Saturday, January 02, 2016

Uber To Trial New Unlicensed Service...Uber Commute...by Jack from Mons


Uber are hoping to get round TfL's ban on Uber Pop, by calling it by another name, "Uber commute".

Any motorist will be able to become an Uber driver on their daily commute or just a trip to the shops, with the simple touch of a button on their phone, according to the company's chief adviser.

David Plouffe said the aim was to make The controversial ride sharing app, which is locked in a perpetual battle with Black Taxis, accessible to private drivers by allowing them to use its technology to ferry about strangers, whenever it was convenient.

Our goal is eventually you don't even think about becoming an Uber driver, you say I'm going to do this when I'm running errands or running to the airport, I'll just make a little bit of money," he said. 

"Think about that. I'm not an Uber driver per-say, but on those ten times a week when I'm driving to work I'll press the button on my phone and if there's someone in my neighbourhood I'll take them in. 

"It won't work the same in terms of price, it'll be less expensive, but we think that's a huge potential benefit."

Plouffe rejected criticism, voiced by London Mayor Boris Johnson among others, that services such as Uber increased congestion and insisted that the company was "filling a void" between the desire to travel and modern technology. 

Unlicensed cars, unlicensed drivers!
No need for a PHV licence, no need for car to get PH roundels, no need for two MoTs and no need for costly hire and reward insurance.

Have Uber Gone Too Far This Time...Will TfL Have The Backbone To Stop Them?

Most Uber drivers earn do little they have to tout to make a living. Most common form of touting is to wait in central London streets with fog lights on. Passengers have been told to wave their phones at car with fog lights on and driver will let them in.

What the public haven't been told are the risks of using an unrecorded car service.

So, the public want to be able to flag down an uber, with unchecked, untrained drivers. 
Journeys will be uninsured and unrecorded, so should anything happen, untraceable!

We are told that the public want cheap, but do they really want cheap at any price? 

This is how easy it is to come unstuck. 
  


EDITORIAL COMMENT: by Jim Thomas.

Have Uber Shot Themselves In The Foot, Over NYE Record Price Surge?

Reports have come in to Taxi Leaks that over the New Year's evening, Uber passengers were deleting the app in their thousands as it surged to record heights of 6.9 times the normal fare. 

The good news is thousands of customers went on to download and used the Black Taxi Hailo app. 

Nigel Farage attacks Uber drivers on LBC –



BEST TWEET FOR 2015:



Friday, January 01, 2016

We Need The Met To Record Evidence Identifying Taxis As A Separate Mode Of Transport To PHV's

This should not be recorded as a Taxi and Private Hire incident?

This petition is to request the Metropolitan Police Service (MET) record evidence that identifies Taxis as a separate mode of transport to PHV's.

The (Metropolitan) Borough Councils and Transport for London (TfL) do not distinguish between taxis and private hire vehicles (PHV) when assessing collision statistics and the potential to cause serious injury to cyclists. 

London is being forced to sustain a massive influx of PHVs- mainly working on the instant hire market- and the number of collisions caused by PHVs reflect this increase.

On this basis, data that is recorded by the MET is used by Borough Councils and the Mayor of London’s Cycle Safety Action Group to determine whether or not to include / exclude taxis from road safety schemes. Currently, there is no discernible difference between Taxis and PHV.

For example, Camden Council collated data on collision statistics which were used to inform the recommendations limiting taxis and PHV's from the redevelopment of Tottenham Court Road (TCR) and road traffic restrictions recently implemented to Tavistock Place The TCR / Gower Street location is one of the worst ten locations in the borough for collisions, with 259 casualties in the three year period from 1 August 2011 to 31 July 2014. 

The MET also responded to a public consultation to the effect that permitting taxis to use TCR during daytime hours would increase the collision risk. Both The MET and Camden Council referred to data that did not identify Taxis separately from PHVs.

London's highly trained licensed taxi drivers suffering the consequences brought about by untrained PHV drivers' operating on the instant hire market. Presently, there are 600 - 700 PH licenses per week are being sold by TfL (50,000 in 3 years).

In the interest of public safety, licensed taxi drivers (and those effected), request that the MET obtain and record a comprehensive breakdown that identifies taxis as separate from PHVs- when recording/ referencing accidents and inappropriate driver behaviour.

Additionally, the recent conviction of an Uber driver who sexually assaulted his female passenger cannot go without reproach. The barrier to working for the Uber platform is astonishingly low, and with 700+ new drivers registering every day, Uber and other ride sharing apps are likely to attract nefarious characters. 

Even by the law of averages, driver impropriety should be a concern. To be clear, no licensed London taxi driver- individual or collective- should be deemed indistinguishable from an industry with such a discreditable reputation

It remains an injustice that an individual who is extensively vetted over a long period of time, who has invested their time and money developing a skill that is a prerequisite of a mandatory licensing requirement, and whose service is consistently voted the best in the world should be burdened by the consequences of those who have chosen NOT to undertake any such training.

Yours Sincerely Sean Day 


Extra Comment from Sean Day:
A document from Camden's Lawyers' to the LTDA re: Tottenham Court Road taxi exclusion, made grave reading. 

Camden did consider the inclusion of taxis in their redevelopment scheme, but research data showed taxis as the main cause of serious accidents in the area. When the findings were challenged, Camden produced evidence that they had exhausted all avenues and  could not locate data that identified taxis from PH. 


So, as of now, we are considered the most dangerous vehicle on the road- because of THEM! Whether Camden wanted us or not isn't relevant, at least let us know the real reason

I cannot stress enough the importance of this. Years of TFL blurring the boundaries between taxis and PH; actively recruiting staff to big up so called similarities (as opposed to highlighting differences) has left the trade wide open to assault. 

We remain the only legitimate alternative to the minicab swamp that swills around us, and the public NEED to know that there is an option. 

First and foremost, we should to be recognised by officialdom for what we are, and that is, the safest transport choice in London!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Letter to the Editor : Uber, A Social Engineering Exercise.

No matter what we do Uber are here to stay. 

Unless of course, they are banned. But l just don't see that happening any time soon.

I here people say we should lower fares to compete, but all Uber will do is undercut us and to be honest, we could never go as low as they can! 

Bringing in more regulation won't help either,  they will just carry on, simply because they know they can get away with it. They know who's on there side.

This is a massive social engineering exercise. 
Their drivers are mostly immigrants, that are happy to live on tax credits and housing benefits, all paid for by the likes of you and me.

They may not be earning a lot, but then, they don't have to!
They get a family car that during the day, is used by the family and by night, it's out in town earning money. Obviously they don't care how much they earn because after the car is paid for, it is all bunce. B
asically, they are living at our expense. 

That's why the Tories love them. They are classed as working and it looks good on the books. It is one of the most corrupt things ever to happen. 

I have a good friend who is a labour councillor, working on harrow council and every single application for tax credits and housing benefit puts on their application form they are a taxi driver...says it all. This is what we are really up against.

Richard Busby. 

EDITORIAL COMMENT:

The streets of London were once believed to be paved with gold, but now it seems they are covered with discarded plastic bottles full of urine and carrier bags full of faeces.

The problem is more acute with uber drivers because they have no operating centre or base.

 Apparently, the lack of public rest rooms in the capital is causing most Uber minicab drivers to “improvise” when answering the call of nature. The problem was highlighted on an Uber Forum (see below) in March of this year when drivers shared advice on “Toilet issues.” 




Taxi And Private Hire Regulations....What Is It The Media Doesn't Understand?... By Jim Thomas

What exactly is it that the media can't see or understand about Taxi and Private Hire regulation?

       Has this document become obsolete?

We already have sufficient legislation called the Private Hire Vehicles act 1998

Uber come along and amazingly, even though they don't (can't) conform to the regulations every other PH operator has to abide by, are licensed as an operator???

Uber don't do bookings! 
Contra to the PHV act 1998, their app allows them to illegally ply for immediate hire. 

When originally licensed in 2012, they had no proper operating centre and ran their business from a rented desk space in More London. They didn't even have a landline to take bookings, contra to the regulations laid down regarding applications for operator licences. 
Even now over 3 years later, they still don't have an operational landline to take bookings. In fact they have no way to pre book a job.

The Taxi trade call foul and ask the licensing authority (TfL) for regulations to be enforced -not new or more regulation, just enforce what we already have- and suddenly it's a breach of Uber's consumer rights !!!
What about the rights of every other taxi driver or minicab operator in the industry?

Would it be a breach of consumer rights to stop Taxi drives selling cheap cigarettes and cans of beer to passengers or set up an app to supply cheap booze to people outside public houses ? 
After all, it's what the public wants!!!

Or perhaps we could perform cheap dentistry without any training?

Got a toothache? Call a cab....we have the tools to do the job cheap... 

Legislation is there to protect the public and should always be enforced fully.

Letting a company come here, who pay almost no tax, treats its workers like slaves, who work below the minimum wage, reliant on benefits, without a doubt is unfair competition.

Why has this one company, with massive funds available for lobbying support, been allowed to operate "outside" the very legislation that every other PH company has to abide by ? 
Legislation put in place to protect the public!
Surely this is a breach of all other Taxi and Private Hire operators consumer rights?

What is it that the media can't grasp about this ?

We are told this is allowed because it's what the public want!!!
But, as Steve McNamara recently pointed out in an ITV interview, a huge proportion of the public want to be able to buy controlled substances that are illegal. They can't, because there is legislation against this, just like the legislation that governs minicabs and Private Hire operators.
Unfortunately at present and in regards to Uber, the current Private Hire legislation, isn't being enforced. 

The Taxi trade doesn't want or need less regulation, it's there for a reason! 
We are proud of the fact we have all completed the knowledge of London process. 
Yes it's hard, but it produces quality drivers who are regularly voted not just good or excellent, but "The best in the world".

We don't need more legislation in regards to PH, we already have exactly what is needed. 
Why should one company be given exemption from the regulations, to be able to flout the law and operate in anyway they see fit?

Has our licensing authority become corrupt?
Or are they just too terrified to take on this multi billion dollar company?
After all, when was the last time TfLs legal team actually had a major victory?

Instead of trying to fix the situation by watering down the required standards to enter the Licensed Taxi trade, perhaps interfering politicians should be investigating why our licensing authority (TfL) are not enforcing the rules and regulations to the same standard as pre 2012. (Over to you Tom Watson)

All our industry asks for, is to have the rules and regulations we already have in place, enforced. 

What part of this request does the media, and interfering politicians not get???

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

TfL To Expand The Traffic Carnage With A £148 Million Pot Of Gold


A wholesale redesign of Bank junction and a fresh “mini-Holland” scheme in east London are among a string of projects unveiled today by TfL to improve the lot of cyclists and pedestrians in the capital.

While Local councils are desperate for funding of essential services like libraries, drop in centres, waste disposal and road sweeping, Transport bosses have pledged £148 million, to help London’s 33 local councils install more cycle lanes.

So, libraries and drop in centres close and rubbish piles up on the street because of lack of funding, Straford gets £5.5m for a mini-Holland project, which follows similar programmes in Walthamstow and Enfield that have seen roads closed and cycle provisions significantly increased.


Although Stratford failed to win any of the £10m up for grabs for “mini-Holland” programmes earlier this year, Newham Council has secured cash from a separate pot to go ahead with its plans to rip up the gyratory around Stratford station and “reshape” the town centre.


Don't worry about rats crawling round the bins.... at least the Bank junction will end up with nice wider footways, new cycle lane routes and improved public space to make the busy junction safer”-where have we heard that one before?

But don't expect to go through the bank junction in a Taxi, as they are about to be banned, in the new buses and cycles only scheme.

Other plans include new urgent work, to bring down Islington’s high number of road accidents. Despite the recent blanket 20mph speed limit, road accidents are still high.

Following on from the failure in Islington, Tower Hamlets, Hammersmith and Fulham and Wandsworth, are now to see blanket 20mph speed limits put in place, following consultations in 2015.

The total value of the grants is the same as it was last year, though the amounts given to each borough are different.

London’s transport commissioner Mike Brown vowed the cash would “help transform communities and boost the local economy”.

Teenager Sets Up Free PCN Appeals Website...And Saves Drivers £2m In 4 Months


An 18-year-old IT student has saved British drivers £2million in four months after setting up a free parking appeals website.  

More than 86,000 people have launched appeals against council parking fines since August using the website which was set up by Joshua Browder from north London.

Nearly 40 per cent said they had been successful in overturning their £60 parking penalties, according to a poll of people who used the free service. 




More than 86,000 people have launched appeals against council parking fines since August using the website which was set up by Joshua Browder from north London

In total, claims amounting to £5.2million were challenged, meaning motorists have avoided paying an estimated £2million since the service was made available on August 24.

Mr Browder said the figure was based on an average fine per person of £60 and that 86,204 had used his >DoNotPay.co.uk< website to launch appeals. Of those, 39.1 per cent said they had been successful according to a poll of users.

The appeals were all against council-imposed fines - but the student plans to expand his website to cover private car parks 'in the near future'.



The appeals were all against council-imposed fines - but the student plans to expand his website to cover private car parks 'in the near future'.

He said statistics showed about 51,000 users accessed the site from London. 

Mr Browder, who is currently studying computer science and economics at Stanford University, California, set the site up after after being hit with 30 parking fines in and around Camden in north London.

The 18-year-old said: 'I am shocked that the site has had such a large impact. When I started DoNotPay, I thought that it would help a small handful of family and friends. 

'I could never have imagined that it would help reclaim millions in parking fines.

'I am disappointed that the councils are targeting the most vulnerable in our society. The elderly and the disabled are disproportionately receiving unfair tickets. 





Mr Browder, who is currently studying computer science and economics at Stanford University, California, set the site up after after being hit with 30 parking fines in and around Camden in north London

'The council has a responsibility to protect these groups rather than target them and it is rewarding to being doing something to work towards that.'  

Donotpay.co.uk, which is completely free to use, allows motorists to pick one of 12 reasons of defence, then enter the relevant details and send a custom generated appeal created by the website's algorithm to the council in question.

He said earlier this year: 'I was given parking tickets for trivial reasons. I have had to spend around one hundred hours of valuable study time writing appeals to these tickets, many of which have been successful.

I could never have imagined that it would help reclaim millions in parking fines
'I have come to realise that councils issue tickets first and ask questions later. Unfortunately, many recipients of these tickets don't have the time, legal knowledge or energy to appeal.'

Of the dozens of tickets he was issued, the majority of them were overturned on appeal.

He says motorists can generate appeals in less than a minute and the website ensures drivers have the best possible chance of winning their appeals.

Mr Browder, who taught himself computer coding at 12, created the service after scanning thousands of pages of documents released under the Freedom of Information Act and consulting a leading traffic lawyer. 

Last year it was revealed motorists paid out more in parking fines with councils accused of 'daylight robbery' as they continued to make a 'profit' from their parking operations, especially in London.

The RAC Foundation said councils in the UK made a £667million surplus from their parking operations in 2013/2014 – marking a 12 per cent increase on the previous financial year and the fifth year in a row of rises.

Motorists in London paid the biggest portion of the money for parking, with the capital accounting for 44 per cent of the total surplus generated over the last year. 

Man wins parking ticket battle, council then paint yellow lines

Letter To The Editor : Legislation, legislation, legislation... By Lenny Etheridge

No one, not Uber or any PH company can compete with us.

Uber can only offer London wide coverage because there's a Prius parked up on every street waiting for crumbs.
Those crumbs would deplete significantly if Uber were made to toe the legislative line.

The lower end of the public market use Uber because of price. That price would have to become more realistic, to accommodate existing legislation, if it was enforced.
No one can give London coverage like a Taxi; which is looking for hailed rides as well as covering radio/app work.
Price would then become incidental.

Our 'act' is already together.
All we need is the authorities to administer the law.

The police and firemen are being shafted too. But their own hierarchy have been bought and paid for. The police in particular, take their orders from the top brass . The top brass are subservient to the politicians, who in turn are subservient to their 'owners' and benefactors.

The laws are already in place. 
We need existing laws to be enforced now.
TfL are corrupt - of that I have no doubt.

They are seeking to change legislation - this will not be in our favour. 

But in the meantime they are duty bound, along with the police, to uphold the existing laws. This is not the roaring twenties with Prohibition.

If and when we win this war against corruption and injustice, we should make sure those responsible for the corruption be punished, and those found incompetent be sacked.

There is no reason an enquiry should fail to find these glaringly obvious answers.

Over to you, Tom Watson.

L H Etheridge.