Friday, October 16, 2015

Why the long face....We haven't lost a case, we've been handed a major victory!...by Thomasthetaxi.

So, the Hon Sir Duncan Brian Walter Ouseley has handed down his opinion, based on the letter of the law as it stands. 

And his opinion is that Uber's smartphone app, is not a Taximeter, even though it is a device that calculates the fare using both time and distance (which is the dictionary definition of a Taximeter). Even Uber, in their instructional guide to drivers refer to it as a meter!

And are we surprised? of course not.

TfL have won their case plus TfL managers/directors past and present have been vindicated. 

Ever since the Uber app was first approved, TfL have been accused of sanctioning illegal activity. There have also been allegations of corruption, strongly denied by ex commissioner Sir Peter Hendy when he appeared in front of a GLA transport committee. 

>Click here for transcript of case<

So what does this verdict mean to us...the Taxi trade. Is it indeed a defeat, or is this a major victory?

The surge rates will now continue, passenger complaints of huge fares after sitting in gridlock traffic, drivers getting lost, taking the long way round, all adding to an increase in cost...this all continues. 

Had Uber lost, they would have had to change their modus operandi to a more user friend system and be bought inline with every other PH operator. 

Let's make no mistake, as good as their platform is, the threat to our trade is not coming from the efficiency of Uber's technology!

 Many passenger once stung are reluctant to reuse. A large proportion of rides are made up from customer promotions and money off vouchers.

To give you a for instance, in a three hour period, at the height of a busy Saturday night earlier this summer, Uber's system processed 10,000 rides. At that time they had an alleged work force of approx 10,000 drivers. With just over half their drivers actually on shift, this equates to 2 jobs per unit, in a three hour period. 

At that rate, their drivers cannot sustain financial stability and are forced to tout to make their money up. 

But this is where we can fight back, where we can make a difference.

For many decades drivers circulated, looking for waving hands but this has now changed. People do not want to walk around looking for vacant taxis. They want a ride sitting outside the venue, the club, the hotel, the restaurant. And they don't care if that vehicle is a cab, a minicab, a scab cab, whether it has a licence or insurance, as long as it's there when they come out. 

With touts reluctance to pay clipboard johnnies for work that comes to them anyway, has seen the apatite for licence variation applications all but drying up. TfL are finally considering the end of satellite offices. 

Enter stage right....the Mayfair Mob. 

A group of like minded drivers under strong leadership, have been raking back the work lost to touts at night venues. 

These rank and file cabbies from across the trade, have achieved more in just a few months, than the large so called representative orgs have in many years. 

New ranks at Hakassan and Novikov (once thought unobtainable), an extension to the Forge rank on Cornhill effectively doubling capacity. Weekend marshals being deployed at the Forge and Novikov's. 


Their work, in league with the UCGup and FlashDemo Twitter accounts, has been aspirational and has expanded into Shorditch, Shepherds Bush and soon to come Fulham and Chelsea.

Their creed easy to follow; Clean Cab, no brooming, take credit cards. Simple but highly affective. Massive amounts of work has been clawed back from tout operations in the West End and City.

You can't buy this badge, it has to be earned.

EDITORIAL COMMENT FROM SEAN DAY:

A metered System, is not a good marketing policy for any PH company.

The one good selling point was that the passenger new exactly what they were paying in advance.

Effectively Uber are now using a covert meter. At least the public no that our Taximeter is transparent.

We must focus on preventing further indistinction by doing all we can to ensure TfL in full she is the existing and newly proposed PH regulations. 


The New York Tech Take Over....by Sean Day.

The supposition that apps need to capture the intense ordnance market of major cities does satiate the fascist tech utopian argument that street hailing and ehailing cannot exist harmoniously. The solution- ban street hailing altogether! Yep! It isn't a misprint. If you read USA based tech magazines, you would be forgiven for thinking that hailing a taxi the traditional way, is all but dead and buried. 

Silicon Valley’s equivalent over Old St way is roughly five years behind New York as far as the technological descent goes, but we procrastinate at our peril. London will be an experiential playground once the Shoreditch set have matured.

Even as we arm ourselves, they are assuming- prematurely at least- that everyone owns a smartphone and has credit. Even as a basic prerequisite, the onus levied on us to be indelibly linked to a product and its omnipresent service provider subordinates our entire existence to something that is extrinsic. Tech articles frequently need reminding that a smartphone is not yet a chip in ones brain.

Dare I take the somewhat unfashionable stance that even discussing making ‘street hailing’ illegal as though it were inescapable, should be worrisome. Understandably, IT & Tech Business publications aren't the platforms to jolt its readership back to an unimaginable time when there was actually a choice (an argument that is perpetually smacked between taxi drivers eyes by gizmo adherents), nevertheless, we can't remove the human out of the equation completely, can we? No! won't let it!

It confounds me that any consideration to the mere inference of a social concept has already been annihilated in favour of getting rid of street hailing as the only possible solution. 

Viral use of phenomenal technology is already monopolised and embedded data stating unequivocally, ‘EVOLVE OR DIE’ can be found under FAQ. 

An alternative version can be found on YouTube titled, ‘F*** off and die.’ All of which is nothing more than inverted 'protectionism' (another term overly used to target taxi drivers and those pesky luddite regulations that bang on about something called 'safety'. Tech no more weens out unsavories any more than democracies do, safeguards actually have to be formatted. Whatever, the word safety is so 2010. The more tech savvy term is ‘collateral damage’.

 Have you ever forgotten your smartphone at home? Has the subsequent anxiety compelled you to turn back to reunite yourself with it? 

Did you justify doing so under the umbrella of ‘in case of an emergency’?Yes? 

Then you'll surrender to the fact there are legitimate safety concerns? You can't always have your virtual cake and eat it!

Before I forget entirely, somewhere amongst the malware, forced to share stuff that's trickling down from above, is the commodity, the lowly driver (me), who’s fate is relentlessly subjected to the sociopathic whims of life long bachelor geeks and their interminably tiresome wannabes, the basement bloggers. The utter irrelevance of the service provider (an app’s primary consumer btw) is on a par with the magnitudinal disregard for liberty. Deduced to being the mere byproduct of software, the service provider is expected to pay a premium for the work that was his to begin with. Not dissimilar to the Government using our money to bail out the Banking industry from their deregulated mess, only to to sell them back to us.

Did I mention liberty? Lady Liberty, the statue was France's ideological gift to America for embracing the principles of democracy. Those values are superseded by the rapid emergence of technological wizardry. Silicon- valley doesn't account for that one remaining person who, through no fault of her own, has fallen off the zooming platform into the libertarian abyss.

To ensure a fair playing field for a desperately seeking alternative to the ubiquitously trending of Uber EVERYWHERE, those interfering regulators will be lobbied to make street hailing ILLEGAL. Cash and envelopes are still very much alive. There you go! The future is now! If you can't HACK it, you know what to do? 

We have only just entered the synthetic world of Corporate Communism! Ugh!!! One consolation is, if we did lose the job we love (for the record, this stubborn old mule ain't planning on going anywhere), at least we will still have feelings about it, and that's a good thing. 

And you never know, by then there might be such a thing as virtual euthanasia. Death without the commitment. 

See you out there on the mean streets, doing what we do best! Need I say more? 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

How far Uber will go to silence journalists.

The moment I learned just how far Uber will go to silence journalist


A big debate among the Pando staff for the past two years has been over just how morally bankrupt Uber is. Earlier this evening, a bombshell story by Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith proves the reality is way worse than anyone on our team could have expected.

And that’s saying something.

Back in 2012, Paul Carr first raised serious concerns about the company’s view that both riders and drivers are disposable commodities in an all-out Randian battle to maximize profits. He uninstalled the app when he wrote that piece, and he started a drumbeat of press around these concerns.

Then, in 2014, Carmel DeAmicis exposed that an Uber driver accused of assault had a criminal record that should have been uncovered by the background checks Uber claimed to do. She further documented a “blame the passenger” culture at the company when such complaints came up.

It started to snowball: An investigation at The Verge exposed cut throat competitive tactics that the company has taken against its primary competitor Lyft.

Then, a few weeks ago, I wrote a story about the outrageous sexism woven deeply into the culture of the company. We’ve seen it in the company’s PR team discrediting female passengers who accuse drivers of attacking them by whispering that they were “drunk” or “dressed provocatively.”

We’ve seen it in CEO Travis Kalanick’s comments that he calls the company “boober” because of all the tail he gets since running it.

And on October 22, we saw it again with an offensive campaign in Lyon that encouraged riders to get picked up by hot female drivers, essentially a scary invitation to objectify (or worse) any woman working for the company. That ad was taken down once exposed by Buzzfeed, but sources tell us no one was fired for taking that kind of “initiative.” We also heard that Kalanick’s misogyny is such a problem that recently hired political operative David Plouffe had made it a priority to work on the CEO’s behavior. As if that kind of misogyny-- and encouragement of it in a corporate culture-- is something that careful media training can repair rather than simply disguise.

I have known many of Uber’s key investors and founders personally for six to ten years. Over that time I’ve seen an ever-worsening frat culture where sexist jokes and a blind eye here-or-there have developed into a company where the worst kind of smearing and objectification of women is A-ok. It’s impossible to prove that Kalanick directly ordered things like slut-shaming female passengers or the creepy Lyon ad -- and, to be clear, there’s no evidence he was personally involved in either of those scandals -- but let’s be clear: The acceptance of this kind of behavior comes from the top.

When I saw the Lyon post, it was finally enough for me. As a woman and mother of two young kids, I no longer felt safe using Uber and deleted the app from my phone.

And yet, somehow, despite years now of Pando carefully chronicling this disturbing escalation of horrible behavior -- which has been considered cute by many of the other tech blogs and excused away by the VCs profiting off Uber-- the company still has the ability to shock and horrify me.

Today, in his horrifying scoop, Smith writes about the the lengths that at least one Uber executive, Emil Michael, was willing to go to discredit anyone-- particularly a woman-- who may try to question how Uber operates.

Ruining her life? Manufacturing lies? Going after her family? Apparently it’s all part of what Uber has described as its “political campaign” to build a $30 billion (and counting) tech company. A campaign that David Plouffe was hired to “run,” that’s looking more like a pathetic version of play acting House of Cards than a real campaign run by a real political professional. Because step one of an illegal smear campaign against a woman is: Don’t brag about it to a journalist at a party.

The woman in question? The woman that this Uber executive has vowed to go to nearly any lengths to ruin, to bully into silence? Me.

I first heard of this when Smith called me for comment over the weekend. I was out late at a work dinner in London and stepped out into the cold to take the call. A chill ran down my spine that had little to do with the weather, as he described the bizarre interaction. I immediately thought of my kids at home halfway around the world, just getting out of their baths and groggily pulling on their pajamas, and how the new line that this company was willing to cross would affect them.

We are used to intimidation here. We’ve had sources try to intimidate Pando into silence by withholding access, threatening $300 million lawsuits, spreading lies about our relationships with our backers-- or even suggesting that we’re funded by the CIA. We have mobs unleashed on us on Twitter, seemingly weekly.

So my concern wasn’t more lies winding up online about me. Sadly, I’ve had to get used to it. My concern was that the nature of these lies weren’t the same trumped up bullshit about Pando being influenced by its investors. That smear hasn’t worked, and we share several investors with Uber, so that dog doesn’t exactly hunt.

No, these new attacks threatened to hit at my only vulnerability. The only part of my life that I’d do anything to protect: My family and my children.

In that moment outside an Indian restaurant in London, I stood numb listening to Smith asking me if I had a comment, and I thought of my kids. They were somewhere covered in kitten and dinosaur pajamas giggling and running through the house in a last ditch effort to fight bedtime. Maybe they were looking up at the moon, remembering how many times I’ve told them I’d always be somewhere looking at the same moon even if I couldn’t be there to rock them.

I had two thoughts. The first was: What possible comment could I give Smith to sum up the terror I felt over an attack at my family?

And then this: Please, God, let this be how bad it gets. Please let the worst of this be that I have to one day have the “Mommy has a lot of people who hate her because of what she writes…” conversation with them.

I begged no deity in particular that the escalation of dangerous, win-at-all-costs, no-matter-the-casualties warfare Uber has waged on anyone-- drivers, riders, or journalists-- who crosses them could just end here. That it could just end with a wild plan of lies and character assassination of me, personally. I could weather that.

Sadly, I don’t see any reason to think it will. Unless forces more powerful than me in the Valley-- or even Washington DC-- see this latest horror as a wakeup call and decide this is enough. That the First Amendment and rights of journalists do matter. That companies shouldn’t be allowed to go to illegal lengths to defame and silence reporters. That all these nice words about gender equality in tech aren’t just token board appointments every once in a while. That professional women in this industry actually deserve respect. That they shouldn’t be bullied with the same old easy slurs about bitchiness or sexual objectification. That deep scary misogyny in a culture isn’t something that you hire a campaign manager to “message out” of a founder, nor is it something you excuse as genius at work. That there is a line someone can cross, even amid an era where the Valley believes founders can never be fired.

Simply put: That this isn’t OK.

I’ve seen other times the Valley’s greed has tiptoed into this range. It came out that HP pretexted reporters, illegally spying on them to find out where leaks were coming from. There was the time that Facebook hired Burson-Marsteller to persuade journalists to attack Google. And we’ve chronicled a shocking wage collusion suit that unfairly suppressed the wages of millions.

Each time the Valley’s soul was pulled back to center not because the bad actors in question suddenly had a crisis of confidence, but because powerful forces made them recalibrate. HP was hauled into court. Facebook was exposed in the press and shamed into changing tactics. And the only reason the wage collusion pact didn’t ultimately succeed was because emerging powerhouses like Facebook and LinkedIn refused to take part. That’s still winding its way through the courts, and the victims may eventually get something close to restitution.

Uber’s dangerous escalation of behavior has just had its whistleblower moment, and tellingly, the whistleblower wasn’t a staffer with a conscience, it was an executive boasting about the proposed plan. It’s gone so far, that there are those in the company who don’t even realize this is something you try to cover up. It’s like a five-year-old pretending to be Frank Underwood. Only one with billions of dollars of assets at his disposal.

And lest you think this was just a rogue actor and not part of the company’s game plan, let me remind you Kalanick telegraphed exactly this sort of thing when he sat on stage at the Code Conference last spring and said he was hiring political operatives whose job would be to “throw mud.” I naively thought he just meant Taxi companies. Let me also remind you: This is a company you trust with your personal safety every single time you use it. Let me also remind you: The executive in question has not been fired.

Uber has more than thirty investors including:

Menlo Ventures

Google Ventures

Kleiner Perkins

Summit Partners

Blackrock

Benchmark

TPG Growth

Jeff Bezos

Troy Carter

CrunchFund

Goldman Sachs

Scott Banister

Alfred Lin

Lowercase Capital

First Round

Naval Ravikant

Jason Calacanis

Shervin Pishevar

(UPDATE: An earlier version of this post listed 500 Startups as an Uber investor, based on their listing on Crunchbase. Dave McClure has responded in the comments to say that they are not.)

I've already started to reach out to the major ones individually to ask, on the record, whether they will continue to publicly and privately support the company in light of these most recent scandals. Whether there is any line that Kalanick can cross that goes too far. And I’m encouraging anyone concerned about this dangerous escalation of the Uber playbook-- from callous libertarian to boasting brogrammer to deeply bullying and misogynist leader of a massive company-- to ask the same questions.

The story I wrote a few weeks ago had enough of an impact that those within Uber decided they need to destroy me personally at any cost. The market is turning on Uber, seeing the company’s soul for what it is. With any luck, Ben Smith’s scoop will finally force real change from the inside.

 UPDATE: Emil Michael called my cell phone shortly after I published this and asked to talk off the record. I'm not entirely sure how he got my phone number as I've never met or previously spoken with him. I told Michael that I would not talk to him off the record. This is an issue of vital importance to our readers, Uber's riders, journalists and women in the Valley, and I will not have a conversation I can't share with them. He said goodbye and hung up.

 UPDATE II: After the above update, Michael sent me the following email...

Dear Sarah,

I wanted to apologize to you directly — I am sorry.  I was at an event and was venting, but what I said was never intended to describe actions that would ever be undertaken by me or my company toward you or anyone else.  I was definitively wrong and I feel terrible about any distress I have caused you. Again, I am sorry.  

Source Pando.com

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Geely Plan New Research Centre As News Breaks Of Plan To Launch UberPop.



As news breaks that Uber will be launching its Uber popular service in London (in a matter of Weeks not months), under a new name...Uber Pool, it's been leaked on Bloomberg Business News, that London black cab manufacturer Geely are getting ready to announce a new research and product development center in the UK to work on zero-emission taxis.


But if Uber's Popular/Pool service proves to be as popular as it has in many other countries, will there be a Taxi trade left in London, able to afford these pricey vehicles. 

Uber pop is the service that uses unchecked, unlicensed drivers, driving unlicensed vehicles to offer ride sharing through its smart phone app. 

Geely is expected to make the announcement during President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UK next week, according to the leak ahead of the official release. The UK research center will be built in the city of Coventry alongside a planned new plant, and will be Geely’s second such facility outside China after its joint center with Volvo Cars in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The company said in March that it will invest 250 million pounds ($382 million) in a new plant in Coventry that will be able to manufacture as many as 36,000 vehicles a year. The company will also introduce a new model in the U.K. at the end of 2017 and other markets in 2018.

Bloomberg article said a spokesman for Geely has declined to comment.

EDITORIAL COMMENT:

Interesting times ahead. TfL have always stated that ride share services from PH operators would be deemed illegal. 

Uber argue although they have a PH operator's licence from TfL, they are not a licensed Private Hire operator. It's their partners/drivers who are operators, Uber say they are mearly a technology company, not a transport company.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Will Grozier's Reply To FT Article : Urban traffic problems start to pile up for Uber' ( FT 12th Oct )

Your headline, 'Urban traffic problems start to pile up for Uber' ( FT 12th Oct ) delves into an allegorical interpretation but not a literal one.

Uber's breakneck growth has led to an approximately 30 fold increase in PHV activity in London's Congestion Zone since 2012 ( TfLTPH figures )

It is clear that this rapid increase in overcrowding cannot be allowed to continue unless Central London is to grind to a halt - very likely in the run up to Christmas.

Some instrument needs to be devised to limit opportunistic positioning  by it's drivers who head empty for West End hotspots in order to exploit the App's nearest car allocation function.

A system of allowing only those drivers who have been allocated a 'booking' access to the Congestion Zone would ease traffic, reduce pollution and go some way to appease the Taxi trade's  justifiable criticism that, in it's current modus operandi,  Uber drivers are essentially plying for hire illegally.

In 1654 Oliver Cromwell in an effort to bring discipline and control to a chaotic marketplace bestowed upon Taxi drivers an exclusive right to service immediate demand for carriages

A rampant and unrestrained Uber will return London to something infinitely worse than a 17thC traffic jam.

To undertake the kind of research advocated by William Claxton-Smith (letters 12/10) would require a much longer period than the urgency of the threat allows and I doubt show any plateauing or reduction of pollution whilst the Congestion Charge remains a derisory £12 and Uber, a PRIVATE HIRE service continue to be exempt from paying it.

To undertake the kind of research advocated by William Claxton-Smith ( letters 12/10 )  would require a much longer period than the urgency of the threat allows and I doubt show any plateauing or reduction of pollution whilst the Congestion Charge remains a derisory £12 and Uber, a PRIVATE HIRE service continue to be exempt from paying it.

'Plus ca Change, Plus C'est La Meme Chose'

Monday, October 12, 2015

Free #SaveTaxi Banner Rear Window Stickers From Ubiquitous


we are really pleased to announce that the Ubiquitous Banner Stickers are now available for fitting.

There are a number of different wordings, but you have to be quick as we only have 500 available.

If you would like one of these, we need to book your taxi in at their garage in Dunbridge St. on any day between 12-15 Oct inc. and 19-22 Oct inc., between the hours of 9.30-11.30am or 2-4pm.

To book please email us at saveourblacktaxis@yahoo.com stating your preferred date and time slot, vehicle type (eg tx or vito) and name and contact number please. 

This is a fantastic opportunity to get some positive PR for the trade as well as promoting #SaveTaxi and what we represent.

Book early to avoid disappointment

#SaveTaxi, Stronger together.

Judge reconsiders ruling that taxis must compete with Uber or die : PART TWO

The story continues...Update from Crain's New York Business News, 10 October 



Yellow cabs have another chance against Uber.

State Supreme Court Judge Allan Weiss decided to give yellow cabs another chance after a federal judge in Chicago ruled that taxis may be entitled to the same rules as other for-hire vehicles.

"The yellow cab lives to fight another day," said an elated participant in the New York case.

In allowing the equal-protection argument to proceed, the Illinois judge sent a strong message to taxi regulators in Chicago, said one expert who reviewed her decision.

“The city’s going to have a very difficult if not impossible time to overcome the judge’s statements,” said Matthew Daus, a former head of the Taxi and Limousine Commission in New York. “The judge could be sending a message, saying, ‘You should settle this thing or fix the law.’ ”

The Chicago ruling prompted plaintiffs in the New York case to make a motion for re-argument. The Queens judge might have feared that his dismissal last month of three lawsuits against the de Blasio administration would be overturned in light of the federal court’s decision. He has given city lawyers until Nov. 12 to explain why the Chicago ruling should not matter here. Previously, the equal-protection argument had made no impression on Judge Weiss.

But Mr. Daus, an attorney and taxi-industry consultant, views the constitutional rationale as one of two major threats to Uber’s rapid rise in the last three years. The other is that Uber drivers could be reclassified as employees of the Silicon Valley-based company, which currently regards them as independent contractors who merely use its app to find fares. A California lawsuit making that argument recently got a green light from a judge.

“Two big things that I’ve always thought could bring down the Titanic were the labor case and the equal-protection clause,” said Mr. Daus, referring to Uber, a privately-held company valued at $50 billion.

Uber is not a defendant in the New York City cases, which were brought by several taxi-medallion owners, a car-service company and four credit unions that bankrolled medallion purchases.

The plaintiffs are trying to force the Taxi and Limousine Commission to forbid Uber drivers from responding to smartphone hails. Their case hangs on whether such electronic hails infringe on yellow and green cabs’ exclusive right to pick up passengers who request rides when they are ready to travel. Other for-hire vehicles, such as liveries and black cars, are restricted to pre-arranged travel, which traditionally has meant rides booked by phone calls. City regulators say rides hailed with apps fall into that category.

One of credit unions that sued the city earlier this year has since been seized by state regulators because many of its medallion loans were delinquent or nearly so. The action by the Cuomo administration could bolster the argument by the lenders' attorney Todd Higgins that they need immediate relief in the form of an injunction banning e-hails by non-taxis. But such an injunction seems like a longshot, because it would essentially ban the business model used by Uber and its 23,000 drivers.

“We are confident that the decisions will stand,” a spokesman for the Law Department said Thursday afternoon, adding that the agency had yet to see the judge’s latest ruling.

Mr. Higgins said, "We are pleased that the court will be reviewing its prior ruling and look forward to being heard on the merits."

Even if the courts rule that livery and black cars must be subject to the same rules as taxis, it would not necessarily mean Uber, Via, Lyft, Gett and other rideshare startups would be stopped from responding to e-hails, given that taxis can answer e-hails as well. They already use Uber to find fares and recently adopted two other ehail apps.

But an equal-protection determination could subject rideshare companies to taxi requirements that don’t fit into their business models. Taxis' fares are determined by the Taxi and Limousine Commission and yellow cabs can only be certain model cars, for example.

Other lawsuits by medallion owners against the city remain pending. Those plaintiffs argue that they overpaid for medallions because the city failed to disclose previous medallion sales for lesser amounts and did not protect yellow cabs’ exclusive right to answer street hails.

Expect this to go on and on ...

Derbyshire taxi firms vow 'we won't pay fines for using Derby bus lanes'

Chris Hillman has had eight fines from Derby City Council for using bus lanes in Victoria Street, Albert Street and Uttoxeter New Road, despite signs on the routes saying taxis can use them.

TAXI companies and cabbies have vowed not to pay scores of fines they have been issued for driving in Derby bus lanes they say they are allowed to use.

They spoke out after Belper cabbie Chris Hillman told the Derby Telegraph he had been issued with nine £60 fines since July for driving in bus lanes in Albert Street, Victoria Street and Uttoxeter New Road. That was despite signs saying taxis can use them, he said.

Now more taxi firms and cabbies have spoken out to say that, like Mr Hillman, they won't pay the city council's fines.

The council has said that rules, allowing taxis to use some of Derby's bus lanes only apply to licensed drivers of Hackney Carriages, something Mr Hillman said he was.

And the authority said that, if the carriages are – like Mr Hillman's – licensed outside the city, drivers must also be able to prove their journeys started or ended in the area they are based in if they use the lanes.

Mr Hillman said all of his jobs that led to fines had involved taking customers from Amber Valley to Derby.

But he said there was no record of this. He said that, if someone was picked up from a rank in Heanor and then taken to Derby, there would be no record of that as it wouldn't have been formally booked.

Mrs Sharpe said her firm had received more than 20 fines since August, the majority of which had affected the firm's Hackney cabs.

She said the Hackney trips involved taking customers from the Amber Valley area to Derby or vice versa. Mrs Sharpe said her firm now owed more than £400.

She added that, when she received fines for Hackney cabs using the bus lanes, she had been proving their journeys met the council's regulations so that the penalty notices were rescinded. But she said she was no longer prepared to do this.

Mark Knighton, a driver for Ilkeston-based A2B Taxis, said he also wouldn't pay his two bus lane fines.

He said: "The signs on the bus lanes say taxis are allowed."

The city council was asked which of its bus lanes taxis were able to use but did not answer the question. It did confirm that Victoria Street and Albert Street were among them.

A council spokeswoman said: "The bus lanes serve to protect some of our most sensitive roads from unnecessary traffic.

"These two bus lanes have an exemption for taxis but this exemption does not permit private hire and mini cabs to use the bus lanes. We are aware that the introduction of enforcement here has served to challenge the behaviour of taxi and private hire drivers and operators."

The fine for incorrectly driving in Derby bus lanes is £60, reduced to £30 if paid within 35 days.


Lawsuit Judge Tells New York Taxi Industry : Compete With Uber Or Die....PART ONE.


This is a story that broke just 4 weeks ago on the 9th September and looks pretty final. But in New York, when it comes to the billions of dollars invested in Taxicab medallions, nothing is ever final. Later on today we will be posting an update to this story but thought the original should be posted and read first. 

A state judge has slammed the door on a legal challenge by opponents of Uber, clearing the way for the rideshare giant to run traditional taxis off the road.

In a decision unveiled Wednesday, Queens Supreme Court Justice Allan Weiss ruled that for-hire vehicles could use electronic hails to compete with yellow cabs—something they have been doing well enough to threaten the existence of the iconic 80-year-old industry.

If that means yellow-cab medallions worth a collective $10 billion or so just two years ago become worthless, the judge suggested, so be it.

“Any expectation that the medallion would function as a shield against the rapid technological advances of the modern world would not have been reasonable,” he wrote. “In this day and age, even with public utilities, investors must always be wary of new forms of competition arising from technological developments.”

The plaintiffs, led by four Queens credit unions who lent heavily to medallion buyers, plan to appeal.

“In the meantime, however, a catastrophe is unfolding, as an entire industry continues to be illegally destroyed, while elected officials allow it to happen on their watch,” their lawyer Todd Higgins said in a statement that apparently referred to defendants Mayor Bill de Blasio and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “It is a stunning abdication of leadership and responsibility that will haunt New York City for years to come.”

The “catastrophe” he cited is the possible slew of loan defaults in the coming months if owners stop making payments on medallions that have plunged in value since peaking at more than $1 million and don’t generate enough income for the borrowers to repay their debts. No medallions have been sold since February, when two went for $700,000 each. A wave of foreclosure auctions could reveal that the market now considers medallions to be worth substantially less, which could trigger more defaults and auctions—a so-called death spiral.

Judge Weiss made clear that that’s not his concern. “It is not the court’s function to adjust the competing political and economic interests disturbed by the introduction of Uber-type apps,” he wrote.

Uber was not a defendant in the lawsuit, which sought to compel the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission and the attorney general to stop livery cars from scooping up passengers who hail them from the street using smartphones. But the de Blasio administration defended Uber’s interests by arguing that e-hails are pre-arranged travel, which does not require a taxi medallion. The judge said it was regulators' right to make that determination, and that e-hails are not the same as street hails made by lifting one's arm or whistling.

Taxi and Limousine Commission Chairwoman Meera Joshi said, “This decision is a victory for the riding public, and leaves no question as to the appropriateness of our regulatory approach to app-dispatched services. Passengers will remain free to continue to enjoy the many transportation options available to them."

Earlier this summer, Uber had fought with the commission and Mr. de Blasio over their proposal to cap rideshare companies' growth in the city while a study of their effect on traffic was conducted. The plan was tabled by the City Council after a public-relations blitz by Uber and the company's agreement to turn over trip data the administration wanted.

Uber's e-hail app reached the city in 2011, but it was in mid 2014 that the company took off, heavily recruiting drivers and flooding the streets with 20,000 vehicles that could respond to Manhattan smartphone hails within two minutes. Taxi revenues began to sag, and some of the 13,000-plus yellow cabs sat idle for entire shifts for lack of drivers.

Melrose Credit Union, which has 78% of its loan portfolio tied to medallions, and three other lenders filed their suit in May and sought an injunction to stop Uber, arguing that they would suffer irreparable harm if nothing was done while the case proceeded. The case was combined with two other lawsuits from medallion owners, taxi drivers, leasing agents and other yellow-cab interests. The ruling was far worse than they expected: not only no injunction, but outright dismissal of the case.

"We are pleased that the court found that the city has acted appropriately in its regulatory approach to this technological innovation—electronic apps for dispatch in the for hire vehicles—which are separate and distinct from traditional street hails," said Michelle Goldberg-Cahn, the city lawyer who handled the case, in a statement.

Unless the suit is reinstated on appeal, the plaintiffs’ predictions of doom will be tested. Taxi trips and revenues have dipped but not plummeted and medallion values could stabilize in the way that the housing market did after the 2008 crash. Yellow cabs have a new, exclusive app of their own called Arro, which their owners hope will catch on. Even Uber executives have said repeatedly that there will always be a place for yellow cabs in New York City.

But with technology shortening waits for liveries and black cars and the cost of entry being so much less for yellow cabs’ rivals, medallion owners might have to continue reducing the price of leasing their cabs in order to attract drivers. Only a few years ago, competition to drive taxis was so intense that drivers sometimes bribed leasing agents for the right to rent cabs while also paying the maximum lease rate allowed by city regulators. Now so many taxis are idle that some garages don’t have room for them all, prompting complaints from nearby residents about cabs hogging street parking.

Minicab Boss Barrister Found Culpable Of Professional Misconduct

Barrister fined for running unlicensed Minicab firm.


A barrister who operated a minicab company from without a licence has been fined £600 by the bar regulator.

Ahtiq Raja, who was a barrister at 9 King’s Bench Walk until September this year, was the director of company "Call a Cab". The firm found guilty at Oxford Magistrates’ Court of five separate offences for operating a minicab in a controlled district without a licence.

According to local news reports, Raja and his PH firm were ordered to pay a fine of £25,000 after a two-year legal battle. The firm was also banned from operating in Aylesbury.

The Bar Standards Board has now found Raja culpable of professional misconduct for behaving in a way that was likely to diminish trust and confidence in the profession. 

The finding was as a result of determination by consent.