Friday, November 16, 2018

Is TfL's House Of Cards About To Come Tumbling Down, As ITA Announce Consecutive Protests ?

In 2009 former banker Ajit Chambers presented then TfL Chairman Boris Johnson with a plan to make £200 million by opening London’s London disused tube stations as ‘Tourist Adventures and ‘Multipurpose Venues’.  Mr Chambers then worked closely with Boris and two Transport for London staff.

Transport for London ran a procurement process in 2015 for the stations after the UK press reported in 2014 that the project was worth £3 billion. 

Mr Chambers extremely lucrative project was then not awarded to any of the bidders and instead Transport for London used their own subsidiary London Transport Museum.

This is the type of underhanded (some might even allege corrupt) behaviour, our licensing authority appears to excels at.

A cabby on FaceBook has posted, that a London MP he picked advised him:
"TfL have no intention of getting London's traffic moving again, the current congestion is contrived at the highest level within TfL and share holders of a certain construction maintenance company appear to be making a killing." 

He went on to say: Top officers in TfL should be investigated to see if they have any financial conflict of interest in this gridlock madness."

Road access is systematically being withdrawn from the Taxi trade even though there has been no change the London Cab Order 1934 para 34: 
A taxi driver is under a duty to drive the hirer of his taxi to any place within the Metropolitan Police District or the City of London not exceeding 12 miles from the place where he was hired.

The consultation for the Tooley Street's Bus/Cycle only access, was set to be released in the new year, but fearing mass cabby protests, it was decided to release the consultation just before Christmas, in the mistaken belief that the trade would not react and just carry on working regardless. 

The proposal (following on from the restrictions at Bank Junction, Moor Lane and a number of streets in Hackney) is just the thin end of wedge, with many other areas already ticked off for implementation in the new year. 

We've also heard that Euston Road is scheduled to be closed to traffic for a number of months.... for a massive rebuilding program. 

The Independent Taxi Alliance (ITA) has made the statement, "Enough's enough" and have scheduled a series of demonstrations which will start on November the 26th 4pm on London Bridge with other targets (to be announced) continuing on consecutive workdays (Monday-Friday).

•  TfL consider London’s Hackney cabs as part of London’s Transport network.
•  Everywhere buses go, we go.
The protests will continue till the job is done and that is:
No more let's wait and see nonsense.

Also, don't forget, UTAG will also be going after certain TfL senior officers past and present.

Support UTAG, sign up here:

The UCG have also announced they will no longer be consulting with TfL under the umbrella of the engagement policy. Two other orgs are to consult their members, with a view of joining the United Cabbies Group.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Uber Posts $1 Billion Loss...Ahead Of Planned IPO Next Year

Uber Technologies Inc said on Wednesday that growth in bookings for its ride-hailing and delivery services rose 6 percent in the latest quarter, the third quarter in a row that growth has remained in the single digits after double-digit growth for all of last year.
The San Francisco-based firm lost $1.07 billion for the three months ending Sept. 30, a 20 percent increase from the previous quarter but down 27 percent from a year ago, when the company posted its biggest publicly reported quarterly loss on the heels of the departure of Uber co-founder and former Chief Executive Travis Kalanick.

Uber is seeking to expand in freight hauling, food delivery and electric bikes and scooters as growth in its now decade-old ride-hailing business dwindles. The company, valued at $76 billion, faces pressure to show it can still grow enough to become profitable and satisfy investors in an initial public offering planned for some time next year.

Its adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $592 million, down from $614 million last quarter and $1.02 billion a year ago.

"We had another strong quarter for a business of our size and global scope," said Nelson Chai, Uber's chief financial officer, who joined in September after the job had been vacant for three years. He emphasized the "high-potential markets in India and the Middle East where we continue to solidify our leadership position."

But broader economic conditions and sustained losses could push Uber to merge with rivals in India and the Middle East, particularly as Uber and India-based Ola share an investor in SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T).

Uber's gross bookings were $12.7 billion, up 6 percent from the previous quarter and up 41 percent from a year ago. In late 2016, Uber's quarterly bookings growth approached 30 percent, and in early 2017 it still sustained double-digit growth quarter-over-quarter. At the start of this year, however, bookings growth slid into the single digits.

Revenue for the quarter was $2.95 billion, a 5 percent boost from the previous quarter and up 38 percent from a year ago. That trailed the second-quarter year-over-year revenue increase of 63 percent.

As a private company, Uber is not required to publicly disclose financials, but last year started releasing selected figures.

Since CEO Dara Khosrowshahi took the helm more than a year ago, Uber has retreated from foreign markets where it had suffered heavy losses and shuttered certain pricey ventures including self-driving trucks. But Khosrowshahi has plowed the savings back into its freight-hauling, food-delivery, and electric scooter and bikes businesses.

An investment by SoftBank that closed in January, which gave the Japanese investor a 15 percent stake in Uber, included a provision that requires Uber to file for an IPO by Sept. 30th of next year, or the company risks allowing restrictions on shareholder stock transfers to expire. That could create a mess for Uber's ownership structure and equity value, and pose regulatory problems.

Uber is considering moving its public debut up from the second half of 2019 to the first half, given concerns about a market downturn and an expected IPO from its chief U.S. rival, Lyft Inc, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Khosrowshahi has focused on growing Uber Eats, which took in $2.1 billion in booking revenue, marking a 150 percent jump over last year and about 17 percent of total bookings.

Uber has also pledged to double its investment over the next year in Freight, a brokerage service set up in May 2017 for truck drivers and fleet managers looking for cargo to haul. The business is doubling the number of loads it connects with truckers every quarter, Uber said.

But it is not yet clear whether either business can sustain a profit. It is also unclear how Uber will fare in a shakeout of the crowded global food-delivery industry, and whether its freight business will be widely adopted by fleet managers.

Source : Reuters 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Enough Is Enough, As TfL Declare War On Road Access For Taxis

We’ve been informed today that TfL want Taxis banned from Tooley Street.
We’ve been told that TfL want access for London transport buses and cycles only.

The word has put out on social media in the form of a consultation contained in a tweet from the joint ranks committee….but as we know these consultations are meaningless. No matter what the result of the consultation, TfL does exactly what they want. We saw this with Oxford Street where they refused to take residents opinions into consideration. Westminster City Council had to intervene to stop the pedestrianisation going ahead.

This is the thin end of the wedge and we cant let this happen.
We’ve already seen Taxis banned from a number of locations in and around the city. But this new proposal is the start of a definite push against road access for London’s Taxis.

Grant Davis, chairman of the London Taxi Drivers Club has gone on Periscope today calling for direct action and will be posting details in the very near future.

Grant said today “we have no friends at TfL, everyone there is offside and if we don’t wake up,  we will be offside for good….If these plans are implemented we will be no more meaningful to London’s transport network than mini cabs except we will be expected to be driving around in a £65,000 vehicle.” 

“We can’t stand for this, we have to take action. Please keep an eye out on social media as we will soon be posting details for a series of mass ply for hires.”


What will our largest org do about this???
Will they be calling mass demos to support the drivers who pay their wages???
Our guess is they will issue a statement saying "let's wait and see".

After all we can't have Mike Brown upset, can we.....

Also can't wIt to see the tweets and social media comments from all their mushrooms who are kept in. The dark......
"It's the wrong time"
"It's the wrong day"
"It's the wrong place"
"Demos don't work"

Just remember my post from last year (now updated) which finished....
First they licensed Uber, and I did not speak out—
Because I was working.
Then the Trade Unionists and Taxi orgs called a mass demo, and I did not go—
Because it was busy and I had to work.
Then, after realising our largest org was doing nothing, 17 drivers stood up shouting and rebellious...but they were expelled—I did and said nothing, just carried on working.
Then they asked for members to go to a branch meeting to vote against Judas and his WAGs — but I didn't go as I was working 
Then they suspended the elections and scrapped the branch....
But it was busy and I didn't say anything.
When they finally took my Badge and Bill and handed it to an Uber driver— there was no one left to fight for me.

Good Idea, but can you really see McNamara's boys or Kelly's heroes, delivering leaflets 😂

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Chris Johnson’s Update On His Crowdjustice Fundraising Case.

We read Chris still needs £5400 in 20 days 

If the 300 odd who have donated, put in again it would need about £16 each.

I’m sure we can get it over the line. I will definitely be putting in again, but it’s going to need a big push from everyone again.

I will definitely be doing that!

Latest update on MyTaxi - Worker Rights.

Without Prejudice.

Dear All

Just an update.

After an amazing start to our campaign to raise £18,000 we have somewhat slowed down - we need to hit the £15,000 target by the end on November and £18,000 by the end of December.

Therefore, to hit these milestones by these dates we have just over £5,400 to raise within the next 20 days - can I ask that you please help to share the crowd justice link as widely as possible?

I'm aware of some friction on social media and would like to share some thoughts on what an employment tribunal could achieve:

Here are my thoughts on why an employment tribunal is the right thing to do and what we could expect to gain - I hope you will think about supporting.

Uber VAT liability because they are the principal?

The European court recently decided that Uber are a transportation provider instead of a software company, the UK employment tribunal service decided that Uber drivers are limb-b workers instead of self- employed contractors because Uber "control" the driver, thus making Uber London Limited the "principal" in the contract. Jolyon Maugham argues that because Uber London is the "principal" then they must be subject to VAT liability on the whole fare – I think we all agree on this point - when I was a member of the LCDC we financially supported Jolyon.

Therefore, does "control" of the driver amount to VAT liability because of the fact, who is doing the "controlling" is the "principal"?

Could MyTaxi avoid VAT liability if they don’t "control" the driver?

We identified some time ago that if MyTaxi "control" the fares (fixed prices), suspend the driver for scrubbing jobs and deactivate drivers without reason etc. then there is a strong argument that they "control" the driver much in the same way as Uber "control" their drivers – should an employment tribunal agree that MyTaxi drivers are limb-b workers much in the same way Uber drivers are limb-b workers, then clearly MyTaxi would potentially be the "principal" in the contract, thus it’d be MyTaxi who are making the VATable supply, therefore, they would potentially be liable for VAT on the whole fare - just as Jolyon Maugham is claiming Uber London are.  

If MyTaxi amended their driver T&C’s to reflect that we are independent drivers who "ply for hire" independently, didn’t do fixed prices and didn’t suspend or deactivate drivers without reason, and if any passenger complaint was dealt with by the regulator (TfL) instead of MyTaxi, then it’d be almost certain that MyTaxi was only our "agent" and not the "principal" therefore, not exposed to the claim that they "control" the driver in any way, furthermore, if they didn’t control the driver then there could be no way it could be argued that they were the "principal" and subsequently would not be exposed to any VAT liability claims. 

 Why is all of this is important for the future of the taxi trade?

In reality, both Uber & MyTaxi work in the same way, the only difference being the price the passenger pays – the only way that the taxi trade improves our position is by clarifying the employment status and VAT status on both taxi and private hire apps, we do this the following way;

(1) If Uber "control" their drivers then they must be the "principal" in the contract, therefore, it’s Uber London who is providing the VATable transport services – so, Jolyon Maugham must be right, Uber must pay 20% VAT on all of their fares.

(2) If MyTaxi don’t have any "control" over the drivers contractually or otherwise and the regulator deals with any passenger complaints, suspensions or revocations for bad behaviour and not MyTaxi, then it must be said that MyTaxi do not "control" the driver and therefore are not liable to employment claims or exposure to VAT liability as they are truly operating as a "non-controlling" "agent" for the driver – that said, this currently isn’t the case, because MyTaxi are contractually very controlling and they do suspend and deactivate drivers without reason and this will only get worse if not challenged.

What is the answer?

I believe that it’s very clear, private hire apps have to "control" their drivers because of the nature of the legislation, therefore, private hire companies are the "principal" in any contract so must be subject to VAT on the full fare.

If MyTaxi and all Taxi App companies want to "control" the driver, then they must equally be the "principal" in any contract and subject to the same employment & VAT liability as private hire companies like Uber - that said, if MyTaxi have no arbitrary "control" of drivers then they would avoid any employment or VAT liability.

MyTaxi is not going to give up this "control" freely, therefore, we MUST force them into a position whereby the only option for them is; (a) If they want to "control" drivers then that comes with employment & potentially VAT liability, or; (b) they release ALL "control" of the driver contractually or otherwise, and accept that they are a "non-controlling" agent for the driver – the only way we force this position is to support and employment tribunal case against them.

Moreover and even more important, if a passenger complains about a driver, then any decision to reduce a drivers ability to source work must be a licensing decision by the regulator and not a decision by an unregulated app company – should TfL decide to suspend or revoke a drivers licence and the ability to earn a living is reduced in any way then the driver has the magistrates court to appeal any restriction of work because of a suspension or revocation – this can be the only way that drivers are protected from arbitrary decisions from unregulated app companies going forward.

I hope this is clear.

Thank you for your continued support.


Friday, November 09, 2018

Chelsea Pensioners Collection Bucket Stolen In Break In.

The Chelsea Pensioners were devastated to hear that last night, corporate partners John D Wood & Co. had their Lower Sloane Street branch broken into and the contents of the collection bucket were stolen.

The charity collection from staff and clients was in support of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home of the Chelsea Pensioners. It is thought that in excess of seven hundred pounds was taken. 

Russell Williamson from John D Wood & Co. in Sloane Square said: “We are extremely saddened that the money we raised for the Royal Hospital, Chelsea will now not be of benefit to this worthy cause. It is particularly poignant at this time of year, during our national period of Remembrance, when the Chelsea Pensioners have been out in force supporting both local and national remembrance events and appeals.” 

John Wood & Co. have been working hard to raise funds for the Chelsea Pensioners and had received many additional donations during the national period of Remembrance. The company’s fundraising efforts have been instrumental to ensure that the Pensioners are able to carry out their current ceremonial duties and safeguard the Royal Hospital for the care of future veterans.

The Royal Hospital was the final home for many soldiers who bravely fought in World War One and on breaking this news to the Pensioners they expressed their disappointment. Chelsea Pensioner Gordon Sanders said: “I think it’s disgusting that their office was broken into and that money has been taken from the charity. The Pensioner community feels let down and I am sure all of those who gave so generously will be disappointed that the monies raised are now lost.”

TfL And Westminster Relent, After Threat Of Bridge Protests From ITA and LCDC.

Good news..... After threats of a driver lead demos from the ITA, openly supported by the LCDC, TfL have now relented and reconsidered the issue with Westminster Bridge over the next 4 weeks. 

Taxi will now be allowed to use the bridge as well as buses and cycles. Not only that, Taxis will also be able to turn left on ton Westminster Bridge from the Victoria Embankment.

To all those mushrooms out there, who have been fed lies, fake news and kept in the dark, this is proof that not only do demos work, sometimes, just the threat of a driver lead action, is enough to win the day. 

It's sad that because of the apathy from 95% of the trade and lack of support from the majority of trade orgs/Unions, the ITA have decided to call off next weeks proposed demos. 
We can only hope they will have a change of heart... having seen today's victory. 

TfL must be kicking themselves, they only had to keep blanking us for one more day and they could have gone ahead with this travesty against the 'Best Taxi Service In The World'.