Sunday, January 17, 2016

Cabbie's Wife's Group, Showing Trade Orgs The Way To Go.

A campaign group set up by the wife of a taxi driver will this week mount a bid to force Transport for London (TfL) to put the brakes on Uber, the app which has recruited thousands of drivers and attracted a multibillion pound valuation.

Sky News can reveal that Artemis Mercer, who started a Facebook group last year in support of London's taxi trade, will launch a crowdfunding drive to raise £600,000 to fund the initial phase of a judicial review against TfL.

The move will come amid a fierce debate about the breakneck growth of minicab and other ride-sharing apps in London and elsewhere, with Uber facing an array of regulatory measures to restrict its operations.

Mrs Mercer has established Action for Cabbies as a private company to spearhead the campaign, which will use the platform

The group wants to secure a judicial review on the grounds that TfL was wrong to grant a licence to Uber and its drivers in 2012, because it failed to follow correct procedures.

"There has always been a two-tier system with private hire vehicles on one side and black cabs on the other," Mrs Mercer told Sky News.

"TfL did not follow those regulations in 2012: it went from being a law-enforcer to a law-maker," she said.

"In doing so, it compromised public safety and cost black cabbies the opportunity to compete on a level playing field."

Action for Cabbies will repeat the widely deployed argument that Uber's drivers use a meter of the kind which should only be available to drivers of black cabs, while complaining that the app does not implement insurance and public safety standards as rigorously as those imposed on black taxis.

The crowdfunding campaign, which will launch on Monday, will target London’s roughly 25,000 licensed black cab drivers to raise the required money, with further finances expected to be required if Action for Cabbies is successful in securing a judicial review.

It will also be open to others who wish to contribute, although it will be unlike many crowdfunding efforts in that there is no prospect of a direct return on the funds invested.

TfL is itself proposing a series of new rules that would curb private taxi-hailing groups, such as forcing drivers to wait five minutes before picking up a customer and providing fixed fares at the beginning of each journey.

Those plans sparked a critical response from business groups including the Institute of Directors, as well as – unusually – the Competition and Markets Authority, the chief executive of which said that TfL would "artificially restrict competition".

In the promotional material for its crowdfunding campaign, Action for Cabbies will warn that unless TfL's decision to grant Uber a licence is revoked, the "black taxi industry will be decimated and the iconic black taxi [rendered] extinct".

Source : Sky News.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well done to this group of ladies who have really got the bit between their teeth - they have more go In them than a lot of drivers!

Why on earth can't any of our organisations do what they are planning - either individually or as a cooperative? It is embarrassing, particularly when one of these organisations must have the money and acumen to take this on. These 'regulators' are killing us and day by day our income is nosediving. I know it's the kipper but come on, 6/7 hours on a wet and cold (last) Friday night and after exes the balance equates to the minimum wage - it's unreal. I really don't know how a lot of the drivers, with young families, are coping as their exes must be astronomical. It is an absolute disgrace what has happened to the licensed taxi trade in London, over the last couple of years. And as for the support of the public I am really amazed at comments I have seen on social media, such as: "you've had it too good, for too long, your rip-off days are over, you're all racist dinosaurs", etc, etc. I know there are a few rotten apples but the majority of drivers are hard working conscientious people who would help anyone & do nothing that would endanger their hard earned badge. Most of the public are great, interesting to converse with & appreciate us but it seems the most vindictive are the ones making the most noise.

We have a great reputation that is being torn to shreds, in the media (& on social media) and this is aided and abetted from other sources. We need to up the ante with our PR and get someone representing us via the media, who is smart & possesses good business acumen. This is not a knock at our trade reps who speak to the media but something I think we should look at. Basically, somebody who can tear our opponents to shreds in any media argument - we have the ammunition, we just need a missile! Be lucky all.