Saturday, May 02, 2015

The Fight We've All Been Waiting For....Will You Answer The Call.

   Lest We Forget.

Later this week, licensed taxis will be taking the Arnhem veterans to Holland.


This dwindling band of heroes reminds us, 

"If you want the rule of law you must fight for it".

I wonder now whether those brave souls and millions of others would repeate their sacrifices that defeated one kind of fascism, only to be replaced by another from multi national corporations?

We now have correspondence between TfL, GMB and others that indicates they intend to do nothing.

Read it for yourself: >Click Here<

We therefore must join together in a campaign that makes this woefully inadequate authority sit up.

We owe it to ourselves and more importantly to those frail but immensely proud group honouring their fallen comrades who never came back.

We must never never never give up.

Will YOU answer their call when it comes?

Or will you expect others to do it for you?








Uber Is Breaking The Law To The Tune of $40 Billion Dollars

 by 


Like many entrepreneurs, I began my business 12 years ago with nothing more than 300 square feet and a dream.  Today, I employ more than 120 people in a fast-growing PR Agency, but it certainly did not happen easily, and I have been  forced to understand and rise above the many challenges of building a business.  In addition to the myriad of obvious issues, from human resources to software licensing, there are government regulations that businesses need to deal with – on local, state and federal levels. The government ones are the trickiest, whereas if businesses do not follow them, they will be fined, dragged into court or shut down.

For example, there is a New York City Department of Health (DOH) bill which requires small businesses to give its employees at least five sick days a year; patently absurd. Business owners must provide multilingual written notices to all employees, and if the DOH finds that an employer fired a worker for being sick too often, the employee can be compensated for at least $5,000 as well as receive benefits – “including reinstatement and promotion.” There are astronomical 50% taxes – and countless rules and regulations.

Business owners must follow the law, they get fined, closed or even worse, criminal prosecution and jail time.  At the very least, noncompliant business owners get ostracized.

Given these rather obvious facts, how is it that one of the “sexiest” American companies, now valued at $40 Billion, simply ignores, even breaks the law and still operates without much impairment?  How can Uber’s business plan be predicated upon breaking the law, yet win awards and be allowed to continue being rewarded with piles of cash from investors?

Uber’s latest law-breaking activities come in Portland, Oregon, where the Mayor of Portland has said the city would not be “stampeded” by Uber until it follows local regulations.  As Mayor Hales noted, “Governments must ensure the safety of everyone, while making sure that companies are responsibly serving their customers and our residents.” While there are many areas over government over-regulation, safety and security of the people are indeed the areas that Government was intended to provide.  Yet this mega-company ignored the cease-and-desist order issued by the Portland Bureau of Transportation, and still sends livery drivers to pick up customers while it awaits a hearing in the U.S. District Court in Portland.  It is a rogue operation illegally taking fares and transporting people in many of America’s largest cities.

Here in New York, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has shockingly taken a stand in favor of these rogue app companies that dispatch drivers and vehicles, hire and pay drivers, and collect money from passengers, yet do not follow the same rules as New York’s own regulated taxis and car services.  (Who ever heard of an AG seeking less oversight?) Schneiderman pursues AirbnB so vigorously, which he believes puts the public at risk and ignores hospitality regulations, yet he placates taxi apps from these rogue companies without seeing the irony of it all.

From Arizona to Nevada, Columbia, Spain & Thailand, Uber operates illegally, and is banned in many countries.  Its business model seems to be to break the law, and operate with impunity.

What happens when someone is injured in one of its cars? A woman was just raped by an Uber driver in India, and New Delhi banned them; the country of India is now considering a national ban.  Uber has had so many safety issues and operational violations, and still, venture capitalists keep throwing money at it while financial regulators do nothing to stop them from doing so.  Where exactly is protection of the public?

As Time Magazine noted, “The Company has fought efforts in Chicago, Arizona, California, and elsewhere to make Uber submit to the same background check and drug-testing rules that conventional taxis are required to follow.”  Asking Uber drivers to submit to the same security checks that locally regulated drivers do, and to have cars meet the same level of inspection are a basic safety measure.  Those protect the passenger; why is Uber allowed to ignore these?

Anyone in any business may not like the rules, but we all understand that we need to follow them or face the consequences.  If Uber breaks the law, and puts the public in harm’s way, it must be punished; even if it is worth $40 Billion dollars. If, indeed these laws are wrong then law-abiding companies can lobby and work within the system to clarify or modify the rules for the whole industry, not just to benefit one company.

Actor Wesley Snipes ignored taxes because of his “ideologies” and ended up in prison.  Uber does not believe in rules, yet no one is charged with a crime and its valuation keeps increasing.  Explain that one!


Friday, May 01, 2015

Mayfair Mob Make Moves To Get Back Our Work. #Starveascab.



After a fantastic campaign by night men, to get back and retain work from establishments in the West End, it appears the efforts of a group of drivers calling themselves the Mayfair mod are starting to pay off. 

This group have been regularly tweeting information regarding the servicing of the new ranks appointed (kerbside) outside The Japanese restaurant Hakkasan in Bruton Street and popular night spot Novikov's.

Drivers from the Mayfair mob have been showing a constant presence and it has now paid off, as customer now show a preference for licensed Taxis as apposed to a licensed or unlicensed tout.

As predicted, the disgruntled touts have tried to fight back by parking on the rank. Some will move off if approached, but for the more persistent offender, cabbies have armed themselves with windscreen stickers, similar to the ones used by wheel-clampers.


The licensed touts have become paranoid at having their photo taken, as you can see in the video below.

Unfortunately, the police have shown no interest in supporting London's Licensed Cabbies (there's a surprise) and of course TfL's compliance teams or cab enforcement units are nowhere to be seen in the area. 

Drivers who phone the non emergency number 101, are fobbed off with; 
"it's Westminster Parking's problem, not ours". 
And of course, Westminster Parking's 24 hour hot line has been reduced to office hours only (9am till 5pm).

Therefore, we suggest that if you want to phone the police, use the 999 number, as a record of the call is logged. This doesn't happen with 101 non emergency calls, so no statistics kept. 

When you call, you should report: 
A wilful obstruction of the highway under section 137 of the Highways Act 1980 is in progress and is denying your right to work, which is a criminal offence not a parking matter. 

Your should then request that an officer attends the scene.








#SackBoris Campaigners To File High Court Challenge If Boris Wins UxBridge Seat.

Activists argue Mr Johnson cannot legally sit in the House of Commons while being London mayor

    

Campaigners calling for Boris Johnson to be sacked plan to file a High Court challenge if he's elected into parliament.

Activists have launched an online petition arguing that Mr Johnson cannot legally become an MP while heading the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC).

The MOPAC position, which London mayors now automatically assume, is the capital's equivalent of a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elsewhere in England and Wales, as stated on the Greater London Authority (GLA) website.

Under section 67 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (PRSRA), a person becomes disqualified from being a PCC upon being elected into the House of Commons.

However, this rule does not apply for the head of the MOPAC.

An Electoral Commission spokesperson said: “There is no disqualification from being the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (which is synonymous with being the mayor of London) and an MP.”

The petitioners believe this is an anomaly that needs challenging and have sought legal advice from experts at Kings View Chambers, in King's Cross.

Joint head of chambers Stephen McCaffrey said: “If the principle is right that someone holding the office of Police and Crime Commissioner is disqualified from holding the office of MP, why is there no such similar provision for the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime?

“The law as it currently stands is entirely arbitrary and in my view inconsistent.”

He added: “Whilst ultimately it is a matter for the people and their representatives whether they want this anomaly to remain, there is a proper basis for this statutory inconsistency to be reviewed in the High Court or beyond.”

If a judge agrees with the petitioners' analysis, this could be used to put pressure on parliament to change existing legislation, such that a London mayor could no longer also be an MP.

Mr McCaffrey, who said his firm would represent the petitioners in court if asked, said he believed it was "highly likely" the High Court would agree with the campaigners' position.

He added: “No one seems to be disagreeing that the mayor's office seems to be not included as a disqualification for running for MP.

"Ken Livingstone did the same thing, so clearly no one's disagreeing.

"The question is whether parliament wants to stand by that and confirm it as an anomaly that they want and explain it, or whether someone wants to review it because it was either unintended or they've decided now that it's not an anomaly that they want.”

The petition had gathered 470 signatures by 10am on Thursday (April 30).

It is being supported by the organisations Occupy Democracy, The People's Assembly, People Before Profit, Climate Revolution, Cabbies Against Boris, Campaign for Air Pollution Public Inquiry and Justice Now – a website headed by independent rival election candidate Michael Doherty. 

The petitioners are calling for Mr Johnson to either stand down as London mayor or withdraw his application as a prospective parliamentary candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip ahead of the General Election.

Dave Davies, one of the organisers of the #sackboris campaign, said: “The rules are in place to prevent someone in public office having an unfair and improper advantage as a result of holding that public office.

“Boris Johnson has had a clear and unfair improper advantage in his election campaign because he is mayor of London.

“A High Court ruling will expose his disregard for the principal of the disqualification rules and it is hoped that action would then be taken so that he is no longer able to hold public office as an MP or mayor at the same time.”

The first PCCs were elected in 2012, responsible for holding police forces to account, setting out budgets and communicating with local communities.

The MOPAC was created under the same legislation and so no London mayor heading the body has ever served simultaneously as an MP.

Ken Livingstone served as MP for Brent East while also being London mayor, but this was before the MOPAC existed.

A spokesperson for the MOPAC said: “There is no police and crime commissioner for London.

"The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime is the strategic oversight body for the Metropolitan Police Service.

“The legislation surrounding MOPAC is unique, and restrictions on PCCs explicitly only apply to them. They do not apply to MOPAC or the mayor of London.”

        Source : Get West London

   


    




 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

WHO GUARDS THE GUARDS AT UBER?...Sean Day

When you download Uber's app and get into a car summoned on demand via a smart phone reservation system, by default you agree to a litany of terms and conditions. When you agree to these very stringent terms, you basically sign your life away, consumer advocates say. So then, what happens when a driver hits you on the head with a hammer, as one passenger claims, or fatally knocking down a 6 year old girl?

Uber is a so-called ride-sharing service that puts potential drivers through their own background check so that they can become an impromptu taxi driver using their own car and Uber's tech & taximeter. The truth is- as evidenced by the intelligent girl I spoke with on the radio- people don't know what they're getting into when they get in to an Uber car, nor do they know what they're getting into when they download the app

Uber's terms and conditions are a way for the company to absolve itself of any liability in cases of injury or accident and to avoid responsibility for a driver's actions. It completely covers themselves by saying they are not responsible for anything that happens to you, the consumer. You can be raped, you can be abused, in fact, you can be murdered, and it's categorically not Uber’s responsibility.

When asked about the protections Uber offers passengers, a spokesperson refers to it’s webpage on safety. Uber PR herald the service as being ultra-safe. However, Uber's statements on safety are antithetical to its terms and conditions. In fact, It's so duplicitous that it should be considered fraudulent. They do not in any way seek to warrant that their product is safe. They put it right there in unambiguous terminology

 The fine print of Uber terms clearly says that “passengers accept a risk by using the service. You understand, therefore, that by using the application and the service, you may be exposed to transportation that is potentially dangerous, offensive, harmful to minors, unsafe or otherwise objectionable," Uber's terms and conditions read, "and that you use the application and the service at your own risk."

What is of upmost importance to me is that TfL refer Private Hire impropriety back to the PH Operator. Absurd in itself. But, considering TFL have granted Uber a private hire operators license, and considering Uber make it blatantly clear that they accept no liability whatsoever for the driver’s behaviour, then who is responsible? Conclusively, they can only be regarded as a Public Hire service. So, compliance is a matter for arbitrament re: the ‘Conditions of Fitness’ 



Full support from the French, Itanian and German colleagues, but will we get support from the LTDA, LCDC, Unite and the RMT?





Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Heated row over banning of taxi drivers’ shorts.

TAXI drivers are getting hot under the collar after new guidelines barring them from wearing shorts are set to come into force within days


A petition, which has more than 500 signatures, has been launched against Denbighshire Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver Dress Code which will prevent drivers wearing shorts of any kind.


Taxi driver David Lloyd, aged 44, who works for Leddens Taxis, launched the petition which has been signed by members of the public and other taxi drivers.


He said: “They have gone too far. Women can wear skirts below the knee but men are not able to wear shorts below the knee.

“There is no harm in it. We are only trying to keep cool.”



Mr Lloyd, who has been a taxi driver for six years, said during the summer months temperatures in cabs can reach upwards of 30 degrees celsius.


The new guidelines were approved by Denbighshire Council’ s Licensing Committee in March and the new dress code will come into force on Friday.


The original proposals were to allow shorts, if tailored and to the knee or below, but an amendment proposed by Prestatyn councillor Hugh Irving during the meeting changed the guidelines to “no shorts may be worn”.


It passed as some committee members felt ‘wearing shorts did not convey a professional image’.


Rhyl resident, Mr Lloyd, added: “We are talking about wearing tailored or three-quarter length shorts, not short shorts. It gets very hot in the summer and shorts are vital to help us keep cool. Not all cabs have air conditioning. It is an infringement of our human rights.


“Some drivers are sat waiting for a job for an hour, it is not fair they can’t keep cool in their working environment. I would like the council to re-think this and put some consideration into what people go through.

A report to March’s committee meeting said: “In addition to the written consultation with all licence holders, officers arranged a workshop session and invited all licence holders.


“Out of approximately 400 licensees, six attended the workshop session.

“All licence holders that attended were fully engaged and their contribution was valued by officers.


“The views and comments made by licence holders have been fully considered and where it was felt necessary to amend the proposed dress code, the decision to amend was, in most cases, taken unanimously.”


During the meeting councillors Joan Butterfield and Bill Cowie voted against the amendment.

What do you think of the new guidelines?


    source: News North Wales.

Sir Peter Hendy, Forced To Apologise : Train Crew Staff " Gestapo" Says TfL Boss.

RMT hits back at "Gestapo" jibe as Peter Hendy is forced to apologise for calling services "sh*t".

General Secretary Mick Cash said

"Sir Peter Hendy's expletive driven comments were clearly a cynical attempt to drag commuter rail services into the TFL operation at a time when his own cuts programme has reduced the tube services he is responsible for to chaos on a regular basis. 

"Train crew staff were also disgusted that Sir Peter Hendy described them as "Gestapo". We are still waiting for an apology for that outrageous slur. 

"The fact is that it is privatisation and profiteering that has wrecked our train services and the transport commissioner should recognise that hard truth before he resorts to chucking insults at RMT members. "

Ends.

News Extra: ITV News.

Mr Hendy has written to David Brown, chief executive of the Go-Ahead Group, and David Statham, managing director, to apologise to all employees for the remarks.

I am quoted in Management Today being offensive about Southeastern trains and its staff. My comment is unjustified and excessive and I apologise.

I know everyone there is doing their best to offer a good service in the context of the franchise you have and the infrastructure you operate on.

If there is a context, the interview was several weeks ago during the worst of the issues at London Bridge. But that's not an excuse. Passion is no excuse for insult. Sorry

– SIR PETER HENDY, TFL COMMISSIONER

Funny though, Sir Peter never mention the word Gestapo in his apology. He made a good point saying Passion is no excuse for insult. Let's hope he remembers this, next time he attends City Hall inquiry. 

Editorial Comment: 

So, it's a case of don't do as I do, do as I say.

Hendy, the man who appeared to be greatly offended, when at City Hall he inferred he was being referred to as corrupt by "a few bad Taxi drivers", has hypocritically referred to Train Workers as "Gestapo". 

Although Hendy apologised for calling the train service Sh*t, the offended workers are still waiting for an apology over this outrageous slur.

Hendy who was outed last year over the adulterous use of an online prostitute. After news paper articles about the affair, Hendy appeared on the Nick Ferrari LBC radio show, where he stated he was "no ones moral compass". This latest outburst would add credence to that statement.

In a joint venture, both Taxi and Private Hire drivers will shortly be calling for Hendy's resignation, after allegations that the TfL transport commissioner has failed to protect the public from services that do not conform to Taxi and Private Hire regulation.

There have been more demonstrations by Taxi drivers since Hendy took over as commisioner in charge of Taxis Licensing, than in the previous 335 years of the Hackney Carriage Charter.




Tuesday, April 28, 2015

London minicab driver accused of making bomb that killed US soldier in Iraq


A minicab driver who has been living in northwest London for the past eight years was “directly involved” in making a bomb which killed a American sergeant on patrol in Iraq in 2007, a court was told.

Anis Abid Sardar, 38, from Wembley, is accused of the murder of Sergeant First Class Randy Johnson, who was killed while on duty in Iraq in September 2007.

Mr Sardar was said to be “directly involved in making bombs for use in Iraq during 2007” but was probably based across the border in Damascus in Syria.

Prosecutors claim that Sardar made several bombs before his return to the UK in November 2007. His passport on arrival at Heathrow airport on November 22 showed he had passed through Damascus Airport three days earlier.



Earlier, he had contacted the British embassy in Damascus to seek a new British passport as he claimed he had lost his original one.


Sardar said he had travelled to Syria to learn Arabic.  When his home in North London was searched by police before his arrest last September, they found books suggesting an 'advanced understanding of Arabic' as well as an Arabic language bomb-making manual.


Opening his case at Woolwich Crown Court, prosecutor Max Hill said: 'This is an unusual trial, in that almost all of the evidence you will hear and see comes from Iraq.


'The offences, we say, are the most serious imaginable, and the British link is the fact that the defendant, a British citizen, lives and works here.

For that reason, it is lawful to place him on trial in London, even though the activities you will hear about too place far away in Iraq'. 



Read full article here : 
>Click Here<




Results of our FOI requests about TfLs revenue from Uber and PH advertising.


Our top researcher has made an FOI request, to find out how much money TfL made by advertising Uber in the short time their advert ran on TfL websites.

We have been informed that the Uber campaign started on 8th August 2014. After complaints, the ads were removed from all Taxi and Private Hire sections of the TfL network Web pages, on the 25th November 2014. In that time, TfL received £340.44 in income from Uber.

The next part of our FOI request was jaw dropping stuff. 

We asked how much TfL were paid in advertising revenue in the last financial year by other Private Hire Companies. 
We have been informed TfL received  78,044 from a total of 11 advertisers. 


We were also informed that the majority of the money came from advertising on bus shelters and round-about small boards. 

TfL say they received a total of £2044 from Billboards advertising Private Hire companies on the red rout network.


                       UBER FRAUD! 

                 


'We are all in this together' by I'm Spartacus

Apparently one taxi trade organisation and possibly others are pushing the idea that we should be amending out fare structure, it's rumoured that proposals include:

The abolition of Rate 2, Rate 3 after midnight only and low fixed fares to LAP.

So instead of campaigning to rid the streets of pirates whose cost base we could never compete with and whose business models are propped up by Tax Credits and Housing Benefit and non domiciled operators.

It has been decided without consulting any of the subscription paying membership that the race to the bottom is the way to go. 

TfL will soon be expecting us to find somewhere North of 50K for a ULEZ compliant cab that will no doubt be advertised in their trade rag!

Well in the sprit of the headline, transparency and yes good old fair play, these people need to declare their interests as follows:

1. How much they are paid either in salary or stand down pay from their involvement in cab trade matters?

2. If they enjoy free or favourable rates for cab rental, insurance or service work?

3. Any other benefits such as health care, income protection etc?

Anyone who decides on my behalf to volunteer to reduce me and my families pay rate had better be squeaky clean on each and every item and be prepared to publicly publish audited figures.

After all that's what my Taximeter does, not a penny more or less, no doubt these 'Chuck away Charlie's' will be reducing their organisations subs, stand down pay and of course getting us reduced insurance, road tax, cab rental to soften the blow they are advocating.

After all Fares Fair!

Don't hold your breath. 

I'm Spartacus 


Editorial Comment:
Reducing our rate will not bring back the work.
It will just mean drivers will be working the same hours, doing the same jobs, for less money.

Our trades return to a more stable working environment can only be achieved through TfL carrying out their statutory enforcement obligations as laid down by parliamentary. 
At present TfL have been found by a GLA inquiry to be woefully inadequate and have reduced the Taxi and Private Hire industries to a free for all, by operating a blind eye policy towards the licensing and enforcement of new incumbents.

Mayor Boris Johnson said we need to up our game....really?

We are the gold standard world renowned Taxi service, voted the best Taxi Service in the world fir the past seven years. 

Drivers have to go through the most gruelling entrance process ever devised for a day to day job. 

We drive purpose built fully disabled compatible vehicles—wheelchair ramps, integrated hearing loops, brightly coloured handles etc—which prove to be the safest passenger vehicles on London's roads.

Every driver is accountable in person to the licensing authority and identifiable through vehicle registration, TfL vehicle licence plate, driver identification badges, clearly displayed in both front and rear windows and the driver wears a uniquely numbered metal badge. 

Our prices are approved and controlled by parliament and every drivers carries full hire and reward lability insurance. Also, every driver speaks English, has been cleared by DBS criminal records check, plus every driver has satisfied the licensing authority that he/she are a fit and proper person to hold a Hackney Carriage Licence.

Our technology includes radio vehicle identifiable dispatch, and we have a number of smart phone apps. One particular smart phone app is currently years ahead of any competitor.

The Mayor rides a bike!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Montreal taxi bureau has seized 40 UberX vehicles

Montreal's taxi bureau is ramping up its fight against UberX, the car-sharing app which allows drivers without a taxi licence to offer rides in the city.

Alain Rochon, general manager of the Montreal taxi bureau, said his association has seized 40 vehicles used by UberX drivers since mid-February with the help of Montreal police.

"UberX is illegal and it's being monitored by the Montreal Taxi bureau," Rochon said Monday.

"For the past few weeks, we've been intervening."

Mayor Denis Coderre and the Quebec government have called the service illegal.

But UberX continues to operate in Montreal, and company officials say they intend to fight every vehicle seizure in court.

The introduction of UberX to Montreal has been a hotly debated topic at the municipal and provincial level, with cab drivers arguing the service is compromising their ability to make a living.

The company has asked the province to make clear rules about car sharing. 

Seizures a waste of money, Uber says

Jean-Nicolas Guillemette of Uber Quebec said the vehicle seizures are a waste of time taxpayer money.

"What is happening is you have bylaw officers from the taxi bureau who have to call a police officer," Guillemette said.

"It takes time and it costs a lot of taxpayers money trying to fight it."

He said the company plans to continue to meet with elected officials to find common ground.

"I think Montreal and the taxi bureau will benefit by sitting down with us and creating a new regulatory framework, making sure we offer what the population wants."

Province opposed

Quebec Transport Minister Robert Poëti said the government is open to an agreement with Uber, which uses licensed taxi drivers, but not the UberX service, which doesn't require a taxi licence.

"With UberX, it's totally illegal right now and when you do something illegal in front of the law, you could have a few problems and seizing the car is one of the possibilities," Poëti said.

Uber says its UberX service costs users between 20 and 30 per cent less than a standard cab fare.

The company takes 20 per cent of the fare, leaving the rest to the driver.

Users' credit cards are automatically charged through the app — tip included — meaning no cash exchanges hands.

Such trips are not eligible under the insurance plans that cover licensed taxi rides, and opponents describe this as only one among many safety risks associated with the practice.

Uber, in turn, argues that developing a mobile app that lets customers hail nearby cars makes it a technology company rather than a transportation firm


    Source : CBC News