Saturday, July 25, 2015
The Spanish Federation of Taxi Drivers (Fedetaxi) is calling for a European alliance to fight against Uber while the ride-sharing company continues to face legal battles across the continent.
Fedetaxi said on Wednesday that it is working to create an alliance of European taxi drivers against ride-sharing company Uber to "broaden the basis of the taxi sector’s position".
"Illegal networks such as Uber cannot be regulated using the excuse that they are not a part of the transport sector, but rather exclusively part of the digital market," the driver association said in a statement. "This is not only false, but also could open the door to dismantling productive sectors such as the transport of passengers, while endangering the rights of European citizens through fiscal and social fraud."
Fedetaxi said it plans to meet with other European taxi groups in the coming months and formalize an alliance in Brussels. The group also wants to discuss plans for better EU-wide regulations of the taxi industry.
Uber, a San Francisco-based company, has faced challenges from taxi unions in Spain, as well as in countries like France, Belgium and Germany, where cab drivers say the service poses unfair competition and does not properly vet its drivers.
>Controversy arose in Sweden <recently when a journalist managed to get a position as an Uber driver without having undergone training.
In Spain,> Uber was banned in December 2014<, but tried to defy the ruling and continue to operate before telecommunications companies cut off service to the app.
French taxi drivers recently >staged violent protests< against the company and officials arrested two Uber company bosses before the transit service decided to suspend its app last week.
Germany >has banned the app twice< amid persistent challenges by taxi unions.
The company has >filed a complaint with the European Commission< over its restrictions in Spain, France and Germany.
The company has argued that it is not a taxi service and that it simply offers passengers a way to connect with people who want to share their cars. But critics point out that it is more like a cab service because users tell drivers where they want to go and pay a fixed tariff.
I am going to keep this short and simple.
There has been some positive activity recently by taxi trade organisations, mainly as a direct response to challenge Uber.
However the problem is not Uber
The problem is clear and simple to anyone who takes the time to analyse the facts.
The problem is unarguable CORRUPTION.
Most people who are corrupt do not wear a sign around their neck saying ’ I’m corrupt’
When challenged they do not readily admit ‘I’m corrupt’.
The facts are clear with the Uber situation. Uber are backed by multi national multi billion dollar companies. They have power that most people are unaware of.
Cameron told Johnson not to challenge Uber; the connection was clear by the fact that CEO of Uber was godparent to Cameron’s child.
That is corruption.
There are laws already in place that Uber does not comply with and those laws have not been enforced.
The reason that they have not been enforced is because of corruption. It’s that simple.
Engaging in lengthy political process to clarify definition of the laws that already exist and are not enforced by a corrupt TFL or to adapt those laws to stop improper activity by Uber is pointless.
Even if achieves its objectives this activity is futile. By the time it has done anything it will be too late.
Every week that goes by there are hundreds of new Uber drivers and hundreds of new Private Hire Licenses issued by TFL
This situation is not easily reversible; TFL are not going to suddenly revoke those tens of thousands of Private Hire licences and Uber are not going to suddenly sack their drivers.
Even if Uber is later shut down there will be another illegal app which the thousands of Uber drivers will switch to and then it will take months to shut that down
It is a one way process and every single day that passes the situation will become worse.
Tom Watson himself said the Parliamentary process is very slow and they are now in recess for 2 months.
The GLA published the Woefully Inadequate report in November last year and nothing has happened because they have no power to take action.
The SIMPLE SOLUTION AND THE ONLY WAY TO STOP IT IS IMMEDIATE DIRECT ACTION. Anything else is pointless.
ALL of the issues that affect London TAXI Drivers have been caused by corruption, whether it’s Uber , the Taxi Age Limit (unarguable documented evidence of corruption), the exclusive money making position of certain trade orgs who do nothing to represent their members or complete lack of enforcement of Private Hire regulation.
The corruption needs to be exposed and it needs to happen NOW.
The GLA and Parliamentary Committees will spend months deliberating and then have no mechanism for resolving the issues.
There needs to be URGENT DIRECT ACTION EVERY DAY UNTIL THE UTTER CORRUPTION OF BORIS JOHNSON AND TFL IS EXPOSED BY THE MEDIA AND URGENT ACTION TAKEN TO STOP IT.
THE TAXI TRADE WILL CONTIUE TO DECLINE ON A DAILY BASIS UNTIL A PROPER AND FAIR SYSTEM OF MANAGEMENT IS IN PLACE.
IF THIS WAS HAPPENING IN FRANCE THEY WOULD TAKE DIRECT ACTION AND THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE FORCED TO MAKE IMMEDIATE CHANGES.
LONDON TAXI DRIVERS NEED TO DO THE SAME EVERY SINGLE DAY AND THEY NEED TO DO IT NOW!
Friday, July 24, 2015
A minicab driver died in hospital after his heart stopped at the wheel and he crashed into a metal barrier outside King's Cross, it has emerged.
The man, believed to be in his 50s, died about an hour after the collision in Pancras Road on Saturday evening last week.
Police confirmed no other vehicles were involved in the crash, with witnesses speaking of the man appearing to swerve around a cyclist moments before colliding with the barrier.
Others said the man had had passengers, though police were unable to confirm this.
Plumber Oscar Buzzard drove past in the moments following the smash.
"There was a female cyclist sitting on the floor looking visibly shaken," he told the Standard. "Her bike was lying on the pavement about 20 feet from where she was sitting.
"The driver was motionless and very pale. The bonnet of the car was completely crumpled and there was smoke from it.
"There were passers-by already tending to both of them so I just carried on driving."
It is not known which firm the driver had worked for, although Uber said he had not been working for them.
A London Ambulance Service spokesman said: "We were called at 6.09pm to reports of a road traffic collision at Pancras Road and Goods Way in NW1.
"We sent a single responder by car, an ambulance crew, a duty officer and a doctor to the scene.
"We treated a man reported to be in his 50s in cardiac arrest. He was taken as a priority to hospital."
A Scotland Yard spokesman said the man's next of kin had been informed.
But it is also difficult to write a balanced and honest view, when there isn't much optimism to write about!
For the scribe who fears becoming cast as either a doom monger or an optimistic fool, it is far wiser just to write nothing, and await a more favourable climate. However, never one to duck criticism, I write genuinely as I see things, for better, or for worse. But one thing is certain......I ain't always right, and my opinion is merely that....just my personal opinion.
For those who have nightmares, live on their own or who prefer to live a rose coloured existence........look away now, and read my views no further !
As most of us have recently seen, Labour MP and West Bromwich Politician, Tom Watson has sprung from seemingly nowhere, to take on the task of assisting our trade, particularly with the Uber problem.
Looking at his CV, Tom certainly does appear to be a hard hitter, and has held some respectable senior positions in his parliamentary 14 years or so in this domain.
But under the spotlight, can Tom Watson really be our saviour ?
Personally, I honestly don't think he can. And I will tell you why.
Anyone with a mediocre level of intelligence, can plainly see that something isn't right at City Hall. There are inconsistencies, high command failures and lack of mutual respect from top to bottom.
At the pinnacle of this mountain, sits the head honcho himself, London Mayor and MP for Uxbridge & South Ruislip, Boris Johnson.
Now, love this man or hate him, his skills of manipulation, politics, academics, and guile are phenomenal.
What's more, his diary should anyone be lucky enough to ever see it, will probably contain contacts, and associates to make David Cameron's look like Billy No Mates.
Not only is Boris Johnson thoroughly capable of dealing with controversy, he is more than masterly at deflecting accusations of it, in flawless fortification too.
Apart from people who serve him, work under him or who are controlled by him, Boris Johnson is idolised across the country, nay the world.
My personal opinion, for what it's worth, is as genuine, experienced, and tenacious as Tom Watson is, if it came to Watson and Johnson locking horns, The London Mayor would tear Tom up for arse paper.
To prove corruption or illegal integrity with Boris Johnson, you would have to actually catch him bang to rights with his hand in the till. Allegations, slurs, accusations and demands would merely see Johnson swat them away like flies from a pot of jam.
We can sit and shout that Boris has to answers questions by law to the Assembly all you want, but again, allegations are just not good enough. To knock Johnson over, PROOF will be the only submittable requisite.
I have friends in the trade who are for attending City Hall to show trade unity and support to the Greater London Authority Assembly. Apparently, by attending in our thousands and supporting the GLA, Johnson will "spill the beans" on Cameron and his other adversaries.
However, and again just my opinion, I would bet my mortgage on this never happening. If I honestly believed it, I would readily attend to show my confidence and support. That is not to say that I don't support my colleagues who do support the GLA attendance, I do of course. But in all honesty, think we are wasting precious time.
Any Court, Judiciary, Statutory Paper or Government Assembly have to trawl through democratic and drawn out legal processes and protocol.
Despite Tom Watson's intent to "forensically interrogate the regulators" we simply cannot afford our challenge to go along the legal and democratic policy a minute longer.
I personally know of three London Taxi Drivers who have had their houses repossessed in the last six months.
I also think it's a mistake to gain too much comfort in the fact that Hendy and Allen are gone from TFL. Don't forget, I have been in Civil Service position myself. Granted, not as Senior as the two aforementioned, but high enough to see the mechanics of how the engine room works.
Reshuffles are a known and regular trick played by authorities such as TFL and others. Although they don't offer a hiding place for corruption, fraud or malpractice, they do give opportunity to wipe the slate clean, retrack some valuable time and start another spreadsheet.
When was the last time our trade had a pop at Addisson Lee ? I can't remember ! That's because Uber are here on the scene. I remember the pre-Uber days when all the firepower coming from us was against John Mason and Addisson Lee. A quick reshuffle, a few new players and then the landscape changes. That's just what is happening at City Hall and TFL. It is a deliberate and practised ploy too. Very soon, Johnson will be a ghost at City Hall and building his life long parliamentary dream and ambition. An ambition held since he announced his plans at the Bullingdon dinners, all those years ago..
TFL, like any Civil Service department, is like a stew. If you don't stir it up from time to time, a scum appears at the top.
Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans, John Lennon said. For us, Uber are becoming more and more stronger. More and more established, more and more of a London Institution, more and more recognisable by winning awards, more and more decent, and believe it or not, more and more trusted.
We are attending meetings to forensically challenge the regulator, writing to Chair's of Select Transport Committee's, scrutinising the Prime Minister's relationships and friends and accusing the London Mayor of corruption.
Tom Watson has promised to "have a look at" the procedures that Uber have got round to ply their trade. Val Shawcross promises to forensically interrogate the regulator.
Folks, I am a London Green Badge Taxi Driver. Ex Military and did a bit with both the Police and other Civil Service Positions. That's all. I'm just like my mate's and colleagues. I am not a clairvoyant, I am not a expert in politics and neither have I the ability to predict what will happen in the future.
So why is it just me, that thinks that "having a look at" "intending to forensically challenge" and " looking forward to get stuck in after the end of the Parliamentary Summer rising" .............all appear too effing late?!!!!
Anyone who has any faith or belief in these drawn out, long winded democratic judicial and assembly meetings, must have a nice bit of dough pugged up for a rainy day, that's all I can say !
How can the normal, run of the mill, working London Cabby with a mortgage, three kids, a wife and a cab to pay for.......wait for these lot to come back from the summer rising, before they "have a look at it"?
We are dead in the water for God sake ! We can't wait for this lot to start their brief from scratch again !
No doubt, colleagues will say to me, if I know all the answers, why don't I do something about it ? I don't profess to know all the answers of course, and it would be arrogant of me to think I did.
We have seen these politicians, assembly leaders and others in the past. We are still on our arse, backed into a precarious corner and struggling for our lives.
Most of these "leaders" will be aware of the dodgy Tim Yeo dealings, aware of the dubious Uber acceptance, aware of the taxi scrappage scheme illegal scandal, aware of the behind the scenes deals with BMW at the Olympics, aware of the dirty tricks used against us time after time after time.
And they do eff all, not because they aren't aware of it, not because they are unsure of it...........but simply because they CANNOT PROVE IT !
And for all these supporters of the Assembly meetings, Judicial dates, and Government forensic challenge, bear in mind the above. If we cant prove it, we don't win ! Like a nut and a bolt....nothing could be simpler! I know people inside TFL. I know senior people inside City Hall, NONE of them will give me the proof of corruption that we need !
And that is why folks, that I believe we have No Viable Alternative, other than to use our taxi cabs and unity, to prevent the corrupt, bent, decomposing authority system from moving about their business, anywhere in the City and West End for a given time of day each week, until our demands are not just answered, but met in full.
One of the greatest posts I have ever read in either Taxi Leaks, the Forum or other trade platforms, comes from a colleague of ours under the posting: "United Trade Meeting : Uber, The Worst Kind Of Predatory Capitalism...Tom Watson MP."
It is the first comment on the comments page. Read it. It is excellent and in my lowly opinion, so, so correct.
The way I see it is simple. We either take the war to these bent shysters ourselves.........or we lose.
Gaining Parliamentary support is all very well if we have time to spare, but we haven't. And as Henry Kissenger quite correctly said " Corrupt Politicians make the other ten percent look bad !"
He wasn't wrong..........was he ?
Be Lucky all.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Now it appears Uber are rolling out a bevy of "B" list celebrities to back up their assault on Taxi and Private Hire industries around the world.
The instant hail minicab app has won its battle against the mayor of New York City thanks to the backing of stars including Kate Upton.
The city council had been on the verge of introducing a cap on the number of vehicles uber and other car services could have on the road.
But Uber hit back with a huge public protest that appears to have forced mayor Bill de Blasio to kick the issue into the long grass.
Uber enlisted the support of Kate Upton and Neil Patrick Harris - among others - who tweeted their support. (To be honest, I had to google both so called celebs)
Upton wrote: "@BilldeBlasio Why do you want to return to days when only those in Midtown and Lower Manhattan could get a ride? #UberMovesNYC". Love to know the last time Kate Upton went for a drink in the Bronx!
And Harris said: "25,000 new residents use Uber in NYC each week. How is a fixed number of cars supposed to serve this demand for rides?"
Even New York governor Andrew Cuomo weighed in with support, saying in a radio interview: "I don't think government should be in the business of trying to restrict job growth."
Uber says it is attracting 25,000 new customers each week and is having to hire hundreds of drivers just to keep up with demand.
To show the effect of a driver cap, it even added a "de Blasio" tab on its smartphone app to show customers how long their cab would take to arrive if the limit was imposed.
Uber has been keen to emphasise that the original yellow taxi system, which the capping law would protect, is not beneficial to people living in New York's outer boroughs.
Two politicians from outer boroughs joined a pro-Uber rally to voice their support on Wednesday.
The city will now conduct a four-month study on the effect of Uber and other for-hire vehicle operators on the city's traffic and environment, and has ruled out a cap while this takes place.
Wonder if Uber will have a tab telling customers how much extra their fares will cost because of the gridlock caused by their expansion.
Or a tab with a running total of unnecessary deaths caused by the extra gridlock pollution
#Ubered has made it into the Urban Dictionary.
|The Hammersmith Flyover (A4) will be closed as follows:|
|•||Eastbound closure only - 22:30 Friday 24 July to 22:30 Saturday 25 July|
|•||Full closure of the flyover - 22:30 Saturday 25 July to 05:00 Sunday 26 July|
|•||Westbound closure only - 05:00 Sunday 26 July to 05:00 Monday 27 July|
From 08:00 on Saturday 25 July until 06:00 on Monday 27 July, lane restrictions will be in place southbound on A41 Finchley Road, between Ingham Road and Parsifal Road. This is due to work being carried out by Thames Water.
From 08:00 until 18:00 on Saturday 25 July, Shaftesbury Avenue will be closed in both directions between Dean Street and Frith Street. This is due to a crane operation.
City of London
From 08:00 until 18:00 on Saturday 25 July, Cannon Street will be closed in both directions between Laurence Pountney Lane and Bush Lane. This is due to a crane operation. There will be an additional closure between the same times on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 August.
Until early September, temporary traffic lights will be in place on A236 Mitcham Road at the junction of Sumner Road. This is due to junction improvement work.
On Sunday 26 July, from 08:00 until 14:00, London Bridge bus station will be closed. The taxi rank in the bus station will not be accessible but taxi drivers can use the ranks on Duke Street Hill and St. Thomas Street.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
From Friday 24 until Saturday 25 July, the taxi ranks outside Stratford Tube station and on Westfield Avenue will be closed while events take place on Montfichet Road. Montfichet Road may also be closed on Sunday 26 July; if it isn’t the taxi ranks will be open as normal.