Saturday, September 14, 2013

Taxi drivers call for minicab firm to be kicked out of Aylesbury

Taxi drivers have expressed their anger that a private hire firm with vehicles licensed by another council are still operating in Aylesbury. The Aylesbury Private Hire Association has demanded a ‘level playing field’ and called for all Call a Cab vehicles to be thrown out of the town. 

It was revealed last year that licences issued by Rutland County Council were being used by Call a Cab.

In March Aylesbury Vale District Council’s court case against the firm collapsed, but the authority is hoping to have an appeal heard at the High Court later this year. The private hire association raised its concerns after the latest round of Vehicle and Operator Services Agency inspections in the town.

The group said in a statement: “There is a lot of anger in the trade. “Whilst our members are always under scrutiny and at the forefront of any enforcement action by AVDC, it is very frustrating to see a taxi firm, namely Call a Cab, allowed to flout the law and openly use private hire vehicles and drivers that are not licensed here.

“It is alarming and extremely shocking that AVDC licensing officers have no power or authority to stop and check these vehicles. “They have no way of knowing that the drivers being used are fit and proper. “We are pleased that AVDC are taking legal proceedings against them but in the meantime they continue to operate in Aylesbury.”

The council’s case collapsed in March because it lost its records. Peter Seal, the council’s licensing services manager, said: “The council has lodged an appeal to the High Court and it is hoped that the matter will be heard later this year. “In the meantime AVDC is still of the opinion that Call a Cab Limited require an operator’s licence and will continue to pursue the matter through the proper legal channels.”

The private hire association has also moved to quash rumours that drivers are planning strikes in the coming weeks. It said: “We are in dialogue with AVDC and are not preparing to cause any disruption or go on strike.” 

Call A Cab did not wish to comment.


National Taxi Association AGM & Conference

ntalogo1.jpgThe City of Sunderland will play host to this years National Taxi Association AGM & Conference.

The event will take place on the 28th & 29th October at the Marriot Hotel in Seaburn.

Invited speakers include:

  • Transport Minister Norman Baker MP
  • Officials from the Department for Transport
  • Law Commission
  • James Button President of the Institute of Licensing
  • National Association of Licensing & Enforcement Officers

With new taxi laws on the horizon the future of the taxi trade is being decided – the NTA Conference is an ideal opportunity for you to ask questions about the future of the taxi industry.

To book a place please complete the following form:- 

click on link:- NTA 2013 Conf booking form (1)

London Taxi Drivers

Ask your representative org if they will be attending and what questions they will be asking. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Letter to a local paper regarding out of town taxis: Concern over taxi providers

I am a taxi driver in Pontefract who obeys all the rules and regulations of the Wakefield licensing department .

These include every five years a medical examination, every three years a CRB check and my car must pass a taxi test every six months which consists of a 62 page test.

All these aforementioned are to secure the safety of passengers, which I agree is in the interest of all my passengers.

But what a joke! 
Some of the operators in Pontefract and Castleford are using hackney carriages which are registered in places we have never heard of like Riverdale and West Lyndsey and are operating as private hire vehicles in Wakefield district.

These cars are not inspected according to Wakefield licence department and the drivers are not tested or vetted by Wakefield licensing department .

The Wakefield taxi inspectors have no jurisdiction over them and cannot guarantee the safety of the passengers who are being forced to use these cars by the different operators who send them out.

Name and address supplied

Response from Cllr Graham Stokes, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for corporate performance:

We also share these concerns as we work very hard with the taxi service providers in the district to ensure the vehicles and drivers registered by Wakefield Council provide a safe and secure service for their passengers.

It is very frustrating that we have no legal powers to stop hackney carriage vehicles and drivers licensed by other authorities working as private hire drivers and operating vehicles within Wakefield.

It is true that they don’t have to undertake any of our tests or abide by any of our policies. They simply need to work through an “operator” and be pre-booked.

We have advised the operators of our concern about this and asked them not to use drivers and vehicles licensed from other areas.
However, this is voluntary and unfortunately there are a number of companies within the Wakefield District that do use them.

The Law Commission recently completed a consultation on a number of proposals that seek to bring taxi and private hire licensing up to date.

Wakefield Council took part in this consultation, and along with many other local authorities, we raised our concerns about this issue.

We are now waiting to see the outcome of the consultation. Until there are any changes to the legislation we will continue to work with operators and do our best to get them not to use drivers and vehicles licensed from other areas.

There are a number of ways members of the public can check where a vehicle is registered. People can check the plate at the rear of the vehicle which gives the vehicle number and other details, look for a small sticker on the right hand side of the windscreen or ask to see the driver’s badge which gives his driver’s licence number and photograph.

We are currently reviewing all vehicle signage and will be consulting on this in the autumn.

source: http://www.pontefractandcastlefordexpress

Is Boris Leaving Nitrogen Dioxide Pollution Problem for Future Mayors?.....By Dave Davies


In 2008, Tim Yeo was appointed chairman of Eco City Vehicles , a company selling the Mercedes Vito London Taxi.


In 2009, Tim Yeo Tory MP and Chair of the Environment Committee initiated a taxi age limit in London


In July  2011, Boris Johnson submitted a report to Tim Yeo’s committee stating that the higher Euro standards were not delivering any reduction in emissions (based on an earlier report by Kings Colege). He said

‘’A Euro 5 car, for example, emits around five times as much direct NO2 as a fifteen year old car.’’


In January 2012, Boris Johnson ignored his own evidence and implemented a 15 year taxi age limit to clean up emissions, knowing full well it would do nothing apart from sell taxis for his buddy Tim Yeo.


In April 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the UK had unlawful levels of NO2 (in particular London)


In May 2013, Defra published a report by the Environmental Research Group at Kings College London who had tested thousands of taxis in London and confirmes that the new Euro 5 taxis that Yeo was selling as environmentally friendly were creating 5 times MORE NO2 than the 15 year old taxis that had been scrapped.


Yesterday when challenged by Jenny Jones in Mayors Questions, Bojo bragged in the London Assembly that he had cleaned up emissions and that his 15 year age limit was a success.


Another complete and utter lie by Johnson.

I think this confirms that he will never take reasonable action until the situation is properly investigated and exposed


See this clip to hear Boris Johnson lying yesterday about the taxi age limit


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Concentrated Natural Gas (CNG) From Mercedes Taxi Makers...Or Just Hot Air? By Jim Thomas

As many of you who have ever visited Germany know, Mercedes-Benz taxis outnumber any other car brand wherever you look. The Stuttgart carmaker is by far the market leader in the taxi segment and even has dedicated production lines for its own taxis.

Among all the other premieres at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz is also presenting the taxi version of the B 200 Natural Gas Drive. While most other companies go down the all electric vehicle rout to provide cleaner emissions, the German manufacturer will be going with a more tried and tested technology.

With a reduction of CO2 emissions of at least 16 percent and much cleaner exhaust gasses than with petrol or diesel, you would think that that is the main reason for choosing such a type of engine. Considering this is taxi drivers we're talking about, the main reason for going for natural gas would actually be the fact that fuel costs are about 50 percent lower than those for a comparable gasoline model. Also,  what you have to remember is CO2 is not the villain of the piece when it comes to dangerously polluting emissions.

When running on natural gas, the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine of the B 200 Natural Gas Drive consumes just 4.2 km/100 km, which corresponds to 117 g of CO 2 emissions per kilometer.

The car will be available from early 2014 and feature the following standard features: Collision Prevention Assist, a radio frequency antenna with integrated GPS receiver, a hands-free system, various installation spaces for specific taxi equipment, the Seat Comfort package and integrated child seats in the rear. Vehicles produced solely to run on CNG are seen to be more reliable than current vehicles that have been through a conversion process.

On a cycle representing congested urban traffic, both LPG and CNG outperform petrol powered vehicles on emissions of carbon monoxide (CO). Indeed, emissions of CO from CNG powered vehicles are of the same order as those emitted by diesel vehicles. 
However, emissions of total hydrocarbons (THC) from CNG vehicles are relatively high because of methane, the major component of natural gas. Although methane is a small contributor to the formation of low level ozone it is a major factor in global warming. Emissions of NOx and particulates from both LPG and CNG powered vehicles are significantly lower than those from diesel vehicles. 
Moreover, emissions of NOx from CNG vehicles are half those from equivalent petrol engined vehicles. A recent study using a small delivery van fitted with a three way catalyst and capable of switching between CNG and petrol, showed that on a modified EU emission test cycle, emissions of CO, non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC) and NOx were 76%, 88% and 83% respectively lower with CNG than with petrol. Using data from other studies CNG also compares favourably with emissions from equivalent sized diesel-engined vehicles.
City Diesel
City diesel is a petroleum based lower emission diesel developed in Sweden but now available in many European Countries including the UK. Exhaust emissions from vehicles fuelled with city diesel compare favourably with exhaust emissions from equivalent vehicles fuelled with conventional diesel. 
Particulates Reduced By 34-84%
The main benefit of city diesel is that its combustion reduces particulate emissions by 34 - 84% depending on engine type, duty cycle, test basis and type of particulate measured. An additional benefit of city diesel is that it is a low sulphur fuel, which is necessary for the optimum running of oxidation catalytic converters.
The main reason drivers refuse to run full time on City Diesel, is the extra cost per litter. London's Mayor should be looking at either a subsidy or zero rating this product, in much the same way as the London Bus companies are currently receiving such benefits.
On 12th of September, Mayor of London Boris Johnson again bragged in the Assembly that he has cleaned up emissions by introducing a taxi age limit. Both DEFRA and Kings Collage have produced concrete evidence that the new taxis are actually causing more pollution than the older taxis. There has been no reduction in pollution.

A complete and utter lie by Mayor Johnson
See 40 minutes in to hear Boris Johnson lying about the taxi age limit

TFL, ITS TIME TO SORT OUT THIS MESS: Night Drivers Rebel at VictoriaStation.

Late night Taxi drivers, have taken to ranking up at the old rank in Victoria Station as passengers are left confused over how to find a Taxi.

The side, rear and Gatwich gates at Victoria Station are shut most nights at half past midnight.
Passengers then have to vacate the station by means of the front entrance.
There is a small confusing, miss-able sign, high up a lamp post on the forecourt, telling passengers to make their way to the Taxi rank in Hudson Place. 

But passengers following this instruction, only make it to Victoria Street, were they either,  flag down passing Taxis, or are picked off by minicab touts. 
Taxis ranking in Hudson Place are left stewing.

Staff inside the station are advising passengers to turn left out of the front exit and head for Buckingham Palace Road where passing Taxis can be found.

Some passengers have taken to queuing at the old rank where, they become easy prey to touts from the minicab firm situated on the corner of Victoria Street and Buckingham Palace road.

The firm have two staff members who regularly walk round and direct groups of passengers to a line of waiting minicabs. This practice has been reported on numerous occasions to LTPH but so far, nothing has been done to stop this.

Taxi drivers are now taking action on their own initiative, by using the old rank at night.

In defiance of the no right turn sign on the junction of Terminus Place and Buckingham Palace Road, some drivers have been making their way into the station and are waiting at the old rank as Gatwich trains arrive. As the passengers start to pour out of the station, messages are put out via radio circuits and tweeter feeds.

I spoke to a driver who had a conversation with one BT PC and was told:
"As long as you don't block works vehicles by having more than three cabs on the old rank and feed down sensibly from Buck Palace Road, not blocking access to the buses, then I see no problem arising. After all, the forecourt has to be kept clear of passenger arrivals". 

Only problem seems to be compliance officers who have been overstepping their authority and stopping cabs who have already picked up, holding them up by doing badge and bill checks while passengers, some who have had long enough journeys have to wait. Taxi drivers have been threatened by these compliance teams who seem oblivious of the touting occurring on the forecourt and in Victoria Street.

This disastrous situation has been going on too long. 

TfL know the present set up doesn't work at night.
LTPH know it doesn't work.
British Transport police know, it doesn't work. 

Although there have been a number of site visits from TfL, these have been carried out in the daytime when all exit points are available.

Why haven't alternative facilities for an easy accessible night rank been set up?
Where is the Mayors experienced transport adviser from the board of TfL?

It's time representatives from TfL, the rail company, BT police and Taxi trade orgs sat down and worked out an alternative night ranking system. 

Why is the RAFT exit closed at 12:30/01:00, surely passengers could be directed to leave by this exit, where Taxis can easily rank, causing no hassle whatsoever. It's simple common sense.

Drivers using the old rank in Station Place should be aware that it is unlawful to disregard a no right turn sign and the attitude of the BT police could change at any time. The only traffic that are authorised to use Station Place are buses and building works traffic. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Apple has unveiled two new handsets: the top-end iPhone 5S and acheaper iPhone 5C at an event in California.

The 5S introduces a fingerprint sensor built into the phone's main button to identify the user. The 5C comes with a plastic back in a choice of colours.

It marks a change of strategy for Apple which had not launched two distinct types of handset at the same time before.

The iPhone is the firm's most important product in terms of earnings power.

The new fingerprint system can be used to unlock the 5S and provide authentication for purchases from Apple's online marketplace.

Apple is covering the fingerprint sensor in sapphire crystal to prevent scratches impairing its performance
One analyst suggested the feature would help the handset stand out against its Android rivals.

"Touch ID is actually quite an elegant solution to an ever more significant problem: namely, the theft of mobile devices and, perhaps even more critically, the information stored on those devices," said Windsor Holden from the tech consultancy Juniper Research.

"Many people haven't yet bothered to implement any kind of security solution on their handsets and for those who have, securing handsets with Pin authorisations can be quite a time-consuming process."

However, Apple is not the first phone company to offer such a fingerprint reader.

Motorola added the facility to its Atrix handset in 2011, but many owners had problems using it. The feature is not included in the Google-owned business' latest models.

The new handsets are compatible with the radio frequencies used by O2 and Vodafone's new 4G services in the UK. The only 4G network the old iPhone 5 could use was EE's.

'Not cheap'
The 5S' Sim-free price ranges from £549 for a 16 gigabyte version to £709 for a 64GB model.

The basic 5C model, with 16 gigabytes of storage, has been priced Sim-free at £469. That is more than UK retailers had been charging for the 4S with the same amount of memory.

"The 5C is far from being 'cheap' as the iPhone 4S [which now costs £349] continues in that role," remarked Ben Wood from tech advisors CCS Insight.

There had been speculation that the 4S was going to be phased out.

The new iPhones go on sale in the US, UK, China, Australia and Canada among other countries on 20 September. It marks the first time China has been included in the initial wave of sales.

For all the usual superlatives about the amazing capabilities of its new phones, today's Apple event was more about new markets than new technology.

True, the iPhone 5S does have one major innovation in the fingerprint sensor, a security feature which may help make consumers more confident in banking and shopping online.

Under the bonnet, it may also prove to be the fastest smartphone on the market - for a few months until the game of leapfrog continues. But in appearance - unless you go for the gold version - you would be hard put to differentiate it from the previous model.

But the big and risky move is the arrival of the cheaper, more plasticky and colourful iPhone 5C. Apple's has been so successful in burnishing the iPhone's luxury brand and thereby keeping its margins sky-high that it may well qualify as the most profitable single product ever made.

If the kind of people who have always traded up to the top-of-the-range new iPhone opt instead for the cheaper version, that will eat into Apple's profits. But Tim Cook and his colleagues are betting that this product will instead widen the appeal of the phone.

In particular, it is China where the prize is huge. Chinese consumers seem to admire the iPhone, but what they buy is Android phones in huge numbers, with Samsung and the home-grown Xiaomi both very popular.

Now Apple, which has seen its market share dwindle over the last year, will hope that it can make a bigger dent in what is the world's biggest mobile phone market.

What it hasn't done is anything much to surprise and excite either investors or the wider world. Under Tim Cook, Apple is still waiting for a "wow" moment to give it new momentum.

Source: BBC News online. 

Addison Lee, Taking liberties...And Getting Away With It.

A few months ago, John Griffin decided to take on the local council and TfL by instructing his drivers to break the law and use the bus lane on the M4. 

No one knew who was responsible for enforcement and the only answer to all involved was to do away with the bus lane completely.

Griffin also instructed his drivers to use bus lanes all over London.
So far, he has been taken to court, appealed and the case is still (unbelievably) still ongoing as we wait for a final verdict to be given.

Now his drivers are taking even more liberties by parking up, waiting and forming rolling ranks on licensed Taxi ranks. 

The only reaction to the many complaints from Licensed Taxi Drivers, LTPH have issued a number of limp tweets using their Twitter Account @TfLTPH. As only 3 % of the two trades (Taxis and Private Hire) follow the account, the chances of Addison Lees drivers picking up this information is minimal.

Limp and ineffective tweets.

The problem of Addison Lee misusing Licensed Taxi ranks is so far out of hand now, we believe The CEO of the company should be called into Palestra and letters should be sent to all their drivers. 

This at Grosvenor Crescent
Every night around 11pm Addison Lee can be found parked on this Licensed Taxi Stand.

This at 55 Park Lane
Addison Lee vans allowed to form rolling rank on 2 licensed Taxi ranks at 55 and the Dorchester Ballroom.

This on the new rank at Heddon Street
This driver may well be booked...but he's parked on point of a working Licensed TAXI rank.
Addison Lee's vans are minicabs, not Taxis.

Lately LTPH seem to have a problem with the way some Taxis are over ranking in the Paddington area. 
Instead of sorting out the inefficiency of the marshals and poor lay out of the rank, TfL have sent out notices complete with images, compliance teams have made frequent visits, numbers have been taken, photos have been taken and letters have been sent to drivers with threats of license revocation to repeat offenders. 

Why haven't LTPH done the same over Addison Lees behaviour? 
Why are Addison Lee drivers allowed by LTPH to constantly contravene the conditions of their license?
What are LTPH scared of? 

Obviously doesn't apply to Addison Lee Drivers then?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

TAXI! Nissan showcase the e-NV200 plug-in cab

Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn presented today the Nissan e-NV200 electric taxi for Barcelona, in the presence of the Mayor, Xavier Trias.

Barcelona aims to be the first city in the world to implement a zero-emission vehicle as publically accessible transport.

The city of Barcelona will lead the global rollout of the new e-NV200 100% electric taxi version of which will also be introduced in other big cities around the world and will begin production in 2014 in the city. Nissan and Barcelona City signed a memorandum of understanding to promote the use of electric vehicles as taxis and as delivery vehicles by improving the quick charging network and looking at a range of privileges for zero emission operators.

The Nissan e-NV200 will be manufactured at the factory located in the Zona Franca in Barcelona from mid-2014 with an investment of 100 million euros and will create over 700 new jobs. The factory in Barcelona will be the single global manufacturing plant for the e-NV200 and vehicles will be exported worldwide to a range of international markets.

The e-NV200 is the second vehicle to be introduced to Nissan’s line-up of zero-emission vehicles. The new electric light commercial vehicle is based on the award-winning NV200 van, which is also built in Barcelona. The new zero emission model combines the architecture of the NV200 with the electric drivetrain from the world’s best selling electric vehicle, the Nissan LEAF. The resulting vehicle has been engineered to have its own unique character and appearance, while retaining the class leading load space of the combustion engined van.

In talking about the new electric taxi initiative, Ghosn said: ”We applaud Barcelona city for making this clear commitment to integrating the revolutionary Nissan e-NV200 electric vehicle into the city’s taxi fleet. We are delighted that the city where we will build this new vehicle is leading the way in promoting clean transportation for the benefit for all its citizens and visitors. The e-NV200 is a revolutionary product that will make zero emission taxis and goods delivery vehicles a reality in cities across the globe from next year. ”

In a press conference, the Mayor of Barcelona and Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President of Nissan, have released details of the agreement signed by both parties and which aims to promote measures and incentives for the proper introduction and implementation of the vehicle e-NV200 as a taxi  and goods delivery vehicle in the Barcelona metropolitan area.

The Mayor of Barcelona has highlighted the relevance of the agreement as “a step forward to reinforce the role of Barcelona as a leading city in zero-emission taxis and urban goods distribution”, and has revealed the commitment to progress onto a zero-emission city model, a commitment shared with Nissan.

“We want to put the talent, creativity and innovation of Barcelona to support the new sustainability sectors. This pioneering scheme and the technology developed for it and other sustainability projects like it will improve the welfare of the people of the city and create further employment opportunities.” The Mayor has also stressed the celebration of the EVS27, the 27th International Electric Vehicle Symposium, which will be held in Barcelona this November, “as a great opportunity to consolidate the strong investment and the good work that Barcelona is undertaking to promote the electric vehicle implementation”.

In the partnership agreement, Nissan is committed to developing a specific taxi version and supporting the City of Barcelona with the deployment of a charging infrastructure. Nissan will contribute to installation of the necessary charging infrastructure for the city by providing CHAdeMO quick chargers. The Nissan-designed chargers can recharge any compatible electric vehicle from 0-80% battery in just 30 minutes. Barcelona City Hall and the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona will install these quick chargers across the city to create a network for taxi drivers and others to quickly “refuel”. These quick chargers are part of over 1,200 planned to be installed across Europe by March 2014.

Nissan and the City of Barcelona also aim at encouraging electric vehicle use in goods delivery. As part of the agreement the City Council is committed to provide specific places for loading and unloading goods and to enable electric vehicle charging points, as well as promoting a specific identification for electric vehicles. They will also consider the creation of goods delivering zones and schedules exclusively for zero-emission vehicles and to introduce tax cuts such as reducing business taxes to companies with fleets of electric vehicles.

The incentives to encourage the use of electric delivery vehicles is something that is expected to be replicated in many cities, with several also considering restricting access to central locations to only zero-emission vehicles.

Source: DieselCar online.

Editorial Comment:
Before all the greenies start getting hot under the collar, we would like to point out that the electric vehicle shown in Barcelona is not the same build as the model chosen to be produced for the London market. In fact it is more akin to the smaller Nissan leaf version, currently trialling in other countries.
The Spanish version appears to be only a 3 seater with no side ramp wheelchair facility. 

Before any electric vehicle goes into service in London, the 12 mile limit will have to be reviewed as drivers have to be able to make it back to a charging point, without running out of juice.

With an expected range of approx 100 miles, the driver would have to start looking for a charge station around 75 miles. The quick charge would then only recharge to a max of 80%. This would then give just a 60 mile operating margin. Heaters, headlights and wash wipers would bring down the operating range dramatically and any radio equipment would also be a drain on the battery.

Are Taxi-calling apps like Hailo making our streets even more unsafe. By NYC Cabby, Eugene Weixel

It seems that not every Taxi driver is a fan of mobile hailing apps. Below is an article by New York City Cabby Eugene Weixel. His story appeared in Yesterday's Guardian.

The Editor would like to point out that this article is the opinion of Mr Weixel and his views are not necessarily shared by our editorial team. 

I've been a NYC taxi driver for 23 years. The Hailo app is one of the worst things I've seen for our industry

I've been a New York City taxi driver for 23 of the past 33 years. I know a bit about what it's like to navigate some of the most hectic roads (and people) on the planet.

Recently, a new app called Hailo has come on the scene to hail taxis electronically. It sounds great and its creators tout it as a godsend, but the reality is we don't need this app, and it's starting to be dangerous for drivers and this city.

Let me put it this away: anyone can be both a data input clerk and a taxi driver. If I have a data input job during the week and I also drive a taxi on weekends, this wouldn't concern the public. Were I to combine the two occupations and do them simultaneously, it should be a matter of serious concern. If 14,000 drivers (or more at peak times) are being encouraged to do this with the approval of the municipal authorities, it is an even greater concern. Yet this is exactly what is happening in New York City, and the local media and mayoral candidates have little to say about it and likely are oblivious to it.

At the start of every shift, the Hailo driver taps an icon that supposedly commits him or her not to use the app unless the taxi is "standing" (defined as the taxi not being in motion or in parking gear). But that's a joke.

I drove for Hailo for a few days. Like many people, I was intrigued. But the app forces the driver to use a telephone while driving and to input data, too. In other words, it's yet another distraction that takes taxi drivers' eyes off the road.

What I really don't understand is why Hailo is even needed, especially in New York City. There is hardly a taxi shortage in the city. In fact, you can probably hail a taxi on your own in the city faster than you can get a McDonald's meal. Who but an "app addict" would summon a taxi with his or her smart phone while an armada of empty taxis parades past?

At those times taxis and livery cars are really scarce (such as when it's raining or at shift change time) Hailo is still useless. Why would a taxi driver pass up people waiving and whistling and shouting to him in order to answer a Hailo call? The only reason to ignore potential customers and answer Hailo is if a driver is trying to impress the Hailo management.

Hailo instituted a point system for drivers – complete with little badges of bronze, silver and golden colors and other "recognition". But let's be honest, drivers do this for money, not badges.

Hailo's business model is to get "everyone" on board meaning the the Taxi Limousine Commission and the media, to generate "inevitability" and attain an unstoppable critical mass. If the authorities continue enabling this plan without even addrssing whether the system is even needed in our city and whether it can be operated safely, we will all be worse off.

In London Hailo clips 10% of their drivers' intake. Yes, Hailo's practices (and those of other app services like Uber) are a matter of concern to drivers. I have yet to see or hear any praise for Hailo or other such apps by drivers.

The app is also often not accurate in directing the driver to the prospective passenger causing situations in which the driver is under pressure to back up or execute an illegal U-turn. Just because something looks close on a map doesn't mean it is when you take into account road work and one way streets, among other obstacles. The GPS map used does not have voice capabilities, which means that the driver must be both watching the map and the road at the same time if he or she finds the need for a map.

Not only does the app frequently give the driver innacurate and useless information regarding the location of his passenger, but more seriously, it encourages, even forces, the taxi driver to engage in unlawful actions while he or she is driving.

In New York distracted driving is said to be a serious matter, strict new laws are in place along with a draconian step system for taxi drivers, yet the city authorities are encouraging the use of this app. Hailo already has demonstrated its contempt for law and regulation by operating despite a court restraining order (since overridden) in New York City. Now other app entrepeneurs are following suit and attacking the foundation of the taxi industry in New York and Los Angeles by charging even lower prices.

Safety is the main issue.

Hailo representatives deny any issues, but the app requires drivers to answer and make phone calls and fiddle around with their driver app while driving.

I encourage journalists and citizens whose testimony might be more respected than my own to spend a few hours riding "shotgun" with a Hailo driver without Hailo's knowledge. Perhaps a monitoring camera would do. See if this is really the future you would want for yourself and your family and your city.