Saturday, September 12, 2015

Support Back Taxi's Demands To Be Addressed By The Mayor And TfL...by Sean Day.

London's licensed taxi trade actively opposes the violent action taken by taxi drivers in Paris against those working from off-shore based app corporations. 

However, to quell the growing unrest evidenced by drivers here on a daily basis, we demand, on this day for The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to address the following in the first instance. A statement of intention is expected

Firstly, to ensure clarity that the grievances London’s taxi drivers are experiencing are the result of decisions made by our licensing authority, TFL and not a ubiquitous app based product, I will briefly highlight the reasons why. 

The French President Francois Hollande accused Uber a technologies Inc of not respecting social and fiscal rules and called for the service to cease and desist. Uber responded by telling drivers to continue until a ruling was made by the country's top court. Couple the official stance by the President with taxi drivers (always revolutionary minded) taking matters into their own hands, Uber are now discontinuing on the grounds that it is not safe for their drivers. A fine example of a contradiction in terms. 

One could also say that every journey undertaken from Uber’s platform is potentially unsafe- for both driver and passenger- as Uber do not accept liability for any incident that occurs between the passenger and transport provider, re: Terms & Conditions

As a working cab driver who mainly working nights, I feel that the violence-marred taxi strikes in Paris, reflect the ever growing tensions here in London over how the cab trade accommodates the use of fast-moving technology and staying competitive, whilst simultaneously containing sedition caused by big finance corporations illegally entering the business, along with a complicit government with its own invested interest.

On September 16th we, the London Taxi Trade, take an official stance against TFL's refusal to not enforce the law directly to City Hall. The protest will be on foot. The buck stops with the Mayor and in an attempt to quell tensions within the the taxi industry that are running on high octave, we are there to demand answers that day. The trade at least has the right to know where it stands, if not, what we are dealing with is nothing short of totalitarianism.


What drivers are experiencing is the total collapse of the taxi trade, who's earning capability can no longer meet the running costs of TfL’s authorised vehicle. Contributing factors that are detrimentally impacting on the trade are insurmountable. These are primarily concerned with TfL’s defiance to not take on the financial might of Uber (Goldsmith Sachs/ Google). 

It is true that Uber are merely symptomatic of the the cause, but it has spurned numerous apps that now base their product on Uber’s working model and are hitting the market at an unprecedented rate, geolocalisation boundaries are not adhered to as taxis from all over the country descend on London to ply their wares, the utterly inexcusable delays in the renewal of driver licenses, thus denying drivers their democratic right to earn a living, and the almost indescribable lack of effective enforcement carried out by a team that would be considered a joke, if they didn't prove to be such a public liability.

The fact is, the taxi trade is the recipient of a closed government that continues to offer a free pass to a 50 billion dollar international conglomerate . Enforcement is non-existent, and licensed taxi drivers, all of which have to meet the conditions of fitness laid out by TfL, are being unduly targeted by a covert government agenda. 


This policy is being steadfastly upheld by TFL, who continue to issue Private Hire licenses at an unsustainable rate, whilst keeping the licensed trade strangulated with their own stringently enforced regulations.


September 16thwe call upon the Mayor and Chair of TfL to issue a Statement of Intention that day, if not, subsequent protests will escalate. The statement of intention will require affirmative answers to the following requests:


  1. 1)  TfL will clearly and firmly uphold its policy on transparency, by opening up the cabbie cabinet meetings to relevant members of the GLA and Trade Representatives. Minutes from the meeting will be available for the industry to read.


  2. 2)  The high court case seeking a ruling on what constitutes a taxi meter to be a public hearing. It cannot, in any conceivable terms, be conducted in private. The taxi trade is highly suspicious- with good reason- of the financial clout of certain lobbyists, and TfL are using public money to defend the working model of an app based product. The case is of public interest, and again, for transparency reasons, the court proceedings should be open. Whichever side the Judge sees fit to rule on, the democratic right pertaining to ‘justice should be seen to be done’ has to be upheld by TFL


  3. 3)  An immediate cap placed on the issuing of private hire licenses. There is no law that compels or prevents TfL from issuing licenses. The guidelines clearly state that if a person meets the criteria listed then they can apply for a license. Applying for a licence is not make getting a license mandatory. Indeed, mitigating circumstances such as the inexorable increase in motor traffic congestion, and subsequent Pollution implications, should be deterministic factors for capping licenses.


  4. 4)  Temporary licenses (Bill renewal) issued to taxi drivers if there is a delay due to inept and inconsistent administration, that is of no fault of the driver. To not issue the driver has completed the necessary paperwork, has had the money deducted from his/ her account and is of previous good character, denies him/ her of the fundamental right to earn a living.


  5. 5)  Finally, the undeniable and corroborable contempt that Mr Leon Daniels has for the licensed taxi trade brings into question his ability to act with discernment when making trade associated decisions. Primarily, the unmethodical issuing 30,000 private hire licenses over a two year period (most of which facilitated the en-mass infiltration of smart phone instant hire car services) was reckless in the extreme. In doing so, we openly accuse Mr Daniels of overstepping his brief by intentionally derestricting a market that already satisfied demand with supply. It is of my informed opinion also, that the stress level of those within the trade is becoming infective, to the degree that depression could elevate to a serious organisational matter. 


The fact that many decisions lack rudimentary economic sense is a failing by someone who’s duty it is, at the behest of the current mayor, to comply with prevailing legislature (or modify it by legitimate means). From an observant position, the taxi trade’s relationship with Leon Daniels TPH is beyond reparation. We therefore request his immediate removal.


Editorial Comment: Breaking News.

Just as we were in the process of posting this item, we heard the fantastic news that after Sean Paul's online petition, mayor Boris Johnson has decided to override TfLs decision to hold their high court action in private. 


 

      

Again, well done Sean Paul.
One down, four to go. 

 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

New rank charges on hold to allow further talks with driver groups.

A proposed taxi rank charging system at Birmingham New Street, aimed at encouraging greener vehicles and a better customer experience, has been put on hold to allow more time to secure agreement with trade representatives.

The new charges, first announced two years ago, included a sliding annual fee for taxi drivers based on how polluting their cars are – potentially from £250 for the greenest rising to £1,000 for the most polluting diesel vehicles.

This graded charging system was designed to support Birmingham City Council’s clean-air targets, led by EU and national Government objectives, to provide a better, cleaner, fume-free environment for the 170,000 daily users of the station and many more people who live in, work in and visit the city centre.

While Network Rail continues with its negotiations to find an amicable solution for all parties, Birmingham New Street station will revert back to its original taxi rank charge – 40p per visit per vehicle. This fee was in place before the rebuilding of the station started.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are eager to talk constructively with all interested parties’ representatives in order to reach an amicable solution.

“To allow time for talks to take place we have postponed the implementation of new taxi rank charges that were intended to encourage to user of newer, less polluting vehicles.”

Birmingham New Street station opens to the public on Sunday September 20 following a five-year, £750m transformation. The Grand Central shopping complex, above the new station, is set to open on Thursday September 24.

Source:- travelandtourworld.com

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

It's War : UCG Announce First Set Of Demo Dates.


Demos to start again Sept the 24th, 3 Static and 3 Rolling. 

Please be assured that the time constraints are not our doing. The police have put restrictions on us.

Demo Dates and Venues.

1) 24/9..Bank Junction 16:00 - 19:00

2)) 30/9 Aldwych  17:30 - 19:30

3) 5/10 Windsor Ho. 14:00 - 16::00

The following are Rolling Demos.

4) 13/10 TUC - Friends House and back  15:00 - 17:00

5) 19/10 Hogarth - Hammersmith 08:00 - 10:00


6) 28/10. Tower Bridge to Wandsworth Bridge ,via all  Bridges. 16:00 - 19:00 

More will be announced should we need them.

A list of demands is on the way to TFL and Downing St.
Whether we need to ramp it up further, is in TFL s hands.
All demands are fair and easily implemented



Boris Urged To Consider LPG Taxi Options

Automotive LPG supplier Autogas has asked the Mayor and TfL to consider LPG options in new licensing proposals for taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs).

The proposals are in regard to the Ultra-Low Emission Zone in central London.

In order to tackle air pollution and emissions problems in central London, TfL is recommending a revised voluntary decommissioning scheme for taxis over 10 years old and the requirement that all taxis and new PHVs new to licensing from January 2018 to be Zero Emission Capable (ZEC).

Unfortunately TfL have ignored the Kings Collage report (as did Boris) which recently showed the older Taxis were actually less polluting in regards to NO2, than newer vehicles. 

Autogas believes that TfL’s proposal to increase the charging infrastructure of electric vehicle charge points in order to support the uptake of ZEC-ready electric vehicles by the commercial sector (including taxis and PHVs), neglects already-established alternative fuels which could otherwise assist in achieving air quality goals.  

Linda Gomersall, general manager of Autogas, said: “We are concerned that TfL has again ignored alternative fuels already in place that can contribute to its vision of reducing air pollution. 

“We strongly support TfL’s objective of improving air quality in central London by reducing vehicle emissions and as such, we are continually looking for opportunities to work with TfL to deliver their goal in improving the capital’s air quality.”

Gomersall added: “It’s not just London that could benefit from more LPG powered taxis and PHVs.

“Councils across the country that are dealing with polluted city centres need to look at a range of fuel options and LPG could provide an ideal solution.”


          All very well! But is Boris listening ?


Future Of London's Taxi Trade To Be Debated In Parliament

Parliament to debate "The Future of Black Cabs in London". 

This is a new item, only recently added to the calender. 

I note the day chosen is the one before the next Bumper trade Demo.



Back to front rhetoric, we are legal and repeatedly cited as the best in the world.

Concerns with uber are well documented and have been highlighted on many occasions , combined with the strangulation of Londns Roads by excess PHV that CANNOT be pre-booked and therefore need to be near the 'busy spots', it's laughable that this is the angle a potential hopeful for London Mayor is coming at this whole problem.


I'm sure no mention of TFL's woeful handling will be mentioned at any time or Boris' refusal to take any responsibility for (now) one of the most congested cities on the planet.  





Thanks to Les  >acnedriver.blogspot.co.uk
Also Sean, Richard and Dave.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Uber to move into 100 more Chinese cities


Controversial app-based taxi service Uber plans to expand into 100 Chinese cities over the next 12 months.

Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick announced the move at an event in Beijing held by one of Uber's Chinese investors, Baidu.

The service is already available in around 20 cities in the country.

The expansion puts it head-to-head with local rival Didi Kuadi which recently raised $3bn in funding.

China's internet-linked transport market is rapidly becoming the world's biggest and is proving lucrative for Uber.

Mr Kalanick said the firm had gone from a tiny 1% share of the lift-hailing market in China nine months ago to its current 30%-35% market share.

He did not specify what percentage of this was for private cars and what for taxis, where it faces tough competition from dominant player Didi Kuadi.

New regulations governing lift-hailing services in China are expected later this year. 

Mr Kalanick said he welcomed the new rules but in other parts of the world, regulation is proving a thorn in its side.

Last week, a judge in California paved the way for Uber drivers to sue the company over their status. Some drivers claim they are employees rather than contractors and, as such, should be allowed to claim expenses and receive tips.

Source BBC News. 

Taxi Demo, September 16 : Don't Be The One Who Says "No One Told Me"...by Richard Busby

London's black cab trade, complete with regulations and the knowledge has worked well for over 150 years. Sudden, the market has been opened up to anyone with the licence fee by our regulator. Its not rocket science....they no longer want us.
 

We now have "one stop shop" satellite centres, complete with TfL approval, where it's possible to get an interpreter to help do the topographic test, arrange a CRB and complete the application form, all for a small fee. A production line walk in centre, where you can walk out a fully licensed private hire driver.

In a world where a man with a job cannot make ends meet, he gets a car a goes to work at night and bingo!

The unemployable man, t
he thief, the burglar, the opportunist rapist, the tout, all get a car go to work at night and bingo! 

You can all see what's happening here, the streets have never been so dangerous at night with these drivers working under the respectability of the uber platform with impunity and a level of new found confidence that makes them feel as they have made it.
 
The car they drive does sixty miles to the gallon and they have zero road tax do the maths.
 
The police have there hands tied, any indiscretion by these drivers is low prioritised. The press, TV news and the radio stations have their own agendas. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story. 


Under a freedom of information request, it has recently been found that uber has been named in over 600 crime reports in the last year... what does that tell you. This current government and TFL and anyone else that uber think maybe helpful has been lobbied and paid off. We are in a battle against a massive machine that will not stop until we are gone.
 
l don't think they imagined we would put up such resistance, but now the time has come for every cab driver to wake up, take your head out of the sand and fight this gross injustice. 

I have many cabbie mates that are all pulling in the same direction but I'm sick of cab drivers that say I'm too old for all of this and ones that don't do demos because the have a mortgage and bills to pay. Well let me tell you this, if you don't get on board you're gonna be finished very very soon.

As a cab driver I'm urging you after reading this when you stop to put the world to rights and your talking to other cab drivers on the street, rank, station, cafe, make sure you look them in the eyes and ask them what there doing on the 16th. Will they be going to city hall or attending the other demos on the day. 

Pick up a leaflet, read the trade press, ring the trade orgs and find out exactly what's happening on the 16th September. 

Make sure every cabby you know is informed and don't let this glorious trades famous last words be etched on its grave;

"NO ONE TOLD ME" 

Let's all get out there and give it to them.

Monday, September 07, 2015

GMB SEEKS TRIBUNAL RULING AGAINST UBER ON MINIMUM WAGE UNDERPAYMENT

GMB London Uber Driver Member Paid £1.47 Per Hour Below Minimum Wage For 234 Hours In August As Union Seeks Tribunal Ruling On Underpayment

Union plans to recover underpayment on the national minimum wage as part of the Tribunal claim that Uber drivers are directed workers says GMB Professional Drivers.

A GMB member who works exclusively for Uber as a cab driver in London was paid £5.03 net per hour for 234 hours driving during August calendar month. This is £1.47 per hour below the national minimum wage of £6.50 per hour. For each hour he worked the fees he paid to Uber were £2.65 per hour which equated to 53% of his net pay per hour.

In July GMB, the union for professional drivers, announced that it had instructed Leigh Day to take legal action in the UK on behalf of members driving for Uber on the grounds that Uber is in breach of a legal duty to provide them with basic rights on pay, holidays, health and safety and on raising complaints. See notes to editors for copy of GMB press release and copy of article from the Times on this litigation.

GMB is asking Uber drivers to keep detailed records of income and expenditure so that underpayment of the national minimum wage can be recovered as part of the Tribunal claim  that Uber drivers are directed workers and thereby covered by legislation on pay, holidays, health and safety and on raising complaints.

Set out in the table is a summary of the details of total income and expenditure and hours worked by this GMB member. GMB is happy to share the details with media outlets. 

Aug 2015

Total income from all sources working for Uber

£3,232.71

Less Uber fees

- £619.60

Less other expenditure

- £1,436.75

Pay for August

£1,176.37

Total hours in August

234.00

Pay per hour

£5.03

Uber fees per hour

£2.65

Other expenditure includes: Licensing; MOT; Road Tax; Servicing / Maintenance; TfL Inspection; Car Finance; Fuel; Insurance; Parking; Uber deductions.

Steve Garelick , Secretary of the GMB professional drivers branch, said “ In August this GMB cab driver working for Uber kept detailed records of time spent driving and his income and his expenditure. 

Taking into account his expenditure, this GMB member was paid £5.03 for every hour he worked in August. Fees he paid to Uber were £2.65 for every hour he worked or 53% of his hourly pay. 

The hourly pay is below the national minimum wage of £6.50.  If TfL keep issuing new licenses and Uber keep expanding – driving down fares, upping commissions – this will only get worse. 

This fall in drivers incomes poses a threat to public safety. This is because as driver incomes fall they have to work more hours to make the same money. Uber don’t control hours and neither do TFL.  Drivers fatigue is a huge public safety and occupational risk.

GMB plan to recover underpayment on the national minimum wage as part of the Tribunal claim that Uber drivers are directed workers.  

We want all Uber drivers to keep detailed records so that we can recover the underpayment for them.”
End

Contact Simon Rush on 07863 256411 or Steve Garelick 07565 456 776, or Michelle Bacon 07961 709680 or GMB press office 07921 289 880 or 07974 251 823 or Steve.garelick@gmbdrivers.org


Man fighting for life after being hit by a bus on Stockwell Road.

Another day, another Serious bus accident involving killed or serious injury (KSI). 


A man is fighting for his life in  central London hospital, after being hit by a bus in Brixton this morning. 

Police were called to Stockwell Road at 10.42am after reports a bus had been in collision with a pedestrian. 

London Ambulance Service and London's Air Ambulance were also called to the scene, near the O2 Brixton Academy. 

The man, who is believed to be in his 30s, has been taken to a central London hospital in a critical condition. 

The road has been closed while emergency services attend and buses have been placed on diversion.

No arrests have been made.

Sascha Pangallo on Facebook "UBER.. YEAH THEY'RE CHEAP ~ BUT CAN YOU PUT A PRICE ON YOUR LIFE?"


I'm not one to post these long novel Facebook statuses, but I really feel that this needs/should be made public - and put to the people. Yesterday afternoon, I ordered an Uber (as I do on the daily.) Little did I know on this particular afternoon I would be stepping into an Uber with a psychotic/mentally unstable driver aka "Paul". 

After refusing to put my destination into his GPS he requested my directing (which I had no problem with) however I was on an important phone call and during one of the directions he snapped and screamed at me in a very aggressive manner. 

He then pulled the car over continued to scream "get out of my car" multiple times whilst getting very physical, grabbing me and trying to drag me out of the car. He soon realised that there were 4 on lookers witnessing the whole thing and yelling that they were calling the police - he then panicked and ran back around to the driver side door, jumped in to his 4WD - and hit the accelerator like an absolute maniac. 

My door was still open as I was frantically trying to grab my bags out of the car and before I could get away I was thrown to the ground and my leg was being run over.

I have bruises on my arm and leg and a huge burn/severe skin abrasion from where the tyre ran over me. I am currently in hospital for a suspected blood clot and possible broken leg.



For someone who has been 'pro' Uber for so long, I will never use them again. Police are currently trying to shut Uber down as they are unlicensed taxis who claim to do police checks but this cannot be confirmed as there are so many incidents like mine involving their drivers. Some states in Australia have already banned Ubering. 

For those of you Ubering on the Gold Coast I will comment a screenshot of his Uber details below. Do not under any circumstances get in the car with him.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Firefox Browser, Coming To iOS.

Today, Mozilla announced its first public preview of its Firefox browser for Apple's iOS. So far, the browser is only available for mobile users in New Zealand.

Though Mozilla had previously rejected the idea of building a browser for Apple's mobile operating system, iPhones are so popular that Mozilla was forced to reconsider. In May this year, the company conducted a limited beta test of Firefox for iOS.

According to the company’s blog post, the goal of its limited preview is to collect user feedback. Specifically, Mozilla wants users to test three features: Firefox accounts, search, and Visual Tabs. Firefox accounts let you access your Firefox history, passwords and tabs on iOS devices; search gives you a choice of search providers. Visual Tabs let you view thumbnails of all your tabs, making it easier to keep track of what you have open.

The company says it hopes to roll out Firefox for iOS to the rest of the world later this year. You can sign up here to be notified when it is available in your country.

London's Cabbies And Their Families Protest Against TfL's Uneven Regulations.

   

Whitehall was bought to a complete standstill yesterday afternoon, by the latest protest against uneven, unfair Taxi and Private Hire regulations.

Cabbies joined by their friends and family were out in force causing gridlock traffic and temporary road closures in the area. 


Cabby's wife Artemis Mercer, started her face book group in May this year, which together with its Twitter account now has over 16,000 members/followers. The idea being to unite the trade through families and friends. Completely unconnected to any trade org or union, the Save Our Back Taxis group was formed to give a voice to the whole cabby family and their supporters.

Artemis stressed we need answers from TfL and we need them now before it's too late, before the black Taxis disappear from our streets. 


#SaveTaxi Campaigner Cher Morresey said 
her partner is working double his normal hours for just over a third of his normal wage, making it incredibly difficult to make ends meet for their family.


Disable people against cuts campaigner, Eleanor Lindsey said: 
"If our London Taxis are driven out of business, I would no longer be able to hail a Taxi and wouldn't be able to get about".

TfL must make up its mind, does London really want a 100% wheelchair accessible fleet, currently financed by the driver, with no TfL or government subsidy?
With drivers who know where they're going and are fully insured 100% of the time?

Uber isn't the problem, Transport for London is the problem, as a regulator failing to enforce its own regulations regarding private hire operators and drivers, in certain selective cases.

In the past decade, London's black cabs have been static at around 25,000 drivers including suburban drivers, whereas private hire licenses have quadrupled to a staggering 87,000. 

At the present rate of 700 new licenses being issued weekly, central London is grinding to a halt, affecting ever other form of road transport, creating massive pollution causing congestion.


Spokesman Patrick McGuiness, said:
"TfL have created an unfair, unlevel playing field...and we're not happy, and we're not going away!"
"This is only the start of it, this is only the friends and family. Wait until the cabdrivers themselves get involved in this. We're going to see unprecedented levels of demonstrations, highlighting the failings of Transport for London". 

TfL have put out this statement about the demo and as expected, it was just more lies.


It seems TfL no longer trust Leon Daniels to put out statements to the press after he told a GLA transport committee ( falsely) that Uber driver's have a switch on - switch off insurance policy and also, gave out Jo Bertrum's personal number as Uber's pre booking landline. So they've dug up the man who told Caroline Pidgeon that TfL had an army of 400 cab enforcement officers...you really couldn't make this up...lol