Friday, April 03, 2015

Uber Holland, Office Raided Second Time, This Time By Armed Police, Staff Cuffed. Computers And Documents Taken

An Uber employee has been arrested for allegedly obstructing a police raid in Amsterdam in the Netherlands on Thursday.

The taxi-booking app is illegal in Euro nation – but the company behind the software has been running the service regardless, earning the ire of not only cabbies but also the authorities.

Last week, Uber's Amsterdam base was inspected by officials from the Ministry of Transport looking for evidence of the use of the startup's UberPop app, deemed unlawful by a Dutch court last year.

Today, the inspectors returned with the plod, in search of extra paperwork. Although the swoop was described by Uber as a "visit", the Dutch authorities said "the company wasn’t cooperating during the raid, so one employee has been arrested."

The UberPop app works in much the same way as the Uber app in other cities: it lets individuals use their private cars to pick up passengers and charge them fees to drive them to a location of their choice. In other words, act like a taxi. Except the fees are cheaper than that charged by real taxis, causing consternation.

Taxis are strictly regulated in the Netherlands, and as a result a court found the service was illegal and levied a €10,000 ($11,000) fine for each violation. It found 27 violations, but the San Francisco-headquartered company was fined €100,000 due to a fine threshold. Uber has appealed the decision, and continues to run its banned service while that appeal is pending.

This approach has not sat well with the Dutch authorities, resulting in a raid that focused on identifying the number of drivers and the number of trips carried out since the court judgment was handed down.

Least of their troubles?

It's not just financial troubles the company is facing however. Dutch taxi drivers are aggressively chasing down Uber drivers in the streets.

As citizen-journalist website Watchdog detailed recently, the taxi-hailing service has become almost clandestine. “Act like we know each other," the publication quoted one Uber driver telling a reporter who had booked a ride – something it noted usually comes out the mouth of a drug dealer.

Uber is having trouble across the US and the world, having been banned in American states and entire countries. It is fighting back in the courts in each case, most recently appealing decisions in France, Belgium and Germany.

In response, the authorities have raided several of the companies' headquarters, and cabbies have reportedly taken the law into their own hands on numerous occasions, including trashing the company's headquarters in London.

To add to the upstart's woes, it has been losing a public relations war over the past year thanks to repeated incidents that highlight its "tech bro" culture – including one occasion when an Uber exec threatened to leak the private details of a reporter who had called out the company's internal sexism. The company also published blog posts that showed it was using the whereabouts of its fares to track things like prostitution and one-night stands.

Most recently, the company has come under fire for being less than upfront about a number of security issues. It discovered that its driver database had been hacked last year, but took five months to reveal that fact to the affected cabbies – and only after it had subpoenaed code repository GitHub to get the details of whoever read a Gist post containing a leaked database access key.

Uber has also denied its user database was hacked after the usernames and passwords of some Uber passengers were sold online – suggesting the details were obtained by phishing attacks or similar. 

Today, the company announced it was hiring its first Chief Security Officer. Joe Sullivan joins the biz, currently valued at $40bn, from his job as chief security officer at Facebook.

    Source : The Register

Battle Lines Drawn, New York's Yellow Cabs Fight Back

Sukhdev Singh has been driving a yellow cab for five years now. An immigrant from India, Singh moved to New Jersey when he was 12-years-old. He now owns a cab and a medallion which he bought along with his brother for $950,000 about one year ago.

Singh’s livelihood, however, has become precarious with the emergence of Uber.  The number of black cars or Uber cabs has increased multifold over the past two years and now outnumber the yellow taxis. The yellow colored cabs that have become as synonymous with New York as the Empire State Building are competing aggressively for fares.

“Uber is really killing the business right now,” said the 26-year-old Singh, sitting in his cab in front of Grand Central.

Following the angst that has been building up for a while now, a lawsuit was filed last month charging that the Uber cabs are violating New York State and City laws. “We represent a few medallion owners, taxi drivers and leasing agents,” said Eric Hecker, the attorney who filed the lawsuit.

The petition challenges that the e-Hail system used by non-medallion black cars especially Uber is “arbitrary, discriminatory, and otherwise unlawful”. An e-hail is equivalent to a conventional street hail, according to The Taxi and Limousine Commission. Yet the drivers of yellow cabs pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy the medallions to have that right. Uber drivers can drive without one. Currently a medallion in New York City costs around $800,000. The price has dropped sharply in the last year.

According to the petition, “yellow taxi drivers must purchase or lease medallions and they may not charge more than regulated meter rates. Black car drivers are not required to follow these obligations.”

Yellow cab drivers like Singh are fine with companies that provide long haul fares or airport drops since they are prearranged pick-ups. That system has been in place for decades with livery and limousine services. Uber, however, has changed the game with e-hails, smaller investment costs and lower meter rates.

Voicing the same problems that are listed in the 41-page petition, Singh said that Uber’s e-hail system is pulling away his daily income. Earlier, he said he was earning around $60,000 a year and now it has dropped to $40,000 – $45,000.

According to the Taxi and Limousine Commission, as of April 2, there are 14,587 vehicles affiliated to Uber’s bases. For now, the TLC does not appear to be taking sides.  A spokesman would not comment on the lawsuit specifically, only on the industry in general. “The TLC does always endeavor to create a level playing field for the various industries we regulate. We provide a foundation upon which business can flourish, and offer the riding public safe and reliable service that is there when they need it,” said Greg Gordon, TLC’s public affairs officer.

Mohammed Ghani, another yellow taxi driver stood outside Grand Central Station for passengers on Thursday morning shared his view that Manhattan should be left to the yellow cabs.. “They are putting the black cars parallel to the medallion cabs,” Ghani said. Singh and Ghani argue that Uber can work the airport drops and the other four boroughs like the green cabs. “The permit costs a million dollars. Nobody is listening to us here. It is just a money game for the city,” said 55-year-old Ghani, who estimates that he is losing as much as $100 a day because of Uber.

This is the first lawsuit that has been brought forth by frustrated medallion owners in New York and brings a battle to head that has been brewing for a while. More may be coming down the road.

    Source : NYCityLens

Beware of False I'm Spartacus.

During this religious season, it's time to reflect on the current crucifixion of the cab trade by TfL and if and how we can resurrect it.

We have had in previous years the infamous 'Last Supper' where against advice on here and elsewhere, some trade organisations and UNITE along with a collection of others with vested interest gave away the condition based system for an age limit.

The incredible thing is that unlike biblical times , the cab trade did not even receive their twenty pieces of silver!

We now have Caesar Johnson back for more, the same diners that attended the last supper will no doubt make a whinge of protest but as they have conceded the principle any such protest is doomed to fail.

Now we have Über running riot whilst Pontious Pilate Hendy washes his hands of responsibility and is seemingly more concerned denying licences for cab drivers of provable impeccable character and imposing real hardship on the innocent.

False Prophets?
So back to the resurrection, we've even had one 'Self-Ordained Messiah' from down under, arriving and leaving. Surely Messiahs come from up above?

We have the usual sooth sayers amongst us those that seem able to give us chapter and verse on the history of the cab trade but seemingly have no idea how to bring the trade back to life.

So have we hope and will our prayers be answered?

I have yet to meet that messiah, they may not even be amongst us.

Bless you all and keep looking.

Have a happy easter.

I'm Spartacus

Thursday, April 02, 2015

TfL's Chaotic Mismanagement Is Threatening The Ability Of Taxi Drivers, To Make A Living... Part 2: By Jim Thomas.

Open letter to Sir Peter Hendy TfL.

In 2009, even though a number of examiners were appalled, a convicted killer was allowed by TfL to sit Knowledge of London exams, despite claims he was a danger to the public.

Shamsul Haque, 38, a paranoid schizophrenic, who strangled his wife in 2000 was sentenced to indefinite detention under the Mental Health Act in January 2001, after admitting manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. However in 2009 TfL under the watchful eye of Sir Peter Hendy and LTPH director Ed Thompson, assumed he was a fit and proper person to drive a Licensed Taxi, as long as he carried on taking his medication (you really couldn't make this up)

Fast forward to 2012 Taxi Leaks exposed a story of a Mr M Hakizimana, 41, alleged by the UK Border Agency's War Crimes Unit, to have helped Hutu soldiers kill members of the Tutsi ethnic group during a million person genocide in 1994.

The Home office were aware of this man for a number of years and his past would have been flagged up on his CRB check. 

Yet again under Sir Peter Hendy's and LTPH Director John Mason's watch, this man was judged a fit and proper person to hold a Private Hire Licence. He was subsequently found by a national newspaper, working for an operator in East London. 

As far as we know he is still wanted for war crimes and also we believe is still driving a minicab.

A Taliban fighter in Dhani-Ghorri in northern Afghanistan told the Guardian he lived most of the time in east London, but came to Afghanistan for three months of the year for combat.

"I work as a minicab driver," said the man, who has the rank of a mid-level Taliban commander. "I make good money there [in the UK], you know.

These are just three of the worse cases, we believe there are many more. 

Claire's Story:
Yet a law abiding Licensed London Taxi driver, a single mum of previous good character, has been told by Helen Chapman she cannot work because TfL have not received a DBS check for her Licence renewal, sent off four months ago. 

TfL flatly refuse to issue temporary licenses, which used to be standard practise for TfL and the Met Police (for many decades) with no problems. But Sir Peter Hendy made a decision to stop the practise, saying it was a danger to public safety to issue temporary licenses to drivers of previous good character, waiting for renewals. His decision has plunged many drivers into financial crisis. 

Claire is just one many Licensed Taxi Drivers who have been made unemployed and unable to make a living, due solely to woefull incompetence and mismanagement of TfL.

This situation isn't right!
Why are the innocent being made to suffer?

Other than the RMT General Secretary's letter to the Home Office, our trade orgs have done nothing to rectify this situation.

Here are Claire's own words:

Hi Jim 
As you know I'm still waiting for my crb (DBS) to arrive and have now been out of work for over 4 weeks.

Helen chapman told me this is due to taxi drivers getting back their DBS checks with criminal records and is the reason I can't be issued a temp license.

So I'm now on JSA and they are currently paying me 72 quid a week.  My sky and mobile have been cut off and direct debits are bouncing all over my bank account.
This month, I will receive all the fines for last months bounced DD.

If the home office does get involved and make TfL issue us temporary licenses, would I be able to sue them for loss of earnings and make them pay all my bank charges and not forgetting the dirty letters threatening me with court action because I've not kept up with my council tax payments.


    Source: Daily Mail, Guardian, Evening Standard 

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Project Kipper...Padington, Enough's Enough!

        It's clearly marked, but never enforced.
No left or right turns into Paddington Station, except for Taxis. Yet when did you ever see a car or a minicab get a ticket for failing to observe a road sign?

Ever wondered why TfL and the Met Police openly discriminate against Taxi Drivers at Paddington?

It's mainly because we just take everything they throw at us. 

A flash Demo at the Bishops Bridge, Harrow Road round-about could gridlock the area for hours and affect the Heathrow Express.

If you fight, you may not always win!
But if you don't fight, you will always lose
(Bob Crow)

Police Chat At Paddington:
Listen to the excuse the Traffic Cop gives for penalising Taxis waiting to join the rank at Paddington!
He also gives an excuse as to why the police won't stop Minicabs ignoring the road signs. 

Don't think Douglas will be using Uber again!

Estimate £34-45 actual cost £64.32.
Who needs price surging, with routs like this one!

"There's a bit of traffic around Camden Town sir, so I'm going to take a detour....around Barking"

Letter To Editor : TfL's Response To Future Proof Report ?

Hello Jim
Have I missed this? I have not seen anything regarding the response from tfl to the report.
I have emailed ltda, lcdc, Caroline Pidgeon and tfl consultation but only reply so far from Caroline, anyway details as I sent them to Caroline
Recomendation 4 is an observation recomendation 13 is the one I am stuck on
Recommendation 4 regarding signage. I would like to point out that the stickers given out to private hire drivers changed a while ago a round the same time as uber came on the scene and the “pre booked sticker” now does not say pre booked only, just private hire. A coincidence I am sure but misleading to assembly report.


Recommendation 13 regarding bookings I am having difficulty in their answer to this question (maybe its just me!) but they give details on the particulars of private hire bookings. 


Particulars of private hire bookings

11. Before the commencement of each journey booked at an operating centre specified in his licence an operator shall enter the following particulars of the booking in the record referred to in regulation 10 –


(d) the main destination specified at the time of the booking;



They then go on to explain 


Regulation 11 (d) therefore only requires an operator to record “the main destination

specified at the time of the booking



That bit I understand but then what appears as a contradiction to me is 


and even then, only at the commencement of the journey, not at the time of the booking itself


So they have said it is a requirement to have a destination and then in the next sentence it changes to commencement of journey not at the time of the booking itself.


The requirements are clear and unambiguous.


The legal requirement to specify a destination is 11(d) yet they have added this other bit on making it ambiguous. They then go on to explain the purpose of the regulation, which is safety of the passenger and allows driver to plan route in advance.


How does not having a destination make it safer? If the driver does not know destination how can he plan route? How can operator give an accurate quote when they don’t know destination.



The issue of destination bookings will form part of the planned Regulations Review.


Having read the ph consultation I see this question comes up in question 7 


>Click Here For PH Consultations<


7 In particular do you consider it necessary to make it mandatory for an operator to record the main destination for every booking made before the commencement of each journey? Please explain why and how this could be enforced effectively.

Don't know 



It does not give you an opportunity to explain why this is important. Another coincidence perhaps. I have sent an email to them in the hope of rectifying this.

       Sign at Hommerton Station lifting the spirits of passengers :)

TfL's Chaotic Mismanagement Is Threatening The Ability Of Taxi Drivers, To Make A Living... By Jim Thomas.

Driver Renewal Chaos
In January 2014, Taxi Leaks received news that many drivers were being refused the right to earn a living, after transport commissioner Sir Peter Hendy took it upon himself to revoke the traditional issue of temporary licenses and due to the CRB/DBS responsibility change, an enormous backlog of over 30,000 TPH renewals had built up. 

In May 2014, I wrote to Sir Peter Hendy and asked him politely to reconsider, copying in my MP and a selection of Assembly Members who had shown interest in TfLs running of Taxis and Private Hire.

I received a negative reply from Leon Daniels on behalf of Peter Hendy, stating TfL's reason for scrapping temporary licenses being that some minicab drivers had received convictions for supplying class A drugs, whilst awaiting renewals in the past. 

In June 2014 I wrote again, this time pointing out that in the Transport Act 1985 sec 17(7), it clearly states that if a driver has submitted a licence renewal before the old licence has expired, then the old licence remains valid until the new licence is received.

Another three months passed before Leon Daniels replied again, this time accepting the relevance of the Transport Act 17(7). 

Unfortunately, the reply came with the caveat that section 17(7) only applies if a positive DBS check has been received by TfL. Otherwise, the driver would (in their opinion) be unlicensed and unable to work. 

My own personal opinion differs to Leon's. As the act clearly states your old licence is valid until you receive a renewal or notification that your licence has been revoked, TfL are a licensing authority and as such they are not law makers.  
To clear this issue up once and for all, I asked the branch secretary of the RMT to seek legal opinion on the caveat contained in Leon Daniels' letter. 

I have now been informed by the RMT Legal Dept, that TfL will have an argument that an application is incomplete if all aspects of the renewal have not been received (including DBS). 

A driver would therefore be unlicensed and uninsured if he/she continued to work under these circumstances. 

When asked, the same advice was recently given out by the LTDA on its Twitter feed.

TFL state that allowing people to work without a current DBS check places the public at risk, yet their processes are so slow that the DBS is four months old when the licence is issued! 

So by trying to avoid one imagined risk, they have created another.

No meaningful risk assessment could conclude that drivers of established previous good character (some over many decades) place the public at any significant risk.

We contrast this with the acceptance by TfL without question so called 'certificates of good conduct' from some of the most corrupt and dysfunctional governments on earth when issuing licences to PH.

This discriminatory treatment against citizens of impeccable character is outrageous and scandalous.

The RMT has written to the Home Office on behalf of the Taxi trade, demanding urgent action to bring this mess to a conclusion.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said of TfL:
"This chaotic mismanagement is threatening the ability of members to make a living." 
He went on to say:
"This intolerable situation cannot be allowed to continue and requires urgent action as set out in the RMT's letter to the Home Office."

The RMT will also be insisting that the DBS hire more staff and responsibility for administering taxi drivers criminal records check's must revert back to TfL.

The simple common sense solution would be for Sir Peter to reintroduce temporary licenses. Especially as we are about to see the re-emergence of counter services at 230 Blackfriars Road.

But as we all know to our cost, TfL don't do simple common sense.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Update On Uber's Hacked London Customer Accounts

On Friday, The news broke that fully functioning Uber accounts were for sale on the dark web. Today, it appears that some people have fallen victim to fraudulent trips being made with their login credentials.

“It happened this morning,” Phil Turner, an apparent victim, told me in an email. “I got a notification on my phone from Uber saying 'your taxi was on its way/it arrived' etc., but thought it must be a glitch of the app.”

It wasn’t. Instead, Turner says he was told by an Uber representative that “I've checked your account details and it looks like someone has accessed your account illegitimately. We believe that your email account may have been hacked as access was gained to your account by sending a password reset link to your email.” The representative then changed his password, sent him the new one, and suggested that he change it again himself, as well as the password on his email account.

In a statement issued following the initial news of stolen accounts being for sale, Uber said that it had found no evidence of a breach. The company told The Hill that the accounts for sale were unrelated ​to ​a 2014 hack.

Other people are taking to Twitter to complain about their Uber account being accessed, too.

A man named Elliott posted, “Would love an explanation as to why my Uber account has been hacked w/fraudulent trips being made!!” He then tweeted that he hasn’t received a response from Uber in 48 hours.

Another apparent victim, Matthew Warriner, asked Uber “still no response?? My account has been hacked and money taken off my card. I expect someone to be in touch asap,” and a third asked for the Uber UK contact number after also complaining of a hack.

Uber are reportedly issuing some victims with refunds. “My account has been used, definitely,” David McGlashan tweeted. “Uber have refunded the journeys, eventually.”

Although the refund took between 24 and 48 hours, McGlashan feels that Uber only responded to him because “there were so many people” that had contacted the company about the hacking.

Last Friday afternoon, McGlashan received a text from Uber along with a new verification code which he hadn’t requested. He was then unable to access his account, meaning that someone presumably had taken over it and changed the password. 

“The customer service is shocking,” McGlashan said, adding that Uber apparently said the account locked due to him “messing up the verification code.” 

On Saturday, McGlashan checked in with his bank, and there were four pending transactions to Uber. Once getting back into his Uber account, several journeys had been made in West London, in the Uxbridge area.

"Just Aguy", a user of the​ uberpeople forum said, “The only Twitter complaints seem to be from London account holders”.

On Friday when the story first broke, the Uber accounts were being sold for as little as $1. One of the vendors, Courvoisier, has now increased his price to $4.48, still undercutting the other main vendor, ThinkingForward, who is selling them off for $5.

    Source MotheBoard

TFL Consultation, & The Lollipop Trick. By Semtex.

Folks, as we have seen, Transport For London have initiated a public consultation, to apparently cast a net of concern and wider opinion, on how the mini cab trade should be managed.

Although I have responded, and as indeed our staunch friend Sparticus has sensibly advised us to do with caution, my personal and honest views on this Civil Service Bullshit is clouded with cynical scepticism.

Not only that, reading through the document, I find it incredibly patronising and can assure you that whatever the final outcome is, nothing will change the situation as us London Taxi drivers see it, night after night.
It is drafted as though somebody had just thought up a "mini cab service" in the capital, and TFL, unsure of what they should do, are requesting ideas of how it should be perceived to run ! That isn't probably too far from the truth actually !
As my closer colleagues indeed know, I have served with the Civil Service, to quite a senior level of command. And I can tell you, it is unfaithful, perfidious shite such as this, that eventually forced me to leave, and return to a more rational and authentic world.

When I was on the recruitment stage of joining, we had to attend a selection centre in a hotel not far from Gatwick.

As I say, it was not only a specialist section of the civil service, but a pioneering one too. It is fair to say then, that most of the applicants were of a mature-ish age and all had obvious life experiences. Ex coppers, ex military, ex commercial and corporate specialists, etc. Without blowing my own trumpet, I was proud to get as far as I did at this stage, as the 3000 applicants had been wittled down to 120 for 12 appointments.
Not only that, my life experiences in the military were of the prehistoric order of, if you can't do it, then bollox, your'e no good to us ! That's the sort of selection process I had been mainly used to, for most of my life !
So picture the scene then. I'm suited and booted, boned up for two months previously on what I thought I needed to know, and attend the hotel at Gatwick, hoping I'm one of the chosen ones.

After about 20 minutes, we are called into a room. We are split into groups of 10, told to sit in a circle, and for the first part of the "test", we are asked to try to guess the Christian name of the person sitting on our immediate right !! WTF !!!

I'm 45 years old on this day, married, 4 adult children and a 100 grand mortgage to pay for !! I'd previously spent 18 years deciding whether I would be correct both morally and legally to kill somebody in my cross hairs or not, and I find myself in this ludicrous situation in a hotel at Gatwick, currently resembling the Happy Little Monsters Playgroup School !
You think I'm joking don't you ? Well read on, there's more. Out of pure embarrassment, I guess the geezer next to me to be Peter or something, I cant remember. Anyway, we have to write it down on a bit of paper. We hand the paper in to the muppet taking the "exam" and he looks at them. We are then instructed to reveal our true names by showing the name badges that we were issued with on entry to the venue. If I thought I was embarrassed earlier, how embarrassed do you think I was when the "leader" announces that four of us in the room correctly guessed the person's name sitting next to them. 


To make it worse, the four of us had to stand up, whilst the others clapped at our apparent David Blayne powers !!  How much of a prick do you think I felt, for standing up and taking applause for that ? Don't get bored with me yet, please !! There is more to come, it is relevant ,and I am getting to the point !
Now, don't get me wrong, I am all for a little ice breaker when groups of people meet up for the first time. Have a laugh, a bit of team work and all that. It gets the pace going. But throughout my service with senior civil service (I got the job by the way) this role play bollox is not only rife, but is the foundation and yardstick on how candidates are selected, progressed and trained through the civil service system.

It is worth mentioning, that I adored the actual job itself. The role was important, safety critical and dangerous, but I loved it. But the shite that the system demands to "propel" professional standards these days, is a complete and utter nonsense. It is silly, ineffective, demeaning, embarrassing and utter bollox.
When I was completing my training at The Guards Depot in Pirbright, you either got over the wall with full kit on carrying a machine gun.........or you didn't !  End of story. No ifs, no buts no if onlys. You either got over the wall and progressed...... or you were home on the next train tomorrow. There are plenty of ex Guardsmen in our cab trade that will confirm this, just you ask them.
Anyway and I swear on my kids lives, a few weeks into the training, we were split into groups of three. The winning team of the day were actually given a lollipop each !  Yes, you read that right....a lollypop. One of those hard boiled sweet things on the end of a stick with a wrapper on it. Teams used to sulk if they didn't get one ! On my kid's lives....honestly, that is the truth ! 
They got the hump cos they missed out on the lollypop !! 

The Training Supervisor used to walk in with this jar of lollypops in the morning, smirking with his power, as if the jar had the Turin Shroud stuffed in it ! You could actually hear other members of this mature training squad saying things like " we get the lollies tonight, pal !" WTF ! We were nearly all 50 years old for fux sake !!
Now, I am going to tell you something that you may find amazing. I am going to tell you something, that makes this Consultation paper that TFL have issued, more relevant. This will come as even more of a surprise to my 25000 self employed, self motivated, sole decision making, professional London Taxi driver colleagues, who have to think on their feet and make decisions daily.
This bullshit and bollox that the Civil Service use for recruitment, appointment, progress and training.............ACTUALLY WORKS !!
IT ACTUALLY EFFING WORKS, FOLKS !!!    Unless you are me of course, or three or four of my civil service colleagues who were ex job from Firearms or other units, who could see straight through this juvenile, immature, short focused twaddle. IT ACTUALLY WORKS.
Now, with this inside information from me, your colleague Semtex, I urge you to take anything and everything that City Hall and TFL tell you, with a shovel full of salt. These "exercises" of nonsense, are designed and mapped by Civil Service spinners, to give the illusion of the aforementioned authorities, taking notice and actually wanting to improve things. 

THEY DONT ! The agenda was set 15 years ago when these lollypop merchants took over ! It a ruse, a ploy and corporate deceit. These monkeys know only too well that consultations like this have to be replied to, negotiated on, drafted on and acted on. And you know what that takes don't you ? Of course !..............TIME !!  And funnily enough, guess what the London Cab Trade HAVEN'T got ?  Yes, you've guessed it ! TIME !!
Their brief is : Give these nuisances something to get their teeth into They love the sound of their own speil. They will get stuck into this and fight over it between themselves. Soon as they take their eye off us and onto trying to have us over on this paper, start dismantling their trade behind their backs. In other words......Give them a lollypop !
All the while we are democratically conforming to the consultation, meeting up to discuss progress, meeting up to discuss the finer points.........barristers, advisors, commissioners and consultants working for the Men Who Have Come To Kill Us, are dismantling our trade to a point whereby our bridges back to safety have been blown up behind us.
Trust me, this consultation is more about shutting our trade up for the time being, than what they really want to do with mini cabs.
Remember The Cabby's Cabinet ? 
Remember The London Olympics ? 
Remember The Safer Transport Command? 
Remember The Sattellite Consultation?   
Yes, so do I.
Each and every one of them total bollox, deceit, worthless to us and crippling to our trade, and a blinding way to give TFL more time to shaft us.
Reading through this latest plan to stall us, one question on the consultation riled me more than many of the others. I quote it:
22 Do you consider that TfL should introduce a requirement for private hire driver applicants to be able to speak English to a certain standard? If so, what should this requirement be and what criteria should we set to determine how applicants meet this criteria? 
Single choice radio buttons  
To facilitate the provision of safe travel for those attending nightclubs and other late night entertainment venues, TfL has allowed private hire operating centres to be licensed for such venues.
There have been cases in which operators’ staff have accepted bookings and touted (approaching prospective customers) outside venues. TfL receive a number of complaints about PHVs parking and waiting in the vicinity of operating centres, particularly late at night.

Customers are typically unaware of the need for a PHV to be booked at an operating centre, and touting has occurred as they approach drivers outside venues as if they were offering a taxi service.

Since the 2010 Private Hire Consultation, TfL has introduced a number of additional requirements for operators particularly those operating from shared premises. These include a requirement for operating centres within shared premises to have a designated booking area and for operators to obtain the appropriate local authority planning consent.

13 What are your views on current arrangements for regulation of in-venue operators and how they may be improved? 
For almost 400 years, London have had a proud and iconic Taxi Service, known and respected in every corner of the globe. For centuries, we have driven the public, sportsmen and women, film stars, personalities, business people, clubbers, revellers, professionals, diplomats, and even their destinations in safety, comfort, skill and elite professionalism !
So why then do these two bob, crafty, manipulating, untrustworthy, lolly pop administering snides at TFL and City Hall, want to replace us with non-English Speaking, untrained, unaccountable, dangerous imposters ?
I will tell you. They are worth more money to them than we are. they are easier to control by virtue that most of them have so much to hide, that they daren't rock the boat and demand anything.  As a result, min cab drivers and operators will by their sheer numbers put financial bonuses in the pockets of the hierarchy who license them.
As Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo said to Don Corleone after he did his best to kill him. "Its only business, Vito. You know that, don't you?".
Fortunately for the proud and established Corleone family, they had the moral fibre and spunk to come back and get their retribution.
I wonder if we will ?............We shall have to wait and see, wont we?
Stay safe all. Be lucky, and for those like myself who believe in him....God bless.
8829 Semtex.