Saturday, September 27, 2014

TfL to hold public consultation on mandatory acceptance of credit and debit cards by Taxi Jim Thomas

TfL have announced they are to hold a public consultation for the mandatory use of credit and debit cards for Taxi journey payments.

Londoners will be asked for their views on wether all Taxi drivers should be forced to accept card payments.
Many drivers already accept cards, but there are those who choose only to accept cash.

In July, TfL unveiled proposals to make card acceptance mandatory. This is a measure they say will benefits both passengers and drivers (in their opinion, that is).

But, under TfL’s plans, the payment surcharge currently reclaimable from the passenger, would be axed. 

In TfL's magical mystery world, they insist the average cost of any card transaction would be included in the metered fare. This would see passengers paying the same amount regardless of which method of payment they choose. To achieve this the metered fare would have to rise by approximately 6%. Unfortunately, back  in the real world, drivers have been told to expect a fare rise of, about 1%.

Within the next few years, Taxi drivers will be expected to invest huge sums of money in new technology to repair the damage Mayor Boris Johnson has done to the air quality in Central London. This new initiative from TfL equates to no more than a pay cut.

The board of TfL have approved a request to hold a public consultation. After an in house poll, it's been suggested that 90% of Taxi users would support the proposal. 
Again Taxi drivers opinions have not been sort.

So to recap, we as individual small businesses, are not being asked, but forced to give people free credit and absorb the processing costs out of our end.

A spokesperson for TfL said the consultation would likely take place next year.

The largest representative group from the Taxi trade, the LTDA, have said in a statement on their Twitter account, they are totally opposed to drivers being forced to take card payments.  

Obviously the scrappage of payment surcharges doesn't affect Private Hire, who will just whack it on the back of their fixed fares regardless of card of cash. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Breaking News: German Ban On Uber Upheld in Berlin And Hamburg

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Courts in Berlin and Hamburg upheld bans on online transportation service Uber on Friday, saying the company did not comply with German laws on the carriage of passengers.

U.S. start-up Uber had appealed against the bans in Germany, the latest front in its global battle to win regulatory approval in the face of stiff opposition from taxi services under threat from Uber's business model.

Uber said it had not yet decided whether to appeal against Friday's rulings by administrative courts in Berlin and Hamburg, which said Uber's drivers lacked the commercial licenses to charge passengers for rides.

"Uber is reviewing the court documents in detail before commenting on today's decision but will continue to comply with German law," said a spokesman for Uber, which was recently valued at $18 billion.

He declined to say whether Uber would continue to operate services in the two cities pending any appeal.

Uber has been shadowed by skirmishes with taxi operators and local authorities in many cities where it operates, starting in its home base of San Francisco. It is active in 43 countries and has pulled out of only one city: Vancouver, Canada.

The Berlin and Hamburg rulings go against a previous reprieve given to Uber by a Frankfurt court, which ruled last week there were no grounds for a temporary injunction against its services.

The disparate decisions underline ambivalence in Germany about how to deal with challenges from U.S. technology firms ranging from Google to Amazon to Uber.

The German Economy Ministry said last week the country needed to make room for new, digital business models alongside existing businesses, and called for a hard look at laws governing transport and competition.

The Berlin court said on Friday there was no way of telling whether private drivers using the UberPop mobile phone app, which connects them to potential passengers, were fit to take on the special responsibility of carrying passengers.

It said the Uber Black service, which allows users to summon limousines using an app, did not meet the legal requirement for taxis to return to their service center and so fell between regulations for taxi and rental car services.

"The ban serves to protect the existence of taxi services, their ability to function, in which there is an important public interest," it said in a statement.

The Hamburg court rejected Uber's arguments that the ban violated Uber's professional freedom or European freedom to offer services.

Just When You Thought Things Couldn't Get Any Worse.

The newly-launched GLiiDE is an all-electric minicab service in London that will be ran soley on Tesla cars in a move which could undercut the UK capital’s black cab service by as much as 50 percent.

GLiiDE will base its sustainable chuaffer offering around a smartphone app and corporate portal that incorporates booking, tracking and payment.

The service is emissions-free and thus escapes Central London’s congestion charges, and offers customers the chance to ride in the Tesla Model S, one of the most highly-commended electric cars to be produced to date.

The company claims to be presenting one of the safest cars on the road with fixed prices and no hidden extras.

For now the service is invitational only as it looks to iron out any issues before full rollout.

London is not actually the first UK destination to trial such a service, for nearby Kent has seen a similar idea launch while tests on the Model S are also underway in the United States and Norway, arguably the green capital of Europe.

This news follows the announcement from Google that it is to pilot its driverless cars in selected cities across the UK, applications for which are being taken.

Combined with Tesla’s intention to enter the lucrative London taxi arena, the future of UK transport could be taking a green and automated turn. 

Bruce Willis's Daughter Injured In Uber Crash...And They Still Charged The Fare.

Rumer Willis, the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, had to be rushed to hospital on Monday morning (22.09.14) after the UberX car she was in crashed.

                    Rumer Willis was rushed to hospital after the crash.

The 26-year-old actress (who is the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore) was travelling in the UberX car when it crashed near her home in Hollywood early Monday morning.

She described the crash as ''terrible'', saying: ''I had the accident sitting in the back of an uber car. My back is really hurting. I went to my doctor and they looked at everything. They had to really check me out.''

The starlet also tweeted about the incident, writing: ''I was a huge fan of @uberx, but after getting in a car accident in the back of an uberx and still had to pay for the ride I am very disappointed.''

Rumer is reportedly in total shock of the situation and lack of sincerity shown by controversial firm, Uber.

Friday Morning, Euston Road

Uber Driver v Sat Nav.

Uber To Go After The Ride Sharing Market

Is Uber about to give in to European regulators?

Uber say they are willing to consider dialogue over the regulation of the company's services in Europe, according to Uber's vice president for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Africa Niall Wass.

Uber has faced angry opposition across Europe from regulators, politicians and taxi unions, with demonstrators across the continent voicing their displeasure at the company's regulatory status.

Traditional taxi services have argued Uber is not subject to the same standards as the established industry, creating an unlevel playing field.  

The taxi app service has been expanding rapidly in across the world, with some of the most dramatic increases in sign ups coming in the wake of bans or strikes against the company.

After a Frankfurt court issued a temporary injunction against Uber banning it across the country, signups rose a whopping 590 per cent in Hamburg.

Uber has since successfully appealed against the injunction. The San Francisco-based company has typically responded to such actions with an entrepreneurial fighting spirit, championing consumer choice and slamming barriers to entry.

Uber responded to the original injunction, saying:

We believe innovation and competition is good for everyone, riders and drivers, everyone wins. You cannot put the brakes on progress. Uber will continue its operations and will offer Uberpop ridesharing services via its app throughout Germany.

However, Niall Wass has indicated Uber may be open to discussing further regulation: 

We're open for that debate, if they come to us and say we like what you're doing, but here are our concerns for a particular market.

Wass did not expand on what regulations Uber would find acceptable.

"Where we will obviously need to mature, is hopefully the policy makers and regulators look at us and also agree this is a good thing—but 'we're worried about a, b and c'", he added.

The Uber executive who was previously the CEO of payday loan company Wonga said regulation in certain areas had not dampened demand for ride-sharing services. Wass pointed to the situation in California where Uber drivers are required to have insurance and undergo background checks.

Uber is still fighting regulators in Brussels after a court ordered fines of £8,200 for drivers caught using the taxi app. 

    Source: CityAM.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rothschild Makes Comeback With London Cab App Maaxi.

Nathaniel Rothschild, whose ancestor helped bankroll Britain’s war against Napoleonic France 200 years ago, is backing London cabbies in their battle against Uber Technologies Inc.

Rothschild and 39-year-old Argentine Gabriel Campos, former chief executive officer of online gaming site Pokerstars, plan to launch a taxi-sharing mobile-phone app in the next few weeks. Maaxi Ltd. aims to make traditional black cabs cheaper than public transport by grouping passengers with similar destinations, Campos said in a Sept. 23 phone interview.

Investors are pouring cash into apps that let customers order taxis and cars, or share rides using their smartphones. Uber, which is available in more than 150 cities in 45 countries, raised $1.2 billion in June, giving the San Francisco-based company a value of $17 billion. Ride-sharing app Lyft Inc. raised $250 million from investors including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in April.

The investment by Rothschild, who joins Campos as the company’s major shareholder, comes after the financier took a sabbatical to finish a Masters degree at King’s College London.

Rothschild, 43, has used video and Twitter to market Maaxi as an alternative to car services such as Uber, which triggered protests by London cabbies who say the car-sharing service threatens jobs.

In a promotional video posted by Maaxi on YouTube last week, Rothschild checks his watch before taking a shared cab from Harrods department store to Westminster for a meeting with U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. “The Chancellor is expecting you,” says an unidentified driver in the clip.

Expansion Funds

Maaxi will need additional funds for expansion, said Campos. He declined to comment on the prospects of a share sale for Maaxi, which has been developing the app for almost two years.

While charges will depend on how many people share a cab, the size of London’s hackney carriages and their accessible seats makes them perfect for ride sharing, Campos said. About 1,000 drivers have been signed up in the past 10 days as the app moves toward its official start, he said.

“There’s no way that any company like this can thrive unless the constituents are very happy for the long run,” he said. “Maaxi allows people not to own a car and move door-to-door at any point at any time at a very affordable price because the capacity exists and the vehicles exist.”

Efficient Routing

Rothschild declined to be interviewed when contacted by e-mail.

The financier has been prolific on Twitter, posting updates on Maaxi and engaging with both skeptical and supportive black-cab drivers. Earlier this week, Rothschild posted photos from inside black cabs as he shared journeys with the first users in a trial run.

“Door-to-door shared rides are going to be like dining at the Ritz compared to TfL,” he posted on Sept. 20, referring to Transport for London which controls the city’s buses, metro and overland train network.

Maaxi drivers will be better compensated for ride sharing than rivals, said Campos, adding that further details would be announced at the app’s launch. Maaxi’s technology in terms of routing and ensuring efficient journey-matching is more advanced, according to Campos.

Under Fire

Uber added a service in August -- Uber Pool -- that lets people do the equivalent of carpooling, in a race to be the dominant car-hailing service.

Uber opened a new black cab service in June for customers using its app and described its 5 percent commission as the lowest in London. Campos declined to say how much commission Maaxi would make from bookings.

“We’ve already welcomed hundreds of cabbies to Uber, and signups are increasing rapidly by the day,” a spokesperson for Uber said in an e-mailed reply to questions. “Competition is a great thing for the consumer. Londoners are voting with their fingers by downloading apps like Uber.”

Uber has come under fire from traditional taxi drivers worldwide who say they are bound by rules that don’t apply to the smartphone-based system. Cabbies in London yesterday snarled traffic as they called for a rethink of the city’s policies on rickshaws, illegal minicabs, unlicensed operators and Uber’s car-sharing service.

In London, only licensed black cabs can pick up passengers on the street. Drivers of these hackney carriages typically take two to four years to learn 320 routes through the center of the city, plus 25,000 streets and landmarks in a bid to pass a test called the Knowledge.

Maaxi offers Rothschild the chance to make an investment with social dimension, said Campos.

“The opportunity was fantastic for him in terms of being able to do something that has real social impact, that makes transportation very affordable,” Campos said. “The social impact is the piece that moved Nat the most.”

London Taxi Demo, 24/09/2014

Richard Masset puts the Taxi trades case across well.

Andrew Boff asks why the Taxi trade hasn't gone to the London Assemble with their grievances. 
Richard should have answered "We have, many times, ask Caroline Pigeon, ask Jenny Jones, ask Darren Johnson. 

It just goes to show how much the GLA listen to our problems, when the London Assembly Member sent to be interviewed over the Demo, has no idea what's been said and to who.

Do GLA members not have research staff?
Andrew, you didn't do your homework

Nice to see Mr Boff just managed to stop himself in mid sentence, while talking about the drivers on the demo.
"We're going to see that reputation damaged by the actions of a few Nut...." Shame you never finished that sentence Andrew.


YouTube Video from David R shows the demo having the desired effect.


Dave Davies from Cabbies Against Boris (C.A.B.), put our case smoothly and professionally. 
Unfortunately we don't have the whole of this interview, but Dave managed to give clear direction as to why we were 


Another complete waste of time.
Thousands of drivers answered the call, but unfortunately the organisers failed again to get the message out before and after the event.

Nothing learned from previous demos.

This morning, the drivers efforts are forgotten, it might just as well not happened.

Even Palestinians carrying black flags banned by the government were allowed to protest along Whitehall and yet, TfL put an army of compliance officers on the street, taking the numbers of drivers displaying stickers in their windows advertising the demo.
The usual bullying and intimidation tactics we've seen on previous demos repeated and expanded. 

Compliance doing spot checks on drivers nor working are unlawful. Marshals from organisers should have put a stop to this, or at least advised drivers of their rights not to comply, but didn't.

Afterwards the media were confused. The fact that there was no clear message left them free to use their imagination which they did to out detriment.

Even drivers who were interviewed by journalists from the worlds media were unsure why they were there giving a multitude of differing reasons which again led to confusion and the wrong messages getting out.

When will the LTDA realise that they can't do this alone, they just don't have the skill. After 45 years of inaction and collaboration they still can't put a simple demo with a clear agenda across.
We've had 3 demos on Whitehall in the last year which have proved to be 3 waisted opportunities.

The fact that the demo was again sited on Whithall gave TfL the opportunity to organise arrangements which took buses out of the traffic and minimised disruption. People who had paid once on the bus, were then asked to pay again to complete their journey on the tube. A win win situation for TfL.

The LTDA played into the hands of TFL by not uniting and utilising the whole trade to employing the best PR tactics. 

Waste of time, lost message, 

TfL 3 - Taxi trade 0


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Barring private hire cars from London's bus lanes is legal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Allowing London's trademark black cabs to use bus lanes while excluding other minicab companies does not constitute illegal state aid, an adviser to the highest European Union court found on Wednesday.

The opinion is the latest stage in a longstanding dispute between the British capital's transport authority and Eventech, which owns a minicab fleet used by the cab firm Addison Lee. 

An advocate general, who advises the European court in Luxembourg, found that Transport for London's (TfL) policy of only allowing black cabs to use the city's bus lanes did not constitute an unlawful transfer of public resources -- essentially a subsidy -- to registered taxis.

"Where state authorities make a bus lane on a public road available to black cabs but not to PHVs (private hire vehicles) during the hours of operation of that bus lane, that does not involve a transfer of 'state resources', provided that all comparable undertakings are granted access on equal terms," Advocate General Nils Wahl said in his opinion.

Opinions from advocates general are respected by the court in a majority of cases.

The dispute comes at a time when alternative taxi providers, such as the car-sharing service Uber, have clashed with traditional cabs concerned about what they call unfair competition. The conflict has led to Europe-wide taxi strikes and temporary bans on Uber in Germany.

Eventech had argued that TfL's bus lane policy was an infringement of the freedom to provide services and also amounted to illegal state aid to the benefit of black cabs.

But Wahl rejected those claims, saying that under EU state aid rules it was not necessary for member states to demand payment for access to public infrastructure, such as bus lanes.

"If...state aid rules were interpreted as generally requiring member states to charge for access to public infrastructure or state-controlled resources, this might deter states from creating or opening up areas to which there has previously been no, or only limited access," Wahl said.

Eventech had also argued that exempting black cabs from paying fines for using the bus lanes amounted to an illegal transfer of public money to their benefit, a claim again rejected by Wahl.

The dispute began in 2010 when two of Addison Lee's drivers were fined for driving their cars along a bus lane in central London. Eventech challenged the fines but lost before the High Court, leading to its appeal to the EU's top court.

Mayor of Liverpool pledges review of taxi driver bans over concerns they were 'unjust'

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has pledged a review of cases of taxi drivers being banned from work amid concerns about the way the council’s licensing committee has been revoking licences.

He said he would have all decisions where there is a dispute looked at again in order to make sure the judgements were valid.

The move comes after a long-running campaign by Liverpool Taxi Alliance reached a head with its leader Jimmy Bradley accusing the council of using a “kangaroo court” system that was robbing people of their livelihoods.

But while the Alliance welcomed the Mayor’s promise, senior council sources said they were confident the move would play out in their favour because the decisions would be found to be justified.

The council’s taxi licensing committee meets on a regular basis to decide on various issues, including the fitness of drivers to hold permits to trade. Much of its time is spent dealing with applications from people with criminal convictions, and deciding whether or not they should be allowed on the roads.

It also deals with cherry picking and other enforcement cases, and its sanctions can range from a full licence ban to “a strongly worded letter”.

But Mr Bradley said it was his belief that the way the cases were being handled was unfair, and that often the accused driver is not able to fully challenge “hearsay” evidence put against him.

He also alleged evidence is put to the committee in a “clandestine” pre-hearing, and that the complainant leaves the meeting before the driver is able to come and cross examine the allegations.

Mr Bradley told a council meeting: “The nature of these hearings are akin to the Hearings that take place within the Special Immigration Appeals Commission that are reserved for Control Order applications on terrorists by Central Government.

“We are told by the Trade that it appears to the many drivers affected, that this is a “Kangaroo Court” that is operating above the law.”

Mayor Anderson said: “It is absolutely not in the interest of me or this council to try to stop any person in Liverpool in the taxi trade from trying to do a job and earn a decent living.

“I will get the city solicitor to bring in someone independent to review any cases to see if they have been dealt with in an unjust way.

“All my working life I’ve believed in natural justice and everyone should get the opportunity to defend their case.

     Source: Liverpool Echo

While London faces stiff fines from Brussels, Boris Johnson wins the C40 award for city’s green taxi plan.


While London faces stiff fines from Brussels over its repeated breaches of EU air quality standards, in New York, mayor Boris Johnson wins the C40 award for city’s green taxi plan.

Boris Johnson, mayor of London, surprised clean air campaigners on Tuesday night by winning a prestigious international award for his efforts to improve the city’s air quality. If this wasn't so serious, it would be laughable!

The city faces stiff fines from Brussels over its repeated breaches of European Union air quality standards, with air quality likely to continue to fall below standards for years to come. 

Johnson was recently sharply criticised by a committee of MPs for failing to tackle air quality. 

Earlier this year, London suffered serious smog problems that led to warnings for vulnerable people, including children, the elderly and those with respiratory illnesses, to stay indoors for days.

The C40 award judges cities around the world on their efforts to tackle air quality and climate change. London won the air quality award for its work on low-emissions taxis, (news to most Taxi drivers) and separately received another award for a new carbon accounting standard, described as an international best practice benchmark. Let's hope this time it isn't based on a lie, as is the age limit on Taxis.

Matthew Pencharz, the mayor’s senior adviser on environmental and energy issues, said: 
“This is very good for us. This is going to stimulate the low-carbon economy, and taxi drivers will benefit from energy efficiency savings. London is showing practical delivery solutions to these problems.”ŷ

He said: “We are the first to accept that air quality is a challenge. People accuse of us not doing anything, but I think anyone reasonable would say that Boris Johnson is doing everything he can to improve air quality in the capital.”

We are then presented with what can only be described as creative mathematics!
We are informed the new zero-emission capable taxis are expected to reduce emissions by more than 75% compared to the average London taxi. 

In central London, where they will mainly operate in zero emission mode, emissions per taxi will be reduced by almost 100%. 

At present, London’s iconic black cabs account for around 15% of nitrogen oxide emissions in central London, and around 35% of PM10 emissions of large particles, which the mayor said would rise to 45% without intervention.

So let's just mull over these statistics:
If this new vehicle which at present is more akin to a unicorn than a white charger is introduced to replace vehicles that currently are responsible for an arguable maximum of 45% of PM10s and15% of Nitrogen Oxide, we are told the new zero-emission capable taxis are expected to reduce emissions by more than 75% compared to the average London taxi. 

Where did Boris get the figure of 75% from?
Who can a maximum of 45% suddenly become 75%?

But campaigners were critical of the award, saying that Johnson has not done enough to tackle London’s growing air pollution problem and it was “laughable” for him to receive such an accolade.

“What a joke. Londoners will find it breathtaking that Boris is being awarded for totally failing to get to grips with our air quality crisis,” said Maria Eagle, shadow environment secretary. 

Let's not forget here that this is the same Mayor who removed cleaner Taxis, replaced them with more polluting vehicles, some supplied by his friend and colleague Tim Yeo, who then had to resign over conflict a of interest. Then told a parliamentary committee that he had removed 3000 of the oldest most polluting Taxis (proved to be a lie by two recent reports from DEFRA and Kings Collage. It has also been pointed out that the Mayor new his age limit was built on a lie)

Darren Johnson, London assembly member for the Green Party, said: “We are running out of time to avert a climate catastrophe and the mayor of London should be at the forefront, advocating and delivering carbon reduction programmes on the scale needed, as well as zero carbon energy generating technologies like solar energy. Instead, Boris Johnson criticises wind farms, ignores the scientific consensus on global warming and promotes climate sceptic views. His backing of aviation expansion and fracking can only lead to one thing and that is the acceleration of global warming.”
Far be it from me to stick up for Boris but there seems to be a bit of hypocrisy from Assembly Member Johnson. It's been proved that win farms are highly inefficient and Global Warming is an opinion not a scientific fact. Plus this Green Party member felt it quite reasonable to catch a plane from from Heathrow to East Midlands  Airport to attend a Green Party conference just a few weeks ago. 
So it's a case if do as I say not as I do!

Johnson has made moves to tackle the air pollution problem, for instance by announcing this summer a rise in the congestion charge on the most polluting diesel-fuelled vehicles, but these plans will not come into effect until 2020. He has also introduced the city’s first age limits on taxis, which has resulted in the retirement of more than 3,000 of the oldest vehicles.
By removing cleaner Taxis and replacing them with more polluting vehicles, Boris is actually responsible for making London's air quality worse!

Boris's award was unbelievably made for a measure, that may possibly see “low-emissions capable” taxis on London’s streets from 2018. Although at over £50,000 a pop with an expensive battery pack (£10/15k) that needs changing every few years it is very dubious the Taxi trade will purchase these expensive vehicles en masse. 

These taxis would cut down on emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, which cause breathing difficulties in vulnerable people and can cause permanent harm to children’s lung development. But they are far from being Zero emission when you take into account the methods incorporated in there production, suffice to say they global carbon footprint is incredibly bad. 

The new rules would only apply to new taxis licensed from 2018, which make up a small proportion of the total number of cabs, and they would only be required to use their low-emission capabilities in the central London low emissions zone, which does not cover the whole capital.

Simon Birkett, founder and director of the Clean Air in London pressure group, said: 
“Boris is killing the taxi industry not saving it. 
He should be using his Twitter account to issue smog warnings not begging people to vote for him to win this prestigious international award.”

He said: “The reality of Boris’s taxi strategy is that drivers are forced to buy one of two large, relatively expensive diesel vehicles because they are the only ones meeting the anachronistic 25 foot turning circle requirement. At the stroke of a pen he should remove the turning circle requirement and allow drivers to buy mass market petrol and other low emission vehicles at a fraction of the current cost of a taxi.”

London’s iconic black cabs have long been required to have a tight turning circle, because of historic concerns over their manoeuvrability on London’s narrow streets.

Birkett questioned whether the new rules would make a real difference, and asked: “Will Boris deliver a successful new taxi when he says he will, with funding complying with state aid rules and at a cost that allows taxi drivers to compete with private hire vehicles?”

He also suggested it could take 15 years from 2018 to replace London’s existing 23,000 strong taxi fleet.

    Source:  The Guardian

Monday, September 22, 2014

Addison Lee Goes Up a For Sale

Reports suggest private equity owner Carlyle Group could sell London’s largest minicab company for £800m

London’s biggest minicab firm has been put up for sale by its private equity owner.

Carlyle Group paid £300m for a majority stake in Addison Lee in April 2013, but has decided to start an auction process after receiving unsolicited offers for the business, according to a source close to the company.

Private equity firms BC Partners, CVC Capital and Charterhouse are among the organisations that have been invited to bid, with reports suggesting the taxi firm could be sold for £800m. Carlyle and Addison Lee declined to comment.

Private equity firms usually retain investments for four to five years, but Carlyle is ready to cash in on Addison Lee’s strong performance.

The taxi business, founded by former cabbie John Griffin with a single car in 1975, ferries 10 million passengers around the capital every year, and is one of the main rivals to London’s black cabs, which have been battling strong competition from smartphone apps that allow people to hail any minicab at the touch of the button.

Addison Lee has expanded to Paris and New York and plans to launch in other cities, an investment that will be funded by any future buyer.

John Griffin recently stood down as chairman of the company, which has trebled net profits to £16m in its latest financial year. Turnover has risen to £172m.

     Source: The Guardian 

Are your fares too high or is the Flag-Fall too low? Have your say

On the 17th of September 2014 the London Assembly Transport Committee invited 8 Groups from the Taxi & Private Hire to City Hall to speak at the hearing re investigating the way forward for both the Taxi & Private Hire industries.

First up was Jo Bertram and the Über Team who said public safety is their number one priority. They are based in London, are a registered company in the UK & pay required tax.

Second up was Ron Zeghibe Chairman of Hailo and Russell Hall. They explained they are a British technology success story. Now in North America, all of Europe and most of Asia, with 60,000 drivers.

Third up was Simon Rush and Steve Garelick from the GMB union who said a 'minimum living fare' needs to be introduced for drivers in London. They recommend a code of conduct for the trades.

Forth up was Steve Wright Chairman LPHCA.
He said that Taxi and Private Hire enforcement has failed. He then explained that in his opinion signage doesn't work and showed his solution to safety issues, a registration plate prefixed by a red P (originally disregarded from the Taxi and Private Hire consultation)

Fifth up was Grant Davis
He said t consider there are too many satellite offices and not enough Taxi ranks. They want a review of TfL's status as a licensor/regulator.

Sixth up was Charlie Miller and Nick Gilbert from the LSTDC who want a review of sector boundaries in locations where they believe there is unmet demand plus more island ranks for suburban drivers.

Seventh up was Paul White and John Leach of the RMT.
The RMT London Taxis Branch says the Mayor sends out mixed messages on Pedicabs. 
Should they be licensed, or are they illegal? They want greater clarity.

Eighth in was Geoffrey Riesel Chairman RTG 
Mr Riesel said that in his opinion the Knowledge takes too long and is to complete. He said it is a barrier to trade growth and wants to see the KOL revised & modernised. 


TfL’s 2013/14 Taxi and Minicab Customer Satisfaction Survey, showed that over two thirds (68 per cent) of passengers thought that taxi fares were either a little too expensive or much too expensiveⁱ.
Are your fares to high or is the Flag-Fall to low?
You have till the end of the month to put your written submissions in.

Please send written submissions to the 
Transport Committee 
London Assembly, 
City Hall, 
The Queen’s Walk,
London SE1 2AA, or email: