Saturday, June 25, 2016

Uber To Hide Surge Pricing From Customers

Uber says it will hide surge pricing notifications for more of its users to make its app less "complicated".

During busy periods, the taxi firm's customers are currently told they will be charged a "surge price" such as 1.7 or 2.3 times the standard fare.

Customers will instead be shown a fixed fee with a notice that "fares are higher due to increased demand".

One analyst said hiding the surge price multiplier could stop people being discouraged from using the service.

"I've been in the situation myself, where I've held off using an Uber during a surge," said Jim Clark, research director at Econsultancy.

"We are sensitive to price - as a nation we do like a bargain and that's one of the reasons they'll be making this change."

In a blog post, Uber said it had started rolling out the change in the US and India in April.
Uber said more cities would follow suit.

'Complicated math'
In addition to hiding the surge price multiplier, Uber is also removing an option that notifies customers when the surge price drops.

Uber said the changes made the app "clear and simple".

"There's no complicated math and no surprises - passengers can just sit back and enjoy the ride," it said.

However, Mr Clark said hiding the surge price could also have a financial benefit for Uber.

"There is the argument that it becomes quicker and easier to see the price," Mr Clark told the BBC.

"But I think that's an argument only Uber might make rather than anybody else.

"From a business perspective, it makes sense - it encourages people to use the service.

"But it's important to give users a choice of whether to wait - being given all the information is the spirit of the sharing economy. At the very least they could give users the option to switch the surge information on or off."

Source : BBC.

Dads Defending Daughters from 154 Minicab Related Serious Sexual Assaults Including Rape.

      Video by Maciek Kaliski and Henry Young

"We shall defend our daughters, our wives, our sons, whatever the cost may be. We shall defend them on the streets, we shall defend them on our ranks, we shall defend them on the Internet and through social media. We shall never, never surrender!"

Dads Defending Daughters, supported by contingents from the MayfairMob, SaveTaxi Facebook group and the RMT, held a peaceful demonstration in Parliament Square.

Every participant holding aloft an explanatory placard or banner, getting across the statistics, which are being suppress and held back from the general public. 
Sean Paul Day gave a rousing speech to onlookers from the middle of the Square, in which he called for a public inquiry into the scandalous coverup of the assault and rape statistics.

From Feb 2016 to Feb 2016 there were 154 Minicab related serious sexual assaults, including Rape.
32 Uber of these attacks were alleged by the Met Police to have been carried out by Uber drivers.
These tatistics have been confirmed by freedom of information request made directly to the Metropolitan Police.

TfL were in shock when first the LTDA AdVan was seen outside clubs and bars showing these figures. Pressure was put to soften the message, and the LTDA as normal, duly obliged. 

Although plans for this day were kept off social media, the message went out through word of mouth, hundreds turned up on foot and lined three sides of the square. 
I was surprised to find how much interest there was from people in the square, inquiring into the nature of the placards, advertising the shocking statistics. 

         TfL sent compliance to observe.

Again, trying to hide away over the other side of the square were four TfL Compliance officers who had removed their yellow HiVis jackets to blend in with the public. They were seen taking photographs of demonstrators. 
I crossed the road and proceeded to take their photo, but they rushed off in the direction of Windsor house. 

Question to TfLTPH:
I hope your compliance team had an authorisation of surveillance under the Regulation of Investigatory Act 2000, otherwise they were breaking the law by photographing demonstrators. 

Because of the referendum, the world's press were in and around the Square and many interviews with foreign journalists took place. Then after two hours, the drivers, friends and family members, marched peacefully to Sajid Javid's office, passing the world's media encampment on College Green.

On arrival at Javid's office, a statement was read to the crowd  over loud speaker by Marc Turner. After a rousing round of applause, the demonstration dispersed. Arriving back at the 'iron lung', it was found a number of Taxis had been given parking tickets. A quick collection took place amongst the drivers to pay the fines. 

The demo itself was amazing. Although the message being put across to the public was very serious, drivers managed to stay calm, collected and peaceful. 

Officers from the Met Police Liaison Unit, praised the drivers for their excellent behaviour. Drivers were also surprise to find support from the celebrity of the day who just happened to pull over to show support to DDDs

We could have filled the Square with Taxis, beeping their horns and waving fists, traffic could have been disrupted for a couple of hours , but would the public have understood the message?
The banners were an excellent idea and it is a suggestion that all future demos be accompanied by placards and banners to let everyone know exactly why we are taking to the streets.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Open Letter To Sadiq Khan, Ahead Of Tomorrow's Demonstration From Dads Defending Daughters.

        Sadiq Khan with his wife and daughters 


Dear Mayor Khan,
I acknowledge that you are a busy man, but feel I must impose upon your for one moment, about a subject that I know is close to your heart.

'Dads Defending Daughters' will stage a static protest at Parliament Square, on Friday 24th June 2016.
This protest is not about you. It is about the state in which your predecessor left London.

Symptoms: Rape and sexual assault.
Our protest will be to highlight the symptoms of a poorly run and corrupt Transport for London and Department for Transport.
Those symptoms are the unacceptable level of rape and sexual assault in TfL licensed Private Hire minicabs.

Cause: Corrupt and unscrupulous officials.
TfL have lowered the standard of Private Hire to an unregulated, 'pay your money, no questions asked' free for all, to accommodate a powerfully backed, tax dodging, foreign company who are prepared to employ the unemployable.
DfT refuse to acknowledge the elephant in the room, due to pressure from the likes of Sajid Javid, Baroness Kramer, 'Government' Sachs, David Cameron, George Osborne, bought and paid for MPs and lobbyists; all putting profit and employment figures ahead of your travelling public's safety.
These power orientated people view the public as consumers, not as human beings.

Cure: Mayor's office.
I understand that the EU Referendum is tomorrow. Therefore I do not expect a prompt reply.
Deputy Mayor for Transport, Valerie Shawcross and you have done more in five weeks, than Boris Johnson did in eight years.
You have finally started the engine. Boris never even opened the garage door.

Prevention: Three points to put into force:
No onscreen app location of minicabs.
This invites young people to approach a driver, they have seen onscreen, for cash. A common occurrence, suiting both parties.
Leaving no secure proof of journey, and open to the dangers of predators and mistaken identity.

A minimum of five years residency for any PH or Taxi applicant.
No more letters of good conduct from foreign countries or sponsors.
The licensing authority should be able to DBS from a United Kingdom record system.
No one should be left in charge of vulnerable people without an enhanced background check.

The banning of blacked out, obscured and tinted windows.
No one can see if a vulnerable person is in distress.
These are a dangerous and non essential extra, and could be the difference between rape and rescue.

I know you are determined to put forward the capping of Private Hire vehicles.
We Londoners welcome this, for many reasons.
And we do not expect anything to change overnight.
But the regulations that are already in place must be tightened up immediately and enforced correctly.

Please ask yourself these two simple questions:

1. Would I feel at ease knowing one of my daughters is travelling in a TfL licensed minicab, under such unregulated circumstances?

2. What would I do, as a Dad Defending his Daughters, to make it safer for my children to get home in a minicab?

Hopefully, after the EU Referendum, you can reflect upon this letter, and our concerns.
You have done brilliantly to get to where you are from such humble origins; to become Sadiq Khan - Mayor of London.
But we Londoners expect more from one of our own.

Yours faithfully,
Leonard H. Etheridge.

Letter To Taxi Leaks : Statement From The Mayfair Mob Regarding LTDA Branch Meeting.

In recent times we have found ourselves in the position of being compromised by the behaviour of the LTDA senior management as they have in our opinion, attempted to hijack ideas and initiatives shared with them in good faith whilst also claiming credit for the work of driver led actions in the London Taxi Trade.

MM LTDA members who have tried to become more proactive members of the association have been continuously obstructed in their efforts to assist in making the LTDA more representative of its members. To date, two MM members have been expelled, causing us to be drawn in to the very trade politics that we prefer to avoid.

On this occasion however, we feel that the politics aimed towards the honest efforts of working taxi drivers, is unjustified. We have tried to step away from this friction and have until very recently, cooperated with the LTDA and welcomed the AdVan enthusiastically to our 'Hits', 'Starves' and Legitimate Protests in the spirit of a working fellowship.

The machinations of the LTDA at Tuesday's Branch Meeting have now made this relationship untenable. 

By circumventing their own rule book in an abuse of process rarely witnessed anywhere, they have apparently gerrymandered their own branch elections. In doing this they have demonstrated their intention to protect, not the London Taxi Trade but their own salaries and positions in the LTDA above all considerations. 

This lack of integrity is a betrayal of the members best interests and those of the trade in general.

We therefore feel that the MM as a group can no longer continue to interact with the board of the LTDA including the use/attendance of the Advan on actions taken by the MM. We do this with heavy hearts but feel our hands have been forced. We hope that this situation can be resolved in the near future.

Our present rank and file LTDA members are obviously still welcomed and valued by all in MM, as are members of all orgs, unions and others. We value our cross-org ethos.

We are after all, not a mob: We're a mentality! Regards to you all,

The Mayfair Mob.

1250 PHV License's Revoked Pending Safety Checks

Important safety notice: Vauxhall Zafira B vehicles yet to adhere to the Vauxhall safety recall to be suspended with immediate effect

 On 3 May we wrote to all registered keepers of Vauxhall Zafira B vehicles that are licensed as private hire vehicles, urging them to comply with the safety recall notices issued by Vauxhall Motor Company. The recall notices are related to unauthorised repairs to the heater fan motor in the model B version of Vauxhall Zafira models.

 Of around 5,500 Vauxhall Zafira B vehicles licensed as private hire vehicles in London, over 4,000 vehicle owners have responded by visiting a Vauxhall dealership for this free, vital safety check. However, as of 16 June, approximately 1,250 vehicle owners have yet to do so, despite letters being sent from Vauxhall and Transport for London (TfL) reminding them that this important inspection needs to be carried out.

 Recent reports of fire related incidents involving this model of vehicle have heightened the risks posed to passengers. This notice therefore sets out our intention to immediately suspend the vehicle licences of the all the Vauxhall Zafira B vehicles licensed for use as a private hire vehicle in London that have not yet been taken to a Vauxhall dealership for a safety check.

 These vehicles must not be used for private hire purposes until these checks have been carried out and the licence suspension has been lifted.

We have written to the registered keepers of these remaining vehicles to advise them of the decision to suspend their vehicle from operating as a private hire vehicle. Once we are satisfied the remedial works have been conducted at an authorised Vauxhall dealership, we will contact the vehicle owner to make arrangements to remove the suspension.

While we have not taken this decision lightly, it has been made with the safety of the travelling public in mind.

Vauxhall Motor Company has advised us that vehicles can still be used for domestic purposes.

Helen Chapman
General Manager
London Taxi and Private Hire

For previous Notices visit

Editorial comment :
Have we got to wait until some one is burnt to death before TfL recalls the Prius. These dangerous vehicles are bursting into flames all over London 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

YOUR VETERANS NEED YOU : Now It's Your Turn To Do Something For Them

Dick Goodwin and his team of London cabbies, are appealing for your votes as they strive to get national recognition for our veterans disabled in war, on BBC One in this year’s National Lottery Awards.

The project beat off stiff competition from over 600 organisations to reach the public voting stage in this year’s National Lottery Awards – the annual search for the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects.
The London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled is competing against six other projects to be crowned the winner of the Charity/Voluntary category. If they win, they get a £3,000 cash prize to spend on their project, an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and the chance to attend a star-studded glittering Awards ceremony in London, and be featured in a special Awards show, broadcast on BBC One in September.

Dick Goodwin is the Events Organiser for the London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled. The Association, which is mostly made up of volunteer taxi drivers, has been running trips for veterans since 1948 – usually to Worthing. 

With a special anniversary coming up, the Association applied for National Lottery funding – and was successful. The Lottery funding meant they could do something really special. Last year, 92 London taxi drivers and volunteers took 120 WWII veterans, and their carers on a five-day trip to the Netherlands, to join the Dutch people for the 70th anniversary of the liberation. The veterans were picked up from their homes or the Union Jack Club in Waterloo and taken in black cabs for the trip in May 2015. When they got to Holland, the locals gave them a true heroes’ welcome, lining the roads, cheering and waving flags.

For Dick, winning the prestigious National Lottery Award and having the veterans showcased on national television would be an honour. He says: “I’m absolutely delighted that we’ve reached the finals of the National Lottery Awards. It’s really easy to vote, so we’re hoping that people will get behind us. It would be a fantastic reward for everyone involved in the project as well as recognition for the veterans – for them to know the public care about them, remember and respect what they went through.”

TV star and actor John Barrowman will be presenting the National Lottery Awards for the sixth time this year. He says:
“The National Lottery Awards are a great way to shine a spotlight on outstanding lottery-funded projects. Now in their 13th year, the Awards celebrate the talent and dedication of the amazing staff and volunteers that run incredible life-changing Lottery funded projects for the benefit of their communities and the people who live in them.

“This project has worked very hard to become a finalist and they now need your support because the project with the most votes in each category will be crowned the winner. 
“Projects like this receive funding thanks to National Lottery players who raise £36 million every single week for Good Causes across the UK.”

To vote for the London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled please click this link:

or telephone 0844 836 9712 

and follow the campaign on twitter: hashtag #NLAwards.
Voting runs for four weeks from 9am on Wednesday 22 June until midnight on Wednesday 20 July.  

There are seven projects competing for votes across seven categories, reflecting the main areas of National Lottery funding: arts, sport, heritage, health, environment, education and voluntary/charity. 


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sandwich Board Touting : Why Are TfL Turning A Blind Eye.

Just over 18 months ago, Taxi Leaks ran an article about a private hire operator who was convicted of Touting. 

Sohail Masood, 34, put on a yellow high-vis jacket with 'Book a Cab Here' on the back and approached people at a train station, ahead of waiting black cab drivers.

Masood, who owns Northants-based Starline Cabs, was found guilty of soliciting people for private vehicle hire.

Masood insisted that he did not approach anyone and only booked taxis for customers who approached him - as the council had told him he could legally do.

Prosecutor Matthew Knight said: "You wore a high visibility jacket that said, book your cab here', which means that your actions were enticing people to come to you and book their minicab with your company."

Mason was convicted of Touting and was ordered to pay £150 costs.

Question for TfL:

If it's illegal to take bookings by advertise a PH company a HiVis jacket, then why do your Compliance Officers calmly walk by the sandwich board men in Shoreditch and Islington?

While we are on the subject of touting let's go back to earlier this years when a contingent from TfL which included the CEO of surface transport, the General Manager of LTPH and a senior compliance officer, went out on a walkabout with members of Taxi trade orgs and the BBC's Eddie Nestor. 

Live on air, this group were openly touted in the middle of Soho and details were taken.....We have since heard all charges have been dropped because Eddie Nestor refused to make a statement. That's right, it's all down to Eddie Nestor!

What message is this sending out to WestEnd touts?

Private Hire Operator Loses Licence For Running Taxi Business Outside District.

   If Uttlesford can do it, why can't TfL?
Uttlesford District Council has revoked the licence of a private hire operator, as well as hackney carriage licences for five of his vehicles, after he was found to be running a comprehensive taxi business outside of the district.

Ismail Emin, a Chelmsford resident, had been granted the licences by Uttlesford District Council for his business, West End Cars, in October 2015.

Emin listed the business address as a unit in Ongar Road, Great Dunmow, and he provided a letter from the landlord confirming he was a tenant at the address.

However, the council said it had received complaints that West End Cars vehicles were driving around Chelmsford with a Chelmsford telephone number on the side of their vehicles.

A member of Uttlesford's enforcement team carried out two visits to the Dunmow address to check the record of bookings, but found no signage or any indication of the firm's presence.

Neighbours also had no knowledge of a taxi business operating from that address.

At a meeting of Uttlesford’s Licensing and Environmental Health Committee last month (23 May), Emin failed to provide any supporting evidence that the business or the taxis were based in Uttlesford.

Cllr Robert Chambers, chairman of the Licensing and Environmental Health Committee, said: "The reason why someone from outside the area would seek a license in Uttlesford is quite clear - Uttlesford has one of the lowest fee structures in the country, and almost certainly in Essex.

"It is the policy of the council not to licence any hackney carriage which will not be predominantly used within Uttlesford. To reinforce this it is the practice of the Council to seek a declaration from the applicant that the vehicle will be predominantly used within the district. In this instance, Mr Emin's declaration was false. There was no evidence to show that he has run his business within the district, or that any of the hackney carriage vehicles are working here."

The council said its policy was based on a 2009 High Court case in which the judge said that, when considering applications for licences, councils must have regard to whether the vehicles will be used to ply for hire in the council's district or whether they will be used predominantly outside of the district. In the latter event the council should refuse to grant a licence.

Cllr Chambers said: "I hope this case sends a strong message to those who fail to meet the licensing conditions that this will not be tolerated and that the council will not hesitate to take the appropriate action."


It's been alleged that Uber cars licensed in London by TfL have been working in towns and cities outside their licences area. 

Bristol TAXI drivers claim the rise of online firm Uber, is putting the trade at risk and are now threatening to bring the streets of Bristol to a standstill with a massive demonstration.

It's claimed there are currently around 200 Uber drivers operating in Bristol and about 70 to 80 per cent of them come from outside the city.

UCG chairman Len Martin giving advise to Bristol's Licensed Taxis.

Transport for London, which licenses taxis in the capital, said a 'it's a grey area' which makes it easier for private hire drivers based in the capital, to take jobs in Bristol.

Well perhaps the mighty TfL need t have a chat with lowly Uttlesford district council. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Press Release: Convoy of cabs to take WWII veterans to Worthing.

Now in its 68th year, it’s a highlight in the diary for hundreds of brave war veterans and their families.

Nearly 100 cab drivers are volunteering their services to London’s Taxi Charity – full name, The London Taxi Benevolent Association For War Disabled, picking up veterans and carers from their homes across the capital, including the Royal Hospital, Chelsea from 6.30am [on Tuesday 21 June] for the charity’s annual seaside trip to Worthing.

The taxis will arrive at South Holmwood Village near Dorking around 9am for a pit stop where the veterans will be welcomed by the villagers and fortified with sandwiches and drinks for the day ahead.   The convoy of cabs will continue along the A24 to Worthing arriving at the town at lunchtime.  

The veterans, who mostly fought in WWII will be treated to a hero’s lunch of sausages and mash at The Pavillion on Worthing Pier and enjoy a day of entertainment and camaraderie.  

Graham Pike, one of the drivers taking part and committee member of the Taxi Charity said: “It’s an honour to treat these ladies and gents to a day they’ll remember. They’ve done their bit fighting for us, and now we look after them.”  

Councillor Sean McDonald, Mayor of Worthing Council added:  “It is a time honoured tradition for the residents of Worthing to welcome these brave men and women every year to our town.  We are delighted that they enjoy Worthing so much, that they continue to visit us every year.”

Only licenced London taxi drivers can drive for the Taxi Charity and veterans take an active part throughout the year by collecting donations at tube stations and locations across London.

The London Taxi Benevolent Association For War Disabled has been organising trips to Worthing on the South Coast since 1947.   The charity counts among its patrons Dame Vera Lynn and Joanna Lumley who were guests of honour at the annual Worthing trips in 1985 and 2009 respectively.   

To donate to the charity, visit the website at For updates about the charity, follow on Twitter, FaceBook and Instagram.

Paul Sweeney of 'London Taxis' asks Lenny Etheridge, WHO ARE DADS DEFENDING DAUGHTERS?

Due to certain obligations there's no new posts on Taxi leaks at present 

Please see this excellent post on DDD's

Please click on link below: