Saturday, September 13, 2014

Uber, Top In Arrogance, As RMT Get Set For Brussels Taxi Conference.

The UBER app was banned in Germany last week. But UBER doesn't seem to be that bothered.

On Thursday 3 September UBER Belgium announced that their journeys in Brussels will become cheaper. But is that in everyone’s interest?
 
Away with the law!
In dozens of cities worldwide UBER was faced with court cases because it does not comply with the legislation on taxi services. The UBER app was banned in Germany last week. And UBER doesn’t care. 

The same in Brussels. Although UBER currently proposes to run its services in Brussels, it profiles itself as a ‘car sharing’ company. With the sole purpose to avoid the law. Because there is strict regulation for taxi and orivate hire companies UBER plays on the public sympathy as the “underdog” who is punished because innovation frightens. 

Despite the decision of the Brussels Trade Tribunal, UBER goes further now, by announcing they will lower the prices.

Innovation yes, UBER no:
Are we against the use of computer technology in the taxi and private hire sector? 
Of course not! 
There are many taxi and private hire companies that work with apps, where you can order a taxi or car online. So that’s not the point.

Its the drivers of established taxi and private hire companies who are the real victims. The UBER driver does it for additional income, without any expertise and training, which compromises safety. 
Plus there is confusion in many countries over whether the car of the ‘driver with an (illegal) secondary occupation’ is insured? 
Because UBER refuses any liability in case of accidents.

The regular taxi sector is hit the hardest, with the job of real taxi drivers under threat.

Brussels Taxi Bureau (BTB) takes international initiative!
At the initiative of BTB, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has organised a conference about initiatives like UBER on 15 and 16 September in Brussels.

Participants from all over the world (United States, India and many European countries) will be present.

Frank Moreels: “In dozens of countries UBER violates the law on taxi services. At the conference the global unions will exchange their experiences and develop strategies to provide a sufficient answer to UBER.”

Editorial Comment:

The RMT have put forward plans to attend the Brussels conference with an announcement to its Taxi trade members nationwide by acting General Secretary Mick Cash.
Will you be represented by your trade org?

Below is the post from the RMT website.


TO: THE SECRETARY
ALL BRANCHES & REGIONAL COUNCILS

Dear Colleague,

ITF – SPECIAL TAXI WORKERS MEETINGS – 15 & 16 SEPTEMBER 2014 - BRUSSELS

ITF will be holding a special taxi workers meeting on 15-16 September 2014 in Brussels, hosted by the Belgian affiliate, BTB. The main focus is to discuss “Uber Taxis” and identify the ITF response. “Uber Taxis” along with some other firms are increasing their market share in many countries using mobile phone apps and have often come into conflict with the existing regulation.

All branches with taxi driver members are invited to submit the name(s) of taxi members representatives interested in attending this meeting by Monday 1st September 2014. This matter will then be placed before the September Statutory meeting of the Council of Executives.

Yours sincerely,

Mick Cash
Acting General Secretary.

Nice to know some one is on the ball and looking after our interests!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Result For The Drivers Who Follow Tag Hit Squad and Flash Demo On Twitter

Modified pedicabs seized as part of police crackdown 

Rogue pedicabs adapted with motors to make them go faster have been seized following an operation last weekend.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service's Roads and Transport Policing Command, in partnership with Transport for London, seized nine pedicabs which were classified as motor vehicles due to their weight.

Over 50 pedicabs were inspected during the operation which took place in central London on 5 and 6 September.

The drivers of these vehicles were found to have no driving licences, no tax and no insurance. Two of the pedicab owners received fines of £200 and six point fixed penalty notices at the roadside. Seven other pedicab owners were reported for summons, one rider was found to be disqualified from driving and will appear at court in due course, and 25 were advised about waiting and parking restrictions.

Superintendent Rob Revill, Roads and Transport Policing Command said: "Operations checking pedicabs that have been fitted with electric motors like this will continue to prevent collisions, as well as reducing the anti-social behaviour associated with obstructing pavements and roads.

These vehicles have historically fallen outside of the insurance legislation, leaving the public passengers using them exposed to higher levels of risk."

Is the Mayor misleading London about air pollution reductions?

Jenny Jones AM, questions the Mayor of London about his statement to the Environmental Audit Committee, and to the public, on reductions in air pollution.

Boris will be using predictive modelling instead of Scientific fact, to give false information to MPs.



Grandfather David James left passenger a ‘sobbing heap’ on the back seat of his minicab.

A pervert minicab driver has been told to expect a lengthy jail sentence after he was convicted today of molesting a passenger.

David James, 72, had told a jury he was too old for such behaviour but a jury convicted him of assault by penetration.


Maidstone Crown Court heard the woman was left in a “sobbing heap” after the great grandfather kissed her and molested her in the back of his car.

Minicab driver David James has been found guilty of molesting a female customer.

She told how she afterwards repeatedly showered and scrubbed herself because she felt so unclean.

James was working for Chatham-based Vokes minicab firm when he drove the woman and three friends home from a nightclub in November last year.
She was the last to be dropped off in the early hours and moved into the middle seat to pay her fare.

Prosecutor Charlotte Newell said as the 25-year-old woman went to take her change James kissed her, putting his tongue in her mouth.

He let go. She dropped her purse in the footwell and then found James had joined her in the back.

She tried to get out but James kissed her again and put his hand down her top. He then pulled up her dress, pulled down her tights and assaulted her.
“You understand a custodial sentence is going to follow. It is going to be a substantial one” – Recorder Simon Taylor QC

James, whose licence to drive minicabs has since been revoked, denied the offence, claiming the woman twice snogged him, using tongues and nothing else happened.

He said: “I was a bit surprised getting a kiss from a young girl. I thought: ‘Happy birthday.’”
Asked if he sexually assaulted the woman, he replied: “No, definitely not. I am a bit old for that.”

The jury of eight women and four men convicted him by an 11-1 majority after deliberating for almost six hours.

Recorder Simon Taylor QC told the father-of-three, of Sturdee Avenue, Gillingham: “You have been convicted of a serious offence. You understand a custodial sentence is going to follow. It is going to be a substantial one.”

Sentence was adjourned until after October 6 for reports to consider dangerousness.

Alexia Zimbler, defending, said it would enable James time to get any necessary medical information.
“He no longer has a licence, so he is not entitled to drive legally any more,” she added.

Recorder Taylor made it a condition of bail that James, who will have to sign the sex offenders’ register, should not drive a cab.
“I have given up driving now,” he told the judge.

   source: http://www.kentonline.co.uk/

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

C.A.B-Cabbies Against Boris -Press Release, today's protest....by Dave Davies.

C.A.B-Cabbies Against Boris -Press Release

London Taxi Drivers today supported a protest to expose the Mayors failed London Taxi Age Limit.

LBC reported congestion at several locations as drivers staged a ‘Go –Slow’


The protest itself was organised by several different groups of drivers using social media which resulted in drivers going to different locations.

 

Steve McNamara of the LTDA desperately tried to undermine the protest and proactively acted against it.

In an interview on LBC by Julia Hartley Brewer (which also featured Cabbies Against Boris) Steve made some factually incorrect statements about the  reason for the protest; the Taxi Age Limit.


He said that it did not matter about the age limit as it is ‘history’. This is factually incorrect because there are still dozens of cabs being scrapped weekly.


He also said that he did not believe that Boris Johnson had acted in bad faith, despite the clear and unarguable evidence that Boris Johnson knew in 2011 that the new taxis created 5 TIMES AS MUCH NO2 as a 15 year old taxi. (As confirmed by the Mayors written report submitted to the Environmental Audit Committee in 2011)

 

There are several issues of serious concern here.

Firstly why is Steve McNamara making what are blatantly false statements to cover up for the Mayors improper and unlawful taxi age limit?


Secondly why does he dismiss Taxi Age limit as history when taxis are being scrapped on a daily basis?

Finally, why is the LTDA taking no action whatsoever to challenge TFL on what is blatant improper conduct?


There is feedback from many drivers who are LTDA members and who are extremely dissatisfied that the they are paying monthly subscriptions to the LTDA who are doing nothing to protect their members interests. 


Unite seem to have adopted the same strategy and have proactively tried to discredit the Cabbies Against Boris protest, instead of acting in their members interest.

It raises the question as to how long members will continue paying a subscription to organisations who do not seem to be acting their best interests.

 

In complete contrast the London Taxi Branch of the RMT and the United Cabbies Group are making every effort to take action in their members best interests.


Len Martin of the UCG and Lewis Norton of the RMT gave interviews today outside City Hall to LBC and to London Live and were able to make valid points about their concerns.


Jenny Jones also gave an interview at City Hall about the Mayor’s failed Air Quality strategies.

 

Again thanks to all those who have supported the protest today; it was covered extremely well by the media and has exposed the serious concerns

 

Boris Johnson is due to appear before the Environmental Audit Committee at 2pm tomorrow at Portcullis House, and it is hoped that following today’s media coverage he will be held to account about the improper Taxi Age Limit.

It seems that there may be another flash demo tomorrow and that this time it will be in one location to maximize the effect.


  >Click here for Video clips from London live today<



C.A.B.'s Dave Davies, talks on London Live

    

Why isn't the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, helping Taxi drivers to lower emissions?

Where is London Taxis share of DoT's Clean Vehicle Technology Fund?

Fire engines, ambulances, taxis and buses all in line for green upgrades as Department for Transport dishes out Clean Vehicle Technology Fund.

A host of clean vehicle technologies are to be deployed on buses, ambulances, taxis and even a fire engine, thanks to £5m of funding from the Department for Transport.

The government announced yesterday the winning bids for its Clean Vehicle Technology Fund (CVTF), sharing £5m between 17 councils and providing an additional £50,000 to help the successful local authorities assess the results of their clean technology projects.

The technologies, all of which aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or air pollution, range from advanced catalytic converters to flywheel hybrid technologies, natural gas engines, and solar installations.

The bulk of the funding has been awarded to green bus projects, building on last year's award of £7.3m of funding through the Clean Bus Technology Fund.
For example, Newcastle City Council has been awarded nearly £500,000 to fit flywheel hybrid technology to 30 buses operating on two routes in the city, while Southampton City Council has been awarded over £350,000 for a similar project. 

In addition, a number of councils have received funding to install catalytic reduction technologies and thermal management technology on parts of their bus fleets in a bid to reduce air pollution.

Birmingham City Council has also been awarded £500,000 to convert 80 diesel cabs to liquid petroleum gas, while Reading Borough Council will receive nearly £370,000 to support a project to convert diesel cabs to compressed natural gas.

Finally, Yorkshire Ambulance Service has been awarded £166,000 to fund the installation of solar panels on its ambulances to charge the vehicles' batteries when they are stationary, reducing the need to keep the engine idling. And the Greater London Authority has been awarded £500,000 to fit catalytic reduction technology to 400 buses and, as part of a trial, one fire engine.

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said the new funding meant "councils can now lead the way on introducing greener vehicles on their local streets".
"We received imaginative applications from local authorities from across England for vehicles including buses, taxis, vans, fire engines and ambulances," she added. "All the schemes will lower emissions in busy towns and cities. The funding we are providing will result in real public health benefits while supporting skilled jobs and economic growth in the environmental technologies industries."


    Source Business Green. 


Irish taxi regulator gives Uber app green light

As a German injunction against Minicab app Uber enters its second week, Ireland's taxi regulator says it has no problem with the service.


Speaking to the Irish Independent, the taxi regulator said Uber appears to be operating within the confines of the law.

Uber's core service, an app which pairs minicabs and consumers using GPS technology and uses its own metering service to calculate what it claims are lower fares, has enjoyed runaway success since its launch four years ago. The San-Francisco based company is valued today at $18bn (€14bn).

Its expansion into Europe has prompted large protests from taxi drivers in cities such as London and Milan, as well as legal tussles in some jurisdictions.

Many oppose Uber's use of its own metering technology, arguing that government-regulated taxi meters are the only appropriate method of calculating fairs. Insurance issues have also been raised; last week a German court approved an injunction application against the company taken by a taxi driver lobby group, alleging that it breached local taxi insurance rules.

But the Irish taxi regulator has ruled out similar concerns. here.

"Irish law only forbids taxis charging more than the metered fare," a spokeswoman said. "Uber's own fare calculation service does not appear to do that, and they have given us assurances to that effect."

Uber claims that its system charges between 10 and 30pc less than metered fares.

The regulator is monitoring the situation, the spokeswoman said. Uber only uses licensed cars and licensed drivers, she added.

Uber carried out a soft launch in Dublin several months ago. It has been in the top 10 travel app downloads in Ireland since launching and has experienced double-digit month-on-month growth since its Irish launch.

Unlike most of the markets it operates in, Uber faces serious competition in Ireland from a strong incumbent, Hailo.

Hailo was founded by London cabbies and launched in Dublin, its second-ever market, two years ago.

It uses existing taxi meters to calculate fairs, so has received less criticism.

While consumers are benefiting from this enhanced competition, traditional taxi and hackney companies are thought to be losing out badly.

Some have responded by launching their own in-house apps.

  Irish Independent 

Monday, September 08, 2014

Editorial Comment On Tomorrows Proposed Go Slow From C.A.B. .... By Jim Thomas

No matter how insulated you feel, how secure you believe you are, this trade stands rank and file like a stack of dominos.

We are all in this together no matter how much you try to cut yourself off. When the first domino goes down, it triggers a chain reaction that knocks the next and that goes down too.

Let's look at the dominos.

Private Hire gets respectability through licensing.

Mary Dowdey does away with the need for planning permission, before PH operating centres could be licensed.

Joe Royal quits Cab Enforcement, saying satellite offices are unenforceable.
 
TfL cut cab enforcement to the bone and then lie about arrests and convictions 
 
PH company found to be receiving vehicle licence roundels in brown envelopes 

TfL bring in Taxi age limit based on lies from the Mayor.

Uber licensed without having an operating centre, or phone number and no ability to take pre bookings.

PH company receives operators license plus 18 licence variation in the same week. 

Staff member at Palestra reported to police and convicted of fraud for demanding cash for license renewal speed up.

Satellite office licence variations available to anyone with the cash.

Cabbies cabinet scrapped. Engagement policy dropped. 

The Met announce touting is under control

The truth about minicab related rape and sexual assault figures are manipulated and hidden from the media. 

Depressing, isn't it.
The most important thing about falling dominos is, remove one from the line and the falling down stops.
  
What's been happening over these last couple of months should have been a massive wake up call. 
Inquiries and investigations, allegations of brown envelopes, corruption and malfeasance.
TfL are now on the back-foot. 
Look how easily Hendy gave in over the rank at the Shard.
 
But will our trade Orgs pick up on the fact that NOW IS THE TIME.

Over the past decade under TfL, the Taxi trade has succumbed to the idea that what's happening to us is fate and there is nothing we can do about it. But have we all forgotten one thing. One thing we all have in common, "free will". 

Was Friday nights "Flash Demo" by a group of disgruntled drivers fate, or an expression of free will? 
Would it have happened if drivers had not put themselves out to do it?

The challenge with fate is as always, the answers are always right there in front of you. But there are none so blind as those who will not see.

It's not fate verses free will, 
It's fate, plus free will.
Plus a touch of the old dunkirk spirit.
Nothing can happen unless we let it happen. 
Nothing will be done, unless we do it.

For far too long, Taxi drivers have sat back and accepted everything that's been thrown at them.
Well, now it's time to start throwing back.
Rise to the challenge, NOW IS THE TIME.

I leave you with this quotation:
"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them and do nothing"
Albert Einstein.

The destination of the "Go Slow" will be announced on Twitter tomorrow.

Please RT and also text friends who may not have twitter accounts. Speak to drivers on ranks and lets gain as much support as possible. 

Below is another report on the daily dangers faced by Taxi drivers from pollution in Central London, published in the Mail today. This test was carried out by 5 MPs using a Taxi.


Sunday, September 07, 2014

Mail On Sunday Points Out Dangers Of Law Commission Proposals, And Insults London's Taxi Drivers.


Article by Peter Rook in the Mail on Sunday:
New taxi law 'could let rapists drive cabs': 

Well, Taxi Leaks has news for Peter Rook and the Mail, they already do in London, but in minicabs. 

Peter, your article is an example of the current fashion for lazy journalism, clouding over the escalation in minicab related sexual assaults by wrongly calling the perpetrators Taxi drivers.

In London, Police estimate over 1000 serious sexual assaults including rape annually. Approximately 20 minicab related assaults weekly. Unfortunately only 10% of these attacks are reported, so official statistics are kept artificially low.

Despite the LTDA's insistence that they don't see the same dangers in the Law Commission Report as other trade orgs, government proposals could permit anyone to drive licensed minicabs without going through council vetting process.

Below is the article from the Mail:

Government’s Deregulation Bill will be debated in the Lords next month
Would allow anyone to drive licensed vehicle without vetting process
Critics say new law would put passengers 'across country in real danger' 
Proposals follow revelation some Rotherham victims were raped in cabs

Convicted sex offenders could pick up passengers in licensed minicabs under new Government plans, according to critics who say they pose a ‘real danger’ to the British public.

The Government’s Deregulation Bill, which will be debated in the Lords next month, could permit anyone to drive a licensed vehicle without going through a council vetting process.

The proposals come as the full extent of minicabs involvement in the Rotherham child abuse scandal – in which some victims were raped in Taxis after being picked up outside schools – continues to emerge.

Currently, anyone looking to operate as a private hire vehicle operator must obtain a licence from a council, which checks for previous criminal convictions and can refuse licences if it feels the applicant is not a ‘fit and proper person’.

Operators are able to operate only in the area in which they are licensed.

Under deregulation, a licensed driver could operate outside his area and enforcement officers in that area would not be able to check if he has been vetted.

It will also allow licensed private hire operators to pass work to drivers who may not have been through the vetting process. 

      Rachel Griffin, director of personal safety campaign group the Suzy Lamplugh Trust

Critics have hit out at the move. Rachel Griffin, director of personal safety campaign group the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, said: ‘The changes are going to put people across the country in real danger as they will make it much easier for someone with a past of violence and sexual offences to pose as a legitimate driver.’

A Department of Transport spokesman said: ‘The Deregulation Bill will not put taxi passengers at risk and drivers will continue to have their backgrounds routinely checked. Councils will have strong tools to assess drivers’ and operators’ suitability and to carry out enforcement activity.

‘The Disclosure and Barring Service [which replaced the criminal Records Bureau] will allow licensing authorities to discover any new convictions during the lifetime of a driver’s licence.’

Police estimate there are more than 1,000 sexual assaults each year involving Taxi drivers in London alone.
...............................................................

Peter Rook, you are an intelligent man. But it seems you don't know the difference between Taxis and Minicabs.
Articles such as this will not lead to a solution, but just add to the problem.