Saturday, June 13, 2015
Others, have been equally massive in success as well, and allowed the twists and turns of strategic war planning, to go in Britain's favour.
I have studied many of our military operations, both successful and unsuccessful. The criteria of the successful ones, always seemed to have meticulous planning, a sound strategy, reliable logistics and troops who were capable, focussed and resolute.
Operation Mincemeat however, had all of the above, and was without doubt one of, if not THE most important wartime strategies, that turned the conflict in our favour. Interestingly though, even though it had all of the above ingredients within the structure of it, one thing sticks out way beyond any of the other qualities..............DECEPTION !
When used to it's most potent resourcefulness, Deception can be more lethal than the heaviest of field guns.
Taxi Leaks isn't the correct platform for me to write about the amazing twists and turns of Op Mincemeat, it is easily researched on the internet anyway.
There is a lot of speculation buzzing around within our shelters at present. The latest being that our actual Prime Minister could be involved in giving Uber a favourable passage.
Anyone on here ever been ferretting ? I have. To catch the rabbit, you have to put a purse net over every hole of the warren, before putting the ferret down one of the holes. When you do, the rabbits fearing for their future......... bolt. They run up through the escape holes of the complex catacombs, only to be caught in the purse nets, which, as their name suggests, draw closed tight, trapping the rabbit in the net until it can be despatched.
I have often been in a position, whereby this ancient survival skill has prevented me from starving in days past, and to prevent us starving further in these modern times, and hopefully very soon, the London Taxi Trade ferret is going to have a proper sniff of them murky old holes. We are busy pegging the last of the purse nets in place now, and having bets which rabbit from the warren of deception, will bolt first !
Friday, June 12, 2015
Drivers have in the past claimed that as Uber expands rapidly, the system has become vulnerable to cheating, by those looking to save money following reductions in Uber’s fares, a claim denied by the minicab firm.
An undercover driver demonstrated that he was able to pick up a paying customer having provided fake insurance paperwork via its computerised system.
Taxi Leaks has seen evidence that one undercover driver uploaded the back of a cornflake box as an insurance cover note and was accepted. Some drivers fear that breaches in the technology could put customers’ safety at risk.
The regulator Transport for London (TfL) has now launched an investigation into Uber over the breach.
At present, the San Fransisco-based company has 18,000 drivers in London, working through its smartphone app. It has been valued at more than $40bn (£26bn) and has expanded rapidly in cities around the world.
Uber’s driver approval system encourages them to submit renewals of insurance, driving licences and MOT certificates through the internet “to save time and costs of coming in to the office”.
The whistleblower tested Uber’s system after hearing that other drivers may be trying to find loopholes to cut costs. Insurance premiums for new drivers in the UK can cost up to £4,000 ($6,200) a year.
The driver uploaded an entirely fabricated insurance policy under the logo of a made-up insurance company, “Freecover”, and Uber approved him to pick up customers.
“Photoshopping is what everyone is talking about,” said another Uber driver on condition of anonymity. “With the fares coming down you have to look at other ways of exploiting the system.”
It was impossible to verify how widespread such attempts to cheat the system are, and Uber said drivers attempting to use fake documents would be reported to the police.
Jo Bertram, strongly denied there was a wider problem with the company’s “very robust” document handling, saying “Public safety is our number one priority. We have no interest in allowing any driver who is not fully licensed and insured on the platform.”
But Uber admitted a member of its staff approved the fake Freecover document even though the insurer on the letterhead does not exist.
Despite admitting to the mistake of approving the Freecover insurance, Uber has de-activated the whistleblower from its system and reported him to TfL and the police.
The driver, who asked not to be named, said Uber appeared to be trying to “shoot the messenger” and said he was acting in the wider public interest. He stressed he had genuine insurance in place when he posted the fake document.
“We have demonstrated you can take a job on a fake document but I had genuine insurance,” he said. “It is absurd and uncalled for.”
Uber said its failure to spot the fake document was “a unique situation triggered by a deliberate attempt to try and cheat the system”. But it said it shouldn’t have happened and the company was taking the situation seriously.
A spokesperson for Uber said "The fake document was checked and approved but it was just a case of human error. The team involved has been spoken to, to ensure our high level of practice is maintained at all times."
The company said it would reduce the number of insurance companies drivers can use in the UK, to help prevent fraud.
Uber said on Friday it had a “backstop” insurance policy that would cover customers if a driver had an accident without insurance. However, it said, this did not exempt drivers from having their own insurance policy which was required by law and the terms of their private hire licence.
Uber's Jo Bertram stated clearly in the video interview that a driver could not be authorised with fake documents, but after checking, this was indeed the case.
She also said that drivers who bring up concerns would not be penalised in anyway and yet, the undercover driver in this case has now been deactivated from the Uber platform.
How can anyone believe a word that comes out of this woman's mouth?
We have been informed that Helen Chapman has been officially contacted regarding this very serious issue. We now wait for the reply.
Funding for Transport for London has been cut as part of a £545m programme of asset sales and budget reductions at the DfT ordered by the chancellor, George Osborne.
The lion’s share – £345m – will be met by the Department selling its share in the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, which owns land north of King’s Cross station.
The remainder comprises:
£124m of reduced contingency held by the Department
£31m grant reduction to TfL
£23m recovered from expected underspend this year in the Cycling City Ambition Programme (the DfT awarded £114m over three years to eight cities last November)
£16m underspend in the Regional Air Connectivity Fund
£5m underspend on the Station Commercial Projects Facility
£1m underspend on the Sheffield tram-train project
On the Cycling City grant cut, a DfT spokesman said: “The savings announced reflect the funding requested by the participating cities this year.”
Osborne announced £4.5bn of measures to cut public debt. Further cuts will be announced in next month’s Budget.
The blow from the cut in TfLs grant should be softened, by the increased sale in new private hire licenses. Income from new driver and vehicle licence applications could add an approximate £20m to TfLs coffers.
American smartphone app Über expect to expand their fleet to 42,000 mobiles by the end of March 2016. The company is presently expanding at a rate of 1000 next licenses every month.
Last month, we received reports that the NSL passing station in Coulsdon, was refusing to book Taxis for licensing as they needed to concentrate on clearing the backlog of new Prius, clogging the system.
We have now been informed that after complaints from a local Taxi proprietors, the situation has now reverted back to normal.
A spokesperson for NSL said the decision not to accept Taxi bookings was made by TfL.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
I recently copied my MP into an earlier email concerning the level of harassment from TfL directed at the demo starting London Taxi drivers.
Dear sir or madam
Your department has recently sent out letters to drivers involved in a peaceful demonstration with accusations that they were displaying unauthorised signs.
While on the demo, with light off and seatbelt on, these vehicles were not inservice and were being used in a social domestic capacity.
The current law allows both Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles, to be used for social and domestic use.
While these vehicles are being used for a purpose other than as licensed Taxis of Private Hire Vehicles they should not be limited to what printed material they can carry in or on the vehicle. I am not aware of any restrictions covering social and domestic use.
If I am wrong, could you please direct me to the appropriate regulation or legislation?
Also, it has been pointed out that no photographic evidence accompanied these letters. How can we be sure the right vehicle drivers/owners have been contacted.
Some drivers who received these letters have said they had no unauthorised signage on the day.
Do you have photographic evidence for all letters sent out?
I await your reply
Editor Taxi Leaks Taxi Blog.
Gareth Thomas has always shown an interest in our trade, and will be a candidate for Mayor in 2016.
Dear James Thomas,
Thank you for copying me into your email to TfL (Transport for London) regarding letters sent out to drivers by TfL after a demonstration. I was concerned to read about the matters that you raised.
I have now written to senior officials at TfL to pass on the issues that you raised, and to ask for their response. I have asked to be copied into any response sent out to you on this matter. I will contact you again when I hear back from them.
I trust this is of some assistance.
Gareth Thomas MP (Harrow West)
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA