Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Message To All Taxi Leaks Followers.

As we approach the most joyous and for many of us the most sacred day of the year, our thoughts naturally turn to our loved ones, our friends and our colleagues. 

Christmas is a time to share the goodness of our hearts with others, a time for expressing with words and gifts, what others mean to us. It's also a time for remembering those no longer here.

It's a chance to make someone's wishes come true and to truly give something from your heart. A chance to give a message that will express love and caring to the ones we care about the most. 

Taxi Leaks would like to wish all our followers a very Merry Christmas or a Happy Holiday, according to your faith or your custom. 

             Peace on Earth and good will to all.

Why Did Uber Shun The PH Consultation....Have They Already Been Promised A Result ?.. By Jim Thomas

We are now being told by a certain newpaper, that
it's very unlikely TfL will introduce the new PH regulations proposed for next year. 
(There's a surprise)

Perhaps TfL would like to take notice of the recent poll carried out by the Daily Mirror which asked the question "Should Uber be banned in London ?"

72% of Daily Mirror readers say Uber should be banned!

UBER TELL DRIVERS TO SHUN ONLINE CONSULTATION:
We have also been informed that Uber told their drivers not to bother completing the consultation in the traditional way, but instead to forward on an email prepared for them, taking the drivers personal opinions -which Uber obviously doesn't trust- out of the issue.

Taken from an Uber drivers blog 3 days ago:
Last night Uber sent a text telling me there were only 2 days left to respond to the TfL consultation. When I clicked the link – hey presto – it opened my email and generated text to send directly to TfL with Uber’s preferred reply. All I had to do was hit enter – no thinking required, just the way Uber likes it. It even autogenerated a bcc to Uber itself so that big brother at Aldgate Tower can monitor which drivers are the true believers and who are just not to be trusted. 

SHOULD THIS UNETHICAL PRACTISE RENDER ALL UBER DRIVER EMAILS INVALID?
Why would Uber not want their drivers to complete the consultation in the traditional manner?

Could the reason be that with this consultation, security measures are in place, whereby the replier has to give a valid email address which triggers an automated reply. Plus only one reply allowed on each valid address, invalidating fraudulent replies.

Did uber send TfL emails on behalf of the drivers who didn't click on the send option?

Perhaps this is something we can do in future. A trade org could collect all the email addresses of Taxi drivers and next time there is a consultation, send off emails as a block reply on behalf of all the trade! 
Do you honestly think TfL would have stood for this had we adopted this method ?

Remember the scandal when it was alleged Uber used its custermer data base of names and email addresses, to reply to an online poll without first acquiring  permission from the account holder. Many account holders complained when they received the confirmation email!

In addition, Uber have carried out their own petition, one in which they make the rules....hence 205,000 completed by account holders and drivers who allegedly have no knowledge they have signed a petition. 

Normally, bulk submissions are unacceptable. But in TfL's infinite wisdom....this time they have decided to accept Uber's poll petition printouts. Makes you wonder what else was in the boxes 

Before any decision is made appertaining to the implementation of the new regulations, it's imperative that our trade orgs ask for an independent  adjudicator, to examine a cross-section of the submissions, to verify that the signatures are authentic.
  
On BBC London News, we wet told that most minicab operators say the current system would work "IF" properly enforced by TfL. Addison Lee's Dominick Moxon-Tritsch added TfL should have insured all PH operators have Fleet Insurance. 
Speaking for the licensed Taxi trade, Steve McNamara said  the change seen in the minicab industry is progress, but progress needs to be regulated. Lots of people in london like to use controlled substances, but they're  banned ! You have to have regulations it's all about safety. 

  

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Mum warns young girls of dangers of mini cabs after daughter sexually assaulted on Saturday morning

A MUM has warned young girls of the dangers of getting into a mini cab on their own after her daughter was sexually assaulted on Saturday morning.

The anonymous post on social media pleads with other Mums to warn their daughters of the dangers of some mini cab drivers.

After leaving a bar in Wokingham on Saturday morning, her daughter had to fight her way out of the mini cab to escape.

She left the bar at around 2am and went to get a mini cab from Elms Road and inside the silver BMW were three Asian men.

The post read: "Scared, she said where she wanted to go and they proceeded to go in the wrong direction. She asked them to stop 5 times....They carried on driving. During this time the passenger in the back started touching my daughter and made sexual requests."

The driver of the mini cab stopped down Finch Road and the daughter punched the passenger and kicked her way out of the car before running to a nearby house for help.

The post read: "This is a serious crime and I would ask you to tell your young ladies to please be careful and vigilant when getting into a mini cab.

"Ask to see their badge and to call the fare into their base. Please do not let this happen again!"

James Williams, a spokesman for Thames Valley Police, said: "I can confirm the incident was reported to us.

"The allegation is that the victim was sexually assaulted over her clothing at about 2am on Saturday. The victim left the vehicle and sought help from a member of the public. The matter was then reported to Thames Valley Police.

"If anyone has any information please contact the Thames Valley Police Enquiry Centre on 101.

"If you don't want to speak directly to the police you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court."

The consultation that never was.... By I'm Spartacus.

We hope that no cab driver missed the opportunity to have their say on the PH consultation. It's still open, but you only have a few hours left!

Can't help but laugh at the non eco friendly boxes of nonsense delivered by Poober to Palestra - A nice PR stunt, but as if to prove they don't know their a**e from their elbow, they went to the wrong building. 
LTPH have moved weeks ago.



Anyhow, here are some questions that should have been included- but never were.

1. Would you like to pay an effective tax rate of 8%?

2. Would you like to enjoy Dutch zero rating on VAT?

3. Would you like a complaints procedure that's meaningless?

4. Would you like to be able to increase prices at a whim?

5. Would you like your mate to drive your vehicle and pretend to be you to earn both some money?

6. If the answer to all the above is yes, please explain how the NHS can be funded, the public protected and your children educated?

Responses can be submitted on the back of your Tax Credit Form to:

The Chancellor of the Exchequer
All in It Together Towers
11 Downing Street
London SW1

All answers will be entered in a prize draw to win an all expenses paid trip to the Opera with the Lord Speaker of the House of Lords.

Merry Christmas all!

I'm Spartacus

From the LTDA, Stick together and take the advice


It is vital that we win over politicians to our cause if the taxi and minicab trade in London is to be properly regulated. 

Yet whenever the LTDA does something with politicians to gain their support and raise the trades profile politically, many of those we are trying to win over suffer abuse from cabbies via twitter or other social media. It should not come as a surprise that this behaviour is not helping and that our enemies are using many of these tweets and comments to portray us as racist, xenophobes fighting competition. 

Nothing is further from the truth; we are a forward thinking dynamic industry that is keen to embrace change and technology but one that is restrained within the confines of an archaic licensing infrastructure whilst our competitors are allowed to operate virtually unregulated. 

Social media can be a powerful tool and I would encourage as many members as possible to use it, but to bear in mind that our competitor's powerful PR and lobbying machine will be looking at ways to exploit everything you post. 

This was evident in the recent ITV documentary 'Taxi Wars' where Uber managed to squeeze alleged tweets from taxi drivers into an otherwise truthful and damaging documentary about their activities and lobbyists, fortunately on this occasion I was able to dismiss the argument. The documentary can be viewed below:

Editorial Comment:

This message was sent to us by a member of the LTDA, wise words indeed.

Steve McNamara asks to trade to stick together! But the LTDA has a lot to answer for, with the exclusion of minor trade orgs such as the RMT and the UCG from meaningful negotiations for over 5 years, efectivly dividing the trade. 

It hasn't gone unnoticed that since Bob's taken a more back seat role, Steve has moved the LTDA forward and championed a more open relationship with smaller groups. His personal help with the Mayfair Mob is to be applauded and should be seen as a new hope for a way forward, encouraging drivers from every org to work together.

As 2016 approaches, we must not make the same mistake we make every year, and that's dwelling on the past. 

Everyone's made mistakes, but we must learn from these mistakes and move on. We have to use ALL the weapons in our arsenal.

We need a counsel of war, with every org no matter how small involved, working together. Yes it will be hard, yes we've never managed it before, but this is our only hope. We are not going to win anything as a divided trade. Trade leaders should be locked in a room and only let out when they are in agreement. No more hissy fits and storming out.

No one org or union on its own, can win us through. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Steve may not be everyone's idea of the trades saviour, but to be honest, I see no one else coming through the ranks, eligible to lead us from the front in this, our hour of need. 

Strange words from me, I know! I've been one of the LTDA's harshest critics, probably responsible for the loss of many of their subscribers. But the only way we can reach the light at the end of the tunnel is together as one....there is no plan B.

UNITE OR DIE...it's that simple.

Jim Thomas, editor.

#StrongerTogether 

  

 


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Private Taxi Causes Security Alert In Regent Street....by Glen Alutto

Regent Street was evacuated earlier today and a suspicious Taxi left unattended and parked on a Taxi rank outside Hamleys became the second Taxi this year to be damaged by security officers in controlled action.

 
Police show just how vigilant they are regarding the current security status. 

For years, we have been warning about the way the Met police turn a blind eye to minicabs parked all over the WestEnd and City. 

Even in the wake of the minicab car bomb left outside Tiger Tiger in 2007. Although extremely serious, this incident had little to no affect on police and within hours the minicabs were back parked all over the Haymarket, left unabated by security services. 

The Taxi trade has been warning of possible car bombs attacks as Wardens, Police and TfL constantly take no notice of cars parked on our Taxi ranks.

Now a Taxi, left unattended on a rank, had fallen victim to a security incident. 

It's been reported that the Taxi affected had no TfL plates, no identifiers and had tinted windows. 

The vehicle was left abandoned on the Taxi rank and was reported to police. The police deemed the vehicle suspicious and called in security services, who took out the windows with a burst from an automatic weapon. 

         Window blown out in a controlled burst from an automatic firearm. 

While London is in danger of an imminent attack from terrorists, it's imperative that Taxis are not left unattended other than on rest ranks.

Please ladies and gents take heed....do not leave your Taxis on working Taxi ranks, use the rest ranks where provided 

Totally Failing London's Christmas Cracker....by Glen Alutto.



TfL announce their latest weapon in the fight against their own carefully engineered congestion, digital advertising Taxi top boards!

Yep, you read that right a barely legible illuminated sign that nobody reads is going to help you avoid getting stuck in one of the capial's numerous bottlenecks.


TfL's Spin doctors, will be telling you all about the multi million pound road modernisation scheme they don't recognise as the main cause of the current daily gridlock. 

Garrett Emmerson, TfL's Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport, said: `This trial is an innovative new way to reach road users in London and keep them informed of traffic conditions.' 


Well it will give them something to read while stuck for hour on end behind lines of empty buses!

He goes on to say: 'It is one of many ways we are focusing our attention on keeping London moving, particularly during the current success-driven boom in construction seen across London.'

You really couldn't make it up, could you?

But it seems TfL have done just that!

>TfL's Press Release<

Passenger In Danger As Uber Driver Watches Video During Ten Minute Journey.



A YouTube minor celebrity has told how he was left in fear for his safety as his Uber driver watched videos during a journey through west London.

Raphael Gomes, 23, snapped the driver watching his phone as he took a minicab home after having a haircut on Friday evening.

The Portuguese-English author - whose videos have attracted many views on YouTube - claimed the driver was watching footage from a YouTube video on his phone for the whole of the 10 minute journey.

Revealing details of the alleged ordeal on Twitter, he wrote: "My uber driver is literally watching youtube videos as he takes me home #pray for me".

Mr Gomes, who has his own YouTube channel and is a published author, told how he noticed the driver's screen as soon as he got into the car and could see it was not showing the Uber app or mapping technology.

He said: “I was definitely surprised and a little scared at first. It made me nervous and I know how dangerous this was, so I took the pictures.

my uber driver is literally watching youtube videos as he takes me home pray for me @UberUKpic.twitter.com/5p61XPdgQX

— Raphael Gomes (@raphablueberry)

“I think it was a web series on YouTube in a different language. It was definitely action-themed but I'm not sure what programme it was exactly.

“He could have injured me as a passenger or other people on the road.”

Editorial Comment :

After Mr Gome started tweeting about fears for his safety, it didn't take long for the Uber PR clean up team to take action. 

Mr Gome is now saying that he "isn't" going to make an official complaint as nothing happened (this time) and he is safe. He says he can see the humour in the situation. 

Perhaps Mr Gomes experience wouldn't have seemed so hilarious, had the driver knocked down and killed or seriously injured, a pedestrian or cyclist. 

Or perhaps Mr Gome would not have seen the funny side being cut out of a tangled mess and being rushed to hospital.

Let's hope others take heed of these wise words:

Monday, December 21, 2015

As Fines Are Increased, We Ask How Safe Are Uber Journeys With Driver Constantly Using iPhones ?



Just how safe are Uber journeys with drivers constant use of a mobile phone ? 
iPhone Dispatch system, SatNav, Text to customers, phone calls to passengers, all carried out while driving

But now, drivers who use a mobile phone while driving could face tougher penalties if government plans are approved.

The government is planning to increase fixed penalty fines from £100 to £150, as well as increasing the number of penalty points drivers receive.

Penalty points would rise from three to four and from three to six for drivers of large vehicles such as HGVs. 



Motoring groups broadly welcomed the news, but some questioned whether the plans would be an effective deterrent.

Obviously Uber will be running a massive campaign supported by slick videos, with polls showing that they should be allowed to circumnavigate any restriction on using a phone while driving, simply because....it's what the public want!

The proposals, which are part of the government's Road Safety Plan, are aimed at targeting those who repeatedly offend. A consultation will be held on the plans in 2016. 

The proposals follows a previous increase in the fixed penalty for using a hand-held mobile phone while driving, from £60 in 2013 to £100.

'Social taboo'


Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "Using a mobile phone at the wheel is reckless and costs lives - I want to see it become a social taboo like not wearing a seatbelt. 

"The message is clear: keep your hands on the wheel, not your phone. If you keep taking calls while at the wheel, you could end up being banned from the road."

The use of a mobile phone was a contributing factor in 21 fatal accidents and 84 serious accidents in 2014, the government said.

A total of 1,775 people were killed and 22,807 people were seriously injured in reported road accidents in 2014, government figures showed. 

Suzette Davenport from the National Police Chiefs Council said the organisation fully supported the crackdown and was determined to keep all road users safe.

"Drivers must continue to be aware not only of the risks posed by being distracted by mobile phones while in control of a car but the serious penalties which they will face if they are caught," she said.


Driver surveys show mobile phone use is seen as one of the most dangerous driving behaviours

But Tim Shallcross from the Institute of Advanced Motorists said evidence shows previous increases in fines did not change driving behaviour.

"The Department for Transport's own research this year showed that when they doubled the penalty from £50 to £100 in 2013 it made no discernible difference whatsoever," he said. 

"What deters people from using mobile phones is the fear of being caught and, frankly, with fewer police on the roads that possibility is becoming less and less."

'Real danger'

With new PHVs increasing at a rate of 600 a week, and with most using smartphones as part of their modus operandi the dangers on Londons roads  are of epic proportion.


Other motoring organisations broadly approved of the measures. 

David Bizley, the RAC's chief engineer, said: "There is still a surprising number of motorists who think it is acceptable to take a short call with a hand-held mobile whilst driving - it isn't, and is a real danger.

"Our report on motoring this year showed motorists are increasingly worried about other drivers being distracted by mobile phones whilst at the wheel."

Edmund King, president of the AA, said the majority of drivers "will welcome" the proposals.

"Three quarters of drivers see others using mobile phones on some or most journeys, with one quarter seeing it on every journey, according to our polls," he added."

The epidemic of hand-held mobile phone use while driving especially by minicab drivers using phone for rider dispatch and SatNav has already cost lives, as they constantly break their concentration, taking their eyes and their mind off the road in front.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

An issue that affects cabbies...An Appeal For a Your Help.


The London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham (LBHF) is trying to impose a
blanket 20mph limit on all of its roads. 55% were opposed to the proposal in
a recent consultation - not least as the road safety case is hyped and
pathetically poor (see www.fairdealforthemotorist.org.uk/handfstats.htm).

I have been speaking to several drivers in LBHF (taxi- and mini-cab,
delivery firms etc). They are concerned that:
* They will be restricted to an unreasonably low speed, especially on main
roads
* They stand to be fined or even banned for doing a reasonable speed
* Their vehicles might be damaged by speed bumps etc.

I am organising a campaign to make LBHF see sense. The council has been
known to back down after sustained complaints, but we need to act before 11
January.

There is a facility to send an email message on
www.fairdealforthemotorist.org.uk/saferhandf.htmas well as a copy of the
attached leaflet (PDF attached).   

I (and many others) would be grateful, please, if your colleagues could: 
* Send an email message to LBHF and/or
* Pass on this link or attached file to their contacts.

Many thanks for your help,
Brian Mooney
Alliance of British Drivers (Hammersmith & Fulham rep) 
brian.mooney@abd.org.uk 
(also 07976 414913 for any urgent calls; please avoid 22, 26 Dec) 

More about the campaign on www.fairdealforthemotorist.org.uk/saferhandf.htm
(http://bit.ly/1GBt5DD)