Thursday, August 16, 2018

Uber reportedly lost $891 million in the second quarter of 2018 as growth slows

Uber brought in $2.8 billion in revenue in the second quarter of 2018, but ultimately lost $891 million thanks to increased spending by the ride-hailing company, according to Bloomberg

Uber, which is privately held but chooses to report its quarterly earnings to investors and the public, is seeing some growing pains from its massive effort to scale globally. It’s cash-burn rate wasn’t as bad as the same period last year, when the company reported losing roughly $1.1 billion. But it’s a big drop from the previous quarter, when the company posted a rare profit thanks to its decision to sell its businesses in southeast Asia and Russia to local rivals. 

Uber is planning for an initial public offering in the second half of 2019, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has said. That could be complicated by Uber’s habit of burning large quantities of cash. The company lost $4.5 billion last year, and has burned through $11 billion since launching in 2009. But Uber still has $7.3 billion cash on hand, according to Bloomberg, which certainly gives it some running room before an IPO. 

Bloomberg characterized the report as Khosrowshahi embracing the company’s “growth above profit” ethos. But it has cast a spotlight on some of Uber’s more expensive, trouble-prone projects. Specifically, the company’s beleaguered self-driving car operation is said to be losing as much as $200 million a quarter, The Information reported today. And Bloomberg noted that Uber is being urged by investors to off-load the unit.

Source : TheVerge.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : by Tom Scullion 

Uber record loss of £702m for the latest quarter.

The good old 'Gig Economy'!

Isn't it supposed to revolutionise the world and show us the way to the future, with successful, dynamic, get up and go business strategy, leaving behind those Luddite riddled, antiquated businesses like London's black cabs, you know, businesses that have been around for hundreds of years?

The Gig Economy, led by their own version of 1st World War Generals, taking their armies over the top of the trenches, to certain destruction. But the Generals are ok. They're safely hidden well away from the front line, ensconced in penthouse offices with luxurious surroundings & mega salaries, bonuses, fine dining & hob-nobbing with bent politicians and bureaucrats the world over.

Once the masses realise the carnage inflicted upon them, their families & their society, then maybe we'll see those 'Generals' and their lickspittle politician friends hanging upside down from proverbial meathooks in market squares, across the country.

Because by then, even the most ardent GiG supporter will come to realise that all 'GiG' ever stood for was 'Greed is Good'.

Exclusive : Colts Taxis Getts Rid, In Favour Of A Non-Profit TaxiApp Provided By Licensed Taxi Sean Paul Day.


It’s easy to be critical, in fact, it’s easy to find fault in someone or something or even something some one is doing. Add to that a clash in personality and it’a wonder we manage to get any work done with the amount of criticism we have to wade through. 

Now, if you want to take criticism to the next level you need to be someone who earns a living out of the trade. It doesn’t matter who or what you do, or if you are good, bad, or ugly, you are going to get criticised. 

What the trade lacks is reciprocity, alliances or partners if you will. There was a time when the regulation that governs our industry prevailed, but now it seems, with everyone else partnering anyone they can find, the trade is becoming increasingly isolated in a world where a few alliances would do us a world of good 

TAXIAPP UK - London’s only Trade app that’s owned and run by drivers themselves is always looking for different ways to advertise their product, and one such place is on the side of taxis. However, TAXIAPP/ unlike the Corporate led apps- isn’t afforded the luxury of any outside investment and because a lot of the fleet owners look to maximising profits from renting cabs, the cost of advertising on cabs has always been out of the price range for TAXIAPP to consider 

Enter Michael Glassman from Colts Cabs. Responding to the strong feelings in the trade against ride hailing apps, particularly Gett, he has taken the stance to remove all of their liveries and replace them with TAXIAPP ones completely free of charge. In total Glassman has supplied a fleet of 80 cabs for TAXIAPP to advertise their brand. 


A spokesperson from TAXIAPP said they were thrilled at what is effectively an unprecedented act of goodwill and hopes that the exposure will generate more business for the app, and also shine a torch on the commitment Colts Cabs have shown towards the trade 

Of course it’s not entirely without cost as the app had to consider designing and producing the livery itself and of coarse there was the fitting to consider. "We did actually get a very good deal from Dvinylwraps," says Scott, who looks after the app’s finances "To do all 80 cabs in one go simply wasn’t feasible, but we had to find a way as it was far too good an offer to let go by the wayside"

What you’ll see is a dozen cabs (possibly more ) each month being filtered out on to the streets of the Capital emblazoned with the TAXIAPP logo.

As far as criticism goes? Well, very few people in this world do anything for zero pay off, but as far as this act of good will is concerned, Glassman didn’t have to do it, but he chose to, and should be commended for it. That’s criticism, partnerships and helping each other all in one. As the mantra goes, support those that support the trade.

I await criticism

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Quebec Is Giving $250 Million In Taxpayer Money To Taxi Drivers Who Have Lost Business Because Of Uber

However, the money is not coming from Uber, the money will be paid to the drivers and Taxi companies direct from public funds.

Ride-sharing companies have quickly come to dominate the taxi market all over the world and have devastated the legitimate licensed taxi trades in many cities.  

Uber has made its services ubiquitous on Saturday nights flooding cities with cars, causing congestion, especially in Montreal, where a young population and booming nightlife have come to rely on ride-shares.

Montreal taxi drivers, have bemoaned this massive change in the industry. The taxi industry has tried repeatedly to get Uber banned from the city. Drivers have staged protests and pursued court cases but to no avail. Uber is her to stay.

For that reason the provincial government of Quebec has decided to offer compensation to taxi drivers whose business has suffered because of Uber.

A whopping total of $250 million in public funds is expected to go to drivers who have seen the value of their permits plummet from hundreds of thousands of dollars to just a few tens of thousands. 
More information is forthcoming from the government.

Many were quick to point out that, like it or not, this is just how capitalism works. New technologies, industries, and markets replace obsolete services. Workers in older industries have to adapt to changing times.

But instead of investing heavily in a transition to the new industry, the government is handing them cash to make up for the declining value of permits. Only $44 million will go toward improving taxi companies to help them compete in changing times.

Taxi drivers deserve secure livelihoods. But is this the best use of public funds? 
Lump sums will not help those drivers in the long term

Source : MTL blog.

New Tarif Update : Changes Due To Come Into Effect Saturday 6 October 2018

Tariff Update today:
Tariff email from Darren Crowson (TFL) 

Dear All,

Changes to the taxi fares and tariffs have now been approved and the changes are due to come into effect on Saturday 6 October 2018.

The changes approved were:

 *   Increasing the minimum fare from £2.60 to £3.00
 *   Increasing Tariff 1 by 0.6 per cent
 *   Increasing Tariff 2 by 0.6 per cent
 *   Extending the fuel charge arrangements until the next taxi fares and tariffs update
 *   Increasing by 50 pence the fixed fares for shared taxis from Euston Station (with the exception of the Euston Station to Lords Cricket Ground fare)
 *   Increasing the soiling charge from £40.00 to £60.00

The following were also approved:

 *   Freezing Tariff 3
 *   Freezing the tariff rate for journeys over six miles (sometimes referred to as Tariff 4)
 *   Further work and research being conducted to look at fixed and capped fare schemes to and from Heathrow Airport
 *   Adding fares for six passengers sharing to the shared taxi conversion table

·        Requiring all card payment devices approved for use in taxis to accept American Express as well as Visa and MasterCard

Some items discussed when we met or which were included in the consultation document were not taken forward and I'll run through what changed, what wasn't approved or consulted on, and the details of the new tariffs when we meet on Thursday 30 August 2018.

Information for the taximeter companies is now being finalised and I'll send you a copy of this as soon as it is ready.

If you have any questions let me know and I'll either respond by email or collate these and then run through them when we meet.


Darren Crowson
Policy Manager
Transport for London - Taxi and Private Hire
3rd Floor (3G2), 230 Blackfriars Road
Tel: 020 3054 2945 (internal 82945)

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :  by Jim Thomas.
This is probably the worst negotiated tariff change ever in the history of the trade.
Coming at a time when we are fighting what appears to be a losing battle with not only the competition but also the public and the press over our prices. 

The public use Uber and other PH companies because they say we are well over priced
And at first glance this looks like quite a big increase ....... But that's not the case. 

The 40p is in effect “free” to passengers, as the yardage requirements are being altered.
The increase will net out at 0.6% per job, not 0.6% plus 40p.
The nighttime fare on rate three will be unchanged yet the stigma of the 40p will see us crucified in the media, with headlines in the Standard announcing "Greedy Cabbies Put Up Taxi Fares". 

A rise of 0.6% is worthless and should never have been agreed by our orgs. 
Think about an extra 0.6% going to buy you a new £70k TXe ?
We should have gone for positive PR and been in the headlines with "London Cabbies Freeze Fares".

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Uber Driver Was Accused of Sexual Assault, But Not Fired. Then It Happened Again, Lawsuit Says.

Amber* and her friends spent a hot and humid July 2017 evening in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at The Pickle Barrel, a pub in a flatiron building with southern bites and a crowded roof deck.

As she had many nights before, Amber called an Uber for her and a friend to make the more than eight-mile trip home at about 1:30 a.m. But unlike those other nights, on July 22, 2017, Amber says she was sexually assaulted by her driver before she made it to her own front door.

Though Amber immediately reported her assault to both Uber and the authorities, another woman says she was victimized by that same driver just 15 days later.

Now, the women want answers.

Both unidentified plaintiffs filed a 65-page lawsuit against Uber last month in Hamilton County, Tennessee. The complaint was first covered by The Chattanoogan, and it claims the company was negligent in its retention of the alleged perpetrator, 26-year-old John Kyle Lane, after the first incident. The women are seeking at least $25,000 in damages to be determined at trial.

Lane began his ride with Amber by "offering details of his personal life that [she] found to be inappropriate," according to the complaint. After dropping off Amber’s friend, Lane arrived at her home, pulled into the driveway, and positioned his vehicle "such that he was between [her] and her house," the lawsuit claims.

Then, he allegedly locked the doors. Lane asked Amber how she felt about uncircumcised penises and then forced his genitals into her hand while groping her breast, according to both the lawsuit and police documents obtained by The Tennessean.

When Amber threatened to scream and jerked her hand away, Lane allegedly unlocked the door and let her out. As he sped away, Amber ran into her house and called the Red Bank Police Department and notified Uber, according to the lawsuit.

"This driver should be fired. I find him to be a danger to his passengers," Amber allegedly wrote at the end of her complaint to the company.

An Uber representative purportedly sent her an email shortly afterward, noting that the company had launched an internal investigation and that someone would be in touch with her as soon as possible. A phone call later that day from another representative confirmed the investigation, the lawsuit claims.

Uber refunded Amber’s money for the ride and placed a restriction on her profile so that she would never be paired with Lane again, according to the complaint.

Afterward, she was traumatized, had nightmares, and had difficulty sleeping, according to the lawsuit.

"The trauma of this event became embedded in her mind to the point where it often infiltrated her every thought, impeded her ability to carry out her daily activities and infected her relationship with her husband and young daughter," the complaint claims. She "suffered severe emotional distress and was forced to enter counseling and seek psychiatric treatment," the court papers say.

Meanwhile, Lane was still driving customers. On Aug. 6, 2017, he picked up Julia*.

She was trying to get home from downtown Chattanooga and, again, Lane struck up an "inappropriate" conversation and eventually asked if he could "come inside and ‘have a threesome’" with Julia and her boyfriend, court documents allege.

When she moved to get out of the car, Lane yelled and allegedly exposed his erect penis.

"You’re not going anywhere until you do something about this," he said, according to the complaint. She frantically left the vehicle and ran to the back of her house.

That evening, Julia reported the incident to the East Ridge Police Department and to Uber, which allegedly took six days to respond to her report, the complaint claims. The ride-hail giant said it would restrict Lane’s driver access and investigate the situation. A few days later, Julia allegedly received another message from the company, claiming that Lane’s account was put on hold until an investigation could be completed. She was also told that she would not be paired with Lane again.

After receiving another Aug. 14, 2017 email from Uber, Julia wrote: "I very much appreciate that I will not be paired with this Uber driver, but my concern is that another girl will end up with this individual and something worse will happen to her…. I have been a member of this community long before Uber came to our city and I feel a certain responsibility to the other women I live alongside."

Lane has been charged in Hamilton County with stalking, harassment, sexual battery and indecent exposure, according to The Tennessean. He is scheduled for a court hearing on Aug. 14 and 15, the newspaper reports.

Lane began driving for Uber in spring 2017, according to the lawsuit, which claims the company "failed to exercise reasonable care in retaining Lane and continuing to allow him to drive its customers."

In a statement sent to The Daily Beast on Monday night, an Uber spokeswoman said: "What’s been described is appalling and this driver remains permanently removed from the app."

Another suit against Uber, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, first alleged in November 2017 that the ride-hail giant operates a system that enables perpetrators to have access to thousands of victims all over the country.

One driver is even accused of masturbating in the presence of a customer, explaining: "I thought this is what you wanted." The nine plaintiffs have each claimed that they were sexually assaulted, harassed, or kidnapped by their Uber driver.

"Uber has done everything possible to continue using low-cost, woefully inadequate background checks on drivers and has failed to monitor drivers for any violent or inappropriate conduct after they are hired," that lawsuit, amended in March, says. "Uber has created a system for bad actors to gain access to vulnerable victims."

Attorney Jeanne Christensen, who represents those plaintiffs, told The Daily Beast in March that "Uber’s goal is to stop women from getting the justice they deserve through our court system."

An April investigation by CNN found 103 reports of sexual assault by Uber drivers within the past four years.

An Uber spokesperson told CNN then that safety is the company’s top priority this year, pointing out numerous recent protocol updates, including more background checks, in addition to a "safety center" on the app. Another Uber spokesperson said in March that the company takes all sexual-misconduct allegations against its drivers "very seriously."

*Pseudonyms were given to the unidentified victims in these lawsuits.

MyTaxi Driver Sacked For Pointing Out Company's Multiple Contraventions Of Taxi Regulations

Earlier this year, the flaws in the MyTaxi app passed before my inspection: 

it was possible for someone with multiple convictions to get on to their system, to the point of receiving a statement of earnings. 

But, it seems, MyTaxi is not for listening to those pointing out problems with this app. And one cabby found recently that his insistence on observing regulations meant being sacked from the platform altogether.

Chris Johnson pointed out that MyTaxi was offering app jobs to drivers outside the Greater London area - drivers could lose their licence if TfL concluded that the driver was plying for hire using the app. He asked if drivers were plying for hire on the app, or if an instant hire was a pre-booking (drivers can accept a pre-booking anywhere in England and Wales, but can only ply in their licensed area). He received no reply.

His TfL Taxi licence expired on the MyTaxi system, although he had renewed with TfL. But MyTaxi were sending him instant app jobs on an expired licence, so he complained that this was a public safety risk, as revoked drivers could still operate on MyTaxi on a potential expired TfL licence. No word from MyTaxi.

These are basic safety and regulation issues. And it gets worse.

MyTaxi tells the driver to charge a minimum fare of £10 at certain times of the day, but taxi drivers are not allowed to charge more than the metered fare - as it is an offence. Johnson explained to MyTaxi that MyTaxi could charge the customer more than the metered fare but that would mean that they are the principal in the contract, making him potentially a worker for them. Still no word from MyTaxi.

Read the full story on Zelo Street this link:-

Source : Tim Fenton, Zelo Street 


MyTaxi have excluded a driver after he pointed out that drivers could lose their licence for charging more than the metered fare, under their minimum fare policy. This has in the past been pointed out to TfLTPH but they have not commented on the practise, in the same respect that Graham Robinson, General Manager of TfLTPH refuses to comment on the practice of Gett dispatching private hire work on their Taxi app without a PH operators licence. 

It seems if you are a Taxi driver, you have to abide by and comp,y with all Hackney carriage acts, but if you are company run by billion dollar third party investors, you can run roughshod over legislation laid down by parliament. 

You onl have to look at the regulations that have been broken and still continue to be broken by Uber. Yet TfL continue to make excuses for them in the same way they have for the past six years.