Saturday, September 05, 2015

Online Petitions Can Be very Affective....You don't always need massive support, just a good campaign.

A lot of drivers I've spoke to recently, seem to have no faith in online petitions, saying you need to get hundreds of thousands of signatures for anyone to take you seriously. 

The reply below from Westminster City Council, proves all the doubting Thomas's wrong.

Look at the result achieved by just 252 caring local residents. 



Dear Xxxxxx

Re: Response to Petition – ‘Rebuild Carlton Tavern’ 

I am writing to you as lead petitioner in response to the petition received entitled ‘Rebuild Carlton Tavern.’ The petition has now closed for the
collection of signatures and received 252 signatures in total.

You will be pleased to know that the Council’s Planning Committee resolved on the 5th May 2015 that an enforcement notice be issued requiring the rebuilding of the Carlton Tavern Public House.

The enforcement notice was subsequently served on all persons known to have an interest in the land on 19th June 2015. The enforcement notice requires the following:

“Rebuild The Carlton Tavern Public House, to match in facsimile the building as it stood immediately prior to its demolition on 8th April 2015, in conformity with the detailed architectural descriptions as to building materials, plan form, exterior and interior attached to this Notice, and in conformity with the photographs attached for the purposes of Illustration.” 

Prior to the enforcement notice taking effect, an appeal was submitted to the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local
Government. The City Council is currently waiting on the start date for the appeal and confirmation as to how the appeal will be heard. The City Council has though specifically requested that the appeal be heard by way of Public Inquiry to enable some local residents to attend and make representations. 

There is also an extant appeal against the City Council’s decision to refuse planning permission on 13th January 2015 for the following development:

“Demolition of existing public house and redevelopment to provide a building comprising of basement, ground and four upper floors to provide a public house (Class A4) at ground floor and basement level and 10 residential units from basement to fourth floor levels; associated landscaping works and cycle parking.”

It is highly likely that the two appeals will be co-joined and determined jointly although we are awaiting confirmation from the Planning Inspectorate on this point.

Given that an appeal has now been submitted against the enforcement notice, the requirements of the notice are held in abeyance pending determination of the appeal. Once the appeal start date has been confirmed, the City Council will be consulting widely to enable the local community the opportunity to make representations regarding the appeal.

The City Council shares the local communities concerns and is committed to doing all that it can, within the constraints of the statutory framework we are obliged to observe, to get the Carlton Tavern Public House rebuilt in facsimile.   

Yours sincerely


JOHN WALKER 
DIRECTOR OF PLANNING



And now on to Baker Street!
If you haven't already done so, please take a minute to sign the Baker Street Petition.
Clink link below and use the town hall post code 
SW1E 6QP

http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/bakerstreet/

Friday, September 04, 2015

Letters to Editor : Baker St Petition, NHTA to Join 16th Sept Demo and Parliamentary Questions Bad News

Dear Editor :

If you have a moment please sign this petition to stop the Baker Street two way traffic plans.

It is intended to make part of Baker Street (between Dorset Street and Blandford Street two way, single lane, for buses and cycles only. All other traffic will be diverted onto the surrounding streets causing absolute chaos. 

Please take the time to sign the petition below. This petition is open to people who live or work in the area (you don't have to be a resident) 

http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/bakerstreet/

Won't work without a post code 

Taxi drivers etc, can use the town hall postcade: SW1E 6QP

Many thanks, Tom Baker

Editors Comment:

To see what Westminster are planning to do 


Dear Editor a Taxi Leaks :

Norwich Taxi drivers have announced they will be supporting the call for action on September 16th. The Norwich Hackney Taxi Association, has ok'd a go slow around city hall, Norwich, on the 16th September.. Solidarity!!! 

They are hoping for 60-70 drivers to demo for 2 hours on the afternoon blocking at least 2 car parks that bring revenue to the Council and paralysis to city centre traffic gridlock. 


Dear Jim :

Parliamentary Questions Tues 15/9.

Results should be on line Hansards the day after.
Expect bad news with this twerp.


Regards Les.


Thursday, September 03, 2015

Press release from "Save Our Black Taxis" Group :

In light of the ongoing dispute between London's Black Taxis and the business activities of Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) operators – a brand new trade organisation with a difference has been formed.

Spearheaded by cabby’s wife, Artemis Mercer, thousands of families and trade supporters of licensed Black Taxi Drivers have united against what they describe as the “woeful failure of Transport for London (TFL) to fairly regulate the taxi and private hire market”.

With the aim of garnering further support from the public and highlighting the demoralising effects of TFL's lack of regulation and enforcement which is having on families, consumer choice, congestion, air quality and public safety - Facebook’s ‘Save Our Black Taxis’ has gained almost 13,000 supporters in a few months and close to 4000 followers on Twitter as @SaveTaxi.

Such is the severity of the problem, the taxi trade is now in steep decline with many taxi drivers leaving the trade seeking other employment. Also, the number of people applying to do the Knowledge has dropped by a third so far this year. Our iconic London taxi revered all over the world is in serious threat. London taxis own regulator is doing nothing to protect them as it seems TFL is putting money and corporate greed first.

TFL introduced the congestion charge to reduce traffic in London. Despite this, they are currently issuing an average of over 600 PHV licences per week with no plans to stop. Since 2012 when Uber London was licensed, our capital has gone from 8th to 1st place now being Europe’s most congested city. This has significantly increased NO2 levels more than any other European city and 9000 Londoners are now dying each year from air pollution. For how long can this continue?

Furthermore, illegal touting has become rife and PHV’s are coming into London from other areas to work. Even when TFL is presented with photographic evidence of this they have failed to take adequate action, if any. This is a huge concern as these drivers are not traceable if crimes are committed. Disturbingly, there have also been over 10,000 complaints involving Uber in the last 18 months, in addition the Metropolitan Police have a record of over 600 criminal offences involving Uber in the last 12 months and furthermore Police figures also show that 214 women were sexually assaulted in London last year after getting into illegal minicabs and 54 were raped.

TFL have no database of PHV drivers awaiting criminal proceedings or a database for background checks, causing a serious risk to public safety, why? Also, there is no database of PHV drivers dismissed for sexual misconduct against passengers, why? Any PHV driver could be on bail awaiting trial for sexual assault and yet TFL have no record. If they are dismissed from one mini cab company for sexual allegations, they can move to another mini cab company without further checks.

Why are these issues not being addressed by our own regulator and why are TFL's own regulations which are there to protect public safety not being enforced. Yet, on the other hand the taxi drivers are totally over regulated in comparison? A recent example of this was TFL sending letters threatening legal action to taxi drivers for displaying a Totally Failing London sticker in their taxis whilst off duty.

Whilst the number of taxi licences have always been restricted to around 25,000, at the current rate of new PHV licences being issued there will be 100,000 mini cabs by the end of this year. With a fee of £250 for a new PHV licence, is it a case of TFL putting the pound before passenger safety?

This is of paramount public interest thus Save Our Black Taxis are holding a family demo on 5 September between 1-3pm outside Downing Street to publicise TFL's incompetence and their perceived contempt for the London taxi trade. This campaign would benefit from having our side of the story heard.


Taxi Driver Families Demo, Saturday 5th Sept, Downing Street, 1-3 pm


Three days to go : 
The Save Our Black Taxis campaign group #SaveTaxis, will be holding their second demonstration on September 5th from 1-3pm opposite Downing Street. 

Spearheaded by cabbie’s wife Artemis Mercer, thousands of partners, wives, husbands, friends and families of Licensed London Black Cab drivers have come together to stand united against what they describe as the “woeful failure of Transport for London to regulate the taxi and private hire market in London.”


At present, TfL are pushing out an extra 2,000 new private hire drivers every month!

How much long long can this city sustain this expansion? 

Despite the continued lies, there is no visible enforcement against illegally plying for hire or touting by minicabs!

Drivers have been screaming for action on social media, well here's your chance to get out and protest. 
 
If you can join us please come along and if anyone needs a free taxi to get there email us at mail@dpac.uk.net
 
PLEASE SHOW YOU SUPPORT BY SIGNING THE ONLINE PETITION:
If you haven't already done so, could you and your family and friends please sign the campaign’s petition, just click link below:


ALSO, make sure you fit in the Daily Mirror poll
Do you think Uber should be banned 


You have to realise how important these polls are, they are about public opinion. If we let ourselves slip down the polls it will be goodnight Vienna !

Every Licensed Taxi Wheelchair Accessable :
For disabled people living in London, transport is woefully inadequate and while traditional black cabs may not provide a complete transport solution for all at the moment, they do offer a means of travelling that is at least accessible to many disabled travellers. 
 
Mayor Boris Johnson and TfL’s lack of regulation enforcement is however threatening the continued existence of black cabs and allowing the licensing of private hire vehicles which do not have to be accessible in any way. 

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) see this as a backward move away from improving travel options for disabled people in London and will be supporting the forthcoming protest.

If you can join us please come along and if anyone needs a free taxi to get there email us at mail@dpac.uk.net

  
  

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

New York cabbies are now required to buy the controversial 'Taxi of Tomorrow'

As of today, taxi owners in New York City are required to purchase Nissan's NV200 minivan — the so-called Taxi of Tomorrow — when replacing their current vehicles, NY1 reports


This marks the conclusion of a fraught, four-year journey: New York first selected the NV200 in May of 2011, but was met with resistance, controversy, and legal challenges over then-mayor Michael Bloomberg's demand that taxi companies upgrade to the NV200 quickly. 

The small van, which looks oddly narrow and tall when it's ambling down Manhattan's streets and avenues, has also gotten knocks for being a pure-gas vehicle (not a hybrid or an electric) and for not being accessible to wheelchairs out of the box. (Nissan is working on an electric version of the van called the e-NV200, but Taxi of Tomorrow specifications don't call for it.)


Inside, the NV200 is arguably a decent upgrade from the aging Ford Crown Victorias that it will replace, featuring sliding doors, passenger airbags, rear climate controls, and an electronic intercom to the driver — if you want to have a private conversation, you can just turn it off.

The new taxis have been available to purchase for some time, but this marks the first time that owners must buy them — they were merely an option before. But the rule change comes just as New York's traditional taxi base is under unprecedented attack from popular ride services like Uber and Lyft, which could mean that NV200s won't flood the streets in the same way taxis of the past did; the industry is hoping that a new e-hailing app will help turn those fortunes around.

UBER TOLD DRIVERS TO TAKE SHOWERS, now it's being used against them in court.

When you get in an Uber, you hope your driver has showered and the car is not a mess. However, the fact that Uber once told its drivers not to "forget to shower" is now part of a key legal battle that the ride-hailing company faces.

At around £30k, could the NV200 London Taxi have been a trade saver for London's cash strapped owner drivers?


Was NV200 scuppered by TfL on orders from Mayor, to protect Chinese investment?

U.S. Federal Judge: California Drivers Can Go Class-Action to Sue Uber

A federal judge in San Francisco  has granted class-action status to a lawsuit brought by three Uber drivers against the on-demand ride company.

The decision issued today by US District Judge Edward Chen means as many as 160,000 Uber drivers in California could join the case seeking mileage and tip reimbursement from the company, presently valued at $51 billion. The drivers can now collectively challenge the company on the main issue of worker misclassification—whether drivers should actually be considered employees of Uber under the law rather than independent contractors.

The decision applies to all UberBlack, UberX, and UberSUV drivers who have driven for Uber in the state of California at any time since August 2009. However, it excluded Uber drivers who work for a third-party company and more recent drivers who are bound by Uber’s 2014 arbitration clause. For now, Chen also did not grant class-certification for related expenses, including gas and vehicle maintenance.

“This decision is a major victory for Uber drivers,” says Shannon Liss-Riordan, the Boston lawyer who is representing the Uber drivers in the case.

“It will allow thousands of Uber drivers to participate in this case to challenge their misclassification as independent contractors, as well as to attempt to recover the tips that Uber advertised to customers are included in the fare, but are not in fact distributed to the drivers.”

In arguing against class-action status, Uber tried to show in court that the idea of a typical Uber driver was a false notion, meaning that no individual plaintiffs could truly represent the interests of all drivers. 

“We are likely to pursue an appeal of this decision because it is based on several key legal errors,” says attorney Ted Boutrous of Gibson Dunn, the firm defending Uber in the case.

“The mountain of evidence we submitted to the court—including the declarations of over 400 drivers from across California—demonstrates that two plaintiffs do not and cannot represent the interests of the thousands of other drivers who value the complete flexibility and autonomy they enjoy as independent contractors.”

The Future of On-Demand

Judge Chen’s ruling comes as the debate around how to properly classify workers for on-demand companies is heating up. As startups like Uber and Instacart have gone mainstream, so have criticisms of the so-called 1099 economy. These startups often employ freelance contractors, a classification the companies contend is desirable because the work is more flexible than a regular 9-to-5 job. Some critics are calling for broader protections for these workers, who do not receive benefits like Social Security, Medicare, and workers’ compensation and cannot unionize. Others complain that classifying workers as contractors allows companies like Uber to save up to 30 percent of payroll tax costs, which gives them an unfair competitive advantage.

Liss-Riordan has filed similar cases against Lyft, Caviar, Postmates, and Homejoy—the latter of which blamed labor lawsuits as a major factor in deciding to shut down. Some companies, including Instacart, Luxe, Shyp, and Sprig have announced plans to convert some or all employees to part- or full-time status.

Of all the current suits, the case against Uber has progressed the farthest, and given Uber’s size and dominance of the market, is considered the true test of the on-demand economy’s future. Already Uber is facing down a finding from the California Labor Commission that a San Francisco-based Uber driver should be considered an employee and should receive compensation for mileage and other expenses. That decision, which Uber is appealing, does not carry the force of judicial precedent. But this suit could—and if it goes to a jury trial, could force changes to the on-demand economy’s basic business model

Source: Wired.com

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Letter To Editor : Free Breakfast For Cabbies At Royal Wharf 15th Sept 7-10 am.


Dear Taxi Leaks, 

 

I wanted to get in touch to invite you to a free breakfast being held at Royal Wharf, exclusively for taxi drivers. Royal Wharf is a new development in east London which will comprise almost 4,000 new homes.

 

The reason for the breakfast is to ensure that taxi drivers know exactly where Royal Wharf is, as it is a new residential development into which people will be moving next year. The developers, Oxley Holdings and Ballymore, are hosting a free breakfast for cabbies on Tuesday 15thSeptember between 7am – 10am. In order to ensure as many taxi drivers as possible are able to claim their free breakfast we would love if you could help us to spread the word about the event – details are below. 

 

All cabbies need to do is pull up alongside the Royal Wharf information centre – which will be clearly signposted – between the times mentioned above and grab some food and drink from the van parked there. Staff will be handing out flyers at taxi ranks in east London, these will direct drivers to Royal Wharf and can be exchanged for a free bacon roll and tea or coffee but cabbies without a flyer are also entitled to breakfast.

 

Do let me know if you would like any further information or images regarding this. It would be great if you were able to help us pre-promote this to London’s taxi drivers through your channels.

 

Stocks of butties will be limited, so it will be first come, first served!

 

Best wishes,

Jon

 


For further info contact Beth/Jon via the below number


 

Tel: 020 7630 1411

Web:www.thecommunicationgroup.co.uk
Twitter: @TCG_PR  | Instagram: @tcg_pr


 

 

From Today Contactless CC Payments In The UK Rise To £30 Limit.

Shoppers in the UK will now be able to spend up to £30 using contactless cards after the limit was increased.


The limit per transaction for the so-called tap and pay cards, which do not require a PIN or a signature to authorise payment, was previously £20.
The move follows a huge rise in the number of people using contactless cards in the UK. 
Transactions for the first half of this year totalled £2.5bn, already higher than the £2.32bn spent in 2014. 

The UK Cards Association, the trade body for the card payments industry, said the increase meant that the average supermarket spend of £25 would now be covered.
"The growth in contactless payments shows people want to use contactless cards, and increasing the limit gives customers even more opportunities to pay in this way," said chief executive Graham Peacop.

In July, consumer group Which? warned that data from contactless cards could be easily stolen by determined fraudsters.

But the trade body said fraud via the cards was "extremely low", at less than one penny for every £100 spent.
The increase also comes after Apple allowed users of its latest devices to make contactless payments.


Kevin Jenkins, managing director UK and Ireland at Visa Europe, said contactless payments were becoming the "new normal".

"We've seen unprecedented growth in this area, with the number of Visa contactless transactions more than trebling in the past year in the UK," he added.
The increase was first announced in February

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mexico's VW Beetle Taxis Find 2nd Life With Mexican collectors


When the Mexico City government retired the last Volkswagen Beetle taxis in 2012, it shipped most of the aging cars, commonly known as "vochos," to junkyards to be turned into scrap metal.


But some of the Beetles, both former taxis and private cars, have found a second life in the hands of enthusiasts like Mario Anaya. He restored his father's 1994 sedan into an auto he named "the lizard" for its metallic-green paint.

"The car has a second life," said Anaya, who began refurbishing the former taxi in 2007, installing tan leather interior, a new odometer, fenders and chrome Porsche-style wheels.


A Volkswagen factory in Puebla, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) to the east, manufactured the old-style Beetles for 39 years, long after the car design had ceased production everywhere else. The last one came off the Mexican production line in 2003.


About 50,000 of the green-and-white taxis, many with the front passenger's seat removed, still roamed the Mexican capital's streets at their peak in 2006. But the city's crackdown on air pollution, its fight against crime, and the adoption of newer car models finally led to the vocho's retirement, with the last of the Beetle taxi licenses expiring in 2012.


Today, Anaya's close friend Arturo Diaz drives a restored ocean-blue 1965 ragtop Beetle and is president of Xochivolks, a club he founded 11 years ago in the capital's Xochimilco district.


"It is a family thing," said Diaz, who brings his 9-year-old daughter Amiel to club meetings. "The car is mine, but everyone participates, everybody takes care of it, everyone helps."


Fellow club member Christian Franco customized his bright yellow 1991 Beetle with toy chickens for his wife, who works in a roast chicken restaurant. Three foot-long rubber chickens are attached to the car's rear, and a fourth appears stuck under the back bumper.


"There's a resurgence of interest in these cars," said Mario Gamboa, a VW mechanic and racing driver for 35 years. "People want to live the dreams of their youth by fixing up a Volkswagen."

Diaz said collectors sometimes purchase used Beetles on a website for second-hand goods, or acquire a used one from a relative, friend, or neighbor.


Club members currently are looking forward to a huge gathering on Oct. 25 at Mexico City's Estadio Azteca, with as many as 1,500 customized vochos and 4,000 enthusiasts expected to attend.


About 40 of the original vocho taxis still survive at the El Coyol scrapyard in the Mexico City neighborhood of San Juan de Aragon.

"We're like a taxi museum," said Miguel Angel Campos, a junkyard employee. Inside the walled lot, behind a green metal gate, the surviving vochos are lined up in three long rows.


Many of the cars have cracked windshields, dented roofs, and missing fenders. Campos said some were once pirate taxis, or were involved in a serious crime, such as a robbery or killing. Most have not been driven for years.

         

But they are not for sale.

The last surviving vocho taxis, he said, are destined for the car compactor.

Woman’s Body Discovered Inside Car In Stater Bros. Parking Lot

Woman’s Body Discovered Inside Car In Stater Bros. Parking Lot

WEST COVINA (CBSLA.com) — Authorities say a death investigation is underway in West Covina after a woman’s body was found inside a vehicle.

West Covina police say around noon Tuesday, officers received a call by a person who noticed a body hunched over in the backseat of a gray Volkswagen sedan.

The discovery was made in a Stater Bros. parking lot in the 300 block of North Azusa Avenue.

Although investigators haven’t released the woman’s identity, DMV records show the car is registered to an Orange County woman and the coroner’s office confirms they’re working her case. The cause of death was not immediately known.

On the windshield of a vehicle, an Uber sticker turned sideways was visible, reported CBS2’s Rachel Kim. Police, however, say they cannot confirm whether the woman was a driver for the company.

“Detectives are going to do their investigation and maybe find out how long it had been here,” Sgt. Brian Daniels of the West Covina Police Department said. 

It remains unclear how long the body had been inside the vehicle.

“They are thinking she might have been there a day or two because the smell was really bad already, so it’s just really sad. It’s really shocking,” said Celine Portillo, a shopper.

The body has since been removed from the scene by the coroner’s office.

Off-camera, Kim spoke with a man who says the woman is his aunt. He confirmed that the vehicle was in fact hers and that she had just become an Uber driver.

Police said they are looking through security footage from the shopping plaza for any clues.