Thursday, February 26, 2015

Is Hendy's Ivory Tower About To Collapse? By Jim Thomas

In yesterday's meeting between Sir Peter Hendy and the GLA transport committee, it's been alleged Hendy made a couple of statements which if proven to be incorrect, could eventually compromised his highly paid position at TfL. 

Uber Confusion:

Hendy was asked why Uber had been licensed, in the face of controversy over the way the fare is calculate. He answered that TfL had taken advice from an eminent QC who had stated that in his opinion the device Uber used to calculate the fare was not a meter.

He was asked who signed this advice and he replied he had forgotten the QC's name. 

Assembly member Tom Copley asked Peter Hendy if he would publish the legal advice TfL received re Uber, showing the name of the eminent QC who gave it. Hendy said he would if he can, (meaning if there is no legal reason against doing so)

Just after this statement was made, a post appeared on Twitter claiming that both the LCDC and the LTDA were in possession of TfLs legal advice and that far from being signed by an eminent QC, it was in fact just an opinion given by  TfLs own General Counsel - Howard Carter and is an investigating report. 

However, this is not conclusive proof as the letter in possession of the LCDC and LTDA could have been written after TfL heard back from a QC.

Late last night, it was alleged by a Radio Circuit Tweet, that they've been told the QC involved is Martin Chamberlain QC (unconfirmed), a prominent human rights QC and not an expert in Taxi Law. 

Utter Confusion:

Sir Peter also said he had recently booked a Hailo Taxi using their app. He explained Hailo had informed him they couldn't send him a Taxi, as none were available and instead they offered him a mini cab. He accepted and said the driver used an iPhone to calculate the fare. 

As a result of that trip, TfL have since written to Hailo, asking for into about how the fare was calculated. 

Immediately after the meeting Hailo put out this statement on their Blog:

Hailo statement following the GLA’s Transport Committee meeting, City Hall, Wednesday 25 February 2015

To set the record straight – Hailo categorically does not use a time and distance meter within or out of our app. For all HailoExec journeys we calculate a fixed price based on distance travelled only. We have always sought active and thoughtful engagement with policymakers and Transport for London. We follow TfL’s directives on Private Hire. These are not our own rules.

When a customer specifies they want a HailoExec car at the start of a journey, they must provide a destination in advance and a fixed price is then quoted upfront. The screenshot below shows an example of the fixed price being quoted (£17) following the input of the destination (in this case Liverpool Street). Requiring destination from the customer and offering them a fixed price is fully in line with TfL directives.

In the case of a Hailo Backup journey, customers who ask for a black cab and are offered a HailoExec (because no taxi accepts) also get charged based on distance only. Distance only means point A (pick up) to point B (drop down). Both HailoExec and Hailo Backup customers travelling the same journey will ALWAYS get the same fare no matter what the traffic is like. We only send a HailoExec as a backup if the customer requests one.

We do not use a time and distance meter of any kind in determining HailoExec fares. Based on official statements from both TfL and the GLA we’re assured this is an acceptable practice that works within the directives put forward by TfL.

As a London-based company, we are committed to protecting and developing the black cab trade for the benefit of all working and travelling in London. We will continue to work in constructive partnership with regulators and policymakers in London to do just that.


Anonymous said...

Can see the disclaimer coming. What was it he told Taxi Leaks about TfL not having the power to implement a rank at the shard I'm sorry, I was wrong Jim.


Followed by

Re Hailo:

Anonymous said...

followed by

Re The Hooker

Old Hat said...

Hendy being less than accurate, is that news?

Editorial said...

It's now been confirmed by TfL that Martin Chamberlain QC of Brick Street Chambers, was indeed the QC TfL took advice from.

His argument is that the iPhone's would have to be fixed to the vehicle to be classed as a Taxi Meter. (In his opinion).
I believe it had been pointed out to him that the iPhone's need to be plugged into the cars power source.
So in this respect if a Private hire vehicle was fitted with a removable Taximeter as is the case in some Taxis outside London, would this also be considered by TfL to be legal?

Anonymous said...

If Hendy lied about the Hailo trip, then he has lied to the GLA and should be sacked.