Saturday, January 10, 2015

You just couldn't make this up. Toy town, infested with rickshaws.

My granddaughter recently asked me to put a video of Noddy on telly for her, which I did.

But I just couldn't believe me eyes and big ears, when the show came on.

Apparently, Noddy has joined Uber and is the only scab in toy town so was raking it in.
Then along came the naughty goblins with their rickshaw bike in competition. They were stealing all the work with low cost journeys until Noddy was off the road. Then the serge pricing came in and a fare that normally cost two coins, went up to six!

Also notice how easily Noddy gets off the speeding and dangerous driving charges.
Could it be the bung he gave officer plod at the beginning of the story.
The question that needs answering, is big ears really a naughty spell expert.
All is revealed in this episode of Noddy and the New Taxi

All joking aside, this video was made before Uber were established. Do you think Travis is a big Noddy fan, is this where he got his idea of serge pricing from.

We noted the similarity in toy town's officer plod and TfL enforcement.






Friday, January 09, 2015

United Cabbies Group - Formal Response to TfL Regarding ULEZ consultation.

We have uploaded the full response to the ULEZ Consultation.


We show that the Mayors 10yr (or indeed 15yr) Age limit is unlawful and improper, the implimentation of a zero emissions criteria for all new Taxis entering service for the first time in 2018 is simply unworkable.

The full submission has been sent to All of the relevant senior managers in TfL, The Mayor, Caroline Pidgeon, MPs who work with DEFRA, news outlets and media.

Here is a link to the full submission....

Fingers crossed that someone cares whats happening to us....

>PLEASE READ THIS, Click Here < 

This submission took a lot of time to prepare, it'll only take 10 or 15 minutes to read.



China Complete Ban On Uber Operation.


China is banning private cars from offering cab services via apps, according to Bloomberg.

This would mean services like Uber would be banned from the country.

In a statement to the Financial Times Wednesday, the director of Beijing's traffic enforcement unit Liang Jiangwei said "the use of unlicensed taxis by internet hailing apps violated a ban on illegal taxis."

A crackdown on car-hailing apps began on Jan. 1, he said, and drivers can face fines up to $3,221.

"Some of these vehicles are 'taxi clones,'" Jiangwei said. "Many passengers have filed complaints."

The crackdown was apparently set in motion thanks to lobbying efforts from some of China's biggest and most established licensed taxi companies. Their prices are capped at below-market rates by China, the FT reports.

This would  be the first time that China has publicly considered private cars operating via apps "an act of illegal operation." However, some services offer taxi-hailing apps that work with licensed taxis: those apps won't be affected.

"Our services are based on cooperation with legitimate car-rental companies and labor service companies," said Kuaidi Dache, which operates an app that works exclusively with those licensed cabs. "[Our private car operator] Kuaidi One is oriented towards the upper-end market, and complements the regular taxi services."

Uber, meanwhile, is facing many legal challenges in cities around the world, as taxi companies and regulators struggle to deal with the cheap, premium car service. Uber recently launched "People's Uber," which was designed to compete with regular taxis in Beijing, at least from a price perspective.

Uber says the company plans on issuing a statement on the matter.

    Source: Reuters

Taxi Leaks To Have A Consultation, On Wether TfL Need Another Consultation...by Jim Thomas


After the disastrous GLA inquiry which found them to be un-transparent and woefully inadequate, TfL are now asking a much wider audience through yet another consultation, how Transport for London can improve their transparency and accountability. They obviously feel this will dilute any anger presently being thrown in their direction from the Taxi and Private Hire trades they have so decimated.

On Wednesday, TfL announced to a collection of stakeholders including journalists and campaigners, that the Mayor’s transport agency is developing plans to publish greater amounts of information on its website, therefor avoiding the need for expensive Freedom of Information requests and ensuring commonly requested information is easily available. 

Taxi Leaks' team members have made dozens of FOI requests, but frequently feel we have been given the run-around as TfL try to cover up its actions under a blanket of misinformation.

In a bid to help shape this new ‘transparency strategy’ in a way that suits their agendas,  TfL is inviting interested stakeholders to comment both on the organisation’s existing publication schemes and the types of information they’d like to be made available.

The new consultation is available below:

>Click Here for consultation<

Unbelievably, when we needed a consultation about the unlawful Taxi age limit...we never got one. Certain parties with financial conflicts of interest, made that decision on our behalf. And a nice little earner it was for some!

TAXI LEAKS TO HOLD A CONSULTATION 

Taxi Leaks will soon be holding our consultation on whether TfL need more consultations. 

We will be asking drivers to put their answers on a sheet of paper, put the paper in a bottle and float it down the Thames passed city hall. We expect to get more accurate results from our consultation, than TfL's get from their ones concerning the Taxi and Private Hire trades.

                      Message in a bottle for Sir Peter !

Transport Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy made this statement on Wednesday: "Openness and transparency about what we do, is a vital ingredient to delivering better transport services for London." 

Is that why TfL asked its staff not to volunteer any information to FOI requests?

He went on to say, “We publish a huge amount of information and data to help our customers and stakeholders hold us to account. But we want to make sure we are publishing what people want and in a way that they find helpful".

Amazingly, every FOI request we've made for data, we are told TfL don't hold that information...seems like someone's telling porkies Sir Peter. 

The Taxi trade has never achieved any positive result from a TfL consultation and in one case, the Suburban Review, we actually showed that the process was corruptible, when one of our team members made over fifty submissions using different names, proving the whole consultation was worthless. 

Let's hope this time they take heed from the replies to this latest consultation. As far as The London a Taxi trade is concerned, we have repeatedly been ignored in the past.

TfL say, don't miss this opportunity to get involved and get your point across.....so they can ignore it?



Thursday, January 08, 2015

RMT LTDB Chariman Mick Bailey: We are not a ‘trade org.’ By Mike Bailey.

   Mike Bailey, Chairman RMT LTDB.

RMT is a progressive, democratic and highly professional trade union, a fast growing union with more than 80,000 members from almost every sector of the transport industry – from the mainline and underground railways, shipping and offshore, buses, taxis, and road freight.

Protecting and bettering our members’ pay and conditions are key RMT objective. We negotiate with over 150 transport-sector companies – using every opportunity to drive home our positive agenda for better pay, shorter hours and safer working conditions.

RMT members can rely on their union to protect and promote their interests in the workplace.

Our former general secretary Bob Crow, RIP, walked away from the sham that is the TfL Board because he recognized what he saw as control by TfL and compliance from the United Trade Group (UTG). Being a man of principle Bob would not have anything to do with such a sham that could not honestly represent members of the RMT and the licensed taxi trade.

We at the RMT have NEVER been involved in any of the agreements or meetings that have done so much damage to the licensed taxi trade in London. However we have been exposed to collusion that prevents the RMT playing a part in the fight to save the taxi trade. TFL have been assisted by a sham engagement policy drafted as we now know by the former director of LTPH and supported by the UTG.

TFL know that if the RMT’s representatives were at the table of the now called Cabbies Cabinet things would have been very different. Cast  your mind back do you remember receiving a letter from the Mayor telling us all that there had been little interest in the cabbies Cabinet and therefore he wouldn’t be going ahead with his plan, then suddenly very recently we read in one of the trade papers that the UTG were attending meetings under the heading of Cabbies Cabinet.

TFL know full well that had the RMT been in attendance at these meetings we would have insisted on full verbatim minutes to inform the trade as a whole of discussions that took place.
How can you have a meeting without a full record of who says what to whom?  It is ridiculous. What happens if there is a dispute in the future? How would anyone know what went on without minutes? More importantly, how do you find out what your members think of a proposal if they are only informed by a headline following agreement by the trade orgs.?

We have to face up to the truth that the UTG has failed the trade. We must come together and insist that we have a proper voice inside TFL. Ensuring proper policy is formulated that is in the interest of   retaining the two tier system within London and that it is properly upheld.

The RMT London taxi branch believe that only the full protection of our right to ply for hire will ensure that our trade is future proof.

We acknowledge that there are many other issues that must be rectified but are steadfast in our belief that the right to ply for hire is fundamental to the future of the taxi trade in London.

But a trade union is only a strong as its members. Being a member of the trade union does not mean we can leave all the work to somebody else. We need to support each other and fight for our jobs in the words of the late Bob Crow “if you fight you may lose but if you never fight you will always lose”.

I believe that 2015 will be a very decisive year for the cab trade in London.

Private Hire Vehicles Act: 1998

Control of licensing of the London taxi trade was handed over to the newly formed Transport for London following the 1998 Private Hire Vehicles Act. Records of the debate at the time show that the trade was badly underrepresented. Some speakers at the time were supportive of the trade saying things such as” private hire vehicles must never be allowed to encroach on the licensed taxis right to ply for hire” but overtime this has been ignored. This right is hard earned by candidates completing the knowledge, investing both time and money. Licensed London taxi drivers are repeatedly described as the gold standard of the industry. With public safety being paramount to this stamp.

RMT London Taxi Drivers in its written submission to the G.L.A highlighted that policies introduced by TFL should not only protect the public but also the taxi drivers hard earned right to ply for hire. Given that London has the ‘gold standard’ around the world for its taxi service, principles established through case law should be upheld in absence of a statutory definition.

The union will follow up to ask the London Assembly, why the oversight?

As we have seen recently under the control of TfL we have witnessed the gradual undermining of the licensed taxi trade. This has been further highlighted by the findings of the GLA investigation carried out recently. They commented that the service carried out by TfL was “Woefully inadequate”

So let us learn from our past mistakes, let us not allow the licensed taxi trade in London to be undermined and killed off by our own inaction.
We know what we need to do to protect our livelihoods and the livelihoods of future generations.

Join a specialist trade union that will fight to the end to protect it’s members. To ensure the licensed taxi trade has a future built by its members for its members which supports jobs for the future. For our sons, daughters and grandchildren.
Let us take our fight to the heart of Transport for London and the Government.

To do nothing is a crime.

    Source: RMT blog.

 

Met ends roadside checks involving bailiffs


The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has announced it will no longer carry out roadside checks involving bailiff firms after a review took into account issues relating to “the legal position” and “trust and confidence in the police”. The checks had been suspended since May when campaign group NoToMob raised concerns about the operations.


It emerged that the MPS had not been following its own standard operating procedure, which states that roadside checks should only be carried out to pursue criminal warrants. NoToMob said it found that roadside checks in more than half of London boroughs mostly involved pursuing civil warrants such as unpaid parking debt.


The MPS ANPR Programme Board decided to review roadside stops after acknowledging there was a “risk in the potential for ill-planned operations, inadequate briefings and some civil enforcement agents inadvertently pushing the boundaries”. It said that vehicles could be stopped at the request of the bailiff with the “reasons not being made clear to drivers”. There was also the danger of vehicles being stopped for a policing purpose and then being “handed over” to the bailiff without an ”explanation to the driver”. This, said the board, would lead to a loss of trust and confidence in the MPS.


As part of the review of roadside stops, the MPS carried out workshops, which were attended by NoToMob. In a letter to “interested parties involved in the review process”, dated 16 December, MPS Commander Richard Martin said: “Having taken into account the legal position, stakeholder input, trust and confidence in the police and frontline policing practices, the Met will no longer undertake roadside operations with bailiffs. We trust this brings the matter to a conclusion for all involved.”


In a letter to Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe in April, NoToMob’s Graeme Jones stated: “I am given to understand that the cost of the Met side of these operations is borne by local tax payers through the local authority whilst the bailiff side of the operation is done free to the local authority. I think the public would be most concerned to know that their taxes are being used in connection with the Met for the recovery of civil parking and traffic debt.”


     Source : TransportXtra.  

Smoke And Mirrors : The Consultation Designed For Only One Outcome....From the United Cabbies Group.



The consultation designed for only one outcome.......

Firstly May I wish you all Happy New Year, I must apologise yet again for the lack of communication to our membership.

We have been very busy doing, but very tardy in telling... Over the next few days I will update you all on the work we have been doing. There's been a lot happening. 

Hopefully now in the Kipper season we the committe of the UCG can draw breath and we can get the communicaton out just what we have been working on.


There are only a few days left to register your response to the TfL Consultation on the "proposed" ULEZ. 

I can almost guess your response, because there are no options that suit us and no "other please explain" boxes.

If you haven't been to the consultation site yet, here's the link....

https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/environment/ultra-low-emission-zone/consultation/intro/view

It'll take you all of 5 minutes, because thats all they (TfL and the Mayor) don't want you to object, this is a contrived consultation with loaded questions that will leave you without the ability to question anything. It's a "closed questionaire"

They ignore all the scientific evidence... 

But We in the UCG have worked closely with David Davis of Cabbies Against Boris to bring you the story behind the story....

Before Christmas both David Davis and the UCG both made a formal complaint to the Competitions and Markets Authority (The newly merged Competition Commission and Trading Standards Office)

Our complaint will be discussed by the Competitions and Markets Authority shortly.

Our complaint is very similar to David Davis' and many of the facts shared across both complaints.

That complaint forms the backbone of our Written submission to TfL regarding the ULEZ.

I will post the full submission shortly on Totally Failling London.

 

For this reason a formal written response has been submitted.

Below is our "response in the only available comments field” that we felt could not be taken as acceptance of this ill thought out farce.

Feel free to copy and paste this into your response if you agree.


********
Q25 Please write in the box below if you wish to make any other comments about any aspect of the ULEZ proposal including any potential exemptions or expand on any of your responses above.

Comments:

Every Question Contained herein is a leading question without "Other please explain" options. None of the options and comments I wish to make are catered for in this very restricted "consultation" questionnaire. This has been designed to stifle debate and force answers in support of this woefully thoughtout proposal. I shall also submit a separate document outlining the farce that is being pulled on Londoners who will not have access to the scientific evidence that shows this consultation to be a totally misleading farce.

Where I felt that the question is a "Leading Question" I have answered either Neither Support or Oppose OR No Opinion.

The UCG does have an opinion But there was no options available as this consultation is purposely too restrictive to express reasoned debate.

Question 22 is particularly "leading"

Do you support the proposals to reduce emissions from taxis and private hire vehicles by:

b) Reducing the Londonwide age limit for non zero emission capable taxis to 10 years and exempting all licensed taxis from the ULEZ standards (and therefore daily charge)

This suggests that you propose a "Take it or leave it" attitude to imposing a ten year age limit despite a very significant amount of scientific research that proves that the later Euro standards IE Euro 4, 5 and 6 are creating as much as 5 times more pollution than the Euro 3 vehicles you are about to penalise. This will be far worse than TfL anticipate because "ALL" diesel vehicles will be emitting 5 times as much pollution in future, not just Taxis. You are about to create a bigger problem than the one you are trying to tackle.

Zero Emissions Taxis..... The IT industry call these proposals "Vaporware" all talk and promises but no actual product. Zero Emission Taxis are "Vaporware"

There are no Zero emissions Taxis available to buy at 9th January 2014 (Closing date for this consultation) [Yes I know there are some hybrids on test, but they aren't in service, they aren't in volume production and the long term reliability is an unknown]

How can legislation be passed to mandate the use of a Non existent vehicle?

How will Taxi drivers Charge their vehicles?

There is not one single fast Charging point in London.

Where will you find space for charging points for 23,000 Taxis?

You TfL cannot and will not keep our charging points clear of illegally parked vehicles and PHV (this is demonstrated by a complete disregard by Enforcement of the existing Taxi Ranks) Has it occured that there are peak times and slack times.... All working Taxis will seek to charge their vehicles at the same time, "Slack time" which is the same time for every Taxi, you can't "Take it in turns" when you need to work busy periods and charge-up the batteries in slack periods.

Does the Underground Electricity Network have the additional capacity to charge electric vehicles Taxis and PHV...?

Has any research into the capacity of the Electricity supply been undertaken?

Have TfL even spoken to the power supply companies to enquire if they can supply this much power?

Who pays for the electricity at these points?

Will the price per KWH be regulated?

subject to price consultation?

Have TfL Spoken to the local councils about providing thousands of spaces for vehicles being charged?

A Taxi driver that lives in a block of flats or has no parking outside his home cannot charge his vehicle.
What if a desperate passenger needs to get home to the suburbs and a Taxi stops for a Hail, but the passenger wants to travel in the opposite direction to the drivers home, the driver realises he has enough power to travel to the passengers destination, but not back home or even make it to a charging point.... Is this a refusal of a fare?

In Japan they have trialled the use of these zero emissions vehicles and the frequent use of fast charging points is destroying the batteries. Disposal of rechargeable batteries is an environmental disaster, Will TfL pay compensation for prematurely failed batteries?

This is the most ill-conceived and poorly thought through of your consultations to date.
It is an embarrassment that I should have to point out the obvious shortcomings of this proposal. These are such glaringly obvious mistakes it proves once again that TfL have no understanding of how to operate a privately owned fleet of vehicles that isn't subject to massive taxpayer subsidies to make it work.

If I have one comment to make that you may understand.....

Go back to the drawing board..... This is unworkable. There are no vehicles available that meet your criteria, There are no charging points in London and Taxi drivers who live in homes without off street parking? You will create claims for constructive restraint of trade as they will not be able to work.

Nordenfelt v Maxim Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Co Ltd

This is the bedrock of restraint of trade claims.

If TfL prevent Taxi drivers from earning a living due to enforcing unreasonably high barriers to licensing then the Taxi trade will have no option but to take legal action.

On behalf of the UCG I will also submit a fully reasoned and evidence supported submission "Off line" via email.


For and on Behalf of the UCG
Len Martin
Chairman UCG

Get your responses in guys.....

In the next couple of days we will update the Totally Failing Website With Our written representation against the 10yr Age Limit.....

Remember, 15yrs became 10.... will become 7...... Get your objections in now and copy in the text into the comments box in question 25.

And... Happy New Year


Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Breaking News: Uber London Found Guilty Of Causing Or Permitting A Person To Drive Without Valid Insurance.

Quentin Hunt acting on behalf of Transport For London has concluded the successful prosecution of the controversial App based Private Hire Vehicle Operator Uber for road traffic offences.

Uber is an app based minicab company which has been the subject of protests from the London Taxi Drivers Association and a strike by black cab drivers causing disruption to the centre of London. The company were accused of offences relating to record keeping and lack of insurance of one of their drivers.

Following significant legal argument the Court ruled in favour of Transport for London which led to the defendant Uber pleading guilty to an offence of causing or permitting a person to drive without a valid certificate of insurance. The court sentenced the defendant company to a financial penalty and ordered the payment of costs.

Taken from Quiten Hunt website.

Editorial Comment:

         WHERE DOES THE BUCK STOP?


It is a fact that if a private hire driver is convicted of this type of offence, under the one strike and your out policy, the drivers PH licence will be revoked.

TfL have taken Uber London Ltd to court and won. But they have stopped short of going all out to revoke Uber's operator licence....WHY?

Surely the same policy is applicable to a private hire operator found guilty of causing a person to drive without valid insurance. If this were a small minicab company, operating from a small shop on a high street, with the ever escalating number of offences being logged up by this company, they would have had their licence revoked long ago.

But it seems that when it comes to a multi national company worth billions of pounds, TfL lose their bottle big time. 

Not only are TfL woefully inadequate, they are spineless cowards. 



Woefully Inadequate And Corrupt...Did The GLA Inquiry Go Far Enough?....By Jim Thomas.

If you were ever in any doubt that corruption was behind the licensing of certain large Private Hire organisations, have a look at this extract below from TfL's own website. 

These two paragraphs are part of the requirements that have to be met by prospective private hire operators, before they can be considered for an operator's licence. 



In the paragraphs shown, it states that the applicant must have a fixed land line for the taking of bookings.
It also states that a licence can not be issued without this requirement being met.

There has been no publication of any fixed land line number, given to prospective customers by Uber, attached to any if the operating centres they have used, since they were first licensed in 2012 by TfL under the former directorship of John Mason. 

Uber publicly state they are not a Private Hire operator and profess in their terms and conditions that they are not responsible for any complaint that a customer may have in regards to any journey undertaken. They firmly state that this is solely a matter between the passenger and the driver. As customers are sent driver details they should take up any complaint with the driver. 

So if Uber are not an operator then who is?
Should each individual driver, accepting a direct booking from a customer hold an operators licence?

Apparently Uber drivers are acting as an operator, being in direct contact when taking a straight away booking. This is also not allowed under the Private hire act of 1998, which states all bookings must be pre booked through a third party. This is not the case with Uber customers.

The fact that they may are may not be using a device as a TaxiMeter is irrelevant. The whole concept of their modus operandi is unlawful and should never have been licensed by TfL....but they were

Uber have also been found twice to be working from an operating centre which was at the time unlicensed by TfL. When complaints were made, TfL gave Uber time to apply for and receive new licences. Any other company would have had their licence revoked. 

In the same way that RD2 should never have received 18 licence variations (satellite office licences) the day they first registered as an operator...but they were. When Taxi Leaks complained about this issue in 2013, we were at first lied to on three occasions by both the director of LTPH and his deputy. After we provided evidence that TfLs excuses were in fact lies, Taxi Leaks blog came under attack from TfL's legal department in a bid to silence and take the blog down. This they failed to do. 

There could be many more cases similar to these two were impropriety has been the order if the day!
Who is ultimately responsible for the licensing of these two companies.
Surely this needs a full GLA if not Parliamentary investigation. 

We can no longer trust the honour and integrity of our licensing authority, to act within the law.
So, what's the explanation for these breaches in licensing protocol?
Has corruption reached the highest level of management within TfL?

In a recent radio interview, the former director of LTPH John Mason, claimed he was only acting under orders and also claimed he was subjected to political interference from above.

The most worrying aspect of these licensing issues is that although we made contact with United Trade Group members and the issues were heavily promoted on a Taxi Leaks over many months, not one trade org took up the gauntlet on the trades behalf. 

If Uber are allowed to proceed in the way they currently operate, with their approach to conventional taxi licensing, then we may as well all pack up and go home. 

Would we be allowed to start up an unregulated passenger jet service and ignore FAA regulations, in the way Uber does with taxis?

Uber owes most of its success to the fact that many people hate or are jealous of licensed taxis. But like the police, you only hate them when you don’t need them. Nothing more welcoming than the glow from the orange TAXI light when it's raining or your lost and in trouble.

The list of grievances against Uber at present range from multiple instances of sexual assaults by drivers against passengers, to outright fraud. 

But in our opinion, any company who’s biggest expense is legal fees against lawsuits isn't going to last the distance.
 
Any investor putting down hard earned cash to invest in Uber in 2015, strengthens the old adage, “A fool and his money are soon parted.”



Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Uber Advert Finally Dropped From Taxi And Private Hire Pages On TfL Website....by Jim Thomas.


After many complaints from drivers, the Taxi Leaks' team wrote to TfL pointing out Uber advertising on its website was insulting and unethical, as the legality of the company was still questionable. TfL briefly suspended the adverts but stated that in their opinion Uber met its advertising guidelines.

Not happy with this response and a fear that the adds would return, Taxi Leaks, using its contact with the RMT, contacted the GLA leader who lodged a question with the Mayor on our behalf. 

Last month an inquiry held by the Greater London Authority, released a report describing TfL’s performance in regulating the taxi and private hire trades as “woefully inadequate”. They went on to say TfL had allowed itself to be a “soft touch” when it comes to upholding taxi regulation, citing Uber as "just the tip of the iceberg." The ads promoting Uber on pages of the TfL website were seemingly another example of this “soft touch” approach.  

Both Taxi Leaks and The RMT, have raised further concerns about Uber's ad placements and those of other firms operating in the capital. 
Our complaints were presented to Mayor Boris Johnson by three London Assembly members during last month’s Mayor’s Question Time.

Below is an email received today from Darren Johnsons secretary:

From: Rachel Carlill <Rachel.Carlill@london.gov.uk>
Date: 6 January 2015 10:41:03 GMT
To: xxxx xxxx xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: Uber advertising on TfL website.

Dear xxx,
 
Please see below for the response Darren has now received in relation to the question he asked on your behalf.
 
Uber advertising on TfL website
Question No: 2014/4218
Darren Johnson
Given legal questions surrounding Uber's operation in Greater London are still awaiting clarification, is it appropriate for the company to be advertising on the TfL website?
Written response from the Mayor
Please see my answer to MQ  2014 /4149.
 
Best wishes,
 
Rachel

The Mayor has responded, saying TfL will no longer carry any advertising on this particular section of the website following a review of its policies.

The full response reads: 
"Given TfL’s licensing and regulatory roles, it has reviewed its policy and is no longer carrying any advertising on the Taxi and Private Hire section of the TfL website."

Taxi Leaks feel that although this is a clear victory, it's not a full and concise victory, as the offending adverts may well be displayed on non Taxi and Private Hire TfL web-pages.

The Fight Goes On.



33 Uber Drivers Arrested Over One Weekend...Obviously Not In London.....by Jim Thomas.


TFL lived up to their "woefully inadequate" label, recently given them by the GLA transport inquiry, with an announced 34 Private Hire convictions for touting last year. 

While in Cape Town, 35 arrests plus 68 fines for touting over the weekend. 
33 Uber drivers were arrested and their vehicles were impounded for,
OPERATING A METERED SERVICE WITHOUT A LICENCE. 
This was a direct response to thousands of complaints on social media from the public that Uber were charging passengers up to 900% of the normal fare over the New Year Eve celebrations.

Meanwhile back in London, Leon Daniels, who last year trousered over £340,000 including a performance related pay bonus, is still waiting to ask someone smarter than himself, if Uber drivers (who use a device that calculates the fare based on time and distance travelled) are using a "Taxi Meter".  

Leon, this is Straight from the dictionary

Taximeter—noun

  1. a device fitted to a Taxicab or other vehicle, for automatically computing and indicating the fare due.
Do you think this man is worth the money we pay him, based on his woefully inadequate performance?


Below is the report carried in the Independent online, Cape Argos and Cape Times 

Cape Town - A minibus driver who refused to hand over his vehicle's keys to city law enforcement officers was one of 35 people arrested for operating without public transport permits at the weekend.

Officers also seized two stolen vehicles and two firearms.

On Saturday officers impounded a minibus and 11 unmarked sedan cars, and on Sunday a further 22 sedan cars were impounded for operating without public transport permits. Officers issued 68 fines.

In all, 33 cars affiliated to the international network of Uber were impounded by City of Cape Town authorities at the weekend.

This comes after the recent backlash on social media because of New Year's Eve price surges.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said the city had received numerous complaints.

"We conduct regular operations in the various CBDs, especially over weekends, focusing on the private hire industry," he said. "We receive a lot of complaints from the public, especially in relation to illegal parking and other traffic transgressions, but we also check for valid operating permits, driver fitness and vehicle compliance.

"Regardless of the company to which the vehicle is affiliated, everybody is expected to abide by the law."

LEGAL ‘GREY AREA’

Uber general manager for Durban and Johannesburg, Alon Lits, said Western Cape provincial traffic laws did not cater for the type of service Uber rendered.

"There is some ambiguity about where Uber fits in with the city traffic laws. We are not sure of what type of operating licence drivers should be applying for. Uber does not fall under chauffeuring, chartered taxis nor does it fall under metered taxis."

Lits said Uber drivers, referred to as Uber partners, were reliable and had all the necessary documentation.

"When registering with Uber, partners need to have their professional driver's permit, no criminal record and we do an independent background check for criminal record.

"They also have to provide roadworthy certificates every six months, operators' cards, commercial insurance and operating licences."

Lits said since identifying the problem with operating licences, the company had engaged in talks with the provincial traffic department to resolve the issue.

"People can see the benefits of Uber in the city; it is creating many jobs."

OPERATING LICENCE REQUIRED

An Uber 'partner', who declined to be named, said two of his vehicles had been impounded.

"Two of my drivers are jobless now and that worries me because they are hard workers and very reliable people."

He said the provincial law had grey areas which needed to be resolved.

"We don't fall under metered taxis because we don't have physical meters in the taxi; we are also confused here, and now we are suffering unnecessarily."

Siphesihle Dube, spokesman for the MEC of transport and public works, confirmed that the department had met Uber management.

"The reality here is that an operating licence is required where people are transported for reward," he said.

The city's view was that Uber was providing a metered taxi service. (Leon Daniels, please take note!)

"Uber management felt that the service could also fall within the very broad definition of a charter service, given that fares are pre-booked. At the time there was a moratorium on metered taxi operating licences, which has subsequently been lifted."

He said in a discussion with Uber management, officials made it clear that all Uber operators required an operating licence. An 'Uber partner' could be regarded as legal only if he or she held a valid operating licence.

    Source: Cape Argus, Cape Times


Monday, January 05, 2015

TfL Investigative Transparency Strategy : Another Consultation!!!

First, we had>
London Taxi and Private Hire = LTPH

Then they tried>
Surface Integration Policy = SIP

And now we have>
TfL's Investigative Transparency Strategy or as we call them = TITS for short.

        So now they want to know the truth!


In the face of mounting criticism, Transport for London have put their heads down, back in the trench and issued another meaningless consultation.
They say they exists to keep London working and growing and to make life in the Capital better, unfortunately not a role definition shared by the GLA who have branded them "Woefully Inadequate". 


In their defence they state:
We run a wide range of transport services, invest in major upgrades of the public transport and roads networks and plan for the city’s future. 

We are committed to improving transparency for our customers and stakeholders and we are making more information available than ever before.

With responsibility for billions of road and public transport journeys every year and an annual budget of around £9bn, we are a large organisation undertaking a wide range of activities. We publish a huge amount of data reflecting the scale of what we do including contracts, expenditure, operational and financial performance, customer satisfaction and journey patterns. This helps people understand how we run London's transport network, and how we reinvest in transport the money raised through fares, charges, Government grants and commercial activity.

Openness and transparency in these and other areas help to transform the way in which we operate. It strengthens our relationships with customers and stakeholders, and helps us to work with local communities and businesses to improve our services.

This information also enables innovation in the way our customers travel, with our real time data feeds leading to the development of hundreds of smartphone apps to help people get around the Capital.

By being open and accountable we:

 Enable our stakeholders to hold us to account

Deliver better value for money

Help businesses, non-profit organisations, academics and others make transport in London better.
  
As part of delivering for London, we are committed to being open and transparent about what we do and how we do it and recognise that we must constantly review how we approach this. 

We are in the process of developing a Transparency Strategy and we invite you to comment on the main areas where you think we can improve upon what we do already, in order to provide the information that you want.  In particular, we would like your feedback on whether:

We are publishing the information you want to know. We publish it in a way that is useful to you. 

Additionally we would like your suggestions for any further information we should be making publicly available as a matter of course.  

Please tell us about yourself by completing the online survey below.  This will help us to analyse responses and contact you in the future.