Thursday, May 29, 2014

TfL Go To High Court Over Taximeter v SmartPhone Issue.

           STATEMENT FROM TfL:

Transport for London (TfL), which regulates and licenses the taxi and private hire trades in the capital in the interests of passengers, is to invite the High Court to rule on whether smart phones that use GPS technology to measure the time and distance of a journey and then receive information about fares comply with current law on 'taximeters', which can only be used in London by taxis.

The rapid pace at which smart phone based technology has been developing in recent years has led to a need for clarity about what is required in order for apps to comply with the regulatory framework in London and to ensure there is a level playing field for all operators.

TfL has listened to the taxi and private hire trades, sought to address the concerns raised, and is taking the following action:

· To avoid any future ambiguity, TfL will hold a consultation with the trades on what amendments may be necessary to the regulations on recording particulars of private hire bookings, including journey destinations, to keep them clear and relevant in a changing world and to promote public safety.

· TfL set out its provisional view that smart phones used by private hire drivers – which act as GPS tracking devices to measure journey distances and time taken, and relays information so that fares can be calculated remotely from the vehicle – do not constitute the equipping of a vehicle with a ‘taximeter’.

· However, given the level of concern among the trade, and the fact that some of the legislation in this area is unclear and able to be interpreted in various ways, TfL is to invite the High Court to give a binding determination on this issue.

· TfL has carried out its largest ever compliance investigation - scrutinising Uber’s record keeping and business model. TfL has found that Uber meets the current requirements on record keeping, including in relation to ensuring its drivers hold the relevant licenses and insurance. TfL remains concerned about certain technical aspects of Uber’s operating model and this is being addressing with the operator.

This wide range of action by TfL is designed to ensure that taxi and private hire passengers can benefit from new technology whilst being assured that the highest safety standards are being maintained.

Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said:
“We welcome developments that make life easier for passengers. As in many other areas of transport and retail services, apps can offer passengers the potential of better and more convenient services, but we must ensure that the highest standards of safety are being met.

“We have carried out the largest compliance operation in our history to ensure that the highest standards are being maintained. More needs to be done. We will consult with the trades to ensure the regulations are kept up-to-date. On the issue of taximeters, the law is unclear and we have taken a provisional view. We will be asking the High Court to provide a binding ruling. This is the sensible approach, and we hope that London's taxi drivers and private hire drivers and operators will work with us to bring clarity on this issue.

Irrespective of the court’s judgement, it’s unlikely to appease London’s Taxi drivers and their representative orgs, who clearly feel it’s one rule for them in terms of confirming to acquire the necessary license to run a Taxi, and another rule for the likes of Uber.

Last night after hearing the news that TfL were taking the issue to court, the consensus of opinion of many Taxi drivers was that if there were no threat by the trade to bring London to gridlock, TfL would not be going to court.

The planned Demonstration on the 11th June is not about Uber, but the escalating drop in standards and complete incompetence by this licensing authority.


Anonymous said...

women in my cab last night used uber and forgot her camera when she phoned them about the loss of her £700 pound camera they had no record of her using them at all .

Anonymous said...

If they are not going to protect our trade then they need to shut down the knowledge, and stop wasting people's time and money.

Anonymous said...

I have a compass app on my phone, its not a traditional mechanical device, yet it gives latitude and longitude coordanace. You can use this device as a alternative to a traditional compass it does exactly the same thing.

I defy anyone to tell me it isn't a compass !

This is a perfect comparison to the Ùber app that serves the same purpose as a meter. It does the same thing. Be it electronic or smart phone technology!

I don't trust the judiciary, they're as bent as politicians. TfL are bent and corrupt - they are now relying on the high courts to legitimise their final solution in order to stop any direct action before it starts. Underhand as usual!

Anonymous said...

Example with compass is spot on.

I'm Spartacus said...

Issue is once the High Court rules one way or another TfL will paint the demo as pointless.

Über can just change the way they price up in seconds and it won't put one extra job in a cab if they delete the 'meter' function .

The demo must have a clear message TfL are unfit to licence us and we want a public enquiry into TfL

Über is just a symptom , the disease is TfL, it's useless board and the Mayor.

Anonymous said...

Uber doesn't pay UK corporate tax

The Netherlands is considered wordwide as a tax haven, this is where Uber oprate from.

Its a money grab tax dodge... but then again, thats what Google do.

Google is Yank owned and so is Uber, nothing to do with Europe at all. American greed!

LCY Len said...

How the Oxford English dictionary describes a compass..

An instrument containing a magnetized pointer which shows the direction of magnetic north and bearings from it:

No magnet in your phone anon 3.29 so I'm afraid all you have is a phone with an application that electronically works out which way is north.

I think you can make a kind of compass using a pin a cork some water and a bit of blu tack, but don't quote me on that.
Going on your logic though, I'm wearing boots, does that make me a pedestrian, even though I aint walking?
Money will be the winner here and I think uber's billions will outweigh two bobs worth of whining cab drivers.

Anonymous said...

The law is very clear under the 1998 Private Hire Act and as Uber do not comply with the conditions they should not have been granted an Operators Licence.
On the other hand, if TfL insist they are legit then Uber drivers commit the various offences under the above Act and Uber are guilty of aiding and abetting

Jenni Tailya said...

I suggest the LTDA invite a high court Judge to define a licensing authorities obligations because I'm sure that ensuring all relevant legislation is strictly complied with is an important part of the required service.

LYC Len, there are magnets in smartphones. The speakers require them to work, whether they can be utilised to operate a compass or a meter or any other function is for the engineers to work out, but the fact is that they exist within the phone.

Are Suburban drivers welcome on the demo?
I desperately want to come and show my support!!

Anonymous said...

Its as clear as mud but we wont except it not enough cabs in central at night, when were all tucked up in bed 25 thousand and your lucky if there's couple of hundred regular night drivers up here

Donald Mcgowan said...

they are putting uber above the taxi trade for sure.To see other countries banning them and not tfl is a disgrace.if this goes against us I personally wil be disgusted.

Anonymous said...

To follow on fro the compass point, I agree and you could also add It's the same as having a camera or digital radio on your phone. Still works like a camera and is a camera. The part of the app that calculates the fare is a meter, it's obvious.