the Gett app, to replace the Porsche promotion....driven by Minicab drivers recruited from One Transport ? 
A sort of one tier service heralding things to come?

   Image curtesy of Andrew Peters. 

Lawmakers Seek Answers From Uber, Lyft On Sexual Assault After CNN Report

After years of outcry from riders and advocates, members of Congress have sent a letter of concern over sexual assaults to ride-hail leaders Uber and Lyft, likely thanks to a recent CNN report on the subject.

CNN reported Monday that nine members of Congress have sent a letter to the CEOs of ride-hail companies Uber, Lyft, Juno, Curb, and Via asking for details on how they train drivers, report sexual assaults and harassment, and maintain records on such instances, among other issues.

The letter, which was first reviewed by CNN, reportedly follows a recent investigation by the news company that found that at least 103 Uber drivers have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing U.S. passengers in the past four years.

Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley of New York, who drafted the letter with Congresswoman Lois Frankel of Florida, commented to the network, "The questions we're asking are, in many senses, common sense questions that we'd hope the ridesharing companies would already be doing, like maintaining records of driver who've been accused of sexual violence."

Placards from Dads Defending Daughters Demo 2017
Regarding Congress' letter, a spokesperson for Lyft commented by email, "This is an incredibly important issue, and we look forward to responding to the letter sent to us this morning. Since Lyft’s founding, we have developed safety features for ridesharing ... [including] professionally administered background checks, in-app photos of drivers and their vehicles, real-time ride tracking, 24/7 support, the ability to share your ETA, and more."

A spokeswoman for Uber said the company plans to respond to the letter, and cited "recent improvements including an emergency button, measures to strengthen its background check process, and a commitment to do a safety transparency report including the number of sexual assaults occurring on the platform."

Indian Uber Cabs General Manager for Delhi Gagan Bhatia (R) meets with the Chairperson of the Delhi Woman Commission Barkha Shukla Singh in New Delhi on December 9, 2014. That year, Delhi's government banned Uber from operating in the Indian capital after a young executive accused one of its drivers, who had previously been accused of assault, of raping her. 

Among other things, the letter asks companies if they maintain records on drivers who have been accused of sexual violence (they do, at least to some degree), and if companies make that information public (broadly, they don't).

Given that the apps' freelance, frequently underpaid drivers often drive for multiple platforms, the letter also asks whether companies have protocols sorted out for alerting other companies if one of their drivers is reported for harassment or discrimination.

According to CNN, its analysis was based on "an in-depth review of police reports, federal court records, and county court databases for 20 major U.S. cities."

It found that at least 31 Uber drivers have been convicted for crimes "ranging from forcible touching and false imprisonment to rape" among the 103 accused drivers it counted, while "dozens" of criminal and civil cases are still pending. CNN also reported that drivers for Lyft had been accused of sexual assault or abuse 18 times in the past four years.

 Placard from Dads Defending Daughters demo 2017

For those who follow the areas of sexual assault and/or ride-hail companies, the fact that Uber and its siblings have failed to protect riders in the U.S. and abroad was already well known. In general, the industry has often operated along the lines of "act first, think later," including when it's come to protecting riders and drivers. As I wrote earlier this year,

Regulators have questioned whether it's a public nuisance, or clogging our streets, or has mishandled breaches of user data, or failed to protect and perform sufficient background checks on its drivers, a (proportionately tiny) number of whom later committed rape or murder. Last year, Uber [also] repeatedly "trended" in the U.S. for its reported mistreatment of women, ranging from ignoring and trying to undermine sexual assault victims to creating a widespread, toxic corporate culture. 

Placard from Dads Defending Daughters demo 2017

As Uber and others continue trying to control the damage from earlier missteps while also fiercely expanding their operations around the globe, hopefully, lawmakers and company leaders will decide together that the time is right for these assaults -- whether on riders or drivers -- to finally end.

Source Forbes 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Calls To Close 'Loophole' Allowing Minicab Drivers From Outside Winchester To Operate In City

TAXI drivers in Winchester are calling for an end to a loophole allowing Minicabs from other parts of the country to operate in the city.

Colin Smith, a registered Hackney taxi driver, says private hire drivers from Wolverhampton in the Midlands, are operating in Winchester, despite being licensed miles away in their home city.

Now Winchester City Council has revealed it is lobbying the government to change the law. 

In a letter to the council, Mr Smith said: “At the moment there are 15 or more Wolverhampton plated minicabs working in Winchester... Instead of applying to Winchester City Council (as they don’t think they can pass the relatively easy knowledge test), they bypass this and get a licence very easily at Wolverhampton, or even TfL where PH licenses are given out like sweets, they then can work (cross border) as a private hire worker.”

Mr Smith also raised concerns that these drivers don’t pay fees to the council, are not subject to safety spot checks and are taking work from struggling local cabbies.

A spokesman for the council (WCC) responded to the letter, saying: “The Deregulation Act 2015 enables private hire taxi operators to sub-contract their work to a driver licensed by another local authority subject to certain requirements. 

It's the private hire operators in Winchester that are taking advantage of this, actually sending drivers to become licensed by Wolverhampton City Council, and the drivers can then return to Winchester and work for these operators.

“WCC is writing to the government and to Wolverhampton City Council to explain that this current practice is detrimentally affecting our controls over the private hire fleet operating in the district.

“WCC is asking TFL (Transport for London) to join with them and lobby the Government to change the law but until this is done then our controls over the practice are limited.” (Good luck with that one)

However, a spokesman for Minicab firm Wintax, the oldest in the city, says that the real problem is the council’s “extremely hard” tests.

The spokesman told the Chronicle: “I myself currently do not have any of those [Wolverhampton licensed] drivers working with us. I still say if the likes of Uber are going to exploit the market then why not the take the same advantage as they did. It is all legal.

“The main issue in Winchester is the test has always been extremely hard for some unknown reason. All drivers from any council that has a legit PH plate and badge have paid for this and have had an enhanced DBS check at the least.”

He added: “I can not fault [Wolverhampton drivers] because they have just taken advantage of a loop hole that gives them more control. I agree there should be a balance but there has always been an imbalance in Winchester.”

Both Winchester and Wolverhampton city councils have been approached for comment but had not responded at the time of going to press.

In the past the city council has decided to let the market decide how many licensed PH vehicles should operate across the Winchester district. This has seen the number of Minicabs  greatly increase since the early 1990s.

Friday, May 18, 2018

PayPal agree to buy Swedish payments company iZettle for $2.2bn

As of yesterday morning, the Swedish payments company iZettle was all ready for an initial public offering that was expected to value it at more than $1bn. That went out the window last night, when the US giant PayPal announced it had agreed to buy the company for more than double that.

The $2.2bn deal is PayPal’s biggest acquisition to date, and will strengthen the Silicon Valley giant’s business in Europe, especially in the physical realm: iZettle deals in handheld card readers that connect to smartphones, allowing merchants to take transactions.

While both sides seem happy with the deal, in some quarters it could be seen as another example of a European start-up not having the stomach to compete with a US rival.

Despite the rise of ecommerce, the vast majority of transactions still occur offline, and iZettle’s star has risen as we move to a cashless and contactless economy: its revenues increased by 51% last year. Anecdotally, its card readers are much more visible at the burger vans and market stalls and can also be found in many of London 's Black Cabs.

To PayPal, however, the business will give it much more of a foothold outside of the US: iZettle is mainly big in Europe and South America. The deal also comes at a time when rival payments group Square is moving outside of America.

There is another angle to this deal, however: the potential feeling that, once again, a Silicon Valley giant has absorbed one of Europe’s top technology start-ups - and one that could one day be a competitor. Sales of many British tech companies have been seen as surrenders, rather than victories. 

Critics, however, could pay heed to PayPal’s own story. The company was sold to eBay for $1.5bn in 2002, and was since spun off and is now worth more than $90bn. What’s more, the original investors in the company became the “PayPal mafia”, a group including Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman that funded many of today’s most successful tech companies. 

Perhaps what Europe needs rather than protecting its start-ups, is more investors willing to back them to the end. Maybe in a few years, the iZettle mafia will become a force in European tech

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Uber Talk About It All Going Wrong At Brighton Conference

A top Uber executive is to talk about “what happens when it goes really, really wrong” at a Brighton conference – just weeks after the multinational taxi hailing app company was refused a renewal of its licence here.

Uber’s head of cities, south and east of England Eugenie Teasley is giving the keynote speech at Wired Sussex’s Talent 2018 festival next month.

It’s not known what exactly she’ll be talking about – but Uber’s recent history will give her plenty of PR disasters to choose from.

The loss of its Brighton and Hove licence (pending appeal) followed the loss of its licence in London and York. Brighton and Hove City Council said they did not consider Uber “fit and proper”, flagging a 2017 data breach, the use of drivers from outside the city and accusing the company of misleading councillors.

Transport for London raised concerns about Uber’s corporate responsibility, in particular over safety checks and failure to report serious criminal offences. An appeal hearing is due next month.

Uber is also battling an employment tribunal ruling that its drivers should be considered employees, rather than independent contractors, which means the company would need to pay them minimum wage, holiday and sickness pay – and has also just lost a test case in the EU which makes it more likely it will be liable for VAT in the UK.

It is currently embroiled in a scandal over scores of US drivers being accused of sex attacks – and has only just dropped a requirement for victims to enter into mandatory arbitration and sign confidentiality agreements. A class-action suit from women who were sexually assaulted by drivers is pending in court.

After hundreds of rapes and sexual assaults over the last six years, Uber expect to just say sorry and move on as if they never happened ???

Last year, 20 Uber employees were fired over claims of sexual harassment following an expose by a former female software engineer, a scandal which claimed the scalp of chief executive and co-founder Travis Kalanick, who was accused of not doing enough to address the issue.

The same month, an Uber executive in India was fired after improperly obtaining the medical records of a woman who was raped by one of the company’s drivers. This week, the executive announced he was suing the company for wrongful dismissal, accusing a number of executives – all women – of targeting him.

Ms Teasley is due to speak on Wednesday, 6 June at the Sallis Benney Theatre. Other speakers due to join her include Claire Hopkins of Ideal Networks, Tom Chute from Pragmatic, Caroline Walmsley of Further my Future, Ed Hickey of DabApps, Chris Ricketts of Turn10 Consulting, Rob Verheul of Graphite Digital, Mariam Crichton of Every1 Mobile and Helen W. Kennedy from the University of Brighton

The previous day, a jobs fair is being held at the Brighton Dome from 11am to 4pm, featuring dozens of local employers, with talks from Clearleft, Legal & General, Propellernet, Think Nation, Brightwave, Ocasta, Dabapps, Wired Sussex and Hare Digital

And on Thursday, a portfolio clinic will be held at the Sallis Benney Theatre.

Phil Jones, managing director of Wired Sussex said: “As a regional digital cluster our goal should be nothing less than being the best place in the UK to attract and nurture the talent we need to grow and thrive. Talent2018 demonstrates how we can make that a reality when we work together.”

Richard Dixon, head of digital development, Legal & General said: “We are excited to sponsor Talent2018 and show off L&G’s Brighton digital delivery team! If you care about technology, agile, web security and accessibility, and enjoying what you do, we have a home for you.”

Ed Hickey, commercial director, DabApps said: “Brighton’s digital sector and community continues to thrive. Attracting and retaining the best people is key to all of our future success.

“As a local employer and an active member of this community we are proud to be involved in an event that engages, and focuses on, the next generation.”

Comment:  It's about time  that everyone wakes up and realises that there is a massive difference between 'Technology' and actually delivering a compliant public transport service that hasn't had its goal to change legislation and local control of the taxi/ph trade the better.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Minicab Driver Yaseen Aslam Takes Uber On In Court An Wins....Twice

Isn’t it amazing, that a humble PH driver can take Uber to court and win not once but twice 

Yet our largest org, with allegedly half the trade as members and an advertised  £1m war chest, wants to wait till Uber are relicensed before they even think about taking action of any sort !!!

LONDON: A British-Pakistani private hire driver who took the taxi giant Uber to court and won has said he is “humbled” and thankful that he was able to take on the world’s largest minicab firm.

Yaseen Aslam, from High Wycombe, was one of the two drivers who brought an employment case against Uber on behalf of a group of 19 of its workers, who argued they were employed as limb workers by the firm rather than being self-employed.

In an interview with this correspondent, Yaseen Aslam, whose parents migrated from Azad Kashmir’s District Mirpur to Britain as a labourer from Pakistan, said he took up the case against Uber with the help from his trade union -- IWGB trade union which represents the precarious low paid workers who had faith in him and provided him offer of legal team against the multi-billion dollars taxi giant, which employed over a dozen team of most expensive lawyers.

Aslam said he was glad that a landmark case against the taxi giant has been won twice and although Uber has appealed against the original decision yet he is “confident” that judges will rule in favour of Uber drivers.

Yaseen and James Farrar, who are the founders of the United Private Hire Drivers which is the UK’s largest trade union for drivers, first brought the case against Uber to the employment tribunal in 2015 and won where the judge ruled that Uber drivers, part of the so-called gig economy, are not self-employed and should be granted basic employment rights such as being paid the national minimum wage and getting holiday pay. The first tribunal trial was in July 2016 and the verdict was announced in October 2016. Uber appealed to EAT and trial was conducted in September 2017 and got in verdict Nov 2017. Uber then appealed to the Supreme Court in December 2017 which was rejected in January 2018. Now a date has been set at the Court of Appeal in October 2018.

Uber appealed the tribunal decision and took the case to Employment Appeal Tribunal decision where Yaseen Aslam and his colleague meaning the case could end up in the Supreme Court next year but Yaseen Aslam and his colleagues are confident that it’s too late for the Uber.

Following the verdict Uber appealed to the Supreme Court to hear this case but the Supreme Court rejected Uber’s request, and sent it back to court of appeal. Court of appeal has issued a date for 30 October 2018 for the trial.

Uber has told the court that it could deprive riders of the “personal flexibility they value”. It claims that the majority of its drivers prefer their existing employment status but the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which backed the appeal, said drivers will still be able to enjoy the freedoms of self-employment – such as flexibility in choosing shifts – even if they have worker status.

The union said the decision showed companies in the gig economy – which involves people on flexible working patterns with irregular shifts and minimal employment rights – have been choosing to “deprive workers of their rights”.

Yaseen Aslam said it is time for the Mayor of London, Transport for London and the government to step up and use their leverage to defend worker rights rather than turn a blind eye to sweatshop conditions.

He said: “If Uber are successful in having this business model, obliterating industrial relations as we know them in the UK, then I can guarantee you on every high street, in retail, fast food, any industry you like, the same thing will go on.”

Yaseen Aslam said he was willing to fight the case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. He said the two legal victories are good for workers and the judge has confirmed twice that Uber is unlawfully denying our rights.

He said: “It’s about making sure workers across the UK are protected. Companies are hiding behind technology, bogusly classifying people as self-employed so they can get away from paying minimum wage. That can’t be allowed to happen.”

Yaseen Aslam got so entangled in his legal fight with Uber that he was hounded by the giant and he had to even approach the police. Fed up with the Uber, he quit his job and now works as an IT consultant for the Ministry of Defence. He divides his week between working for the Defence Ministry and dedicating himself to the union activities, leading private hire drivers in activism against the Transport for London and Uber, demanding rights for private hire drivers. “We have won because of union and unity and I will continue to be a unionist for myself and others. We have a duty towards others,” said a resolute Yaseen Aslam.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Sunday Report :"Only license Taxis can rank up", Said EdThompson. They Lied Back Then...They're Still Lying Now.

1976 and 1998 legislation, the Thomas The Taxi. Posted on the Anderson Shelter Blog 14/05/2009.

     They lied back then, they're still lying today...

It has been bought to our attention that a reply to driver’s complaints from then spokesperson Luke Howard included a number of incorrect statements.

Mr Howard says;
“It is perhaps worthwhile letting you know something about the current legislation covering 'immediate hirings'. There were a number of court case rulings before 1976 that stated that minicabs should not be available 'for immediate hire'. This changed however, when legislation was passed in that year (for areas outside London) and in 1998 when legislation introduced private hire licensing in London for the first time.

The act of 1976 as Mr Howard quite rightly points out does not apply to London and therefore is irrelevant full stop.
The 1976 and 1998 legislation does not have this 'not for immediate hire' restriction.

Even though the 1998 act makes no reference to ranking or parking of mini-cabs, doesn't make it legal for them to do so. 

Just going back to the year 2002, a judge made a decision on the definition of “plying for hire” and found two mini-cabs cabs guilty of such an offence based upon case law...

The PCO/TfL have never sort to overturn the judgement laid down by the court and we believe, in this instance, they may be acting outside their remit and role by interpreting what they believe the “right to ply for hire” actually is, even though they and their lawyers know of recent court decisions like the judgement in Eastbourne......!

The requirement now is that the booking must be recorded before the journey commences, so it is legitimate for the vehicles to be waiting as describe.

In the complaints made to TfL/PCO the private hire vehicles in question were describe as being parked on red routs, double yellow lines, zig zag lines and 24 hour bus lanes. Legitimate?

This was a very misleading statement from Mr Howard and we asked why it was made?
At that time, TfLTPH did not reply!

Just because the legislation of 1998 did not include the phrase "minicabs should not be available for immediate hire" does not mean that it is now legal for them to do so. 
This part of the original act has never been repealed, replace or challenged and still stands in common law.

This is again more proof of the lenient attitude shown towards private hire’s illegal activities and proof also of TfL/PCO reluctance to enforce current legislation.


Saturday, May 05, 2018

May 4th is Remembrance Day (Dodenherdenking) in The Netherlands.

The 4th May is Remembrance Day (Dodenherdenking) in The Netherlands. On this day we remember the victims of wartime violence.

Members from the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, join members of the British embassy to attend Remembrance ceremonies  across The Netherlands.

London Taxis, taking our veterans to ceremonies across The Netherlands 

London Taxi Radio's team (Joe Cartwright, John Cox) have been keeping us informed on Periscope. See video link below:

On the second day of our trip, Friday 4 May, which is Remembrance Day in the Netherlands, our veterans visited Bronbeek Veterans Home and Oosterbeek CWGC, and in the evening attended a Remembrance Service at Heteren.

An occasion that is very dear to our family. My uncle Ronnie was wounded as he dropped into a field during Operation Market Garden (17–25 September 1944) an unsuccessful Allied military operation planned, and predominantly led by, the British. 

The success of the operation depended on taking a series of nine bridges, the last being at the city of Arnhem over the Rhine river. Airborne and land forces succeeded in the liberation of the Dutch cities of Eindhoven and Nijmegen, but failed in keeping their farthest positions in and around the city of Arnhem including the bridge over the Rhine.

It’s also the 70th anniversary of the Taxi Charity this year. But not many know the connection between the London Taxi Trade and the military!

The Royal British Legion used to run Knowledge of London Schools. Many older Cabbies will have passed through the ranks with their fantastic help. 


Friday, May 04, 2018

Brighton Council Explain Why They Never Relicensed Uber.

Brighton is the latest to revoke the car-hailing service’s license. Here’s why…
It’s official: Uber’s application for a new license in Brighton has been rejected by Brighton and Hove City Council on the basis that the company is not a “fit and proper” private car hire operator.

Councillor Jacqui O’Quinn explained the decision, saying: “Our priority is the safety of residents and visitors and, due to the data breach and the lack of commitment to using drivers licensed here, we were not satisfied that UBL (Uber Britannia Limited) are a fit and proper person to hold an operator’s licence.”

She added: “All Brighton and Hove private hire and Hackney Carriage drivers in the city operate under the same licences and guidelines contained in the Blue Book and undergo the same background checks, whichever company they drive for.

“In the original application in 2015, UBL gave a firm commitment to adhere to the standards set out in the Blue Book and only to use Brighton & Hove licensed drivers. We do not feel the spirit of this commitment has been kept to.

“In the panel’s view, large numbers of taxis operating in the city that do not meet our Blue Book standards puts the safety of residents and visitors at potential risk.

“We recognise there are strong feelings on this issue and would like to thank all those who took the time to make submissions to the hearing.”

“Our priority is the safety of residents and visitors”
The announcement comes months after Transport for London (London’s transport regulator) decided to strip the firm of its license, based on concerns about Uber’s “approach and conduct” and passenger safety.

Speaking about the move last September, TfL concluded that Uber had shown “a lack of corporate responsibility” with regard to potential safety and security issues.

“Private hire operators must meet rigorous regulations, and demonstrate to TfL that they do so, in order to operate,” said TfL in a statement.

They added: “TfL has concluded that Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license.”

In all this time, TfL has refuse to talk about the increasing amount of Uber rapes and sexual assaults. Uber parapet rose last year by 50% to over one a week. 
Also TfL swept the 13,000 fake DBS certificates scandal, under their carpet. 

Uber has announced its intention to appeal both London and Brighton’s “disappointing” decisions.

Addressing Brighton’s ban on their cars, a spokesman for the company said: “This is a disappointing decision for the thousands of passengers and drivers who rely on our app in Brighton and Hove. 

“We intend to appeal so we can continue serving the city.”

Uber is licensed to operate in 80 areas across the UK, having succeeded with 35 applications in the last year, including in Cambridge, Glasgow, Nottingham, Leicester and Sheffield. 

The firm – which has also seen its license to operate revoked in York – has since taken steps to comply with various initiatives in London to improve safety, and its appeal against TfL is due to be heard in the high court in June.

However, it emerged last November that Uber, which has 75 million users across the world, had concealed a hack that affected 57 million customers and driversin 2016.

It was hidden by the company which paid hackers a ransom of $100,000 (£75,000) to delete the data.

At the time, Uber’s chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi told the BBC: “None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it.

Exhibition Road Rage Uber Driver Case Referred To Crown Court + TfL Still Happy To Have 10,400 Unchecked Uber Drivers In London


IN REALITY : Juma Ali Omar, 43, of Barking was charged with dangerous driving, plus a string of other offences appertaining to fake documents on 6 April.

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court this morning and the case has now been transferred to Islewoth Crown Court (1st June 2018).

Omar has also been charged with possessing fake identity documents with intent, using a motor vehicle without third party insurance and driving a motor vehicle otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

Mr Omar is just one of Ubers's 13,000 drivers with a fake criminal record DBS certificate. TfL knew about these fakes in January 2017 and swept this information under the carpet.

When this news broke in the national press, Helen Chapman said that all 13,000 would be required to resubmit their DBS checks. Only 2,600 did this and TfL have not insisted on the other 10,400 taking action. Instead they feel it's ok to have all these drivers out there with no criminal record checks saying that the matter will sort itself when they need to relicense in three years time.

Another three years with 10,400 unchecked drivers like Juma Ali Omar out there ???

Omar was caught bang to rights with an Uber job in his car.
 In other previous serious cases, uber and TfL -backed up by the police- insisted that as a driver didn't have the app on at the time (taking the driver word as gospel) they can't be referred to as an Uber driver. 
This time there's no doubt as Omar had four Uber passengers on board and was signed in to the app.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : This report from the Daily Mail.
Uber driver ‘who ploughed into 11 people outside the Natural History Museum used a fake PASSPORT to get his private hire licence’

Uber driver Juma Ali Omar, pictured outside Westminster Magistrates' Court this morning, is accused of using fake documents to obtain a private hire licence and dangerous driving.

The Uber driver was allegedly using false documents in order to work when he 'ploughed into a group of people outside the Natural History museum', leaving 11 injured.

Juma Ali Omar allegedly mounted the busy pavement at around 2.20pm in the London tourist hotspot, colliding with two cars and then striking pedestrians.

The 43-year-old, who was working at the time of the collision, was charged with dangerous driving and having a fake passport, driving licence and private taxi hire licence.

Eleven people suffered non-life threatening injuries in the collision, involving the Black Toyota Prius, in South Kensington, west London, on October 7 last year. 

Nigerian-born Omar was previously charged with dangerous driving, using a motor vehicle without third party insurance and driving without a licence.

At Westminster Magistrates' Court today, another charge of possessing a false passport, and driving license to prove his identify in order to get a TfL private hire licence was added to the rap sheet.
Omar appeared in the dock accompanied by his family who sat in the public gallery.

    Omar outside the court with his defence team.

He did not enter any pleas to the four charges and spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth, address and nationality.

Deputy District Judge Margaret Dodd released him on bail ahead of his next court date.
She said: 'I understand from the documents that the manner of the driving is under dispute. 

London was on lockdown as armed police swooped on the South Kensington museum amid fears of a terrorist attack...
'These matters cannot be dealt with by this court so it will be sent to crown court.
'I grant you bail but you must attend court when you are asked.'
Omar, of Barking, east London, will next appear at Isleworth Crown Court on June 1 to enter his pleas.

Released on bail, Omar's family member booking them a car home outside the court....Lets hope his Uber driver hasn't got fake documents this time.

Don't Panic, Twitter Warns Users To Change Password After Bug Leaves Details Exposed

Twitter is currently warning all of its 330 million users to change their passwords after it found a bug that left user details exposed on an internal system. 

Unfortunately, if you use a third party platform to access Twitter, like the now defunked Twittelator Pro, you won't see the warning. This only appears on the original Twitter app.

The company is saying that nobody breached the system and said it was warning users out of an “abundance of caution”, although the warning is disarming for users at a time of heightened concerns over internet privacy. 

Twitter said the bug meant that passwords were stored without “hashing”, or encryption. While Twitter does encrypt user passwords, the bug meant they were also accidentally stored in normal text on an internal system, although it's not clear how many passwords were exposed in this way.

Twitter is assuring users it was not breached and that although the passwords were exposed by the glitch there was "no indication of breach or misuse by anyone". 

Twitter’s head of technology Parag Agrawal initially tried to play down the bug, saying the company didn’t have to share the news, but later backtracked claiming he thought it was “the right thing to do”.

While the episode appears to have done no lasting damage to Twitter (its shares have remained steady so far) the danger to users from an internal leak are in the spotlight. 

Facebook was this week revealed to have fired an employee who described himself as a “professional stalker”, using the company’s user database to search for information on Tinder matches. 

Facebook even has a internal system for when an employee accesses another’s account, known as a “Sauron alert”. There is no such warning for users, prompting concerns on how much data social network employees can find on users without them knowing.

Green Tomato teamed up with Toyota for London’s first hydrogen-fuelled private hire vehicle.

A project to test the capabilities of hydrogen-powered fleets across three European capitals gets underway in London this week.

ZEFER (Zero Emission Fleet vehicles for European Roll-out) will see a total of 180 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in service, divided equally across London, Paris and Brussels. The €26m project is designed to explore how hydrogen fleets perform in the real world, and the cars will be deployed as private hire vehicles (170) as well as police cars (10), driving long distances each day and requiring rapid refuelling.

Led by Cambridge-based consultancy Element Energy, the ZEFER consortium also includes hydrogen suppliers (Air Liquide and ITM Power Trading), vehicle end users (Green Tomato Cars, HYPE and the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime), observer partners (BMW and Linde) and partners supporting the analysis and policy conclusions (Cenex and the Mairie de Paris). The trial begins this week in London, with Green Tomato deploying 25 Toyota Mirais as private hire vehicles.

“This is a truly unique project where investors in hydrogen technology, manufacturers of hydrogen cars and Green Tomato Cars as the end users, have come together with a commitment to make hydrogen transport work for the good of the people and the environment,” said Jonny Goldstone, managing director of Green Tomato Cars.

As well as testing the cars under high-mileage operation, the project aims to bolster the hydrogen infrastructure in each of the cities. With the vehicles in daily use, each will create hydrogen demand roughly four times that of a regular privately-owned car. According to the consortium, the goal is to gather data and disseminate results to demonstrate the business case for future FCEV adoption.
“We are delighted to be leading this major project which will demonstrate commercially viable use cases for hydrogen fuelled vehicles in high mileage urban fleets,” said Ben Madden, director at Element Energy.

“The increasingly widespread hydrogen infrastructure network in leading European cities as well as new FCEV models from manufacturers are beginning to drive real market adoption. We are excited to see first large-scale users starting to take up the technology in large fleets to do the day to day work of vehicles which operate in urban centres.”

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Cambridge Analytica has announced today that it will be shutting down.

Since the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal erupted seven weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg’s social network has been the epitome of contrition. The same cannot be said of the British election consultancy, which last night announced it was shutting down.

Cambridge Analytica, which worked for Donald Trump's election campaign, blamed a “siege of media coverage” for the legal claims and lost clients that mean the company could no longer continue.

But if this is the end of Cambridge Analytica, it is far from the end of the story. 

Britain’s data watchdog said its investigation into the company will continue; meanwhile, executives appear to have already moved to create a new firm.


Cambridge Analytica has faced a series of damaging allegations in recent weeks, of which the claim that it obtained the private information of up to 87m Facebook users was only one.

It said an independent report from the lawyer Julian Malins had found that recent allegations were “not borne out by the facts”, but that news reports meant it had lost clients. The company had been banned from advertising on Facebook and Twitter in recent weeks, blocking a lot of its potential work.


Despite shutting down, Cambridge Analytica may well live on in some form. Company filings show that several executives have created a new firm called Emerdata, a potential rehousing of the company under a new name.

Meanwhile, investigations into the company will continue. 

Damian Collins, the MP in charge of the committee investigating Cambridge Analytica among others, last night said the company should not be allowed to delete its data.

The Information Commissioner’s Office says its investigation will continue to pursue “individuals and directors”. Cambridge Analytica is down, but its story seems far from finished

Let's Remind Ourselves What The Prime Minister Said To The BBC About Uber In September!

Uber ruling puts jobs at risk, says Theresa May 

The decision to stop Uber operating in London was "disproportionate" and has put thousands of jobs at risk, the prime minister has told the BBC.

The taxi-hailing company has been told it will lose its private hire licence, after Transport for London cited public safety and security concerns.

Uber is appealing against the decision but has apologised for its "mistakes".

Mrs May said Uber had questions to answer but the decision to stop it operating had "damaged lives".

Uber: Mayor backs talks after firm's apology

In one of a series of interviews ahead of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester next week, Mrs May told BBC London political editor Tim Donovan she blamed London Mayor Sadiq Khan - who is also the chairman of TfL.

"At a stroke of a pen, what the mayor has done is risked 40,000 jobs and of course... damaged the lives of those 3.5 million Uber users.

"Yes there are safety concerns and issues for Uber to address, but what I want to see is a level playing field between the private firms and our wonderful London taxis, our black cabs, our great national institution.

"I want to see a level playing field. I think a blanket ban is disproportionate."

'Must change'

She said: "What I think people want to see is choice."

People use the Uber app to book taxis with their smart phones.

London's transport authority, TfL, took the decision last Friday not to renew Uber's licence to operate in the capital beyond the end of September, saying the company was not fit and proper to hold a London private hire operator licence.

It cited concerns about Uber's treatment of criminal offences, medical certificates, and drivers' background checks.

London's mayor asked TfL to meet Uber's chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, after he said in an open letter that Uber would appeal against the city's decision but accepted the company "must change".

On Thursday, the mayor's spokesman said: "Sadiq has every sympathy with customers and drivers of Uber, but is clear that any anger must be directed at Uber itself.

"Regulation is there for a reason and it would have been wrong for TfL to have renewed Uber's licence if they had concerns about Uber being a fit and proper operator."

Mrs May was also asked about the Grenfell Tower disaster.

She said there was a need to "get to the bottom of the truth of what happened" but also make sure that, in future, when tenants complained about safety, they were listened to.

"That's why the housing minister is going around the country, listening to social housing tenants. We want to listen to them, we want to ensure that in future, when they raise their voice, their voice is heard," she said.

Sixty six people who died in the fire have now been formally identified - the total number of estimated deaths is 80, although police have said it may be lower.

In other BBC interviews, Mrs May addressed an issue referred to by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in his own conference speech - the UK's housing crisis, particularly for young people.

'Not quitter'

The prime minister told the BBC's South East Today's Helen Catt: "We need to show how we are addressing the issues that we know are of concern to people, like housing for young people.

"You'll be hearing from the government, in due course, obviously, how we are going to address those issues.

"We need to ensure that young people are able to build a better future for themselves and don't fear that they are going to have a worse future than their parents."

In his closing speech at this week's Labour conference, Mr Corbyn pledged to curb rents in the private sector and said any redevelopment of a housing estate under a Labour government would have to be backed by a council ballot of residents.

Conservative Party members will gather in Manchester next week for the party's annual conference, against the backdrop of Mrs May having lost her parliamentary majority in a snap election and continued questions about cabinet unity over Brexit.

Asked about her future, Mrs May said: "I've been very clear. I've said I'm not a quitter - but there's a job for this Conservative Party in government to be doing and that's what we're getting on with.

"At this Conservative Party conference, we'll be setting out very clearly how, as Conservatives in government, we will build the road for a better future for people."

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : by Lenny Etheridge 
Blair and Straw decimated Britain with their policy of letting those who'd be grateful - try to gerrymander future voters.

The fact is, the Tories has allowed far more immigrants into Britain, than Labour.
Their aim was to undermine the indigenous worker, and drive down wages.

The Tories are why we have a Gig Economy.

No one's asking anyone to vote Labour.

But since Cameron, Osborne, Javid and Johnson have colluded against the Taxi trade in favour of Uber - we have an opportunity to let the Tories know we don't like their corrupt policies on deregulation.

And let's not forget 8 years of Austerity aimed at the working class, affecting the working class, and achieving sod all.

I cannot understand why an informed Taxi driver would vote for the party who've chosen, supported and promoted Uber above us.