Saturday, August 06, 2016
Thursday, August 04, 2016
The saga continues.
Toronto's taxi drivers are accusing the city of doing little to make sure Uber comply with new regulations.
Also, Industry regulators say that Uber isn't following the city's new regulations, which came into effect a few weeks ago.
In May, after a Uber were found guilty of illegally operating outside of the legislated regulations, instead of banning, the City Council voted to regulate the ride-share service by creating a new third tier of transportation and bought in a new set of rules for private transportation companies (or PTCs).
However, some taxi drivers say the city is doing little to make sure Uber's actually complying with the new rules.
The United Taxi Workers Association will meet tomorrow and is considering holding another protest, possibly in early September.
Toronto's last taxi protest shut down many streets including the 501 streetcar route in December.
Wednesday, August 03, 2016
On January 18th 2016 Action For Cabbies embarked on a crowdfunding campaign to try and raise an initial £600,000 so as to obtain permission from the court to launch a judicial review against Transport For London for alledgedly wrongly and potentially illegally issuing Uber with a Private Hire Vehicle Operators License. The initial deadline for raising the funds was set for March 18th, after several extensions the final deadline was on April 7th. The extensions were given so as to see if we could still make the original target and to give the LTDA time to match the £300,000 as was originally agreed. Despite our best efforts we failed to reach the £600,000 target, we managed to raise in excess of £350,000. Nobody in the history of the Licensed London Taxi Trade had ever managed to raise funds to this level before but sadly the original plan was not to be.
Anticipating that we may need to adopt an alternative plan a consultation was undertaken on March 3rd by AskPOB. This consultation was to find out if those who contributed to the original fund would back an alternative plan to try and launch a judicial review against Transport For London with regard to certain aspects surrounding how TFL were implementing the impending mandatory credit card initiative. To that effect we asked Taxi Drivers to decide whether this would be a route that they would like us to examine and potentially undertake. The majority voted in favour to proceed with seeking permission for a Judicial Review in regards to the driver paying the transaction charge.
Upon realising that we would not reach the £600,000 target and with a majority vote from the consultation it was decided on March 31st 2016 to switch from trying to obtain permission for a judicial review in relation to Uber being licensed to attempting to obtain a judicial review in relation to how the credit card initiative was being invoked. Everybody who pledged through the crowdfunding initiative was given the opportunity to withdraw their pledge by 5pm on April 5th.Numerous announcements were made over various platforms including e-mail, Facebook and Twitter and it was made clear that any uncancelled pledges would be used for attempting to obtain permission for the judicial review surrounding credit cards.
Certain aspects of the alternative judicial review had to be altered as there would have been no prospect of getting a positive result as well as aspects that were not unreasonable such as objecting to fixed payment machines, the mandated requirement to accept credit cards, the list of suppliers to name but 3.
An application for a judicial review was lodged with the court on May 3rd and some of the monies that had been collected were paid to Rosenblatts Solicitors as a retainer, all remaining monies are being dealt with via our accountants Raffingers and will be paid to Rosenblatts Solicitors upon receiving a full and final costing.
On July 17th we received informal notification from our solicitors that the attempt to obtain a judicial review had failed, we would not be given leave to challenge Transport For London in court. We received the official notification several days later.
Naturally we are very disappointed with this outcome as we feel that there is a strong enough case. We would like to thank every single person that believed in this cause. We may have failed on this occasion however the positives that have come from this are enormous.....the biggest positive being that we have proved that we CAN galvanise ourselves and fight back as an industry.
Moving forward we are going to continue fighting tooth and nail to help protect this industry and help it to flourish. We may have lost this battle but we aim to help win this war.
Once again we wish to thank each and every one of you for your support.
Action For Cabbies
Tuesday, August 02, 2016
So with operation Neon, in the eyes of the majority of night Taxi drivers, an enormous flop....we are to get more of the same, unwarranted COs, with no power of stop, walking round London doing absolutely nothing other than harassing Taxi drivers over ranking.
We are told the new compliance officers will focus on hotspots of illegal private hire car activity including the West End and the City. Apparently they will have the ability to access the insurance MIB but only in office hours (9am to 5pm)....you couldn't make this stuff up.
“I want Londoners to feel safe when they take a taxi or minicab and that is why I have approved a major increase to the size of our team that targets touts and illegal activities,” said Mr Khan. At present, a tout has more chance of winning the lottery than being prosecuted by TfL for touting!
Perhaps the Mayor can explain to us all, how putting staff on the street with about as much power as a bus inspector (which most of these officers will be part time) is going to make passengers "safe".
Steve Burton, Transport for London’s director of enforcement and on-street operations, who's teams of compliance officers are sometimes seen, two days a week aimlessly walking round the west end added: “Illegal minicab activity not only poses a serious risk to passenger safety but undermines licensed, law abiding taxi and private hire drivers.” It's a shame then Steve that your COs have no power to do anything about rouge drivers who are not licensed by TfL!
Perhaps Steve Burton can explain how more of the same benign COs are going to make passengers safe? Last year 154 serious sexual assault including rapes in licensed private hire vehicles. And that's just the 10% that the Met police estimate reported the attacks
He warned rogue minicab drivers flouting the law that they will be caught and “dealt with robustly”. (Yes but who by Steve, your officers have no power! And those warning letters you send out are a joke)
This expansion of TfL compliance was welcomed by the LTDA. More proof that this organisation hasn't got its finger on the pulse of what's really going on out there.
Funding to pay for the new officers will come through changes to private hire operator licensing so that larger firms pay a greater share of the costs of enforcement.
Of course Uber have backed the extra officers, as this measure completely bypasses their illegal plying for hire MO.
Tom Elvidge, Uber's general manager for London, said; “It’s important that people only use a properly booked car from a licensed private hire operator.” Which is an amazing statement from a company that doesn't take bookings and is only available for immediate hire.
Is Tom Elvidge advising customers to use other operators who actually do take proper phone bookings?
Transport for London, the Met and Westminster Council have been running Operation Neon since May to target rogue drivers at weekends, and in most Taxi drivers opinion, has been a complete waste of time and money.
So far, nearly 10,000 private hire drivers have been advised and moved on to keep roads clear for taxis but only on Friday and Saturday. More than 5,000 were reported for not wearing their badge, not really zero tolerance, and nearly 500 for not having a badge and were stopped from working for the rest of the evening. (Go home....yeh ok....lol, they must be quaking in their boots....not.)
Since this operation has been running, only 65 drivers have been "reported" (not convicted) for plying for hire offences. A group of well trained, warranted cab enforcement officers would be able to nick 65 touts over a weekend, as the problem is completely out of control.
Westminster councils parking Marshals who sometimes accompany operation Neon officers have the best record and have issued nearly 3,000 parking tickets.
Mr Khan has also pledged to clean up the capital’s taxi fleet to make it the “greenest in the world”.
With a trade struggling financially, Khan and TfL wants us to invest the best park of £60k in an uncertain technology, which has added health risks to drivers that manufacturers and TfL are glossing over.
All taxis in London will from October 3 be required to accept card payments, including contactless. Unfortunately the implementation of this policy has been nothing short of scandalous.
The boss of transport union RMT has said the plans fall short, with neither TfL nor City Hall willing to look at the role of "e-hailing" smartphone minicab services like Uber.
Mike Cash, RMT general Secretary said "This practice circumvents the current regulation regime which is there to protect the travelling public. Neither TfL or the Mayor appear to have the will to tackle this blatant flouting of the regulations by the likes of Uber".
"In addition, proposals laid out in a recent consultation review of Private Hire regulations are to be revisited under Mayor Khan's administration. The union is deeply concerned that yet again they fail to regulate the virtual plying for hire of private hire vehicles which is now endemic on our streets."
Friend of the London Taxi Trade, Frances Luczyc Wyhowska will be doing a skydive of 12000 foot with the Red Devils on 25 Aug in aid of the charity to raise funds for Normandy next year
If anyone wanted to sponsor her this is the link. Another committee member, Graham Pike and two veterans are also jumping
And tag it Frances
Any help as ever gratefully received
The London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled
Monday, August 01, 2016
Still Blue Peter? Addison Lee, No Prosecution over Rugby World Cup Liveries, Yet Taxi Drivers Reported For Unauthorised Signage.
Minicab-booking app Uber has agreed to sell its business in China to rival Didi Chuxing.
The two firms have been fierce competitors, but Didi Chuxing dominates the Chinese market with an 87% share.
Uber China launched in 2014 but has failed to make any profit so far.
Cheng Wei, founder and chief executive of Didi Chuxing, said the two companies had "learned a great deal from each other over the past two years in China's burgeoning new economy".
He added that the deal would "set the mobile transportation industry on a healthier, more sustainable path of growth at a higher level".
As part of the deal, Mr Cheng will join the board of Uber, while Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick will join Didi's board.
Uber's China business will retain its separate branding while US-based Uber Technologies will hold a stake of about 17.5% in the combined company.
Didi Chuxing is backed by Chinese internet giants Tencent and Alibaba, and has also invested in Uber's rival US taxi-booking service Lyft.
Uber has been struggling to break into the Chinese market despite having Chinese search engine Baidu as an investor.
In February, the company admitted it was losing more than $1bn a year in China, spending huge sums to subsidise discounted fares.
"Funding their China dreams was becoming too expensive for Uber," Duncan Clark, chairman of Beijing-based consultancy BDA, told the BBC.
"Many saw it as an obstacle to their own IPO (Initial Public Offering)."
Uber chief Travis Kalanick said that "as an entrepreneur, I've learned that being successful is about listening to your head as well as following your heart".
"Getting to profitability is the only way to build a sustainable business that can best serve Chinese riders, drivers and cities over the long term."
The fierce rivalry had led both companies to heavily subsidise their journeys. The merger is likely to see fewer such subsidies.
"One thing to watch carefully is how quickly consumers feel the impact as subsidies are withdrawn," Mr Clark added.
Analysis: Karishma Vaswani, Asia business correspondent
If you can't beat them, join them - that may be what Uber's ultra ambitious Travis Kalanick was thinking. This deal may be Uber's best available option on the table.
Uber put up a good fight, there's no doubt about it. And it may not all be bad news.
If the departure from the Chinese market means a sizeable stake in the biggest ride-sharing player in the world's second largest economy, which currently has a potential customer base of some 750 million people, and that's only going to grow - then that's not too shabby.
Recognising this was one fight he wasn't going to win, may well turn out to be a sign of Mr Kalanick's maturity and business acumen in the future.
Didi Chuxing in brief:
- China's number one taxi-booking app.
- Claims to have an almost 90% market share and some 14 million journeys every day.
- The company is the product of a merger: In February 2015, Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache merged to form Didi Kuaidi, later renamed Didi Chuxing.
- It is the driving force behind an alliance with India's Ola, South East Asia's Grab and US firm Lyft, allowing users to use their apps to hail from the partner services when abroad.
The deal with Didi Chuxing comes just days after China agreed to provide a legal framework for taxi-ordering apps.
Both Uber and Didi have welcomed the decision, having previously operated in a legal grey area in the country.
While the apps are widely popular, they have undermined business for normal taxis and have been met with protests by cab drivers.
The new rules will take effect on 1 November and will, among other things, forbid such platforms to operate below cost.