Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hailo partnership to provide free navigation and pricing system to their Minicab drivers. (Let's face it, they need it).

London black cab app Hailo has partnered up with Citymapper, to provide a much needed free city navigation system for their minicabs.
Citymapper, is available on Android and iOS.

Hailo are now trying to compete with private car hire app Über, who are in partnership with Google Maps.

Citymapper, although only currently available for London, New York, Paris, Berlin, Washington DC, Boston, Madrid and Barcelona, is becoming a staple fixture in Apple's travel app category.

The latest version of the app now fully integrates Hailo in the travel section, where users can store a number of addresses to their profile and then select a travel option, which includes walking, public transport, driving.

Hailo will be using the app to show customers price differential between Minicabs/Licensed Taxis and will show the availability of cars to passenger location.

Über has not had it easy. There have been huge protests from taxi drivers in most major cities against the app's use. Traditional taxi services say the app is creating unfair competition by riding roughshod over licensing laws.

Protests even became violent, with Über cars being attacked en-route and the company's headquarters vandalised. 

Hailo's offices have also recently been sprayed with graffiti for the same reasons, as Taxi drivers who made this app such a huge success were sold out by the very people they once put their trust in.

As the greed from investors escalates into a feeding frenzy, most financial experts believe that the inflated valuations put on these companies are synonymous with pyramid selling techniques. 

Eventually the bubble will burst.
On the 18th of June 2014, Aswath Damodaran, a finance professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, published an article on FiveThirtyEight titled: 
“Uber Isn’t Worth $17 Billion.” 

His post was a shortened version of a more detailed article he had written for his own blog titled:
“A Disruptive Cab Ride to Riches: The Uber Payoff.”

Using a combination of market data, maths, and financial analysis, Professor Damodaran concluded that Uber's value is far short of the publicised $17billion and is more likely to be less than a third of this value.

Friday, July 18, 2014

UberX drivers slam new low rates aimed at undercutting taxis

About two dozen Uber drivers honking mad over a cut in fare gathered outside the tech company's Queens office Wednesday in protest.

Drivers are partners:
The "driver-partners" behind the wheel of the low-cost UberX service spoke with the San Francisco-based company's management outside its Long Island City Office about the 20% rate cut aimed to undercut yellow taxis' business. They were upset that the new low prices were sprung on them via email the night before the change went into effect the morning of July 7.

Drivers complained that the price cut being piloted during a slow season is making them work more hours for the same pay.

Shoaib Ashraf, a 29-year-old former yellow taxi driver who joined Uber three months ago, said he saw his take-home pay cut from $150-200 a day to about $100 to $150 a day.

"They shouldn't, first of all, cut the price without letting us know," said Ashraf, of South Amboy, New Jersey. If drivers are partners like Uber calls them, he said, "you have to ask them."

He suggested that Uber take just 10% less of the fare than it does now. Drivers said Uber takes 20% of the payment, but they pay 10% for taxes, leaving 70% of the money for pay and expenses like gas, tolls and cleaning.

Evelyn, a 53-year-old driver from East Harlem who did not want to give her last name, said she noticed an uptake in rides now that UberX undercut yellow taxis.

"I believe it's drawn more customers," she said.
Yet the boost in ridership doesn't mean the new prices were beneficial, she said.
"It's still drastic," she said, adding it is unfair to target only UberX drivers.

Drivers to start their own driver base Org:
R.J., an Uber driver who declined to give his full name due to his job security, said he is trying to organize other drivers. He had 1,420 sign up on a website,, last week and estimated that the number of drivers is more than 1,500 drivers now.

"This is a great concept, don't get me wrong," he added, but complained that Uber has been operating in a "my-way-or-the-highway mentality."

Several Uber NYC officials, including its general manager Josh Mohrer, went outside to speak with the drivers to defend the rate cut.

In an interview, Mohrer said that rate cuts in other cities and here are giving drivers more riders per hour, letting them make up the difference, though he understood it can be "unintuitive" that cheaper fares means more money for drivers.

"The vast majority of our driver partners are having that experience, and actually kind of liking it," Mohrer said, adding that he showed drivers data proving they are not losing any money.

"They were legitimately surprised to see that their gross fare an hour has been the same or more prior to the cut," he said.
Bharat Lama, a 45-year-old driver from Jackson Heights who saw the data and spoke with amNewYork at Mohrer's suggestion, said he made the same amount the week of July 8, but drove 70 hours, compared to 40 hours the week before. He said he expects his hours to scale back once business picks back up in September.

"They are not on the road," Lama said. "When they are on the road, then they will realize."


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Update: Lovebox, Victoria Park, 18-19 July 2014 – taxi rank trial results.

Good news for suburban drivers in the London Borough of Newham.

 TfL and Tower Hamlets has recently conducted a review of the taxi service provision at Victoria Park during the Field Day Festival which took place earlier this year. This is in response to concerns raised that there is not an adequate enough supply of taxis to cope with the volume of passengers leaving the event via the exit to the North of the park.


Victoria Park is located within an All London area and as such only green badge drivers are usually able to serve the taxi rank at Royal Gate West. However, in 2013 TfL announced that this rank would be treated as an ‘Island rank’ for special events and that Suburban drivers with the Hackney Extension would also be able to use the rank to cover large festivals or events taking place at the park. Observations at the recent Field Day Festival showed that only one green badge driver worked this rank each day of the two day festival and only 100 taxis in total used the rank.


It has now been decided that a trial will take place to also allow taxi drivers licensed for the London Borough of Newham to use the taxi rank at Royal Gate West in Victoria Park. This trial will be for the weekend of 18 & 19 July 2014to cover the Lovebox festival.


The taxi rank, shown on the map below by the red star, can be accessed via Lauriston Road and taxis will be allowed past the road closure opposite The Royal Inn on the Park pub.



This arrangement is being made on a trial basis only and the service at the taxi rank will be monitored during the festival in order to assess whether this arrangement should be made permanent for large events or the trial extended.  


The taxi rank will be operational and  marshalled between 21:00 and 00:00 on Friday and Saturday. Drivers licensed for the Hackney Extension area or for Newham are not permitted to ply for hire anywhere else outside of their licence area and should only use the taxi rank at Royal Gate West.


Although taxi drivers will be allowed past the road closure to access the taxi rank the area around the taxi rank and in Lauriston Road will be extremely busy with pedestrians following the end of the festival.


TfL’s taxi and private hire enforcement officers will be conducting compliance operations in the area to help prevent touting and illegal cabs

Exclusive: New issue of ID cards on the Jim Thomas

Taxi Leaks has been informed, newly designed IDs will be issued to all drivers, commencing September 2014. 
The news came after we made inquiries over a compliance issue, where drivers who had laminated their IDs were having them removed by Police and compliance staff, telling drivers they would be sent replacements and to work on without IDs or cover notes. 

Although drivers have been informed not to confront other drivers without IDs in their initial cover letter, confrontation has been a big problem of late.

Siwan Hayward, TfL's Deputy Director, Enforcement and On-street Transport for London has contacted Taxi Leaks to say:
"All drivers are to receive a set of newly designed IDs. Along with the new style IDs, drivers will receive a covering letter explaining that the cards must not in future be laminated".

We received this email from General Manager LTPH, Helen Chapman:

Dear Jim
Thank you for your follow up email regarding the licence area identifiers. I hope you are well!
Your email is timely as we are actually in the process of redesigning the identifiers to include additional security features. We will be issuing  them to all drivers later this year and we hope to start the roll out from September. When we send them to drivers we will make it clear that these identifiers are to be displayed in vehicles in their original format (e.g. not laminated, copied or otherwise).
I hope this helps but if you have any follow up questions then I am happy to give you a call.
Kind regards
Helen Chapman
General Manager
London Taxi & Private Hire Directorate | Transport for London

I wrote back to Helen asking if drivers could carry on using IDs if Laminate (or should they remove and apply for new ones), as she hadn't made this clear.

I then received this reply from Siwan Hayward. 

Hi Jim

As Helen says, the new Identifiers are being rolled out from September, so we would advise waiting for the new ones. When the new identifiers are rolled out they will come with clear guidance not to laminate, alter, change, or deface in anyway.

From compliance we advise that drivers carry on displaying identifiers even if they have laminated them. If a driver with laminated identifiers is stopped by Compliance we will verify ID through other checks and not take away laminated identifiers. We will put a message to the Police to take the same approach.

It is more important to us that identifiers are displayed by all drivers when working.

Hope that assists

Regards Siwan 
Siwan Hayward 
Deputy Director, Enforcement and On-street 
Transport for London.

Editorial Comment:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank both Siwan Hayward and Helen Chapman for the swift reply to our inquiries. 

Unfortunately, after talking this through with a few cabby friends we can see a massive problem looming in the coming months.

The ‘older style’ IDs may well fall into the hands of less scrupulous chancers and at the rate of current Bill and badge checks then it may well take years to clear up the mess created by the issue of the new IDs whilst leaving the old style IDs in possible dubious circulation.

Taxi leaks will be suggesting that a prepaid envelope is included in the new ID pack with a note explaining that the old IDs should be returned to TPH to save then falling into the wrong hands.

Previously we were informed, from March 2013 new IDs containing holograms and barcodes would be issued to all drivers. Unfortunately this didn't run to plan. We can only hope the new issue for September 2014 will be handled more efficiently

We will of course keep our readers informed of any update on this matter. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday Letter Segment......

Not sure if you can use this Jim?: 
Last night around 00.10 I was heading east on Old Brompton Road just before Drayton Gardens when i was hailed by 2 women (one Canadian and one English) running across the road from the Nam Long late night bar.

One woman said " We need Paddington,any entrance asap..that guy wanted to take us in his car for 18 pounds but I know you will be quicker and probably cheaper anyway"

We set off and they were busy chatting.....just before I pulled up in Praed Street with 15.60 on the meter,they started saying thanks so much,great service and gave me 20 quid anyway.

Before they ran for their train I told them that when they are confronted by one of what seems a plague of these touts outside every bar and club in London, they shouldn't make a judgement on cost alone (even though we are usually cheaper too!!).

The judgement should be on their personal safety!! 
I told them about the case publicised a few days ago from last year in Shoreditch and that for some inexplicable reason TfL and the Police (and seemingly the politicians too!!!) are happy to collude in turning a blind eye to the dangers posed by the lack of any enforcement whatsoever.

I told them about Chris Huhne's daughter in Clapham and that in my opinion there will one day be a case where some other MP or VIPs daughter, sister, wife or mother will be sexually assaulted, raped or even murdered.

Then watch the Police, TfL, LT & PH, Boris, Hendy, Daniels et al passing the buck and claiming no knowledge of such matters.

Sometimes it seems like we are banging our heads against a brick wall out here, but hopefully I gave them food for thought.
I know the same guy will be outside that bar again tonight. He may well not have a sexual motive, but there are others outside bars and clubs all over London that obviously do.

Mark Sherlock.

The photo of the week award goes to 'BoB' in Manchester:

This single picture is all I wanted. It now proves that 13 days after Manchester enforcement were notified of the illegal Blue signs in the front of UBER MCR PH vehicles, the offence goes on, unchallenged. This is called "regulatory ambiguity".
It's called this by none other than Travis Kalanick, the creator of UBER. I am now in a position to involve GMP Traffic division and DVLA (VOSA) and the Press Agencies.

Perhaps someone, somewhere will care. ??

Bills Sutherland's letter:
Due to recent events the majority of licensed taxi drivers feel that they are under attack, my own feelings are not so gloomy, I along with everyone else, feel we are being totally failed by Tfl in every aspect of regulation, now do we lay down and die or do we fight back? well I know which way i'm going and am not quite ready to die just yet. The infighting we are seeing is doing no-one any good especially between green and yellow badges because I for one am no better than a yellow badge I just serve a different area,

I'll start with the recent elections at the Ltda, I did not and will not vote for most of the present committee, after finding out the results I was shocked that Bob Oddy was re-elected, in a fit of rage I telephoned Steve Mac and was shocked that only 36% of members voted, of those Bob polled nearly 61%, now, how the hell can anyone moan when he quite clearly gained a vote of confidence, the clear message there is if you don't like something don't moan about it afterwards,Here we have a man that when questioned by a paid member told him to fuck off I have been driving a cab while you still had shit in your nappy,point:1 being when was the last time this man or most of the board of the Ltda drove a cab?

Point 2:74 years old two jobs with no mortgage to pay what pressure is our dear friend Bob under? I'll tell you absolutely none,i'm sick of being told what he did for the trade rate 3 blah blah blah blah what about the loss of extras for cases,extra passengers this seriously hurt the day man and if you want my honest opinion rate 3 should go and rate 2 should start at 8 and end at 6am' but that's for another day maybe.

Many feel that we have no voice in this and maybe their right,but I for one am not prepare to accept the present situation, this then leads me to have to decide where I go as I feel that we have not benefited at all from Bob being on the Tfl board, i know firmly believe that Bob Oddy is also not fit for purpose, I really believe that he can't have one foot in each camp but again that's for you all to decide for yourself.

Other issues relate to our own conduct in the eyes of the public, we collectively have to take a long hard look at ourselves as much as we look at private hire, as the poor relation, I can assure you that none of those people look like they have not had a bath for a month, we are an iconic trade for a reason, the main reason is that we are better than any other taxi service in the world bar none, we need to move with the times accept that there is competition out there and face it head on, believe me on a wet Friday and Saturday night the general public WANT A LICENSED TAXI!!!! trust me on that, so we have to give them what they want, as regards to credit cards payment by not accepting you are playing into the hands of those that believe we have something to hide, it might be that i'm lazy but most of the time it saves me going to the bank and I have lost count of the really good jobs I have taken because someone else cannot or will not do.

The issue of brooming jobs all I can say is god help anybody that tries to broom a job in front of me, if you are on point that job is yours, if your light is on wherever they want to go that job is yours and I know that most are not going to like this but guess what, we owe the general public our living, 

As regards to Uber like all fads they come and go, the public will realize that there actually are just another poor minicab company, but without any cars, basic economics will lead the Uber drivers to the point that for them it's not viable, and also that the people of London will not pay 5/6 times the price just because it's busy but that is for them to find out as quite a few are already realizing, 

To conclude, this fight and the demo's is not about me by the time this really comes into effect i'll be long gone, we as a fine body of Women and Men are fighting for the future of those following us, don't give the public any reason to feel aggrieved give them the service they deserve,  the service we are famous for and not the service we WERE famous for and that in my cab the customer is always king if not always right.

Good luck to all and remember your are the very best for a reason lets not forget that 

Cllr Phil Jones has ordered new signs for the borough of Camden to sort out London's Traffic problems (in his mind)

If you have a story you'd like to share, please send to 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lovebox, Victoria Park, 18-19 July 2014 – taxi and private hire arrangements

On Friday 18 July and Saturday 19 July 2014the Lovebox Festival is taking place in Victoria Park and special taxi and private hire arrangements have been put in place for the duration of the festival.


The arrangements are the same as those in place during the recent Field Day festival and are as follows:  



A marshalled taxi rank will operate at Royal Gate West, opposite The Royal Inn on the Park pub with access via Lauriston Road. This is the same location as was used last year and taxi drivers who hold the Hackney Extension as well as All London drivers can use this rank. However drivers licensed for the Hackney Extension area are not permitted to ply for hire anywhere else outside of their licence area or the Hackney Extension area.


The taxi rank will be marshalled between 21:00 and 00:00 on Friday and Saturday.


The taxi rank at Mile End Station will also be available throughout the weekend.


Private hire

A marshalled private hire pre-booked pick-up area will also be available. This area is only for use by pre-booked private hire vehicles (PHVs) and the marshals will be checking booking details with drivers and passengers to ensure that passengers only take PHVs they have pre-booked.


Private hire operators with bookings to pick-up passengers from Victoria Park should direct passengers and drivers to this dedicated pre-booked pick up area at Royal Gate West, opposite The Royal Inn on the Park pub with access via Lauriston Road. All private hire drivers must follow the directions of the marshals at the pick-up area.


The pre-booked private hire pick-up area will be marshalled between 21:00 and 00:00 onFriday and Saturday.


TfL’s taxi and private hire enforcement officers will be conducting compliance operations in the area to help prevent touting and illegal cabs. 


General thoughts on the Deregulation Bill ....By Wayne Casey

The views expressed in this column may (definitely aren’t) the views of the National Taxi Association

My position in respect of taxi and private hire law has been very consistent; I didn’t and still don’t believe any change should occur. The law is perfectly straightforward, despite its age. 

Local authorities have every tool available to effectively police the taxi and private hire industries – sadly some local authorities have absolute tools working for them, but that article is for another day.

I suppose in many respects taxi and private hire law is like buses, you wait 150 years then two arrive at once.

Back in 2011 the Law Commission (LC) were invited (and paid some 1/3 of a million quid) to look at, change and modernise taxi and private hire licensing law. The results of this enquiry were initially due earlier this year – but through one thing or another, their thoughts and final views didn’t surface until May.

During this time, the Department for Transport (DFT) carried out (in January) what is known as a ‘quickie’ consultation, giving selected stakeholders a minimal time to respond and (considering how the taxi trades views have been treated, the term is quite apt).

For whatever reason, but most presumably, because they could, the DFT chose to add three things to the Deregulation bill. This was obviously in despite the imminent deliberations of the LC being revealed.

The changes proposed were / are as follows; 

    1) Allowing private hire operators to sub-contract bookings to operators licensed in a different district. This change will improve operators’ ability to meet passengers’ needs. And it will help to make the passenger’s experience so much more convenient.

    2) Allowing anyone with an ordinary driver’s licence to drive a private hire vehicle when it is “off-duty”. The principal benefit of this measure is that a PHV could be used as a family car, freeing up many families from the need to run a second car and saving them money.

    3) Making the standard duration for all taxi and PHV driver licences three years; and five years for all PHV operator licences. Shorter durations will only be granted on a case by case basis, where it is justifiable for a particular reason. This will reduce the financial and administrative burden of having to make more frequent licence renewals.

The above changes went with seeming lightening speed through the House of Commons, this was in despite of being called "ill-thought through" and "reckless" by the opposition. Indeed Labour's bid to block changes to the taxi-licensing regime was subject to a vote, and was subsequently defeated by 285 votes to 206, a majority of 79.

At the time of writing, the bill has had its second reading in the House of Lords; it is now to go to the Committee stage – this is a line-by-line examination of the Bill, which is yet to be scheduled although likely to be in the autumn.

Naturally, I would expect many of you to wonder what all the fuss is about. At face value the proposed changes wouldn’t appear to be overly harsh, indeed they seemingly bring the rest of the country (except the Peoples Republic of Plymouth) into line with legislation already in place in London.

Of course, you are presuming that everything in London is fine and dandy. I mean there were 111 reported rapes by minicab drivers in London during 2010 alone - The Havens, a network of specialist sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) located across London, estimate that only 10-20% of rape victims actually report that they have been attacked – the truer figure is likely to be actually horrific. 

Indeed, those holding London up to be the leading light of all things licensed always appear to neglect to mention the touts, the illegal minicab ranks and seemingly ‘blind eye’ turned by the authorities that are regularly reported via the excellent taxileaks blog.

So what could possibly go wrong allowing non-licensed drivers to drive licensed vehicles?

If you then consider the government is to allow sub contracting across district borders – then consider some local authorities will give a PH Operators license to a operator who basically has a one vehicle fleet, where jobs are accepted via the mobile phone – it could well transpire that local authorities with the least onerous conditions will be sourced.

Now before you start saying Casey, you’re losing the plot, you’re a scaremonger, a similar thing currently happens with Hackney Carriages where some silly councils issue licenses knowing the vehicle and driver will never be seen anywhere near the area of the license. In doing so they also know the driver and the vehicle will not be checked - because carrying out an enforcement operation 100 miles away is a lot more difficult than carrying out an enforcement operation 100 yards away (and that is seemingly difficult enough for some LA’s).

So in theory, a situation could arise where a vehicle is licensed in Kent and works in Carlisle. Nobody (except for a rozzer) has the power to stop the vehicle, and if nobody stops the vehicle, nobody will know who’s driving it – but that doesn’t matter anyway because the law has been changed to allow anyone to drive it (for non work purposes only though....nudge, nudge).

Of course we have large private hire operators who are wanting these changes – we in the taxi trade were after all sternly told by the private hire lobby, with a pointy wagging finger;

“In a modern Britain there should be no ‘invisible borders’ or ‘barriers to free trade’, as protectionism and outdated thinking belongs to yesterday.”

These same people now see the likes of global apps such as ‘Uber’ as a massive threat, they accuse these companies, with a straight face, of ‘not playing by the rules’. Pardon me whilst I just shed a tear.

The icing on the cake is the 3-year driver badges and 5-year operator licenses.

Considering between Carlisle and Newcastle there are four speed cameras (Corby Hill, Low Row, Greenhead & Hexham) – I could lose my license with interest going there and back – yet if I don’t inform my local authority I may not be checked for another three years. Yeah, they’ll make it a condition that I tell them if I commit any offence and yeah, if I tell them they’ll revoke my badge – but what if I don’t? I mean its not as if this hasn’t happened before.

Indeed, what if I commit a more ‘serious’ offence and don’t tell them – I don’t inform the court of my occupation and spend 6 months in jail for burglary. Is there a system in place with the correct checks and balances where my council is informed? Especially if I live in say, Manchester and license my cab and good self many miles away in Rossendale?

On the other hand, will they have to wait until my new DBS check comes back in two and a half years time?

Yes I realise some local authorities already issue 3 year driver licenses, yes I know this matches up with medicals and DBS checks – but surely this is a matter of the locals being the ones who are best placed to decide? Surely public safety comes before driver and operator convenience?

Ironically, if Uber does take off, and facing facts its currently worth $19 Billion and going up in value on a daily basis, the five-year operator license would be a speculative punt at best because drivers will (and are) leaving private hire operators in their droves into the open arms of Uber.

I don’t know if PH operators are completely silly – I presume they aren’t because I’m the poorest person in England, and they’re all as rich as Lannister’s. Nevertheless, it seems to me that if a PH operator in say Newcastle upon Tyne brings out an app – the chances are it will be used – but predominantly by their own customers. They won’t really attract new customers, because they’ll already have an app with their own favourite private hire company. 

Indeed, the cross border issue, which I am very much against, could well work out to be of greater benefit to Uber than it is to the large private hire cartels that rather foolishly want it – after all it makes the global apps potential pool of drivers a lot larger.

The danger of the deregulation bill, or perhaps godsend (I am undecided which is worse), is that the Law Commission’s proposed laws will never come to fruition. For the many flaws of what the Law commission propose, I will give them credit in so far as they have discussed and sometimes been persuaded by argument – the DfT to their discredit have not.

The Law Commission for example see it as imperative that national standards are in place and that all licensing departments have power to check vehicles (and drivers) within their districts – whether or not they license them.

To this end, even though I disagree with some proposals – I acknowledge they do have a vision for their creation. Whereas it is difficult to see what the DfT and their deregulation bill has a vision of, if anything at all, but to satisfy the greed and egos of a few large operators.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Woman claims she was raped by Uber driver... From Glen Alutto.

And so it starts: Uber Driver Rapes Female Passenger

A woman told police she was raped by an Uber driver and Seattle police are investigating.

About 3:15 a.m. Sunday, police responded after a woman went to a Capitol Hill home asking for help, saying someone had raped her. The resident looked outside, saw a crying woman she didn't know and called police.

When police arrived they found the woman with abrasions on both knees and her blouse looked as if it had been ripped open. The woman said she was visiting from Texas and had a room at the Edgewater Hotel.

She had gotten an Uber about 2 a.m. to go to her fiancé’s apartment on John Street, but told police the Uber driver started taking her the wrong way.

The woman “said the driver pulled over to an unknown park and pulled her from the cab,” according to an incident report. “The suspect then told (the victim) that he would not hurt her if she did what he said.”

The woman was raped, then got back into the cab and begged the driver to drop her off anywhere, according to the incident report.

Police asked the woman if she had the Uber e-mail receipt on her cell phone and she did, showing it to an investigating office, according to the report. The woman told police the man drove a red SUV but was unable to provide other descriptions of the man. There was a driver name on the receipt.

The woman was taken to Harborview Medical Center for a sexual assault examination.

An Uber spokeswoman in Seattle said Sunday night she could not find a trip that matched the case description and that the company had not been contacted by police.

But the company is “more than happy to cooperate should they reach out to us,” spokeswoman Brooke Steger said in an e-mail. “Our top priority is always safety of riders, drivers and residents.”

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French ban car-share start-ups from using mobile phone apps.

While London's Taxi trade orgs squabble over who should get the kudos over the failed message from the battle of Trafalgar, the French Taxi Trade escalated their protests and are now seeing victory in sight. 

Although we were promised weekly action against TfL's incompetent administration of the London taxi trade, it seems our wonderful trade leaders have again decided to capitulate.

If only the London Taxi Trade had the backbone and true grit determination of the French Taxi associations with the same quality of leadership, the article below could quite easily been about us.

France is to ban car-share start-ups from using mobile phone apps to attract fares in an attempt to resolve a dispute between taxi drivers and companies like US-based Uber, which they claim are threatening their livelihoods.

After months off strikes and protests by taxi drivers, the French parliament on Thursday voted for a bill that aims to establish ground rules for what it terms “transport cars with driver” – previously referred to in France as “tourism cars with driver” – and “modernise the taxi profession”.

Angry cabbies have tried to stop the spread of Uber and other companies, which allow customers to locate and order cars through apps, in France and many other countries.

A Europe-wide day of action saw traffic blocked in several European countries last month and New York’s cabbies have been fighting the development for months, with car-sharing start-up Lyft being banned from operating in the city on Wednesday.

The bill, moved by Socialist MP Thomas Thevenoud who was named mediator in the conflict by previous prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in February, would ban non-taxi paid cars from being traced on apps, while allowing registered taxis to be, and forbids them from parking near airports or stations while waiting for a fare.

The modernisation drive includes proposals to allow local authorities to decide a colour that would identify taxis in their area and to oblige taxis to instal terminals for bankers’ cards.

It would also stop the sale of licences, which are issued free by the authorities but may currently be sold on for as much as high as 200,000 euros.

The right-wing UMP and the hard-left Left Front abstained on the bill, which must now go to the Senate.

“To ban a technology in 2014 is absurd,” commented UMP MP Lionel Tardy.

The development of app-inspired car-sharing companies is partly due to a flood of cheap credit issued by central banks in an effort to revive American and European economies.


No Honour Amongst The Honourable Jim Thomas

RD2, the favoured minicab operator who were allowed by TfL to breach licensing policy, by not having to perform as a Private Hire Operator for the minimum of 12 months, before being allowed a licence variation, has been given a satellite office licence for the Honorary Artillery Company on City Road.

RD2 were allowed 18 satellite office licence variations at the same time they first registered as a new company. When Taxi Leaks complained directly to the director of LTPH John Mason, we were lied to on several occasions.

In an attempted cover up, we were told this new company were actually the same company as an old company, Rides2.

We were then told the two companies had the same CEO and this was just a cosmetic name change.

Aithough both companies were up and running concurrently, according to the TfL website, we proved Rides2 had actually gone into liquidation.

We then proved that although the directors of both companies had same surname, they had different first names and different dates of birth. They were in fact different people.

We also proved that addresses for the two registered offices for both companies were different. 

In fact this was two different companies according to company house registrations.

John Mason then tried to get Taxi Leaks closed down, saying that we were making misleading claims.

We then made a series of posts on Taxi Leaks laying out our evidence fir all to see. We heard no more from John Mason, or his legal team and the threats stopped.

Nearly a year after we first complained, LTPH finally admitted that the rules had been relaxed to accommodate RD2. We were also informed TfL policy regarding PH licensing was in fact just guidelines and not legally binding. In other words, we were told TfL could do what ever they like when it comes to the issuing of licence variations.

Funny, that now a certain trade representative org chairman, is complaining about the latest acquisition to RD2 bank of satellite offices, yet the same chairman along with others in the UTG said nothing when Taxi Leaks first uncovered this controversy. 

The UTG have also stood by and done nothing as this company expanded right across London, illegally putting  lines of cars waiting to become hired (ranking) outside a succession of night venues. 

And of course, TfL cab enforcement have been conspicuous by their absence.

It is of course disgraceful that after our trade has given so much to charities such as the War disabled fund with drivers given up their time freely, plus the remembrance day shuttle service and like, that this so called Honourable Company does something we would all consider to be dishonourable. 

Taxi leaks would urge that this situation should not, repeat should not, sour relations between the trade and veterans with the services we provide. After all this is not the fault of the veterans who have come to rely on the services we freely provide. 

This situation has been bought about not by necessity, but by the greed and corruption. 

Licence Taxi Marshals provide excellent services and have proved a massive success at locations such as Paddington, Liverpool Street, Waterloo, Euston, Swallow Street, Charing Cross Road, Shoreditch and Clapham High Streets.

It should be standard issue that before any venue recieved a licence variation, for the implementation of a satellite office, a licensed Taxi rank should first be appointed and out in place, to give the public freedom of choice.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

EastEnders actor 'punched taxi driver in the face after refusing to pay £61 cab fare from awards ceremony to his Flat

Award-winning EastEnders actor Khali Best punched a taxi driver in the face after refusing to pay a £61 fare on his way home from a red carpet ceremony, it is claimed.

Best, who plays mechanic Dexter Harman in the BBC One soap, allegedly left 63-year-old Peter Callow with a bleeding black eye and £600-worth of damage.
It came just months after he was named Best Newcomer at the National Television Awards.

Cautioned by police for criminal damage and common assault, the 26-year-old star was also suspended from his role in EastEnders for three months following the attack in March.

Best was leaving the Television and Radio Industries Club Awards at London's Grosvenor Hotel when he hailed Mr Callow's cab and asked for a lift to Enfield in north London.

But he soon realised he had no money for the trip - which lasted 45 minutes and cost £61 - and began to phone friends, according to the Sun on Sunday's Dan Sales.

Mr Callow told the paper: 'I told him if he had a card he could put it into the machine I had in the cab but he wasn't having any of it.

'He then said "No, no, no" and with that he started kicking the car door. I got round to stop him doing it and he managed to open the door and thumped me.' 
Left with an alleged £600-worth of damage, Mr Callow contacted police, who attended Best's flat.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: 'Officers from Enfield CID investigated an allegation of assault on March 11 in Enfield.'

He added that a man 'from the EN3 area attended a north London police station on 9th April and received a conditional caution for common assault and criminal damage'.

In May, it emerged the star had been suspended from his role in the soap for three months.

A BBC spokesperson said: 'Khali Best has been suspended from EastEnders for three months. We will not comment any further on this matter.' 

A poll has been set up whether  actor & thug Khali Best should keep his job after attacking a Taxi driver