Saturday, June 27, 2015
French President Francois Hollande has called for the Uber taxi service to be shut down and its vehicles seized.
But Uber is refusing to stop the service until a ruling by the country's top court.
The stand-off, and a violence-marred taxi strike in Paris, reflects wider tensions in France over how to regulate fast-moving technology and stay globally competitive while ensuring labour protections.
France's top security official, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, said today that Uber is facing multiple investigations. He spoke to RTL radio a day after striking taxi drivers attacked Uber livery cars and set fire to tyres on a major artery around Paris.
Some taxi drivers continued the protest today, but the strike did not appear to seriously disrupt morning travel around Paris, and no violence was immediately reported.
Uber's cheapest service, called UberPop in France, has been banned, but Uber officials insist they will continue their activities until France's highest court rules on the service.
Mr Cazeneuve called that "cynical and arrogant".
Mr Hollande said today: "The UberPop group must be dissolved and declared illegal, and the vehicles must be seized." But he said the executive branch cannot do that without further action through the courts.
The president, speaking at an EU summit in Brussels, accused Uber of not respecting "social and fiscal rules".
Uber argues that the French taxi system is outdated and needs reform to keep up with apps and geolocalisation, and that traditional taxis are just trying to quash competition.
The company faces similar legal challenges and criticism from taxi drivers' associations around the world.
Furious taxi drivers in France say the low-cost UberPop service is ruining their livelihood. Uber drivers have been repeatedly ambushed, sometimes with customers inside.
There were reports of groups of taxi drivers “hunting down” suspected Uber drivers at Charles de Gaulle and Roissy Airports.
Limousines allegedly operating for Uber were overturned at Charles de Gaulle and Porte Maillot, on the outskirts of the French capital. Other areas of Paris and other cities were also affected, as taxi drivers struck out against unfair competition from the UberPOP service.
The app has already been banned in the Netherlands and Spain, and is appealing bans in France and Germany.
Back in May, Uber launched it's 160 euros a pop ‘hail’ helicopter service at Cannes Film Festival
The Uber app offered helicopter taxis during the Cannes Film Festival.
The first of its kind service in France allowed guests to catch a helicopter ride from Nice-Côte d’Azur airport to Cannes for about 160 euros.
The company signed a deal with the French helicopter firm Helipass to offer Sky Taxis throughout the Cannes Film Festival, according to French news channel BFMTV.
The flight service was included in the Uber app as a separate icon on the first day of the festival.
Meanwhile in London:
Tension has risen in London over Uber
Black cab drivers have criticised Mayor Boris Johnson for failing to regulate the taxi trade effectively.
Cabbies also claim Uber does not pay UK taxes and is not subject to the same restrictions as traditional Taxis or Private Hire operators
UCG Condem Paris Uber Protest Violence:
The United Cabbies Group, the fastest growing trade body for the black cab industry, condemn violence at the Paris "Uber protest".
The UCG, who will stage peaceful industrial action outside Palestra, the headquarters for Transport for London (TfL), next week, have condemned the recent violence at the Paris protest against the $50 billion American company as "horrendous and unacceptable."
Len Martin, Chair of the UCG, said on Friday night:
"What this minority of Paris drivers have done by turning to violence is 100% unacceptable. Violence is never the way. That's why we're calling for a parliamentary inquiry into TfL - amid rumours of institutional corruption.
Sir Peter Hendy may have disappeared in a puff of smoke yesterday, but we will not."
The UCG stress their strategy of non-violent protest is an action of last resort and call for "reasoned debate" with political leaders from across the spectrum in order to avert further industrial action.
Friday, June 26, 2015
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Tube boss Sir Peter Hendy quits to take top job at Network Rail
The capital’s transport chief Sir Peter Hendy today announced he is leaving his job to take on a new post at the top of Network Rail.
He will oversee 2,500 stations nationwide as well as tracks, tunnels and level crossings — and take on the biggest programme of upgrades since the Victorian era.
The appointment of Sir Peter, pictured, boosts the prospect of City Hall winning more control over suburban rail routes. London Underground boss Mike Brown will step into his shoes as interim Transport for London Commissioner but is widely ex- pected to get the post permanently
He will oversee 2,500 stations nationwide as well as tracks, tunnels and level crossings — and take on the biggest programme of upgrades since the Victorian era.
The appointment of Sir Peter, boosts the prospect of City Hall winning more control over suburban rail routes. London Underground boss
Mike Brown will step into his shoes as interim Transport for London Commissioner but is widely ex- pected to get the post permanently.
Mayor Boris Johnson, who worked closely with the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin on the appointment, said Sir Peter will help deliver projects of “colossal importance” to the UK economy, including Crossrail 2.
Mr Johnson is understood to be confident his departing transport chief’s role as NR chairman, which he begins next month, will see London win more power over rail franchises.
A source close to the Mayor said: “Peter brings an agenda and practices honed in London to the UK rail network.
“That experience will be vital in driving improvements across the UK and in making the case for greater devolution of rail services within London, something the Mayor has long called for.” The Mayor’s plan, which has cross-party support, promises cleaner stations, more regular services and reduced bills for taxpayers.
But commuters from outside the M25 have raised fears their routes will lose priority status if TfL takes over the core services, while Department for Transport officials have expressed doubts.
Mr Johnson said: “Under Sir Peter’s leadership, the international reputation of London transport is higher than ever. It is quite right those skills should be deployed on the national stage.
“I look forward to continuing to work closely with him on many projects of colossal importance for London and the UK economy — Crossrail 2, rail devolution and many others.”
Connecting the community from cab:app on Vimeo.
CabApp: Connecting the Comunity in over 90 cities with black cabs across the UK and Licensed Taxis in Ireland.
We are delighted to announce the release of cab:app’s new technology platform which includes a new driver/passenger app, a dynamic website and an optional chip and pin solution.
We currently have over 7,300 registered drivers on the cab:app system across 90 cities in the UK and Ireland. This is a great foundation to help build the largest driver owned taxi network.
There are a host of innovative and useful features to help protect and promote the trade. It’s taken us a while but we think it’s been worth the wait. We hope you agree!
Download the new app from this link as soon as possible, after 5 days the old app will stop working. Note: any transactions done on the old app will not show in the new website!
If you are already registered on cab:app (old driver app) just use your existing username or email address with your password to login to the new app.
If you have forgotten your password you can reset in the app and you'll get email instruction to easily change.
Some highlights of the new app are:
• Earn driver cash back by sharing in cab:app’s revenue whenever you accept a job, process a credit card or introduce a new passenger with your promo code. Each year you can cash in or convert to shares in cab:app and become a co-owner.
• Accept pre bookings as well as immediate hails.
• Use the mobile payment facility with or without our new chip and pin device, which is available at a one-time cost of £116 or €163 (+VAT, P&P) and no fixed contract or ongoing card fees. Don’t forget to look at the all in costs of competitor products, as the device may look cheaper but you pay more fees in the long run. With cab:app you also earn cash back on every card transaction so this will help pay for your device!
We will be moving to making payments 5 days/week and to achieve this our bank will deduct 25p (or 25 cents) flat fee from the total amount transferred on payment days. There is no credit card fee for drivers & passengers only pay 3.9%.
• Easily manage your account from the app or website.
• Report an incident directly to cab:app e.g. touting, helping cab:app build a national database.
In the coming weeks we will be promoting cab:app in the trade press, on the ranks, on social media and providing free consumer material to you in the form of stickers, receipt pads and consumer cards where you can add your promo code to earn cashback.
The success of cab:app will be largely dependent on the full support of the trade and drivers like you. Peter Schive (Green Badge 63768) invented the app to work for independent drivers giving all like minded drivers the technology to help themselves. Drivers can become co-owners of the business with cashback from a share of cab:app’s profits.
cab:app is owned and run by Peter and co-founders Derek Stewart and Jane Van Aken. They have invested their own time and money to bring you this exciting new taxi app, working in partnership with other drivers across the country.
It’s now time to help ourselves and unite through technology to protect, promote and take control of our future with a national taxi app designed and owned by taxi drivers.
Any questions, feedback or ideas please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can now download cab:app driver guide from this >>link<<. (Advisable)
We love when you share us on social media and review us on the App Store or Google Play Store.
I'm not going to give any glowing reports before I try this system for myself.
But having said that, on close inspection of this message sent out to existing members this app and card reader looks like the tools the trade needs to make a massive impact on our concerted efforts towards the survival of our trade.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Uber drivers no longer will pick up passengers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades, a withdrawal the company had hoped would keep Broward County from heading to court.
In an email sent by Uber on Monday evening, drivers were told that the company is "temporarily suspending pickups'' at both locations "until further notice.'' Uber will, however, continue dropping off passengers at both sites.
The withdrawal failed to soften opinions on the County Commission dais, though, where patience had worn thin after 10 months of fighting with the app-based ride service that refuses to fall in line with county laws. After hours of debate, Broward commissioners late Tuesday voted 7-2 to take on Uber in court.
The vote allows the county attorney's office to file litigation if necessary — to seek an injunction, for example — during commissioners' summer recess. Commissioners Chip LaMarca and Marty Kiar voted no. The authorization also applies to Uber competitor Lyft.
Uber executive Kasra Moshkani said the company wanted to keep negotiating with the county. But Commissioner Lois Wexler said she'd fallen for Uber's delay tactics in the past.
"It has been nothing but lies on top of lies on top of lies,'' she said. "... I'm done being the fool up here. OK? You pushed me to the edge. Now I have a different position. It's called a hammer.''
"This is all about buying time and about playing games,'' Commissioner Barbara Sharief said. "That time has run out for me.''
Uber, a California startup valued at as much as $50 billion, operates in all three South Florida counties, but Broward is the only one of the three to have passed a "transportation network company'' law tailored for such ride services.
Some speakers Tuesday implored commissioners to leave Uber alone, saying it's a desperately needed alternative to an inadequate transit system and a low-quality cab service.
"Uber is a social service,'' attorney and Uber driver Jonathan Sabghir said. "It is helpful. I'm giving rides to single mothers for a third of the price cabs can do it.''
The company has upended the traditional taxi industry across the globe, defying local taxi regulations that set fares and limit the number of vehicles, among other things.
At Broward's airport, for example, cab drivers wait in line to be dispatched to pick up a passenger, and they pay $3 to the county for each fare. Uber swoops up to the curb, avoiding the system.
Uber drivers may not carry the required county chauffeur registration, and their cars are not permitted by the county, Leonard Vialpando, director of the county's Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department, said.
But Uber made a last-minute attempt to smooth things over with county commissioners, hoping to fend off Tuesday's legal action.
The company hired lobbyist Mike Moskowitz, a politically connected and influential attorney, and reached out to the county Monday night to talk about obtaining the legally required transportation network company license. Uber also announced it was withdrawing from pickups at the county's port and airport, a sensitive point over the past months.
"You will no longer receive pickup requests at [Fort Lauderdale airport] and Port Everglades,'' the Monday night email to Uber drivers reads. "Please note that any partners attempting to circumvent this restriction may have their Uber account subject to deactivation, and Uber will not cover any citation received as a result of pickup at FLL and Port Everglades.''
In a statement to the Sun Sentinel, Uber said: "We have temporarily suspended airport pickups at [Fort Lauderdale airport] while we work toward a permanent operating agreement with county administrators. We look forward to partnering with county and airport officials in establishing a rideshare framework that reduces curbside crowding, increases landside efficiency and provides travelers with convenient, reliable transportation options."
The email to drivers says they can "feel free to take any passenger to [Fort Lauderdale airport] and Port Everglades as normal. Uber will continue to honor its policy of resolving any citations received as a result of drop-offs.''
The company previously said it will withdraw from the county entirely if new laws applying to transportation network companies are enforced. But enforcement has been ongoing, and Uber is still here.
Lyft issued a statement after Tuesday's meeting, saying the vote "limits competition, restricts consumer choice, and makes it harder for residents and visitors to get around Broward County. In contrast to states and major cities across the country, Broward County's ordinance treats Lyft just like a taxi and places unnecessary burdens on individual drivers. We urge the Commission to revisit this ordinance and continue conversations focused on crafting common-sense rules for this new industry.''
The county sent Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. "cease and desist'' letters last November, directing them to stop operating until they followed Broward laws. That didn't work.
After that, the county revised its laws to legalize companies such as Uber and Lyft, allowing unlimited vehicles and not regulating fares.
But that new law, passed in April, requires drivers to be licensed by the county, to undergo fingerprint-based FBI criminal background checks done by the county, and to drive vehicles inspected by county-approved mechanics.
The companies must obtain Transportation Network Company licenses and provide a list of all drivers and vehicles under their permit. The vehicles must carry insurance required by the state, which the county attorney believes is around-the-clock commercial insurance.
Uber's attempt to get state insurance laws changed this year failed, as did the company's efforts to prevent local governments from regulating them.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Speaking to BBC London 94.9's Joanne Good, she said he needs to do more to protect the licensed cab trade in the capital.