Saturday, September 22, 2018

TFL In The Dock: High Court Action To Expose “Appalling Failure” Of Taxi Regulator

This is the action we have all been waiting for.....this IS the big one we must all support.
Regardless of what org or union you belong to, this action transcends trade group loyalties. 


This is action by the trade, for the trade and is probably our last chance to make a stand.

TFL In The Dock: High Court Action To Expose “Appalling Failure” Of Taxi Regulator

TFL accused by top QC of an “appalling failure” to uphold the law on taxis 
The regulator faces High Court action for allowing Uber to ignore the law
Uber’s entire UK taxi operation could be brought to a halt by an injunction
Westminster Chief Magistrate faces criticism for a conflict of interest

One of the UK’s top QCs is about to launch a High Court action against Transport for London for failing to uphold the law on taxis. It gives traditional taxis the exclusive right to display their availability for hire in return for higher standards.  

Robert Griffiths QC, whom The Times described as “one of the biggest names at the bar”, is preparing pre-action protocols for a High Court case which could lead to all of Uber’s UK operations being shut down for failing to comply. 

The case gives the High Court its first opportunity to examine the core legal issue in an action bought by an alliance of London taxi drivers and industry suppliers.

“In this case I will chart the appalling failure of TFL to apply a law designed to ensure the safety of passengers. That purpose has not changed. Nor has this law been superseded by either technology or the scale of Uber’s illegal activities,” said Mr Griffiths of 6 Pump Court Chambers who is seeking an injunction to stop Uber’s UK operations.

The view that Uber is also not "fit and proper” to hold a licence was put forward by Clifford Chance in 2015 when it called for TFL to shut it down with “immediate effect” for multiple failures. [1] TFL acknowledged earlier this year that it had allowed Uber to operate despite it not meeting the standard. [2] 

The High Court case will argue that Uber continues to fail to be “fit and proper” for reasons including its avoidance of almost all tax on its UK profits. It portrays them as being the tax-free royalties of a Dutch company which has no employees.  

“Uber is a corporate vulture. It does not pay for the roads it drives on. Even if it became the perfect company tomorrow the damage it has done through its illegal operations have still caused actionable harm. Uber has long thought itself bigger than the law of this land. Our High Court judges will have a different view,” said Mr Griffiths, who is pursuing substantial damages for traditional taxi drivers against Uber.

The legal action will additionally contend that Westminster Magistrates Court failed to uphold the law in a case in June. In that the court’s Chief Magistrate, Emma Arbuthnot, gave Uber permission to continue to operate despite the company admitting that it had repeatedly failed to conform with the law. [3] 

The taxi alliance behind the High Court case was further outraged when it was later revealed that the magistrate’s husband worked for one of Uber’s biggest investors. The uproar over that led to Ms Arbuthnot ruling herself out from hearing future cases involving Uber. [4]

“By admitting it was a big enough conflict to stop her sitting in future cases it shows that she had no right to sit on the case in which she gave Uber a green light,” said Angie Clarkson of the London Taxi Action Group which is fighting the case. [5]

Speaking about the action Trevor Merralls, General Secretary of the United Cabbies Group, said “TFL have repeatedly said ‘we know your views about what we are doing, if you don’t like it take us to court.’ Well we don’t and we are."  

Notes
[2] TFL says Uber “not fit and proper”: https://www.ft.com/content/c3b58f51-6daa-371a-b8cf-97618a3accbc
[5] London Taxi Action Group: consists of UCG and five key suppliers to the London taxi trade


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 

Listen from 27:48 to Sean Paul Days interview with Trevor Merrals on London Taxi Radio



Monday, September 17, 2018

John Farrell's Resignation Letter To The Corp of London Over Bank Junction Ban.


With his permission, this is John Farrell’s resignation letter to the Corp of London:

Dear Sir,
Following the decision of the Corporation of London to permanently ban taxis from Bank Junction between the hours of 7am and 7pm, I hereby return my Freedom of the City of London certificate.

I do so with a heavy heart but you leave me no other option. London taxis, in one form or another, having been serving the City of London since 1600 and now it appears we are being kicked in the teeth. Since the implementation of the ban there has been a marked drop-off in journeys within the City of London. After all, who wants to pay for sitting in a queue of traffic, especially one artificially created. Several London boroughs have refused to implement cycle schemes etc through their streets because of the chaos that would ensue. 

Not content with witnessing the daily queue of traffic on Upper and Lower Thames streets, successive Lord Mayors have kowtowed to successive Mayors of London. It seems the upstarts of twenty-odd years have tossed the 800 plus years of the Lord Mayor onto the scrap heap.
I have no doubt that the decision to ban taxis will be reversed in the future but by then it may be too late. 

Already there has been a sudden decrease in the number of people on the Knowledge. Why spend years learning to be one of the best taxi drivers in the world only to find that you are excluded from streets that you had to learn. Without exaggeration I put it to you that traffic management decisions implemented by the Corporation of the City of London and TfL are killing the trade.

When I was “on the Knowledge” back in the 1980’s I fell in love with the City. Before then I knew nothing of its rich history but reading all the various plaques I became so enraptured that I later went to University and studied history - a subject I had hated at school. This new-found love of history also led myself and another cab driver to start up the Fellowship of Hackney Carriage Drivers in 1990 where I was the founding Clerk. 

The Fellowship went on to receive Livery status and is now a Worshipful Company. But what of their future. I hold no position at all within the present-day Company and so it is up to their Master, Wardens and Court to decide on that. This is just as well. Were I still Clerk I don’t think I could sit idly by and watch as we become the laughing stock of the trade.

Yours, regretfully
John Farrell
Proud London taxi driver and ex-freeman of the City of London.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

It seems the custodians of the Cabmen’s Shelter Group on Facebook have been offended by a post showing Sean taking down and ripping up his freeman of the city certificate. 


They have removed the post for two reasons;
A) There are no Cabmen’s Shelters in the CoL
B) Sean was not a regular Shelter user ???

They have completely missed the fact that this was a selfless act in support of his fellow Taxi drivers. 

As the group is mainly frequented by members of the WCHCD, we can probably assume that this elitist group, won’t be supporting the trade or its drivers, come the Lord Mayor’s Show. 

Meanwhile, the trades largest org is waiting and seeing !!!

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA COMMENT :

As a founder member of the FHCD I fully support John's protest re the COL attitude towards the Taxi trade. 

Even when I was the Master of the FHCD and asked a question at a meeting of the COL  re the use of Arthur Street we were laughed at in a very derided way. 

I hope others support John and do not participate in the Lord Mayors Show. They have no respect for us so why should we support them.

Gerry Dunn

East West Cycle Superhighway Has Cost £62k For Every Extra Cycle Attracted To The Route

London radio station LBC,  has revealed that the East-West cycle superhighway has cost over £62,000 for every extra cyclist attracted to the route.

The blue cycle path, which currently runs from Lancaster Gate to Tower Hill, was Boris Johnson's flagship cycling project as Mayor. Heralded as the "Crossrail of cycling", the £47 million project was "designed to encourage the large numbers of people who would like to cycle, but currently feel unable to."

The news will infuriate taxi drivers and hauliers who have seen their journey times significantly increased, who lost a lane on the Embankment to make way for the Cycle Superhighway, doubling journey times.

See LBC article and video here:

https://amp.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/nick-ferrari/cycle-superhighway-cost-62k-for-every-new-cyclist/?__twitter_impression=true

Sunday, September 16, 2018

More Trouble For Uber Drivers, As They Don't Get Paid Again : Is The Flow Of Cash Drying Up?


Glitch Prevents Uber Drivers Getting Paid...Is There A Problem As Cash Flow Appears To Dry Up ???

SAN FRANCISCO — Uber on Saturday said it was still working to fix an issue that was preventing its drivers from collecting their earnings.

“We have identified an issue affecting drivers’ visibility into their trip earnings and our Instant Pay feature. Drivers will be paid for all trips and we sincerely regret any inconvenience,” a spokesperson for the San Francisco-based rideshare company sannounced on Friday.

“We are working to quickly resolve the issue,” the spokesperson added. “As always, drivers in California will see their weekly earnings deposited directly into their account for every trip they have taken after being processed on Tuesdays at noon.”

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the issue or when it began, as the spokesperson declined to comment further, but some drivers reported that they hadn’t been able to cash out for more than 24 hours. Regular checks just keep bringing up the same message...."Processing UberX"

Drivers took to Twitter to express their frustration.


“@Uber when are you guys paying the drivers?” @silvanaeagle said in a tweet to @Uber_Support on Friday afternoon. “SF Bay Area drivers don’t really like to work for free!”

“Our team is working on fixing this issue as soon as possible,” @Uber_Support said in a reply.

“Although the trip or fare may not appear on your statement, you will still be paid as normal for any trips taken during this period. Thank you so much for your patience.”

In a reply to a different driver, @Uber_Support said in most cases Instant Pay would return to normal in a few hours.

Source : MercuryNews

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : Meanwhile, in London !



Friday, September 14, 2018

Joint Founder Of The Fellowship of Hackney Carriage Drivers, To Send Back His Freedom Of The City Certificate.


Following the City Corp's decision to make the no entry at the Bank junction permanent, Sean Farrell, one of the two founders original Fellowship of Hackney Carriage Drivers, wrote this on Dial-a-Cab's Facebook page:

I used to be proud of my Freedom of London certificate that hung on my wall. At the moment it is lying on the floor behind my desk, where it has been since the Bank junction ban started. For those that don't know, I was the founder (along with Chris George) of the original Fellowship of Hackney Carriage Drivers. Getting that off the ground took up every minute of my time and nearly wrecked my marriage. I used to be proud of what I had achieved, but not any more. 

Our trade has served the City for over 400 years and this is how we are repaid - and it wasn't even a taxi that caused the death of the cyclist. Seems turning the junction into a bus lane is too much to ask for.

But no doubt the Worshipful Company will probably still take part in the Lord Mayors Show, they may see it as an attempt to win hearts and minds. Perhaps they could even have a float letting everyone know that your taxi has to take the long way round because of the Mayor that is being honoured doesn't want us going past his front door. I gave up being clerk back in 1995 to go to Uni where I studied history and so cannot criticise those who have made the WCHCD what it is today. But what will it be tomorrow? 

It is in danger of becoming a laughing stock - after all, who will want to join. It never was, nor should be, a political body - we left that to the LTDA and LCDC etc but if I were still Clerk, then yes, I (the WCHCD) would not participate in the Lord Mayors Show. 

Neither would I attend any function in which the Lord Mayor was in attendance. 

I would even consider dropping the "Worshipful" from our title - the Watermen and Lightermen's company is not worshipful either. 

Perhaps I would even consider dropping out of livery altogether - leaving an embarrassing gap at our position as the 104th livery. There is nothing, as far as I am aware, that prevents the company from continuing its good work, Disney etc, just that there has to be no reason why it has to be under the umbrella of the Lord Mayor.

Despite the ban, I will continue paying in my monthly donation to the WCHCD charity, but how many members will lose interest and leave? 

Over the weekend I will be retrieving my Freedom certificate, I will dust it down, put it in an envelope and return it to the Chamberlain's Court at Guildhall, from whence it was issued. My freedom is being eroded. To continue to display it is hypocritical, they can stuff their certificate. 

Sean Farrell, WCHCD. 

Source Dial a Cab FaceBook Page.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Uber drivers in Denmark must pay fine for every ride, supreme court rules



The Danish supreme court on Thursday ratified fines given to four Uber drivers for operating illegally, paving the way for similar fines on a further 1,500 drivers.

The four taxi drivers, one of whom was fined 486,500 Danish crowns ($78,060), were charged with failing to have permits and for violating a law introduced to combat Uber which imposed extra rules on taxis operating in Denmark.

After launching its service in Denmark in 2014, Uber Technologies Inc was criticized by taxi driver unions, companies and politicians who said the company posed unfair competition by not meeting legal standards required for established taxi firms.

"We are very disappointed for the drivers involved and our top priority is to support them during this difficult time," an Uber spokeswoman said.

"We are changing the way we do business and are operating in line with local laws across Europe, connecting with professionally licensed drivers," she said.

The landmark case means the police can issue a fine for each individual ride made by Uber's more than 1,500 drivers in the country between 2014 and 2017. 

A spokesman for the Copenhagen police said it would assess the verdict and decide next week how to proceed.

Parliament passed a law in February 2017 that introduced more stringent requirements on taxis, such as mandatory fare meters and seat sensors. The new rules prompted Uber's withdrawal.

The company has previously said it would pay any fine given to its drivers, according to Danish newspaper Berlingske

Source : Rueters

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT: 

Meanwhile here in London, our largest org’s General Secretary Steve McNamara says they, the LTDA will not be contesting the Uber verdict from conflict of interest Judge Emma Arbuthnot. 

Even though Uber admitted in court they were operating illegally, there are no plans to take the responsible TfL directors to court for knowingly allowing Yber to operate illegally for 6 years .... (the proof is available) 

Driver opinion:

Drivers are now wondering if Steve McNamara is actually representing the best interests of his membership, or the best interests of TfL?