Friday, December 30, 2016

An Open Letter To Deputy Mayor Val Shawcross......From Sean Paul Day.

CITATION: City of Toronto v. Uber Canada Inc. et al., 2015 ONSC 3572 COURT FILE NO.: CV-14-516288  DATE: 20150703

Dear Val Shawcross

Re: the above

On the 3/ 07/ 2015, Über Technologies inc. admitted under oath that from the point where a passenger determines to find a car (and driver) to the point where the passenger is in the car they (Über) are not party to the procedure. 

A rudimentary description follows that software is downloaded in advance of the intended is activated by the passenger at the time and place of his/ her choosing.  The server then relays messages between the passenger and prospective drivers using their respective versions of the App. The driver himself then directly makes the booking.  Accordingly, none of the respondents can be described as meeting statutory regulations of either a Taxi or PHV/D business model, as set forth and arbitrated by Transport for London (TFL).

TfL Operator License terms state that a Private Hire Booking can only be accepted by a licensed operator at their registered operating centre. A driver is permitted to hold an operators license but a moving vehicle cannot be considered as a registered operating centre.

The conclusion therefore is that Über are operating outside the terms of their operators license, and because the sequence of the booking procedure is referenced regularly by TfL, the primary assumption is either Uber  are guilty of misapplication or TFL are abusing procedure by allowing Uber to operate by their own self- determined parameters. 

Although TfL are steadfast in not discussing individual circumstances that might effect their PHO license ,  I would assert that the licensing criteria, and any change thereof , is solely the province of TfL. The Operator merely obliges the criteria, or has that now changed? Any alteration made specifically to this criterion constitutes a fundamental change in the way PH are pre-booked, and I don't recall it's inclusion as part of the lengthy and thorough PH consultation? 

For reasons pertaining to safety, the remit of TfL has a concomitant responsibility to ensure the London's taxi industry, both driver and vehicle,  meet stringent licensing requirements. For the most part this has worked well, therefore I trust you will look in to this issue as the potential consequences related to further indistinction between taxis and PH is not to be welcomed. 


Sean Paul Day


Anonymous said...

It's obvious that TfL are aware of this case they are very clever and clearly are licensing uber regardless of the requirements.The time for writing letters is over they are just put straight in the bin.Its time for every cabbie to get directly involved in disruptive action against TfL or else you may as well start looking for another job or suck up the shit and get on with what's left if it gets you by. Unfortunately I have been in the trade long enough to realise that most drivers will just suck up the shit until it's too late. No more excuses from the many this is the year that will define your future

Anonymous said...

Great letter Sean and looking forward to Val's response ;)

Anonymous, I totally agree with the 'disruptive action against TfL' and also 'that most drivers can't be bothered' We have asked Grant Davis and other prominent 'speakers' on Twitter and SaveTaxi FB page if one of the Orgs will print out leaflets to be handed out on ranks, ports, stations, green huts etc to reach as many cabbies as possible. We're all fed up with the inaction of others and their excuse being 'I didn't know about any demos' or 'I don't do social media'. Along with you cabbies, I believe that the SaveTaxi ladies will help hand out these leaflets.

It would also be a good idea to have leaflets we could all hand out at demos explaining our reasoning i.e. 'what TfL are up to' etc as the public and media thinks it's all about Uber, the trade is afraid of the competition, the trade not using technology etc. We need to get our message out there, loud and clear. Let's all agree on what to put on banners... There's so much more we could be doing?

Someone on SaveTaxi FB page is also in the process of having double-sided leaflets printed to be given to foreign tourists/hotel guests etc explaining how the hotels 'work' and how they tell passengers that black taxis are expensive. The leaflets will have prices to and from airports, also stating that the fare is for 4-6 people and cheaper than public transport i.e. trains from Paddington.

Twitter: Carlo Hannah @hannahsmiley

Anonymous said...

Great letter Sean... I will keep a copy of the letter (:

M Abdul Wali said...

I totally agree with you as now many people could earn through their car by working with this car company and earn for their livings, I think this kind of services and companies should be everywhere as many people are jobless it would be a great opportunity for them

Anonymous said...

This is a very well written letter by Mr Day to Val Shawcross, however, there is NO reason why she cannot reply to it, but from her previous form of not replying to letters I wouldn’t expect too much. If it follows the normal procedures she might just have passed it to TfL for comment (as it comes into their jurisdiction) to reply to and they, in their wisdom, may have decided not to bother.

After all Mr Day only asked her to ‘look into it’ when there is good cause for a more assertive submission by voicing our trade's serious concerns considering the legal implications and the severe damage unfair and possibly illegal licensing of Uber is doing to our trade. A legal submission might have carried a lot more weight and may have given more urgency to any possible reply. Although Mr Day didn’t ask for a reply or even a comment.

In spite of the destructive and unhelpful in-fighting between our representative groups in this time of crisis, Mr Day's letter should reach a much wider audience than a taxi drivers' forum and should be on the front page of every trade paper and would perhaps be picked up by a national paper. We are in sore need of such coverage in what we believe is the deception by Uber and the 'blind-eye'syndrome of our Licensing Authority.

It is difficult to understand why we need hand-out leaflets when we have at least 4 trade newspapers that do get to a large section of licensed taxi drivers, as well as a limited audience of those on Facebook or Twitter.

We need a common purpose on this specific issue and even in such a time of crisis we cannot seem to achieve this. TfL can see this as clear as Day - no pun intended.

If our trade groups cannot get together on this, the worst crisis we've ever faced, then they are never likely to get together on anything.

If better unison isn't achieved then excellent letters from individuals such as Sean Paul Day will get lost and their impact wasted.

Compliments of the Season to ALL Taxi Leaks readers/followers

Sean Paul Day said...

Re: The second comment. I'm absolutely in agreement with direct action being cranked up to the stage where it's actually effective, but writing to the powers that be highlighting legitimate grievances must never stop. I have always ascertained that TFL have broken a long standing trade agreement, by which drivers are entitled to compensation. This claim is made easier if complaints have been formally documented. We need to assert ourselves on many levels.

Editorial said...

What we had/ have in the Toronto case is the biggest potential challenge to Uber's operating model since they were licensed.

A caveat should be put on Uber, pending an investigation. To let a contravention of such magnitude side swipe us is the trade enabling it's own oblivion

Sean Paul Day

Dads Defending Daughters said...

Dear James Jayden

Tell that to the father of a daughter who's been raped.

You also needs to realise, that no one is earning a living.
You are forcing an underclass in London.
This isn't job creation but job displacement.
Pret A Manger is still desperate for kitchen workers

Unknown said...

When will all of these U*** supporters realise that with the money that they are paying for the ride, the drivers can't earn a living. Are they selfish or just stupid!!

Sean Paul Day said...

It would mean, app based services are working the "on demand" market in the primary sense, even though the vehicle doesn't meet the C of F and crucially, the driver doesn't meet the Required Standard. A stringent licensing process, a compulsory prescribed vehicle, and a regulated meter are independently set in place and arbitrated by TfL to ensure high standards relating to safety and liberty. Certain entitlements are afforded those who, through endeavour, fulfil this criteria.

Crucially, the tariff is based on the cost index of maintaining the prescribed purpose built vehicle that TfL says I have to drive, and no, it's not possible to work as a taxi driver in London otherwise. It is of my firm opinion that TfL broke this long standing trade agreement- be it explicit or implicit- by allowing a corporation to illegally over saturate the market, thus decimating the earning potential of taxi drivers, and their ability to meet running costs

None of this is caused by ineptitude, albeit crudely engineered, nor can drivers contradict laws set in place by the policy makers. The consequences of a trade that has been heavily infracted into yet still governed by their stringent parameters, for many, has become untenable.

There's a case to be had, surely?

Anonymous said...

If a PHV vehicle is 'working on demand', then their vehicles need to meet the same spec as a black taxi. No good to be available for immediate hirings without a good turning circle or wheelchair access.

Anonymous said...

It is fair to say that taxi drivers need to have things spelt out in more everyday language. Mr Day's literary efforts are to be applauded but, but his letter of 3:53 AM does not seem to make the case. It would be helpful if he could expand on what the actual case is that has to be had?
If there is a case 'to be had' the trade desperately needs to present this case by legal means and not just on an individual basis. TfL can quite easily 'dodge' any individual letter. We should have learnt this much by now. When the attacks from our side come in a legal argument that the Courts can use, then we might be starting to make progress.
The accusations against TfL have to be based on Malfeasance, which means acting unlawfully whilst holding public office. Other charges could follow, namely the possible corruption/collusion that TfL appear to have with one company in particular.
TfL cannot deny that they have licensed a company that should never have been licensed using the original entry criteria as the Canadian Judgement clearly spells out. If they do then that is Malfeasance.
TfL have licensed a company whose aims are without doubt, to destroy the Licensed Taxi service, wherever they operate in the world by undermining their financial standing by unfair competition. Cheap labour - cheap vehicles. How can anybody compete with that?
TfL have licensed Uber and appear to have ignored their destructive practices to other taxi services around the world and, in spite of knowing that this was likely to happen here too, then this is what can only be described as not acting with 'Due Diligence' under their statutory obligations to the community they serve. They KNEW it would happen - It's their POLICY!
TfL has introduced a service by licensing Uber in the 'full knowledge' that it would create unfair competition to the Licensed London Taxi Trade. This is clearly wrong however you look at it.
If we as a trade, through legal means, cannot fight this covert attack on the Licensed Taxi trade we are not likely to change the overwhelming 'Uber' effect that TfL has knowingly imposed upon us. We need to see the Minutes of the TfL meetings where their future policies/plans for their 'project' of inventing a new form of taxis was formulated. A number of Freedom of Information requests may be required. We are suffering what TfL planned for us and also, presumably for their new-found friends in Uber.
With Uber creating unfair competition it is impossible for us as a trade to follow the 'Cost-Index' that Mr Day referred to and even try to compete. TfL know this too and yet they still licensed Uber.
The 'Cost-Index' was devised by a man called Peter Fuzzey of the T&GWU 30 years ago to try and resolve the annual tariff problems when all taxi fare increases had to go before Parliament. It meant, in practice, that any increase became a political football when ANY government tried to keep costs down for their own political reasons.
The Cost-Index had been highly successful and made life easier for all interested parties once it was adopted by Government as a way forward and which reflected the true cost of our 'specialised' vehicles that the PCO said we MUST have and had set up earlier the 'Conditions of Fitness' through a Statutory Instrument. The Cost-Index was ceded to TfL in May 2000 when they took on the licensing of London's taxis once the Greater London Authority was formed.
Why are we dithering? We need sound legal advice as well-meaning individuals who can write good letters that seem to get lost in the bureaucracy we're fighting. We shouldn't be fighting with our hands tied behind our backs. We need some sort of strategy that will highlight the poor conduct of our Licensing Authority and the disgraceful and shameful actions of Uber in wanting to control the licensed taxi trade around the world. TfL need to be seen for what they are and the 'plotters' exposed. If we don't do it, who will?
We need to THINK as well as ACT.

Anonymous said...

You won't get a reply from Widow Twanky, she's now a permanent fixture in the TFL 365 day a year pantomime. A farcicle figure who epitomises how flabby and fetid politics are.

Sean Paul Day said...

You don't clap malfeasance until a preliminary letter has been established. I set out that there are two primary positions, either Uber was guilty of misapplication or TfL of abusing procedural practices.

Fortunately V. Shawcross is not unfamiliar with correspondence from me and for the most part afforded me a response. Malfeasance can then be apples to the comment I made preceding this one, with a view to the situation being injurious.

As for the Orgs, bleach the bones of those who sat down to wait, and waiting died.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:24 What a fantastic post. Absolutely top reply ! Brilliantly written. Whoever you are, Happy New Year !


Unknown said...

Glad you finally took notice of the argument I put forward to you back in June Mr Day, I guess us folk up north do know what we are on about.

Here is another thought from us folk up north, why challenge Uber?

Why not take TfL to court for loss of earnings for licensing an illegal operator?

Every penny they have taken in fares would be the loss to the Taxi trade, that will be a claim of multi millions of pounds which would then be shared between the Taxi drivers of London....

By taking TfL to court you take Uber to court...

Courts are working under Law, its black and white with enough evidence from Uber to bury themselves !!

Anonymous said...

Excellent comment 2:24pm, this is exactly the type of journalism that should be published in the forthcoming UCG paper for all to read.

Anonymous said...

Dear Semtex, without wishing to make this a mutual admiration society I am grateful for your reply to my article and always like to read your well-considered articles regardless of the subject matter. I regret I cannot reveal my name but I can return to you the Compliments of the Season. We have never met but I believe you may have learnt of me from a mutual friend of 3-4 years ago. I firmly believe that we as a trade are suffering a serious miscarriage of Administration at its worst, by the same kind of un-elected but all-powerful bureaucrats that run the European Commission and virtually impossible to remove. We might just as well be controlled by Artificial Intelligence (AI). TfL seem to survive all that we throw at them and we perhaps felt that we were making some progress when Peter Hendy was promoted sideways to become Chairman of Rail-track or wherever he has now ensconced himself. He might have been given a Knighthood but in my heart I can never imagine calling someone like him 'Sir'. Sadly, those he left behind are in the same 'We know best!' elitist mould and do London and its people a dis-service by deliberately destroying a phenomenal institution that the Licensed London taxi trade is. The TfL taxi replacement service by Uber on a planned basis is based on 3rd world principles using state-of-the-art technology but comes nowhere near the reputation that London Taxis enjoy world-wide. But, it seems regardless of the rapes, muggings and sexual assaults by minicab drivers (Uber included), this is what TfL considers is good enough for London and its visitors. Shame on them. I wish I could say "Lord forgive them for they know-not what they are doing." But I can't, because they KNOW what they are doing - they planned it. They appear to hate us for showing them up and bringing them into the spotlight when our Demos are held. Uber might be cheaper (for now) as we cannot possibly compete; but once Uber attains a much greater stranglehold on personal transport, which TfL will not be able to fight off in Court - just watch Uber journey-pricing get to such high levels that they can start to pay off the huge loans the Corporates have invested in them and reap in the profits. All their current trips are subsidised as 'loss-leaders' until their virtual monopoly is in place - and we as a trade are long gone or no longer in a position to compete, even if we wanted to. Whay will be left is just a 3rd world service using cheap labour, cheap vehicles and a look back to our colonial history of exploitation of the lower-paid. As for Londoners - they may not realise what a wonderful service they had - until it's gone!