Friday, December 02, 2016
Thursday, December 01, 2016
One of the biggest problems has been the patently rotten job that has been done in terms of defining the issues for the public and as those issues have been presented to various courts in a number of places. Please indulge me the opportunity to help everybody see the forest for the freakin' trees.
(Yes, I believe I do indeed have the definitive analysis--read on and tell me how I could possibly be wrong.)
Everybody is focused on the hype and crap, and nobody is digging in and looking at what's really happening. Uber's "app" is nothing more than a gimmick if you don't pair it up with a large number of cars to "network." Yes, people like being able to hail a ride without talking to anybody, and there would undoubtedly be a contingency that would swim upstream and keep using Uber, even if the company weren't providing superior service (as in faster response time to service requests). But, in the long run, people will choose the service provider who gives them the quickest response--that's been central to the car-hire industry since jump.
The point is, if you look at those places where Uber has grabbed a major share of the local car-hire market, you'll see that they are invariably running many more cars at any given time than any of the "competing" traditional taxis. That is the key to their success, not the app or their future vision, ad nauseum.
All Uber is really doing is enabling customers to place orders and have them transmitted to drivers via a cellphone. (That's new?)
Here in the U. S., we have a divergence of legal decisions on whether or not taxis and TNCs are in reality doing the same thing. In local legal jargon, it's whether or not they are "similarly situated parties." A judge in Boston said they clearly are, another judge in Chicago has decided that the way Uber dispatches ride requests makes them "different" from traditional taxis. The matter may eventually land with the Supreme Court, although the issue to most sensible people is much simpler and more clear-cut than to justify the highest court in the land needing to make the final call.
Look at the number of vehicles and the cost per vehicle if you want to illuminate the real source of Uber's advantage over traditional taxis. It's about economics and physical logistics, not technology.
As far as Uber being a "technology company" rather than a car-hire operator, that might play fine if it weren't necessary for drivers to establish their status through Uber--i.e., if all the drivers were in fact completely independent and autonomous, Uber could possibly claim all they do is offer dispatching service. But, even if they don't own the cars, they pretty much own the drivers, and that to most logical people should make it clear that Uber is indeed in the transportation business. In the same vein, if taxis start using all the same methods as Uber, can they then claim to be "technology companies," too?
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
"I love this country.........and I feel honored to have served it"
Those were the very last words of British Prime Minister, David Cameron on the brink of his leadership disaster. The words of an arrogant, over confident and cocky politician, who made the error of believing his own hype. His arrogance was so compelling, that he massively underestimated the feelings and anxieties of a suppressed nation, and blighted his political career forever.
Watching him well up and choke back tears on the cobbles of Downing Street, brought no compassion to me. Despite the first four words of his last sentence, I regard Cameron as a London Traitor.
He has never shown love, passion or interest for "the people", only his millionaire cronies and business partner friends.
To me and my colleagues of The London Cab Trade, he was The Jackal, The Lee Harvey Oswald, The Marcus Julius Brutus, The Judas Iscariot.
Prior to May 2012, The Great London Taxi trade was busy doing as it's always done for almost 400 years. And doing it as well as it's ever done. I make no apologies for using the word "Great" either, for that is what it is.
When Travis Kalanick burst into our City of London, Traitor Cameron's silver bullet made especially for a world respected London Cab Trade, was carefully loaded into the firing chamber. With the apostate Prime Minister's help, and the cohering London Mayor Johnson's assistance, the silver bullet from California was fired with devastating accuracy, and hit me and my 24,999 other mates bang smack on target.
However, unlike a fatal ballistic projectile, our injuries were not to be instant, but unmercifully drawn out, as if attacked with Napalm. The effect of this strike would be felt by The London Cab Trade for a long time to come. We had served London well. We didn't deserve this.
But if I was ever unfortunate enough to have to share a pint with the former Bullingdon Club Officer, or better still, find myself in a two man canoe surrounded by sharks, I would ask him one single question. WHY ?
Why did he do that to us ? Why did he assist a multi-millionaire American Techno whizz kid, to come to his capital that "HE LOVED" and demolish a world famous heritage ? When Uber was launched in London, there were no shortage of cabs. It wasn't about monopoly either. People who chose not to use black cabs had plenty of available alternatives.
Addison Lee and other companies in the mini cab industry were big and efficient enough to deal with people who didn't want a black cab. We all coped and worked cheek by jowl, driving the public around London's roads as we had done for donkey's years. It was nothing to do with logistics either. Uber has only slowed a journey from the train stations to the theatre down, not accelerated them. So come on David, you lovable little London Lover, you. What was it ?
Folks, listen. David Cameron couldn't spell passion, love or pride.
Pound notes ! Readies ! Dosh ! Brown envelopes and favours, that's what our former Prime Minister was about !!
And my word, hasn't whizz kid Kalanick improved our lovely old London? Well, as an illusionist Travis could probably exceed David Blayne.
In 2012 at the Albert Hall, in front of 2000 senior delegates of The Institute of Directors, he actually convinced these top financial elite that he would " take one million cars off the London roads, thus reducing congestion and the City's carbon footprint." When asked how he would carry out this amazing Nobel Peace worthy trick he said " I will put 100,000 Uber cars in London and persuade the other 900,000 to use our cars." What could be simpler, Travis?
Folks, I am no financial whizz kid, and I am definately not the next Alan Sugar, but these 2000 delegates actually stood for this crap. Not only did they stand for it, they gave him a standing ovation !! Perhaps I am in the wrong game.
Move forward and what have we got. 1 million less cars on London's streets ?
Course not. 900,000 former car drivers now using Uber?
Don't be so bloody ridiculous.
London's carbon footprint drastically improved ?
I haven't seen the data but if it's gone down, mine's a bloater.
Despite this amazing trick of illusion though, Uber went on to win some pretty high ranking awards, including Best Business of The Year.
And our beautiful City, that is so apparently loved by Cameron and Johnson stood the Californian Illusionists deception, hook line and sinker. Or did they ?
Could there have been any other incentives for the two Bullingdon boys ?
One thing is for sure and most certainly not an illusion. Looking out the window of my cab today just around the corner from Liverpool Street, tells a very different story.
London is paralysed. Utterly up the creek without a paddle. Ruined and going nowhere. The infrastructure has melted. Traffic is in deadlock. Nothing moves. Every car that isn't a black cab is sporting a TFL Green Roundel. Most of the cabs are empty. Most of the buses are empty. Most of the mini cabs are empty. Nobody moves.
This real time situation folks is the result of a useless, corrupt, incredibly poorly run regulator, Transport For London.
Ever since Cameron and Boris gave Travis the green light, TFL have dished these roundels out as though they were discount leaflets for Tescos. No foresight, no intelligence, no brakes, no cares, no worries. They couldn't give a monkeys. Why should they ?
They are making an absolute fortune.
Come to London ! Drive a mini cab for Uber ! Bundles to be made ! No problem getting a licence ! Get a fishing licence whilst you are there too, it's just as easy !
Roll Up ! Roll up ! Roll up !
And despite what I see from my cab window, despite what the traffic cameras see, despite what TFL see, the roundels just keep coming. More and more and more of them. Our beautiful London. Smashed and pillaged to pieces by a gang of bent incompetent civil service bastards, who don't give a toss. Makes you weep, doesn't it ?
I read an article in the Telegraph some time ago. By nature, I don't like or trust journalists. I was fitted up and made to look foolish by one of the BBC in my London Cab Trade "Operation Nightingale", some years ago. However, the piece I read in the Telegraph was written by Alex Proud.
Alex has previously stated that he felt that Uber were the dogs nuts and the way forward. However, after an invitation from our trade to come and meet us to see our side of things, he did, and fair play to him. After speaking to our side, he admitted to seeing things differently, and understood our plight. It is incredibly unusual for a journalist to go back on something they have written, but Alex did and I admire him for that. One thing that disturbed me though, was that the Telegraph made an official apology as a footnote to Alex's piece.
This is what it said:
"An earlier version of this article wrongly stated that Uber drivers undergo a lesser standard of criminal records checks than drivers of London black cabs. We have been assured by TFL that the very same checks to be licensed by TFL are the same for mini cabs as black cabs. The Telegraph are happy to make this clear and apologise"
Alex, tell your editor he has nothing to apologise for my friend. You were right the first time. Transport For London were lying to you. How can a person from Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Congo etc... who has lived in this country for 6 months, possibly be investigated thoroughly by the Criminal Records Bureau ?
Another load of irresponsible bollox from a Government Regulator who have moved mountains to allow the Uber model to breathe. I wonder why ?
Whatsmore. The huge majority of Uber's workforce come from abroad. Why ?
Were we short of taxis ?
Why did Cameron's Government allow that ?
Since Uber have been in existence, our trade have noticed a massive increase in sexual attacks on women in mini cabs. Is that coincidence ?
After all, a huge amount of Uber drivers are Asian or Arab, whether Human Rights activists like it or not.
Well, listen to this. From Nishita Jha of The Asian Centre For Human Rights, said " Almost 49,000 child rape cases were reported from 2001 to 2011 in India. Imagine 49,000 children raped in 10 years, and you have a small measure of how deep the inhuman phenomenon of child rape runs in India ".
Blood curdling, isn't it ?
How about this from The International Women's News and Issues publication " Womensphere". Tania Bien-Aime reports " Some countries often the most poorest and conflict ridden have a level of violence towards women, that makes life unbearable for them. Countries such as Afghanistan, Congo, Iraq, Nepal, Sudan and Pakistan are the worst countries in the world today to be a women, due to serious sexual motivated attack ."
Worrying isn't it. Hang on a minute though. Am I right in suggesting that sexual attacks in mini cabs have gone through the roof, since Uber have been around ?
Or not ?
We as a trade are currently awaiting a Freedom Of Information question regarding this. The results are actually being revealed soon. Or so we are told.
Now wait a minute, I'm no Sherlock Holmes, but am I being neurotic jumping to the conclusion here.............?
Hopefully, we shall see soon.
I know I'm an old granny, but I was just thinking!
Lets just say I was a notorious sex offender in one of the countries named above. Anyway, my cousin who got into the UK two years ago said that working for Uber in London is like winning the lottery. "Come over here, Bruv!, everyday is wonderful !" Said cousin comes over, waits about six months, goes up to TFL and applies for a mini cab roundel.
Hang on ! Problem number 1 ! Or is it ?
How about the CRB Criminal Records Agency Check?
No problem. Just get a certificate of good character from your school teacher in Bangladesh, saying that you turned up for school every day on time and helped pick berries in the village. The CRB can only check since you've been in the UK. That's that over with. Medical ?
No worries. There are Doctors in London who would stamp that certificate for 100 quid. No worries.
How about insurance ?
That's ok. Use your cousins and if you get a pull or Uber ask you for it. No worries. Blimey, look what has just come through my letterbox ! My mini cab licence and roundel from TFL. I start with Uber tomorrow.
First port of call is London's West End. It's two in the morning. It's summer it's hot. There are hundreds of beautiful young English girls everywhere you look. Some are drunk. They have short skirts. They have bra less tops. They have beautiful high heel shoes.
Thank goodness I didn't have to go through the same rigorous checks and medicals as London Black Cab Drivers do, I would never have passed it if they had found out about my previous life in Afghanistan.
One drunk girl is coming over to me. I wind my widow down and she gets in with me. But she hasn't booked me ! She's drunk, I will take her anyway.
You don't need to know the rest of the story do you ?
You all know the end. But you don't care do you ?
Do you Cameron ?
Do you Johnson?
Do you Daniels ?
You lot let this happen on your watch. You lot continue to take your salaries knowing this is happening each and every night in our beautiful city. You stood by and helped it grow. You assisted it to flourish. You all knew it was going on. You have the affront to be paid hundreds of thousands of pounds for tearing this city in half.
We didn't need Uber! London didn't need Uber ! Londoners didn't need Uber ! None of us needed Uber...except you lot of greedy, conniving, inept, unsafe bastards ! It were you lot that wanted this two bob, volatile, unaccountable, dangerous, foreign firm, time bomb....wasn't it ?!!
Londoners have had a perfectly good, nay brilliant, Taxi Service that wasn't broke in the first place !
It takes years and years to learn the skills to become a London Taxi Driver. What next ?
You going to Serbia to recruit a mob of cheap paid Police Officers to come to London and undermine the Met, the professionals, the best Police Service in the world ?
What next ?
Who next ?
London Taxis have given as much if not more than any other recorded public service in history. They work through terror, they work through bombings, they work through danger, they work through carnage, they work through recession they work through the good they work through the bad.........and you lot of two bob, spineless, shiny arsed, back stabbing, insincere, unprofessional bastards, have watched as we are killed off.
Well, I tell you something Servants. We ain't done just yet. We have saved our best punch till last. Do you honestly think we are going to let the twat from LA assisted by you lot of bent bastards to kill us ? Don't dream it TFL, and sorry Theresa, you can blame the posh boy.
To watch him nigh on break down reading from that rostrum announcing his end, made my blood curdle. The biggest traitor since Kim Philby stood there to tell us he loved his country. Ponce !
Love this country, my arse !!
I tell you what loving your country is Cameron. Loving your country is about joining the armed services as a fifteen year old. putting yourself in International peril before your fucking beard has had a chance to develop.
Loving your country is about going out to tackle armed and dangerous terrorists who would and do tear your fucking arms from their sockets and burn your eyes with cigarette lighters to attempt to find out where your mates would strike next.
Loving your country is about shitting yourself with fear everytime you strap the fucking body armour on before going out on patrol again.
Loving your country is about the piss dripping down your legs and into your boots through fright and relief when you have just realised it was you they were aiming at.
Loving your country is waiting for an RAF Hercules to land at Brize Norton, so that you could help carry the two stone remaining bits of skin and gristle that used to be your best mate you joined up with, home to his loved ones.
Loving your country is proudly putting on the coveted tunic and bearskin at Wellington Barracks, before marching with chest out and head held high onto our Queens Birthday Parade at Horse Guards.
Loving your country is sitting as a sad 60 year old admiring a mantlepiece full of Bravery Commendations, Citations and Medals from HM The Queen downwards.
Loving your country is about having to go to specialist clinics for treatment after jumping out your fucking skin just because your wife dropped a plate in the kitchen.
That's what loving your country means to me Cameron, Johnson, Brown, Khan & Daniels. I got fuck all out of it apart from a mediocre wage packet, a medal and a heart full of British Pride !
And the only brown envelope I ever got was asking me for more fucking tax, as if I haven't given enough !
The London Licensed Black Cab Trade have served with distinction and exemplary conduct. They have served London and Londoners well and proper.
We are not asking for a monopoly. We are not asking for special favours. And neither do we ask for partiality. We welcome competition in our service, and are not afraid to compete. We acknowledge the need for the cheaper option, and there are many forms of legitimate travel who can provide the customer with choice. Neither are we luddites. Technology was embraced by The London Taxi Trade many years ago by our trade, and indeed, continues to prosper. We can and do compete with any other bona fide app in today's high tech marketplace.
What we ARE asking for though, is a level playing field. The initial licensing of Uber was improper and illegal. They DID NOT qualify for the strict licensing criteria of TFL. Who gave them a licence to operate ?
Women have been and are still being sexually attacked whilst in a mini cab in London. When the figures come out we will start taking TFL scalps, you watch.
That is bad enough, but if TFL, The Mayor or The Conservatives think we are going to sit back and become extinct and buried to pave the way for the illegally licensed outfit from LA to prosper, we have one hell of a skirmish left yet ! We have taken abuse from the bullies and traitors for far too long now.
My assault helmet complete with near misses has been hooked up in the hallway for years now. Its only use in latter years was for my grandchildren to try on, and my sons to wear after too many Carlsbergs. It still fits me, i just tried it. Let's hope I don't have to strap it on any time soon, to keep Uber from taking our legacy. Know what I mean ?
Be lucky all. Take care and God bless.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
As Uber's Case Is Heard In Europe's Top Court, It's Drivers In U.S. Cities Join Planned Worker Protests
Drivers for ride service company Uber will join planned nationwide protests on Tuesday, when activists and low-wage workers renew their call for better pay and the right to join a union in the wake of Donald Trump's U.S. presidential election win, organizers said.
Hundreds of Uber drivers in two dozen cities, including San Francisco, Miami and Boston, for the first time will add their voices to the union-backed "Fight for $15" campaign that has helped convince several cities and states to raise starting pay significantly above the U.S. minimum wage of $7.25.
Justin Berisie, 34, drives for Uber in Denver and is joining Tuesday's protests.
"Someone who lives in America and goes to work every day, that person deserves a decent living," said Berisie, who has a 5-year-old daughter and is struggling to make ends meet. He said he earns $500 or less, before expenses such as gasoline, during an average week where he is on duty for 50 to 60 hours.
The four-year-old "Fight for $15" movement includes fast-food workers, home care aides, airport baggage handlers and other low-wage employees. Organizers from "Fight for $15," which is backed by the Service Employees International Union, say the campaign's Nov. 29 demonstrations will take place in 340 cities and nearly 20 of the nation's busiest airports.
U.S. policy is expected to become less worker friendly following the election of Trump, a international businessman who will be president as fellow Republicans control both chambers of Congress as well as federal agencies that govern the formation of unions, overtime rules and more.
Uber drivers have sued the company in several states, accusing it of depriving drivers of various employment protections by misclassifying them as independent contractors.
The lawsuits are a test for companies such as Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL], a high-profile player in the so-called "sharing economy," which say that their contractor model allows for flexibility that many see as important to their success. A legal finding that drivers are employees could raise Uber's costs and force it to pay Social Security, workers' compensation, and unemployment insurance.