Saturday, November 07, 2015

Lest We Forget : Poppy Cabs, Supporting Our Veterans 2015


With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain. 

 

Robert Laurence Binyon 21st September 1914

 

To my mate's that I can no longer see, to their struggling families and to our serving British Military Personnel both past and present, I would like just to say.........Thank You and God Bless.

British Armed Forces........The Best In The World.

 

8829 Semtex.



To my Grandad George and his four sons, George, Bobby, Ronnie and Leslie. Never forgotten.


Jim Thomas 


       

Also, to the wonderful Poppy Cabs, who again will answer the call and freely give up their time, to get the Veterans to and from today's service. 











 

Ascott Cab Company to continue as an official TX4 retailer. Plus First LTC Euro 6 Sold.


After a successful trial period The London Taxi Company has extended its agreement with Ascott Cab Co. to serve as an official retailer of the TX4. 

The original agreement announced in May 2015 was set up on the basis of a six month trial period. Following the successful completion of the trial, The London Taxi Company has moved to make the arrangement permanent on the back of positive customer feedback on Ascot Cab Co.’s South London location, strong commercial performance and effective working relationships that have been established between the companies. 

Richard Gordon, The London Taxi Company’s Commercial Director, said:

“The response to the appointment of Ascott Cab Co. over the last six months has been very positive. The combination of their location, team commitment and customer loyalty gives us the confidence to move forward on a permanent basis.

With the first deliveries of the new TX4 Euro6 cab underway, interest is strong in this new model that is more powerful, smoother and the most environmentally efficient vehicle that we have ever produced. It makes sense to offer our customers the convenient option of a retailer in South London in addition to our flagship London dealership at Brewery Road in North London.”

Andy Ascott from Ascott Cab Co. said:

“We have been really pleased by the response and support of our customers. Since our appointment we have received more than 90 orders for new TX4 cabs which demonstrates the value we can add. 


Everyone at Ascott Cab Co. is delighted to be extending this partnership and will continue to focus on delivering the highest standards of service to our loyal customers.”


First customer collects the keys to Euro 6 TX4 cab!


Mr Smile recently became the first customer to collect the keys to a Euro 6 TX4 (pictured with Karl Stompolski of the London Taxi Company).

Mr Smile of Enfield, who purchased the TX4 in the Storm Grey metallic paint finish, was delighted with his new cab, commenting;

“I was thrilled to be the first through the door to pick up the new Euro 6 cab. I liked the sound of the Euro 6 as it means I have the greenest diesel cab I could possibly have. You never know this could be my last one!  

“I’m always keen to update my cab and the previous one, a 13 plate, was silver so Storm grey seemed like the best colour to choose and so far I’m really impressed!”


London: TfL licence PHVs without Hire & Reward Insurance - Toronto: Insurer Cancels Policies Of UberX Drivers.

London's Licensing Authority TfL, appear to have swept under the carpet, the fact that many Uber drivers in London, do not have the required level of insurance. Everyday, we hear of more examples of accidents where the Uber driver doesn't have the righ insurance. 

Unlike licensed Taxi owners, there is no requirement for owners of PHVs to produce "Hire & Reward" insurance cover-note when presenting the vehicle for licensing. 

Earlier this year, the Managing Director or TfL went before a GLA transport committee and said Uber drivers have a form of switch on, switch off insurance. The UCG contacted the Association of British Insurerers and were told no such policy exists.

Meanwhile, in Toronto:

One of Canada’s largest insurance companies is cracking down on UberX drivers caught without proper commercial insurance, according to a leaked company bulletin.


“Driving for Uber is still considered commercial use and is unacceptable for personal vehicles,” says the internal Aviva Canada circular which reports weekly on examples of insurance fraud.

“It is therefore important that we continue to encourage our policyholders and applicants to be forthcoming and honest about the use of their vehicles. Without proper insurance, they are putting both themselves and others at risk.”

An unnamed “tipster” provided Aviva’s anti-fraud team with receipts including the names, photographs and licence plate numbers of four Uber X drivers in Ottawa. Investigators “uncovered a variety of explanations — or lack thereof — from our policyholders as to why they were not properly insured,” the bulletin says.

Aviva voided the policies of two drivers, lapsed another’s policy at renewal and agreed to rewrite the fourth driver’s policy after it was determined she had not deliberately misrepresented the intended use of her vehicle.


UberX drivers use their own vehicles to pick up and drop off fare-paying passengers using a smartphone app owned by Uber, the California-based ride-booking giant.

Gordon Rasbach, Aviva’s vice-president legal and fraud management, said a complaint from the Canadian Taxi Association about Uber drivers lacking proper insurance prompted the company to open a parallel investigation.

“The evidence we gathered confirmed that information provided by these policyholders at the time of application for insurance was not correct and appropriate underwriting action was taken,” he wrote in an email.

“We encourage Uber drivers to speak with their brokers or insurers regarding commercial automobile insurance. By ensuring they have the proper insurance; Uber drivers are protecting both themselves and their customers.”

UberX drivers caught lying could also potentially be hit with huge penalties and fines, and their personal assets put on the line, warns Philomena Comerford, president and CEO of Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP. 

“Claims professionals are now on high alert and will dig deep in their investigation of claims if it is suspected or known that a vehicle is being used for UberX services.” 

An UberX driver without access to fleet insurance prices would likely have to pay about $23,000 a year for high-risk coverage, Comerford has previously estimated.

“We advise driver partners to consult with their personal auto insurer before driving on the platform,” Susie Heath, spokesperson for Uber Canada, wrote in email Friday. 

Since Uber’s arrival about a year ago, the licensed taxi industry estimates it has lost 40 per cent of its business. In a move to make the taxi industry more competitive, council voted in September to lower the base cab fare in Toronto to $3.25 from $4.25, effective Sunday.

The city estimates there are 500,000 UberX rides a month in Toronto.


Council also voted to bring Uber into its licensing regime and requested the company cease operating while staff draft a regulatory framework.

Licensing staff “notified Uber formally on Oct. 14 of the bylaw changes and that they would be subject to enforcement actions should they fail to comply,” according to Tracey Cook, executive director of licensing and standards.

“We remind people that UberX service is operating contrary to the city’s bylaw,” Cook wrote in an email. Anyone driving for UberX is “recommended that they notify their insurance companies of this fact. Passengers considering using the UberX service should also make themselves aware of any risks, including their rights in the event of an accident.”

Currently, 104 UberX drivers face 208 Toronto bylaw violations

source: www.thestar.com/



Friday, November 06, 2015

New Fixed Rate Taxi Fares In Paris, In Bid To Be Competitive.


NEW maximum taxi fees for Paris taxis have been unveiled in a bid to help keep official taxis competitive with mini cabs. 
The fees range from a maximum €30 for a journey from Paris south of the Seine to Orly airport, to €55 from southern Paris to Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle. 

The other fixed maximums are €50 for northern Paris to Charles-de-Gaulle and €35 from northern Paris to Orly. 

These fees are on top of a “reservation fee” of no more than €7 for a reservation in advance, or €4 for an immediate trip. 

The fees do not represent a large saving compared to current ones, apart from when there are heavy jams when a trip to Charles-de-Gaulle sometimes reaches around €60-80. 

What is more at present taxi metres often start out with €15 already on the clock for the ‘reservation’ fee. 

The new fees will be rolled out from March 2016, with some limited trials expected before then. 

Minicabs already offer fixed-price airport trips, so the new measure was brought in by the government to help taxis compete. 

Taxi Drivers Confronted By Bailiffs, As Council Incorrectly Issues 4,679 Bus Lane Fines

Taxi drivers have been confronted by bailiffs after being incorrectly fined for using bus lanes in a major council blunder. 


Shocking new figures show 4,679 bus lane charges were issued to exempt vehicles by Sheffield Council in the last year – many of them to the same drivers

The £60 charges are usually not applied to taxis, cycles, minibuses or emergency services vehicles and the council holds a list of licenced taxis which are exempt. Dad-of-two Aaron Mohammed, of Nether Edge, said he has been issued 30 fines and has paid out around £800 to bailiffs.


He said: “I sent some of the fines back to the council but still I kept getting more.

“Two of them went to enforcement and I ended up paying quite a lot of money to bailiffs who turned up at my house – it was quite scary.

“I have not been offered any refunds or anything

“I think parking services is a department which is there just to print money out of people – it is a cash cow.”

Businessman Chaudry Wajid Ali, who runs Car Care Solutions and has several taxis, said he had received between 150 and 180 fines and had a stack of paperwork. 


The 34-year-old dad, of Nether Edge, said: “It wasn’t just one fine coming through. On a Monday I would get 20 or 30 at a time.

“I have never even been told how I can get refunded – we’d have to pay a solicitor to do that.

“I think it is a money making machine for them because they know the net is going to slip somewhere and people will pay.

“We’ve spent a lot of money sorting all this out.

“I would like something doing because I can’t keep going on like this. We are trying to make something of ourselves and because of council inefficiencies we suffer.”

The problem, blamed on a technical issue at the council, first emerged a year ago and the council said at the time it was ‘working hard’ to resolve it.

But written questions discussed at the council’s full meeting on Wednesday revealed that between November 2014 and October 2015 the number of bus lane fines cancelled because the vehicle was exempt was 4,679. 

An estimate of postal costs incurred was £1,500 but the council said it was not possible to say how many times bailiffs had been used.

Shahid Ali, a community campaigner in Nether Edge and Sharrow, spoke to councillors about the problem. He said he knew of one taxi driver who had received 65 fines and some drivers had also been visited by bailiffs.

“I’m absolutely shocked at how many people have been affected and that’s only in the last year – you don’t know how many were affected before then. 

“Taxi licensing have a list of all the taxi licences in the city. I’m not a big IT man but even I know that a computer system should be able to sort that out.”

The written question was submitted by Dore and Totley councillor Joe Otten.

Cabinet member for transport Coun Terry Fox admitted the situation was ‘shocking’.

A council spokesman apologised and said: “These erroneous bus lane fines were sent out due to a number of separate issues. 

“These included an IT problem with data on exempted vehicles being transferred from one system to another, differences in the way fines generated by automatic and observed cameras are operated, and also human error.

“Further staff training has taken place, additional checks have now been implemented, and we are confident that the computer problems have also been successfully tackled. 

“Now, we are as confident as we can be that the system is working well. We are not aware of any ongoing issues

Mayor urged to come clean, about ULEZ diesel emission standards

On Tuesday this week, the London Assembly called on the Mayor to review the exhaust emission standards set to come into force on central London roads from 2020 as part of the ultra low emission zone (ULEZ).


A motion agreed by Assembly Members (AMs) calls on the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, to “come clean” about the proposed ULEZ and to ensure that the emissions standards “are truly ultra-low or zero emission by 2020”.

As it stands, diesel vehicles meeting new Euro 6 emissions standards will be exempt from the charges applying to drivers of older car models in the Central London ULEZ.

But, critics argue that the Euro 6 standards do not give the whole picture of emissions, as studies have shown these vehicles can emit more pollutants on the road than during laboratory tests, meaning Euro 6 vehicles should not count as ultra-low emission vehicles.

And, according to the motion, the results of Transport for London’s (TfL) recent testing of Euro 6 vehicles using London drive cycles found a number of Euro 6 passenger cars emit several times more nitrogen oxides (NOx) than some heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).

Furthemore, it notes the “failure” of previous European exhaust standards to deliver the anticipated emissions reductions.

Backed by 13 AMs with eight voting against, the motion also follows the ongoing scandal engulfing global car giant Volkswagen over its installation of ‘defeat devices’ to manipulate laboratory tests of vehicle emissions.

Therefore, the motion states: “This Assembly believes that the Mayor has a duty to review his current policies and proposals in light of the emerging scientific evidence on the performance of Euro 6 vehicles under real-world driving conditions and our increasing knowledge of the adverse effects of air pollution on human health.

“This Assembly therefore calls on the Mayor of London to review the planned exhaust emission standards of his Ultra Low Emission Zone to ensure that all vehicles driving in the centre of the capital in 2020 are truly ultra-low or zero emission.”

Liberal Democrat Stephen Knight AM, who presented the motion, said: “At present the Mayor and TfL know full well that Euro 6 diesels are not actually clean, but are still planning to permit them to enter the ultra low emission zone for free after 2020 – that is simply wrong.

“The Mayor should admit past mistakes and now say that we are no longer going to put a badge of ‘ultra low emission’ on a set of vehicles that are in reality nothing of the sort.”

According to TfL, the ULEZ will “significantly reduce” the number of people living in areas of poor air quality (where levels of NO2 exceed legal limits) by 72% in central London and 54% across London.

ULEZ taxi standards

The agreed motion comes a week after the Mayor and TfL finalised the requirements for the taxi and minicab/private hire trades when the ULEZ comes into force from 2020.

From 1 January 2018, all taxis licensed for the first time must be zero emission capable, while new diesel taxis will not be allowed in Central London at all.

And, for private hire vehicles, there are several milestones which will ensure that all vehicles granted a private hire licence for the first time after 1 January 2023 will be zero emission capable, regardless of age:

  • In advance of the ULEZ requirements, and to clean up the private hire fleet, all private hire vehicles licensed for the first time between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2019 must feature a Euro 6 petrol or diesel engine, or a Euro 4 petrol-hybrid engine.
  • From 1 January 2020 all new private hire vehicles – defined as those under 18 months old – licensed for the first time will have to be zero emission capable.
  • Older private hire vehicles – those over 18 months old – will need to feature a Euro 6 engine when licensed for the first time between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2022. They will also need to be zero emission capable from 2023

TfL and the Mayor have secured £65 million funding to help taxi drivers achieve a target of 9,000 zero emission capable taxis by 2020.

Meanwhile, up to £5,000 will be available to taxi drivers who want to decommission their vehicle once it reaches 10 years of age, with the exact amount depending on the age of the vehicle. Otherwise, the 15-year age limit for taxis will remain in place.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “We understand this will take time and that is why we are giving financial assistance to help clean up these vehicle fleets. The ULEZ is the most ambitious measure of its kind in the world and we need everyone on board for it to be a success.”

Thursday, November 05, 2015

High Court Ruling Sets Precedence On Who Is Considered Fit And Proper Person

This high court appeal has changed British Law

A BRIGHTON taxi driver whose licence was revoked after a hit-and-run has won the right to work behind the wheel again in a landmark ruling.

The High Court ruled that Brighton and Hove City Councilhad been wrong to revoke Mehrdad Kaivanpor's licence after he received 9 points and fines totalling £900, for knocking a woman off her bike last year.

The decision overturned legal precedent, and now councils across England and Wales will have to prove drivers are unfit to hold a licence, rather than drivers having to prove they are “fit and proper persons” in such cases.

But cycling groups said driving is not a human right and warned that licensing the wrong people could lead to more road accidents.

Mr Kaivanpor collided with the bicycle of Robyn Gargan, a 20-year-old hairdresser, near Harrington Road in Brighton on May 2 last year.

He stopped his car but did not get out, only contacting the police an hour afterwards.

At the time, Ms Gargan said: “He must have known what happened. He knocked a 19-year-old girl off her bike yet he just drove off.

“I am not happy knowing he is still out there. Of all people, you would expect a taxi driver to stop – I could have been dead.”

She said she was “covered in bruises” and suffered headaches and back pain after the collision.

Mr Kaivanpor’s licence was revoked after his arrest.

At the same hearing his appeal over his licence was denied because he could not prove he was a fit and proper person to hold one.

Last Wednesday the case reached the High Court, where Lord Justice Beatson and Mr Justice Wilkie ruled that it is for Brighton and Hove City Council to demonstrate why Mr Kaivanpor should not have his licence reinstated, in a case such as this.

David Lewis-Hall, barrister for the cabbie, said: “If the council are interfering with your right to earn a living, then surely it must be right for them to justify their interference.”

“This is an important ruling as it means that taxi drivers start from a position of innocence in the eyes of the court - rather than having to prove they are 'not guilty'.

"This is an important point from a natural justice and human rights angle.”

John Streeter, Vice Chairman at Brighton & Hove Streamline Taxis, said: “We couldn’t have asked for a better result.

“Since I began in 2003, procedures have never been in place to safeguard taxi drivers, and this was wrong.”

But Becky Reynolds, head of campaigns for Brighton cycling group Bricycles, was concerned where the new law could lead.

She said: “We really need to be very strict about who we licence. Licensing the wrong people could lead to more death and injury on our roads.”

Kingston: Cone Men Were Trying To ‘Save Black Cabs From Uber'

A traffic-cone wearing partygoer among the group that became an unlikely viral internet sensation this week, has said he has “no idea” how they will top the Halloween prank next year.


The now infamous seven Kingston cone men blocked taxis and buses in Clarence Street after a night out in Pryzm nightclub on Saturday, October 31.

Kingston police were called out to the highly-visible Dean Robinson, 21, from Feltham, Dominic Horne, 22, Ashley Henderson, 23, Tom Lyall, 23, David Nichols, 23, Scott Freeborn, 21, and Kaue Passos, 23, all from Hampton blocking cars in their £30 outfits at 4.30am on Sunday morning.



The prank later turned into a makeshift anti-Uber protest as the group let black cabs through their blockade and obstructed the private car drivers during their Halloween stunt.

Mr Robinson said: "It was just a bit of a laugh really. We were blocking the Uber drivers.

"Everyone was chanting and taking photos.  We were shouting ‘save the black cabs’.

"Every year you just put a bit of fake blood on and this year we thought we would just do something different.

"It took some convincing getting the other lads on board. The outfits were £30 a cone so quite expensive.


"All the attention has been unexpected. I have no idea how we are going to top it next year."

Kingston police tweeted its "unusual" early morning call-out to "males dressed as traffic cones blocking the road like traffic cones".

It has been retweeted almost a thousand times so far.

The spectacle was taken in good spirits by drivers who bore the brunt and police officers who posed for photos with the cones and did not make any arrests.

Mr Robinson said: "The drivers were laughing.

"I think everyone just found it funny really. It was a massive surprise when we saw that it was all over the internet. None of the photos or videos were ours. It was just everyone that had seen us that night."

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Uber minicab driver jailed for sexual assault.

Another minicab driver has been jailed after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a young woman in his minicab.

Samson Haile, 32, (20.01.83) of Lionel Road North, Brentford was today, Wednesday, 4 November, sentenced to eight months' imprisonment at Isleworth Crown Court having been convicted of sexual assault.

He is also the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order which will prohibits him from working as a private hire driver in England or Wales and applying to be a private hire driver in England or Wales. He will also be made to sign Sex Offender Register for ten years.

Haile, who was working as a private hire driver for Uber, was allocated a fare at around 22:30hrs on 27 February. 

The passenger, a 26-year-old woman, got into the cab in Ladbroke Grove, W11 and Haile immediately attempted to engage her in conversation with sexual overtones. Haile's inappropriate behaviour escalated to him stating that he wanted to have sex with the victim. Afraid for her safety, the victim told Haile that she wanted to get out of the vehicle but he continued to drive and began to touch her. The victim screamed and managed to escape the vehicle in Cromwell Road, SW5 before reporting the incident to police. 

Haile then went on to pick up another group of people. He dropped these people off at different addresses. The last passenger to be dropped off was a woman, off duty police officer, who was also subjected to sexual conversation and invitations to have sex. 

The officer filed an information report the following day concerning the behaviour of Haile during her minicab ride.

The officer investigating linked the report of sexual assault to the incident filed by the off duty officer and Haile was identified and arrested. 

Haile was found guilty of sexual assault on 3 September at Isleworth Crown Court and was sentenced at the same court on 4 November. 

Investigating officer DC Carly Driscoll of the Met's Roads and Transport Policing Command said: "Of particular concern was the rapid escalation in the behaviour of Samson Haile. He went from talking about sex to actually touching a lone, vulnerable female in a very short space of time. 

"I would like to praise the victim for having the confidence and courage to report her ordeal to police. I hope today's sentencing gives her a degree of closure and also displays the professionalism and commitment of officers within the Met to investigate allegations of sexual crime."

       

       AND ITS STILL GOING ON 




Taxis Can Compete With Uber, Using Verifone's 'Curb' ride-hailing app

If it works in LAS VEGAS, surely it can also work here in LONDON!

Uber and Lyft are about to get some strong competition in Nevada. 


A new app promises to connect passengers to at least half of the cabs in Las Vegawho have already signed up. It’s expected to work with Smartphones, allowing people to e-hail a local taxi.  

The app is called Curb and is being developed by Verifone, a company that specializes in handling online payments.

Unlike Uber, the Curb app will allow users to call for a cab on demand, or schedule one in advance. Curb claims it will launch with 500 ‘licensed and insured taxi drivers,’ according to a company statement. In time the app developer says it will be linked with half of the taxi cabs in Las Vegas.

Curb will also charge a fixed price for taxi rides, regardless of demand. Uber uses what’s known as surge pricing, meaning the higher the demand for its drivers the more passengers pay for a ride.

Local cab companies set to be a part of the Curb app include LuckyCab, Western Cab Company and Nellis Cab Company.

Curb is also touting safety measures that have been a sticking point for Uber and Lyft. “Our drivers are already drug-tested and thoroughly background checked and our vehicles are regularly inspected,” according to spokesperson Jim Eckstaedt.


Editorial Comment:

Verifone (NYSE: PAY), the world’s leader in payments and commerce solutions, announced in October 2015, an expansion of its taxi electronic hailing (e-hail), payment and media business with the acquisition of Curb, a business that connects people in approximately 60 U.S. cities with rides from professional, fully insured, fully checked and fully-licensed taxi drivers. 

Unlike Uber, Curb allows passengers not only to hail an instant ride, but they can also make a pre-booking for a future ride. Something the Uber app doesn't allow. 

The question has to be asked, as london has one of the largest and most professional Tax fleets in the world, will Verifone be looking to introduce Curb here?

Support Black Taxis, Help The Homeless Christmas Appeal.




Paul Sweeney, of the Support Black Taxis FaceBook group, is asking drivers of the London Taxi trade to help the homeless this Christmas, by donating useful items. 
The group also need volunteers who are willing to give up some time to help deliver packages, when needed over the holiday period.

Hats jumpers scarves and other items of clothing are especially needed, as are blankets, thermals, toothpaste, toothbrushes and some packaged food items.

Anyone who wants to donate a parcel or offer to help should contact Paul on (07969) 177778 


#SaveTaxi Announce Their 8 Mile Charity Walk, 28th November.


#SaveTaxi is delighted to announce that on 28 November we will be doing a charity walk visiting some of the main taxi ranks in central London along the way.

The two Charities we will be supporting are very close to the taxi trades' heart. They are The London Taxi Drivers Fund for Underprivileged Children and The London Taxi Drivers Benevolent Association for the War Disabled.

Starting at Paddington station at 2pm we will be covering approx 8 miles on foot. Starting from Paddington station and then on to Victoria station, then to Waterloo station and finishing at Kings Cross. Let's hope for dry weather!

We hope to be collecting donations as well as sponsorship money on the day and really hope that many of our wonderful cabbies will support us on the day. If you would like to join us on the day please contact us via email on saveourblacktaxis@yahoo.com or if you would like to make a donation to the above you can do this via PayPal to saveourblacktaxis@gmail.com using 'charity walk' as the reference.

To find out more about the charities and their wonderful work please visit: (just click links)

We have also now launched our website so anyone not on social media can also follow us at: 

Stronger together x 

   


Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Ooops – Uber rep recommends Windows Phone user switch services because the app on Windows is unstable


Uber and Microsoft have a generally good relationship, with Uber providing Windows 10 apps in the future for Windows devices and being integrated into Cortana, so when we were quite surprised when we read this post on reddit.



       

The crux of the matter was that  a Windows Phone user had been having some trouble with the Uber app on his Lumia, and so like any good customer would, he reached out to Uber’s customer service. After a bit of back and forth, he received an email stating that the Uber app is “not yet stable” and that he should use a “an Android phone or iOS supported phone” for better use of the app.

Obviously, this caused quite a bit of outrage as Windows phone users got upset at Uber for essentially recommending they buy a new device for a fault of the company’s own making


We reached out to Uber and got the following response.


Rather than being a sinister plot to keep Windows down, it was most likely a mistake made by a less careful employee.

Of course, when placed against a background of Windows users being neglected by big companies, we can understand the frustration. In this case thankfully, it's no big deal.

What Ever Happened To Eco City Vehicles ???.


Unless you've been in a coma, you will obviously know of  Uber, the minicab ehailing smartphone app that has disrupted taxi markets in more than 300 cities worldwide, including London. 

But you may be less aware of the substantial impact its explosive growth has had on UK companies. 

For instance, Eco City Vehicles (ECV), the former supplier of the six-seater Mercedes Vito to taxi companies, partly blamed weak trading in the first half of 2014 on "uncertainty caused in the licensed taxi trade by the emergence of Uber." 

The chart below shows the precipitous decline in Eco City's share price over the past three years. The group entered and then exited administration during this period and now operates as a technology, media and telecoms investment company....sound familiar?



Source: Stock Exchange Jan2011-Jan2015

The easy availability of private cash could delay an Uber flotation: 

Uber boss Travis Kalanick recently said the group is "nowhere near" the point of seeking a public listing. "Give us a few years," he added. 

Uber entered the London market in 2012 to much furore - it recently won a legal battle over the right to operate in the capital. Its UK operations posted a tenfold increase in turnover to £11.3m, according to the subsidiary's latest Companies House filing. 

Reports have been publish which allege that although the company turned over £11.3m, it paid less tax in the UK than 5 average London Taxi drivers have in total. 

THE MAYFAIR MOB : who are they? .... By Marc Turner.


One man on his own is a nuisance, one man and his mates is an army!” That is the maxim of Mick Smith, founder of the new proactive presence on the streets of Mayfair and the Square Mile. 

Before attaining his green badge, Mick had been a Yellow badge holder in the Croydon sector for 13 years and worked minicabs for 17 years before that. He began to notice similarities between the demise of work in the suburbs and what is currently being experienced in Central London suburban drivers, over time, deserting town ranks in favour of train stations and unwittingly handing minicabs a free reign. That induced Mick’s belief to help create taxi occupancy on ranks at all times.

Last January during the mother of all kipper seasons, disenchanted Mick joined Twitter where he soon met like-minded cabbies who desired more involvement in their destiny. Before long 15 - 20 of Mick’s new comrades decided to ‘blitz’ high profile venues in Mayfair, reclaiming taxi ranks that had been overrun by Private Hire and valet parking. 


At this point, the moniker Mayfair Mob was coined.

In March, Peter Stringfellow contacted the Mayfair Mob and hastily arranged a meeting involving Deputy Mayor Isabell Dedring, Head of TfL Compliance Steve Burton, MM and Peter Stringfellow. 

There were also subsequent meetings with Tessa Jowell MP, Green Party candidate for the next London Mayoral election Sian Berry and Chief Superintendent Matt Bell of TfL Compliance.


Success followed quickly; word got around, more drivers joined and rooms were created on Twitter for instant communications. Hakkasan at Bruton Street even shut down their PH satellite office due to the attentions of the MM. Work was being won back from PH due to constant use of ranks by taxis and also by creating a permanent presence.

The Mayfair Mob are not vigilantes and don't indulge in any illegalities. They are legally proactive and their efforts eventually persuaded the ‘powers that be’ to grant new ranks on Hakkasan and Novikov at Berkeley Street and an agreement to extend the rank at Forge in Cornhill for four taxis. 


TfL have now agreed to fund marshals for Novikov and Fodge at weekends.

Other Mayfair Mob initiatives are to communicate with councils, MPs and Mayoral candidates. They are also planning to visit Knowledge schools to enlighten students to the etiquette of our trade and the importance of communication skills. 
They also intend becoming involved with police training in regard to cab law.

Ultimately, it’s a numbers game and there is strength in numbers. The more drivers coming on board, the easier the ranks will be to hold and progress to further areas.

Mick, affectionately known as The General, feels that our trade has to adapt to how the game has changed if we are to survive. The key is education for old and new alike. We are a service industry and need to act and look accordingly. Mick responded to my inquiry regarding the ethos of the Mayfair Mob with: 

"Doom and gloomers talk the trade down. MM talks our trade up. We don't do negatives and don’t know the word surrender!”


MM Scab Busters meet once a month, (new venue and time to be announced). 

In Mick’s own words: 
There's no hierarchy, no egos and no politics. As long as we breathe, the cab trade shall never die.”

When you think the Mayfair Mob have only been in existence for barely 8 months, what they've achieved thus far has been miraculous!

Marc Turner