Saturday, August 01, 2015

Free Tea And Coffee From Pret For The Month Of August...just show your badge.

Pret A Manger are showing their support to the Licensed a Taxi trade, by giving drivers free tea and coffee.

All you have to do is show them your badge and tell them if you want tea of coffee.

Well done to this fantastic company. 

I recently discovered that Pret distribute unsold produce nightly to the homeless. Its such a wonderful sight to see these acts of kindness, as their van pulls up and Pret staff give out food to unfortunate people sleeping in doorways around the West End. 

Pret A Manger has opened its first proper evening restaurant

Welcome to ‘Good Evenings’ aka the first Pret restaurant. So far they’ve only soft-launched it at the 88 Strand branch where they will be monitoring the progress before considering rolling it out to other branches. Normal sandwich shop by day, after 6pm the lights are dimmed, candles lit and tables laid with real cutlery ready for the evening service.

Letters To The Editor : Demos Need New Message-Stop The Corruption, Richards Bilk and Katie's Letter In The Sun

   Great effort . Great Protest.

Very little media coverage and unclear message reported by those that did bother to report something.

Asking TFL to regulate properly would have been like asking Saddam Hussein to support women's rights and do some charity work. Or like asking Boris Johnson to be honest.

It is just not going to happen.

People need to understand that TFL will NEVER act reasonably for the simple reason, they can get away with not doing so and no one has any statutory or regulatory powers over Boris Johnson or TFL to challenge them.

The GLA have clearly stated that TFL has not acted properly, yet no action is taken because they have no power to take action.

The only way that things will change is if the corruption is exposed.
The only way this will happen is if it is the clear message given at protests.

If you need to be convinced that TFL have no intention of changing for the better then listen to the LIES of Garrett Emmerson. 

He continues to spout absolute nonsense and all the time he does, it creates an element of doubt in peoples minds- 

"Is this just greedy cabbies wanting more money or is there something seriously wrong?"

All the time the media report the lies of TFL people are just as likely to believe the latter rather than the truth.

The message needs to be-


Any other message gets deliberately reported inaccurately by the media or not reported at all.



Richards Bilker:

Had a guy last night do a runner from my cab. 
Rang police he tried to get on a bus then hailed another cab and got in .l told the cabbie he's knocked me he jumped out of that cab and ran off from that one l followed him up the road .old bill turned up .they questioned me as it was my fault .they rang the police station to find out if it was civil or criminal . 

I got out the abstract of law and told them what to nick him for they threatened to nick me and my laws where out dated . Eventually they nicked him. Went to Paddington green they had to let me in around the back to make statement as it was closed .the jibber was taken to belgravia to be processed .

Get phone call from police sat midday saying he's not known to us he has a solicitor on way he will get a caution and then it will be a civil matter end of.

NOT SO l ring belgravia nick and ask to speak to the custody sargeant and tell him here's my cabbies terms and conditions tell the thief and his solicitor that if he don't pay me .l will get in touch with the Japanese paper he works for as l took a screenshot of his press pass with his card and photo on and l will put on twitter that l picked him up at a notorious gay haunt off his trolley on drugs.

I have just picked up 50 pounds cash off his solicitor at belgravia nick. 
Be careful out there.

    Katie Hopkins' Letter In The Sun:

Save Our Black Taxis Demo, Windsor House, 31/07/15.

A cabbies wife has spearheaded a protest over fears that London’s iconic black cabs are in danger of becoming extinct.

Artemis Mercer founded FaceBook Group "Save Our a Black Taxis" to draw attention to the increased pressure on the traditional black cabs.

Joined by hundreds of spouses, family and friends of black cab drivers, they held a peaceful protest outside TfL HQ Windsor a House on Victoria Street. 


In just 5 months, the FaceBook groups popularity has led to an expansion of over 12,700 members, making it the fastest growing Taxi group in history. 

Yesterday afternoon, family and friends of London's iconic Cabbies turned up en masse to staged the protest outside Transport for London’s HQ. 

Media coverage was fantastic with national press and TV news channels turning up to cover the protest.

Mrs Mercer said: “TfL are simply not doing enough to enforce the rules that ensure public safety in London taxis. London’s cabbies have been left high and dry without the support that they so desperately need from their own governing body."

She said: “As more and more PH drivers are pushed out by TfL, the roads are getting very congested." 

Artemis's normally rock steady demeanour faltered slightly as she choked back emotion saying "my husband recently said to me, I used to be proud to be a cab driver but I'm not any more."

Mrs Mercer went on to say her husband is having to work harder to try and maintain the same income from driving a taxi this year. 

"My husband is finding it so hard to bring home the same money as last year. He can’t have a day off without wondering whether he is going to be able to pick it up.” 

She claimed TfL’s regulations were not protecting drivers’ income.

“All we want is for TfL to enforce their own regulations. These drivers have all gone through years on the Knowledge to learn the routes. It took my husband four years. And now London has been swamped with mini cabs going backwards and forwards. It’s completely demoralising."

I just want TfL to listen.”

She said her campaign was not about the competition between taxi drivers and mini cabs but about fairness.

Garrett Emmerson's, press statement yesterday was nothing short of an insult to all Taxi drivers and their families. But unfortunately, it's what we've come to expect from a licensing authority that has turned its back and shut their ears on its Gold Standard Taxis, frequently voted the best Taxi service in the world. 

The TfL chief operating officer of surface transport, said: "As the regulator of London’s taxi and private hire trades, we apply legislation fairly and equally.  

We have not treated and do not treat Uber, any differently to any other London operator and we are satisfied that Uber currently complies with private hire licensing requirements".

Let's not forget, Emmerson told Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon that TfL had an army of 400 enforcement officers tackling touting on London Live news.

Emmerson's statement doesn't stand up.
It was recently revealed by London Cab Drivers Club chairman Grant Davis on LBC that David Cameron had leaned on Boris Johnson to go easy on Uber.

Subsequently, over a three week period (15 working days), TfL processed almost 2,000 new private hire driver licenses, while some London taxi drivers have had to wait up to 6 months for renewals to their licenses. 

TfL are currently clawing in £750,000 a month in new PH licence applications alone. While ignoring taxi driver renewals.

Virtually the whole trade feels let down by the woeful inadequacy of our licensing authority, with a majority believing both TfL and the Mayor Boris Johnson, have an agenda to kill off the iconic back cab trade. 

Representatives from all trade orgs recently met with the view of escalating the protests. 

One trade leader tweeted last night,
"we are now declaring war, we won't go without the mother of all fights."

Editorial comment:
We must congratulate the group on their professionalism in the way this protest was organised. The banners, free T-shirts, flags, stickers and handouts were fantastic. 

The group also catered for the large crowd handing out drinks, fruit, snacks and also sweets to the children. 

Also, we mustn't forget:
Working away at night in the background, ordinary drivers are taking back the ranks from the touts, with help from the Mayfair Mob Team. These hits, along with the protest today, has not only given me new purpose, it's put the fire back in my belly.

Drivers meeting up in advance of Thursday's hit of Forge and Shoreditch House night venues

Cabs waiting to access the rank at Forge, keeping the touts off the rank. Drivers have been amazed at the amount of work the touts had been taking off the trade.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Save Our Black Taxi FaceBook Group Petition Hits The 10,000 SignatureMark.

Congratulations to the Save Our Black Taxis Taxi, FaceBook Group who have now hit the 10,000 signature target. 

#SaveTaxi 30th Jul 2015
Dear Supporters, 

Thank you so much for your support, and for taking the time to sign the petition! What a fantastic achievement, we now have over 10,200+ signatures! 

We are aiming to keep growing the number of signatures, and would appreciated your continued support to promote the petition and #SaveTaxi.

Quick Reminder
Just to remind you, the family and supporter's demonstration will take place tomorrow:  

The demonstration will take place on: 
31 July at 14:00-16:00

Windsor House (Transport for London)
42 - 50 Victoria Street
London SW1H 0TL
United Kingdom

We hope to see you there! 

Best wishes,
   Photo by Patric McGuinness.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Uber Passenger Map Is A Fake. No More Than A Screen Saver.


If you use Uber, you’ve seen the map that comes up when you want a ride. The map shows little car graphics hovering adorably around your location and the wait time for a pickup. Once you request a ride, you can watch a little car creep closer to your destination as you wait. It’s a marvel of technology! Except it’s bullshit.

Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark, researchers studying Uber’s user interaction, discovered that the map Uber shows passengers of its available local drivers isn’t very accurate/may be intentionally misleading. I know—Uber, doing something sketchy?! We inhabit a wild world. But read on:

Rosenblat interviewed Uber drivers as research, including an Uber driver “Heather” who noticed that the passenger map wasn’t showing correct information, and published an account on Motherboard:

When Heather asked an Uber Help staff member, however, she was told that the rider map was just a “screen saver.”

“The app is simply showing there are partners on the road at the time,” the staffer wrote in an email. “This is not a representation of the exact numbers of drivers or their location. This is more of a visual effect letting people know that partners are searching for fares.”

“I know this seems a misleading to you but it is meant as more of a visual effect more than an accurate location of drivers in the area. It would be better of you to think of this as a screen saver on a computer.”

A screen saver on a computer! What a fantastic excuse. The next time anyone tells me, “Kate, the blog post you wrote is bad and you are bad,” I am going to say, “It would be better of you to think of this as a screen saver on a computer.” Ditto for if I accidentally make a seXXXt-tweet, Anthony Weiner style. “Excuse me. It is just a screen saver on a computer my friends, carry on.”

There are two different maps that Uber drivers can see: The driver map, which shows where people are requesting rides, and the passenger version, which ostensibly shows passengers where cars are but is apparently a screen saver on a computer.

Since Uber drivers have access to the driver app map as well as the passenger version, they can check the discrepancy between the two. Drivers have been wondering about why Uber puts “phantom” or “ghost” cars on passengers’ maps for a while. In one of many driver forum threads about the “ghost cars,” a driver said that Uber claimed it was just a technical issue:

This came up in our weekly virtual Uber webinar. They claim this is a new technical issue and are looking into it. Yeah, just like the ETA’s doubling after accepting it. Funny how all these ‘technical issues’ work in Uber’s favor and against drivers.

Another driver suspects that Uber was putting their car on the passenger map, even when they were signed out and not working as a driver: 

When I logged onto the rider app lat night it showed a car parked right in front of my building. It had to have been my car and I was not logged on as a driver. The ghost car was almost exactly where my car was parked. CREEPY

When Rosenblat asked about the issue, however, an Uber representative gave a very different answer:

“The map is as accurate as possible in the close vicinity of your location,” the representative wrote.

Other drivers haven’t been buying that, because they’re not stupid:

And now that this research corroborates suspicions that Uber is manipulating its passenger maps to make it look like there are more drivers, more Uber drivers are noticing:

Uber have been asked for clarification on its map/screen saver. I don’t know if we’ll get a straight answer about this, but there is a good reason why Uber would want to manipulate its passenger map results: When you open the app and see a bunch of available cars nearby, it makes it seem like it’s definitely the quickest way to get a ride, which makes Uber seem more attractive. But it's just a lie.

More Uber Myths:

Uber recently boasted that that had achieved 369% growth.
Thruth is they spent $885m to get $415 back in revenue. 

Last year, when London Taxis drivers went protested about Uber's operation and TfLs woeful inadequacy, Uber boasted an increase in app downloads of 800%. Yet they only moved up 2 places on the App Store league table, from 56 to 54. 

    Source Gizmodo

Uber To Face Legal Action From GMB Over Drivers' Rights

App-based minicab service Uber is facing legal action over claims it is failing to provide basic rights to its drivers. 

The GMB union will challenge the company's claim that its workers are partners rather than employees.

The union says Uber is breaching its duty on pay, holidays, and health and safety.

The firm says making drivers employees would mean losing their flexibility, which makes the job appealing. 

'Substantial pay outs'

GMB, the union which represents professional drivers, has instructed the law firm Leigh Day to take action on behalf of members driving for Uber. 

Nigel Mackay from the firm believes legal action could result in "substantial pay outs" for drivers: "We believe that it's clear from the way Uber operates that it owes the same responsibilities towards its drivers as any other employer does to its workers," he said.

"In particular, its drivers should not be denied the right to minimum wage and paid leave."

The GMB's Steve Garelick said: "Operators like Uber must understand that they have an ethical and social policy that matches society's expectations of fair and honest treatment."

Uber describes itself as a "pick-up" service that connects those needing a ride with a background-checked private driver, and takes a cut - typically 20% - of the fee.

In May, Transport for London reported the number of private hire vehicle licences had risen from 52,000 to 77,000 over the previous 12 months, and most of that increase down to new Uber drivers.

Legal action in the UK comes just weeks after a California court ruled a driver for Uber was an employee, not a contractor. Uber insisted the ruling only applied to the individual driver making the claim and said it would appeal the ruling. Classifying Uber drivers as employees would severely dent Uber's profits and likely lower its $40bn (£25.62bn) valuation.

Nigel Mackay went on yo say, it was time Uber took "responsibility" for its drivers and treated them as any other employer does.

"A successful legal action against Uber could see substantial pay outs for drivers, including compensation for past failures by the company to make appropriate payments to who we argue are their workers," he said


    Source BBC News and Wired UK.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Save Our Black Taxis FaceBook Protest. 
Windsor House, Victoria Street SW1
Friday 21st July 2pm till 4 pm 

Within just a few months they have managed to attract over 12,700 members, making them the biggest group this trade has ever had.

These people have put their hearts and soles into supporting the trade and on Friday 31st July, it will be our turn to show support for all the hard work they've put in on our behalf. 

This is not a formal Taxi vehicle demonstration, it will be a peaceful, on-foot gathering of friends and families members of Taxi Drivers. There should be no police harassment, no numbers taken, no nasty letters from Palestra like with previous demonstrations.

Please don't let all their hard work go unsupported. Come along at 2 pm on Friday to Windsor House and bring your friends and family. There will be free T-shirts for kids (on a first come basis)

Let's make this the biggest protest TfL have ever seen.


In all my years as a licensed Taxi driver, I have never seen a petition raised by the trade with more than just a few hundred signatures.

The Save Our Black Taxi Petition is nearing 10,000 signatures. If you can't make it on Friday, you can still help by getting your friends and family to sign the online petition.

>Click Here To Sign Petition<

A Blast From The Past : TfL's Cut Price Legal Team By Jim Thomas

Friday, December 14, 2012, TfL issued another meaningless notice

The Mayor Boris Johnson, will be seeking ban on dangerous pedicabs

• the Mayor’s call was supported by businesses and safety campaigners
• these unsafe pedicab Vehicles have a disproportionate effect on congestion, with drivers frequently arrested for obstruction and dangerous driving

The Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) called for a change to legislation that would allow them to effectively ban dangerous pedicabs in the capital. 

So what happened back then. What stopped the Mayor and his legal eagles going after pedicabs ?

  • Rickshaw driver Juris Dzjabovic charged tourists £206 for mile-long trip 
  • He insisted it was fair because he was pedalling uphill along Oxford Street 
  • Russian claimed he arrived in the UK seven days ago on a tourist visa
  • Police officer told driver he was 'exploiting tourists' and 'ripping them off'

If Mr Dzjabovic is here on a Tourist Visa he should not be working.
Why haven't the UK Boarder Agency arrested and deported him ?

How many more rickshaw riders are ripping off tourists while illegally working on a tourist or student visa ?

Over to you Boris 

        Boris, giving his wife a backsie

  So Where Did It All Fall Down?

Under project Horizon, priorities at TfL's Victoria based HQ shifted dramatically, panels scrutinised and the floodgates for more change were firmly wedged open.

TfL set about streamlining its legal Panel, announcing in October 2012 that it would be cutting outside legal consultancies, from 12 to 11 firms. Not too drastic you'd think, but at the same time replacing the elite Bird & Bird, Clifford Chance, Manches and Travers Smith with a cheaper alternative set; Lewis Silkin, SNR Denton (now Dentons) and Trowers & Hamlin.

      Director of Legal at TfL Angrea Clark

“We are keen to have firms that appreciate the challenges we face,” (legal speak for cheap) added Andrea Clarke, director of legal at Transport for London. “We look for people who take a pragmatic and collaborative approach.”

TfL shaved the areas in which it employed the help of external lawyers to purely commercial projects, property, employment and litigation matters.

All this fat trimming reduced external spend to between £12m and £15m per year, a saving of approx £3m a year. 
But when you plump for cheap, it comes at a cost as TfL was soon to find out.

2012 also saw the defeat of TfL's legal team by Diamond Chauffeurs ltd. 
Even after the company were caught blatantly on film touting, TfL's cut price team lost to a high court appeal and just left it at that.

After waiting almost twelve years to get a water tight, open and shut case against a PH operator openly touting outside a satellite office (licensed or otherwise), the then Director and Deputy Director of LTPH, set their sights on Diamond Chauffeurs Ltd. 
Unfortunately, their cut price legal team subsequently lost the "open and shut case". 

Observers at the hearing was stunned by TfL's legal team's lack of preparation.

This was the turning point:
Little phased by the effect on the Taxi trade in general, TfL now operate a more loose approach to PH licensing, as we now are starting to find out to our cost. 

Issues abound, such as the ease in which Uber became and stays licensed. Also back in 2012, RD2's acquired multiple license variations (satellite office licenses), without the requirement of being in business for the minimum period under TfL policy.

After a series of lies about RD.2 (from the ex Director of LTPH) were disproved, TfL finally changed their stance and stated it is not a legal requirement, but just guidelines. received all their licence variations on the same day they registered as a brand new operator.

This unit of 76 lawyers plus top TfL management Howard Carter, have now looked at the running of American company Uber and so far, can't decided between themselves if this company is operating legally or not and have had to seek judicial opinion, which (in our opinion) they will loose.

In all the years as administrator to the Taxi and Private Hire trade, and with their hand picked (cheap) team of 76 lawers plus 11 outside legal consultants, TfL have only ever publicised one victory against a PH driver (who incidentally, pleaded guilty) for illegally plying for hire.

Every now and then the carefully prepared script is rolled out by someone from TfL giving the amount of arrests for touting since 2011. 

But they never give the amount of convictions!

Fact is the totally number of convictions is just a minute fraction of the arrests, most of whom are given a verbal warning or they contest the charge and get off. Either way, very few actually get their livcence revoked.

That's the trouble with lawers, they don't come cheap. You pay get monkeys. 

The only problem facing minicabs touts today, is where to illegally ply for hire from. 
The choice seems endless as LTPH have dished out satellite office licenses like sweets to hungry kids. 

As for touting detection and arrest, a minicab driver has more chance of winning the Nationsl Lottery than being done for illegally plying for hire, FACT.

£15m per year of tax payers money, 76 lawyers, 11 outside legal consultants and in Leon Daniels own words, they've had to ask someone smarter. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

An Appeal For Witnesses Of Vicious On Taxi Driver, From The Met Kensington And Chelsea.

Detectives from Kensington and Chelsea are appealing for help to identify two witnesses six months after a black cab driver was seriously assaulted.

On Monday, 26 January, at approximately 02:20 hrs, a 62-year-old black cab driver was working when he was hailed by a man and a woman in their early 20s in the vicinity of Brompton Square near Harrods.

The cab driver, who does not wish to be named, stopped and agreed to take the couple to Addison Gardens in Kensington.

Following the journey of three or four miles, the man paid the fare of £20 and the pair then left the cab in Lower Addison Gardens. As they left the cab, the driver noticed that the woman had been sick in the back of his cab at some stage during the journey. He suggested to the man that they should clear up the mess or give him an extra £45 to pay for the cleaning of the cab.

The cab driver has no recollection of what happened next but when he regained consciousness he was badly injured and his clothing was covered in blood. He managed to drive home where his son took him to hospital for treatment. He had sustained multiple fractures around his eye socket.

Officers were called to the hospital where they began an investigation.

Detective Constable Simon Jewell, from Kensington and Chelsea CID, said: "The victim's injuries are consistent with having been repeatedly kicked or punched in the head. This would appear to be a vicious attack on a 62-year-old man who has only recently been able to return to work.

"We have released a photo of the cab driver in hospital taken from a Body Worn Camera in the hope that this will encourage people to come forward with information to help the investigation.

"We are appealing for anyone who can help us to identify the couple, a white man and woman in their early 20s, who caught the cab in the early hours on Monday, 26 January from the vicinity of Brompton Square to Lower Addison Gardens.

"We'd particularly like to speak to the residents of Lower Addison Gardens and Addison Gardens who may have heard noise at approximately 02:30 hrs on Monday, 26 January or may even have witnessed the assault."

If you have any information about this incident please call police on 020 8246 0217 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.