Saturday, October 18, 2014

TfL Advertising "Uber" On Their Website, Despite Taxi Trade Protests... By Jim Thomas

Taxi Leaks has received this reply from TfL regarding the controversial advert embedded by AdChoice on their Website. It now appears that after first removing the advert, they have had second thoughts, declaring that although advertising is done at arms length by a third party, this particular one from Uber meets with their guidelines.

Below is the email received.

Dear Mr Thomas


Thank you for your email of 15 October which was passed onto me as I am responsible for TfL's commercial development activity, including commercial advertising.


Advertising on our website is handled by a third-party agency at arm's length from TfL. All advertisements, whether on-line or on the Tube or bus networks, must meet our published guidelines. The agency assesses each campaign against our guidelines and with reference to standard advertising industry practice. Individual advertisements are not endorsed by TfL. Our advertising policy is published online at


It is open to all organisations, including those in the taxi and private hire industry, to advertise provided that the advertisements are consistent with the guidance. This approach provides a level playing field, and our systems carry advertising for a wide range of transport operators.


The availability of advertising opportunities to everyone and the fact that individual advertisements are considered in accordance with TfL's published guidance mean that we do not accept this particular advert in some way favours the advertiser relative to other organisations.  


I completely understand the sensitivity of the issues that have been raised by Uber's arrival in London, however, for the reasons I have set out, we can see no grounds to prevent advertisements for drivers by Uber on our systems.  


Yours sincerely



Graeme Craig | Director of Commercial Development

Transport for London | 5th Floor - West Wing, 55 Broadway, London, SW1H 0BD
Tel: 020 3054 3417 |

Editorial Comment

We have checked every taxi authority in the world including TLC of New York and every other regulator in the U.K (OfWat, ORR, OfGen etc. Etc.) none of them, repeat none of them carry any advertising.

That would of course create a conflict of interest. 
Why is this not clear to TfL, the TfL Board and the Mayor's office?

Perhaps it is and they just don't care? 

TfL's reluctance to go up against any form of complaint made against certain favoured PH companies doesn't go unnoticed.

All over Europe, Uber have been seen operating with scant regard to any form of Taxi regulation and have even carried on operating after receiving bans in major European cities. In our opinion, their apparent behaviour is of a company not fit and proper to hold a PH operators licence. They currently have 6 drivers in London who are subject to legal action from a private prosecution, being undertaken by the LTDA.  

Complaints of credit card fraud abound the Internet and the company is also banned in a number of a US states.

How can TfL seriously enter into any form of future litigation concerning this company when they openly support them through their website. This is just more evidence of TfL's total incompetence and failure to protect not only the London Taxi and Private Hire industries, but also the safety and well-being of the public.

Uber first acquired an operators licence in 2012, despite using a meter to calculate fares, using instant electronic hails, from a server based in Holland with no land line for complaints or queries. The unlawful operation was carried out for a period of time from unlicensed premises in N1 >Click here for article< and now this insult to the trade. 

It would seem that our licensing authority has bent over backwards to facilitate this company.

And it's not only Uber!

RD2 were granted 18 licence variations in the same week they registered as a brand new company, without the mandatory 12 months of trading requirement. When we complained, we were basically told that as licensing authority, TfL can do what they like.

TfL recently admitted to the LCDC they had given special dispensation to RD2, to park up on the TfL red-rout network and form a ranks in the City. 

When we complained about Addison Lee's removal of rear wiper blades, the company was given a whole year to sort it out. When we complained that their rear adverts were bigger than the regulation permitted, we were told that the regulations were no more than guidelines.

Not forgetting the West London PH company that was receiving licence roundels through the post, a story that never made the trade media and no one was ever held to account. A story that LTPH director (at that time), John Mason said, was just a friend doing a friend a favour.

TfL do not seem to understand that as regulator, they have a duty to be fair, transparent and impartial. 

Their actions are more akin to those of a commercial promoter.


Anonymous said...

What do you guys think about the guy at who is arresting illegal UberX drivers in Sydney - he said any country get him enough twitter followers he will go nik someone there as well?

SO -myou know what to do...

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Can't help remember one of the cab trade unions calling fro a public enquiry into TfL and being ignored by the LTDA, LCDC and Unite London.

Time to rethink?

One eyed jack said...

Been on their site for an hour, no sign of the offending advert.
Their is one offering cars to Heathrow from Stockwell.

Of all the possible websites attached to the TfL one, not one carries adverts.

TfL still totally failing London

Anonymous said...

One Eyed Jack

Just checked 5 minutes ago, Über advert bold as brass.

Anonymous said...

Grant Davis and Steve Mac need to both grow a LARGE PAIR and lead us into a major battle with TFL.
Lets target the officials houses at 2.00 am in the morning.
Boris in Islington,Hendy in Pimlico,Leon Daniels in Wapping,
I don't know where Garret emmerson resides.

Anonymous said...


Grant Davis is small potatoes.