Saturday, June 27, 2015

David Cameron and George Osborne have allegedly instructed Boris Johnson to lay off Uber by SMS

Political organiser and writer Bryn Phillips, has made a number of public statements on Twitter regarding political intervention from the Prime Minister and Chancellor in regards to the licensing of Uber London Ltd.

Earlier today, Mr Phillips put out this tweet:

George Osborne and David Cameron have instructed Boris Johnson to lay off Uber by SMS.

There have been many rumours about the involvement of no10 and the easy ride uber has been given by TfL and the Mayors office.

He then followed this up with another tweet:

The Prime Minister and the Chancellor have both directly lobbied on behalf of Uber. Legal threats most welcome. @the_lcdc @UnitedCabbies

Mr Phillips says he welcomes any legal challenges about his statements as he had firm evidence and will testify to that effect in court.

Bryn also stated that "Actually, Cameron lobbied on behalf of Uber in 2012. Osborne's SMS warning was more recent than that."

The United Cabbies Group also put out a statement today that on March the 18th they offered TfL a data base containing 8000 customer complaints. TfL ignored the offer.
On June 15th The UCG met with MP Tom Watson.
On June 16th TfL asked to see the complaints
On June 25th Hendy announces he's stepping down from TfL.

How are these constant allegations allowed to go unanswered ?

The LTDA recently stated they had put aside £1m for potential legal action. Perhaps now would be a good time to start spending this fund Bob.

We've been told for years about the wonderful legal back up our trade unions can offer their membership, with political clout from sponsored MPs. 
Now's the time for the RMT and Unite to put up.


Ray Hadley Radio Show : Ray Shuts Down Uber Driver Derek.

     >Click Here : for the-ray-hadley-show<

Australian Morning Show host Ray Hadley takes an Uber driver (Derek) to task. The driver says working for Uber has helped him keep his car, pay his rent and put food on his families table. 

But Ray points out that Uber operates unfairly and is a totally illegal service. 

In Queensland and New South Wales, Licensed Taxi Drivers and legitimate private hire drivers have to pay out, somewhere in the region of $14,000 in licence fees, insurances and permits before they turn a wheel. Where as all that's needed to drive for Uber is an iPhone.

Ray says either the government needs to have a level playing field where everyone operates under the same restrictions and regulations, or they should scrap the regulations deregulate all services. 

Ray went on to say : when I put one of my daughters in a cab or private hire car, I want to know that the driver is checked, safe and has all the required paper work. I don't want her getting in a car with a rapist. 

Ray also makes comments about the troubles this company is having world wide, running roughshod over Taxi legislation, plus the difficult of contacting the company with any form of complaint.

Definitely a must listen. 

Hollande demands ban on Uber taxis : UCG condemns Paris violence.


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.

French riot police push an overturned car upright, as striking French taxi drivers demonstrate at the Porte Maillot to block the traffic on the Paris ring road during a national protest against Uber, in Paris, June 25, 2015

The Uber company has been facing large setbacks in Europe, with similar problems in Italy, Germany and Belgium.

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

Staff At TfL Find Out About Hendy...On The Radio And In the Press!

It's been alleged that the word from the corridors of TfL is, staff are not happy again. 

The news that Sir Peter Hendy had jumped ship just as the proverbial was about to hit the fan, came as a complete shock to many employees. The first many knew about the "promotion" was when they heard on the radio, or read it in the press.

By all accounts the media had been informed before TFL  staff ... oh dear, not a very open Kimono approach!

Insiders believe that the problem was caused by Network rail who released the news before TfL could rush out an email to staff. 

                    ONE DOWN, TWO TO GO.

Also, there have been unconfirmed rumours floating around that on the very same day that the captain decided to abandon ship, 4 lesser mortals have had their collars felt by old bill on corruption charges. 

Of course the usual suspects are keeping this information close to their chest. But these stories have a habit of getting out....remember the Brazilian national who was carted off in plain sight by police over corruption charges, after which the  "no one has been arrested" statement came out. 

New news...I don't think so!
Also in the news yesterday Mayor Boris Johnson, is reported to have offered the Taxi trade an olive branch. 
He asked UTG reps to assembly beside the Thames, to announce to their supposed utter surprise, that the 15 year (unlawful and not evidenced based) age limit, was to stay in place. 

Why all the fuss?
Taxi leaks broke this news to the trade back on the 1st June...much to the chagrin of some trade reps who set about a negative PR campaign against the blog. 

Written apologies will be acceptable :)

You really couldn't make it up!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Did He Go Or Was He Pushed...Hendy Gone,

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.”

    Source : Evening Standard

Breaking News: From The Front Line As It All Kicks Off In Taxi Leaks Roving Reporter.

Early this morning two London Taxi drivers get off the ferry at Calais....heading for Paris to represent the London Taxi Trade.

  I suppose I've got to really, it is Paris after all

When they reach Paris, first impression is its in chaos. This is the scene at Porte De Maillot

Tensions are running very high as an Uber car is overturned. The protestors are now stopping colleagues from working. The CRS have turned up and it looks like CS gas is imminent.

The biggest problem:
The unions say suspend the PH apps, but the drivers say STOP the apps. The older more seasoned drivers want to leave it to the unions, but the younger drivers are not listening to Unions anymore. They want action now...sound familiar?

Lots of gesticulating and raising of voices, these guys are livid, two cars overturned now. Burning tyres, making it hot. 

They are trying to come up with a feasible plan. I've just done an interview with RTL, and one with WSJ....they're surprised to see London cabbies mixing it up with the Parisian cabbies!!

It's getting very tense now, cabbies have blocked most of the streets. We've been informed they intend to stay here until 10pm or until the PM receives them, if not, they will be back at 5am tomorrow.

Currently I'm behind the line of riot police, hope the lads don't start throwing stuff again or they'll hit my cab!

Believe me these drivers are frustrated. They pay €250k for plate then another €30k for a car.
The government licence uber for free!
Uber then undercut them and steal their work. They've been very patient for a year, now they say #enoughIsEnough!!!

Midday now and Paris is littered with upturned cars, burnt out ones on motorway.
Where I am, cabbies are out of their cars, with occasional fights with CRS. Some running battles, plain clothes cops with retractable coshes, CS gas and snatch squads. This is turning very ugly. 

For more up to date reports from the scene, follow 
 @w14taxi and @Vitocab on Twitter.

Is This New Card Reader And User Friendly App, Just What This TradeNeeds.

                    Connecting the community from cab:app on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Uber Drivers Banned From Airport Pick Ups. Uber Emails Drivers With News Of Temporary Suspension.

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.

    Source: Sun-Sentinel 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

London Mayor Boris Johnson is criticised by his own sister.

Rachel Johnson has criticised her brother, London Mayor Boris Johnson, over Black Cabs in London.
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.

Caroline Pidgeon Announces Intention To Stand For Mayors Job.

Great news for Londons Licensed Taxi Trade as Caroline Pidgeon announces her intention to stand as Liberal Democrat candidate for the Mayors Job. 

Caroline has been hugely instrumental in backing the Licensed Taxi trade after the GLA report, "Future Proof", found the licensing authority TfL to be woefully inadequate. 

            Caroline, with husband Paul.

Caroline was elected to the London Assembly in May 2008 and has a strong track record of campaigning on issues such as strong policing and improved public transport. She is Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Chair of the London Assembly's Transport Committee and Deputy Chair of the Police and Crime Committee. Caroline has been a Trustee of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education in Waterloo since 2005.

Caroline was a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority between 2008 and 2012 and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority between 2008 and 2010.

Caroline was a Liberal Democrat Councillor in Southwark between 1998 and 2010 during which time she held several posts including Deputy Leader of Southwark Council and Executive Member for Children’s Services and Education. Caroline was also a Board Member of Lambeth and Southwark Housing Association between 2002 and 2010.

Caroline was awarded an MBE in the 2013 New Year Honours List for public and political service.

Caroline moved to London after graduating from the University of Wales Aberystwyth in 1994. She worked in local government and the health service for over a decade before becoming a full time politician.

A message from SaveTaxi founder Artemis Mercer:

As many of you know, for weeks now I have been working tirelessly together with my team on a campaign I started to save our black taxis (Facebook: Save our Black Taxis). It has literally taken over my life!

My hubby is a black cabbie and for months now I have been listening to his anguish about how difficult it has become for him working on our London streets to bring home money to pay our regular bills. It has been soul destroying for him to see TFL not enforcing their own laws which has created an uneven playing field. This is really having a detrimental impact on our family life.
Out of sheer frustration I started a facebook group, which to my surprise has taken off like a rocket!

We now have almost 6000 members and have an amazing team of ladies, working tirelessly to make this campaign happen.

I have organised a peaceful family standing demonstration outside TFL offices on 31 July @2pm, we now have over 1600 followers on Twitter (@SaveTaxi) a Petition which I will personally hand deliver on demo day and much more!

Next week I will be submitting a press release to the media and I am told to be ready to be interviewed by them. You see no one has done this before, no one has set up a protest as the families and supporters of their family's trade.

I feel so passionate about this, it's an absolute disgrace that TFL have created this mess. They need to sort this out and fast before the trade is gone forever. All I ask please is for my you to sign the petition and share it here on facebook. If we get 100,000 signatures it will be discussed in Parliament. Regulate today. Tomorrow will be too late.

Please sign the petition below and get members of your family to sign too.

Support  "Save Our Black Taxis" by wearing one of the polo shirts. All sizes available in a selection of colours, just click on the link below.