Saturday, December 17, 2016

TfL Would Like To Thank All The Apathetic, Without Your Help They Wouldn't Be Able To keep Getting Away With It.

In the video below, we see an Uber driver licensed in one area, in this case The New Forrest, openly touting in an area he is not licensed to work in, again in this case Southampton. 

When confronted by irate licensed Hackney Carriage Taxi drivers he says:
"This is a very busy area and I'm telling people to download the app, they can then book me".

He went on to say:  
"why should I drive round wasting my petrol when there's lots of people here ? ".
The driver believes that as he is not on a Taxi rank he can openly who's told him this?


This is not just happening in Southampton, it's happening all over the UK and licensing authorities are quite happy to sell these drivers licenses, then turn a blind eye when they go off and work in different areas.

Top of the of 'Worst Licensing Authority List' is none other than our very own TfL. 

Taxi Leaks has been contacted by taxi and private hire  associations from all over the UK complaining that TfL are over licensing Uber drivers who then go off and work in other areas across the country. 

Leeds and Manchester seem to have the biggest problem and yet TfL are adamant they can do nothing about this. 
What ever happened to the requirement of being a fit and proper operator ?

Mike Brown, you are in a position to do something about this and as yet, you've done nothing.
You recently protested to Chairman of the LCDC Grant Davis, that you wanted it to go on record that the corrupt and illegal licensing of Uber had nothing to do with you.

The lies told by a certain TfL Managing Director to the GLA were not under your watch.....but still you've done nothing. 

Oh but wait, you are in the process of suspending a Taxi drivers licence who you accuse of UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR

Touting, working out of area, working without insurance, fake medical, fake driver licenses, fake topographical test's, sexual assaults including rapes ... are all OK in your eyes but taking video footage is a capital offence!

It would seem that TfL believes there's nothing wrong with Uber encouraging their drivers to work outside the area they are licensed in, and openly tout..l and yet If a Taxi driver films a video on his/her phone in a public place (which is perfectly legal), this is unacceptable behaviour and the driver should have his/her licence revoked.

It's a pity the Uber driver with 34 criminal convictions and mental health issues, didn't try to take a video rather than attacking the public with a would have had his licence revoked it minutes. 

We have 1000's of Uber cars, openly touting every night of the week and yet you have instructed your army of new, poorly trained COs, to harass working Taxi drivers in a bid to promote the financial interest of third party companies that a certain member of the board of TfL has a financial conflict of interest with.

Editorial Comment :
Currently, TfL commissioner Mike Brown is being paid £534,000 a year for Totally Failing London. 
Looking at what he's achieve since taking office !
Would you say this  is value for money ?

(Remember, he gets £392,000 more than Teresa May earns as Prime Minister) 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Deans Biggest Ever Christmas Cracker Joke : TfL, Always Good For A Laugh.

And here is the reality

You really couldn't make this stuff up.

Below is the reality that TfL manage to keep out of the national media. 
The reality they don't want you to know about.


Dave Davies Talks About His Battle With TfL And Boris Johnson

Thank you for your kind words Semtex; I hold you in high regard and respect you commitment and perseverance.

My battle with TFL started in 2008 when I was told that I had been targeted by the PCO because I sold my Taxi Emissions systems at nearly half the price of competitors and refused to be part of the cartel which rigged the price and bunged the PCO. 
(this info came from an inspector who worked at Penton st)

The High Court Judicial Review that followed was heard by a Judge who had previously worked for TFL (but did not declare that at the time) and who ignored the facts and evidence and contradicted a previous High Court ruling to find in TFLs favour.

At that point I realised that the Judicial system was rigged and in the years since have tried every course of action possible to expose the corruption. 

I tried complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman, TFLs own fraud investigations team (obviously pointless), the Met, the GLA transport Committee and Environment Committee, individual Assembly Members asked questions for years, my Local MP (who was at the time Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change tried to challenge Johnson with no success and many other MPs have tried to challenge TFL with no success.

I have had limited success in the media (because that is controlled as well)

The Sunday Times exposed Tim Yeo in an undercover sting, following information I had given them about the corrupt Taxi Age Limit. Yeo was deselected by his constituency but then tried to sue the Sunday Times. 

The Judge dismissed his case saying that he was dishonest but no action was ever taken against Yeo. His improper and unlawful Taxi Age Limit which has scrapped 10,000 taxis is still in place today.

I concluded that the only way to expose the corruption is by a Statutory Public Inquiry (which is led by a Judge and can force witnesses to attend)
I share your reservations but feel that this is the only way to expose TFL.

A good analogy is the Phone Hacking Inquiry.
For years many celebrities and senior politicians called for a Public Inquiry into Phone Hacking.

Everyone knew it was going on but no one could do anything because the media would not report it; they were involved . The Met would not investigate it because they were involved. The Government would not do anything because they were involved.

It was only when the facts were exposed in the Judicial format of the Public Inquiry that the Police were forced to investigate. They could not cover it up any more.

Following Operation Weeting many people were taken to court; some were even convicted.

The Phone Hacking Public Inquiry in itself may not have achieved much but it did expose the improper conduct and I would think there is very little Phone Hacking taking place now.

In the same way a Public Inquiry could expose TFL.

I accept that it may take a while but if Taxi Drivers protested on a daily basis and called for an urgent and immediate Public Inquiry then it may happen.

The minute a Public Inquiry is initiated there could be a suspension of issuing new PH licenses pending that Inquiry. There could also be a suspension of the Taxi Age Limit.

There may be another way of exposing TFL but I dont know what it is.

The capitulation of Sadiq Khan when he was appointed as Mayor gives an idea of how powerful the corruption is. He made promises that he would take action yet has now been shown to be complicit.

I am always available to meet with anyone who wants to speak; Semtex, the UCG, the LCDC, DDD, ITA ?

Good Luck

LCDC Demand Personal Appeal Hearing For Member Suspended Over Twitter Video.

As many of you on Twitter are aware, LCDC member Sean Stockings received a letter from Peter Blake at TfL on December 2nd, informing him that he had been suspended. This followed his tweet of a picture of TfL boss Leon Daniels, along with Mike Brown, at a restaurant in Mayfair.

He was given 28 days to appeal against charges that were never stipulated and the suspension had no timescale.

The LCDC have instructed our solicitors to represent our member in this matter - below is their strongly worded response to TfL.

Below is the letter sent to TfL by Sean's legal representative. 

Further to your telephone conversation with Ms. Payton this afternoon, I write to confirm that as the representative of Mr. Stockings he wishes to "appeal" his undetermined suspension and request a personal hearing.

Clearly, as also discussed, the nature of the allegation will have to be disclosed prior to any representations being made - it would be Kafkaesque to require representations prior to providing details of the alleged behaviour complained of - to that end we shall require the investigation file and the determination decision. I understand that this will be provided prior to the personal hearing and in good time...

Unfortunately at the end of the lengthy conversation I am no further forward in understanding who determined Mr. Stockings behaviour was a) inappropriate and b) so inappropriate that only the "proper course of action" was to suspend his license. I note our calls were recorded, please be advised that we shall require transcripts of same (for your information the calls were made between 12.00 noon and 2.00 p.m. from telephone 02074051999 to Kieran and yourself on your general number) as we shall refer to the misleading information during the course of the hearing.

Whilst you indicated that there as on for the suspension was that the "Head of Licensing" had decided that Mr.Stockings was " not a fit person to hold such a license"; you refused to answer whether it was Mr. Peter Blake in his capacity of Head of Licensing that had made this decision, confirming when queried that The London Cab Order 1934 had been amended to give the Head of Licensing the same powers as those formerly enjoyed by the Commissioner of Police. It would appear from your enclosures that TFL may be of the view that any employee can make this decision, is this the case? It would appear that "a fit and proper" test was made without reference to behaviour which could reach a criminal standard, this seems at odds with the licensing provisions as to what constitutes a fit and prper person. Whilst we are aware that the assessment was made as a result of the tweet and video sent by Mr. Stockings we can see no reason why the tweet and video justified such a sanction and look forward to that being explained within a determination decision.

We spoke at first with Kieran whom we understand answers enquiries by telephone and he was asked to advise from the file a) the Act which was said to have been breached, b) who assessed the behaviour as inappropriate, c) whether there was evidence other than the video and tweet (i.e. who had made an allegation and whether they had submitted any statement) and d) whether other sanctions were considered Whilst he was unable to advise the Act, who assessed and whether there was evidence he did suggest that the reason for the suspension was due to a finding that the video was both "harassing" and "intimidating".

He seemed to suggest that this was from the file and "Bobby" and when we asked to speak with Bobby (who clearly had more information) we were transferred to "Dennis" which was you and you implied you preferred Mr. Win. You cleared up the Harassing and intimidation point and explained that the digital file did not indicate this (which was of concern as it was not within the letter) - so at least we are aware that this is not an allegation analogous to a Public Order Act offences 

It is strange that the initial letter is not more detailed regarding what findings were made and why - I am also surprised that no time limit was attached to the suspension. How would Mr. Stockings know whether to "appeal" without this being sent out clearly? Perhaps if Mr. Blake has taken on a quasi-Judicial role then he should make a quasi-judicial determination so that a person is aware from the start and the determination provided, especially if TFL requests representations In short he letter is badly worded and unclear and expects a response from an unknown determination.

We look forward to receiving the hearing date and requested material.

Kind Regards,

Keima Payton
Payton Solicitors - on behalf of the LCDC 

Editorial Comment :
This incident shows how important it is to have the protection of a representative org or union behind you. You never know what's round the corner or when you may suddenly require legal help. 
Make sure you belong to an org that will look after you 100%, as and when you need it.

Source : The Badge LCDC publication. 

Does Anyone Know How To Take The Batteries Out ?......By Semtex

The London Black Cab Trade are very lucky to have some wonderful men and women in their ranks. Pardon the pun ! Seriously though, we are an extraordinary bunch of human beings, with some extraordinary talent too. Indeed, our very own Fred Housego even managed to scoop the winning Mastermind trophy some years ago, just an example of what achievements some of London's finest can aspire to.

Dave Davies, is one of these people. Dave is a very passionate, committed and intelligent ally of our trade, and I have an immense amount of respect for him, and love him to bits. Dave has also been a victim of our judicial court system too, and sadly lost a hell of a lot of hard earned honest money from his wallet, trying to fight the parasites that feed from us. And I'm sure Dave wouldn't mind me saying, it was a hell of a lot of dough too. 

Despite that defeat though, Dave remains a believer in the democratic system of fairness through the courts, and along with a huge amount of our other colleagues, are calling for a Public Inquiry into the management and conduct of senior officers of Transport For London. I respect Dave's and our colleague's decision entirely, but have my personal reservations. I will explain why.

In contrast, I am a very militant man. But like Dave Davies, I too am passionate, committed and hopefully as intelligent as my colleagues, but as hard as I try, just cannot convince myself that a Public Inquiry is the way forward. And although a militant stance by our trade appears to be a blur, I will tell you why I fear the democratic, judicial route.

I was still serving in the military when I got my green badge. I had worked my way up to quite a high rank and had access to intelligence that I am still restricted to share, due to the Official Secrets Act. 

As you can imagine, I would rather die than betray an act that is in place, for very good reason of Britain's security. Notwithstanding, I was also an Officer in the Civil Service, a position that I eventually detested, and left way before my scheduled appointment expiry. I don't want to come across as some Walter Mitty, Dad's Army or 007 wannabe character, but as a result of this perspective, I was in a position where I witnessed the different sides of situations, both Nationally and Internationally. And what I saw, didn't impress me. In fact, the high ranking Civil Service frustrated me and disappointed me no end. In my experience, the greater majority of Government meddling, was only realistically dealt with, after last minute military or at least militant, intervention.

Due to a unhealthy respect and low opinion when it comes to Members of Parliament, Law Courts and Civil Servants, I find I am not that qualified to demonstrate my knowledge through the legal process fields. So as a result of many of our colleagues calling that a Public Inquiry is the most tangible option, I did a bit of digging around, emailing, researching and phoning . Sadly, my initial fears were confirmed, as of course, the objective of a Public Inquiry is to be forward looking and improve our trade by highlighting mismanagement at TFL. 

However, there is no doubt that Public Inquiries are surrounded by paradox and problems. To me, one of the biggest problems and fears is the fact that Public Inquiries themselves are chaired and conducted under the stewardship of an ex- senior Civil Servant. The very same targets that our inquiry would align through their crosshairs ! But furthermore, in almost all of the cases I studied that were dealt with via a Public Inquiry, it were the Lawyers that came out laughing...........all the way to the bank. The costs in some of these high profile cases were absolutely unbelievable. 

What worried me even  more though, was that despite a Public Inquiry set up to show good intent, exposure, transparency and promote justice, a large percentage of Public Inquiries DO NOT go on to lead to improvements, and restoration of public confidence. So even if we were able to pull up enough dough to square up with these overpaid leeches, the end result isn't even guaranteed to improve our standing. 

There is though, a much more valuable commodity that I fear our trade can ill afford, when it comes to taking this court room route, and that of course is TIME ! We just haven't got it, have we ? Even if we launched the Inquiry, even if we raised the obscene bill at the end of it, how can we possibly wait that long ? It took 5 years to get to the point when the poor relatives and victims of the 7/7 attacks in London reached the Public Inquiry stage. And after the inquest and at the advice of their lawyers, they were advised to drop it as they felt that a Public Inquiry would likely to be unsuccessful and cause further anxiety and distress. 

One of the relatives described the legal procedures as being mentally and emotionally draining and utterly exhausting. Of course, and thank God, I realise that our inquiry wouldn't be as mentally excruciating or personally soul wrenching as the 7/7 attacks, or The Hillsborough Disaster or The Bloody Sunday shootings, but judicial court hearings have no sentiment, and for reasons of evidence gathering, witness collaboration and lawyers paperwork..............that is how long these things take, unfortunately.

Obviously, no two Public Inquiries are identical, but the lack of guidance to determine the circumstances in which a Public Inquiry should be instigated, is hugely problematic. And don't forget that clock folks, there's no stopping it, even if you take the battery out! Iv'e already tried, but it just keeps ticking ! Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick................

One of the things that stuck out to me as well when reading the Government guidance notes, was that the Government were keen to emphasise that a court room is not the place to justify a Public Inquiry, where the sole aim is to allow people to air their grievances. Furthermore, Public Inquiries have poor success results, when the evidence is backed up by sensitive and personal matters. 

The very point of a Public Inquiry is to expose the truth after a scandal, huge mis-management or major controversy. Hopefully too, the Inquiry should decide who is culpable, and make recommendations to ensure that it doesn't repeat itself. Quite often as well, to provide a moment of catharsis, if not the truth in total, then at least a healing of wounds, or a public acknowledgement of a real injustice.

High Court Judge, the Rt Hon. Lady Justice Smith was the Judge who prepared the infamous Shipman Inquiry, a report and Public Inquiry on the Harold Shipman serial killings. This lady is on record as saying " If the success of Public Inquiries is judged in terms of regulations and legislation, then we cannot often claim to achieve that. Positive proposals can be very slow to emerge and even if they eventually do, they are often diluted. This is an issue of great regret regret to me."

When I saw this, and reminded myself that it would be a Senior or ex-Senior Civil Servant running the show, should we launch our own case, my fears were confirmed.

Naturally, there are exceptions of course, where a Public Inquiry has done what is says on the tin. I had a job to remember the case of The Ely Public Inquiry, until I researched it, into a mental hospital outside Cardiff, and also into South Ockendon, which were what were then known as the homes for the mentally handicapped. Both however, and as a direct result of the Public Inquiries, assisted the process to close down the awful conditions of the Victorian Asylums, and led to the introduction of Care In The Community. 

So yes, i agree, they are not all useless.
There is no doubt though, that the decent and democratic process of a Public Inquiry against the ludicrous and inconsistent management of our regulators TFL, is a valid path of travel. It could even up as a groundbreaking force for the good, and exposing the lies, deceit and woeful management that we try to earn our coin around . In an ideal world, culpability will emerge as a result of an Inquiry, and retrospective action taken to deal with it.
But as i say, that is in an ideal world. Unfortunately, and as far as my 60 years on this earth has indicated, there is no such world.

I could give you several accounts of betrayal, back stabbing and nest feathering witnessed during my Military and Civil Service, but I choose not to. This wasn't by the tea boy or mail room clerk either, but by Senior Civil Servants who went on to become leading political and Government anchors. But you can see where my inherent distrust and suspicions originated from, can't you ? If you thought that Gove's display to put the knife into Boris was disgraceful, that's for babies, it is far worse than that ! Betrayal is a contagious flaw of character that has infested Portcullis House and the elite Civil Service for years and years and years. 

In fact, I think it is actually a REQUIREMENT ! A Public Inquiry to get to the truth of the injustice and unfair treatment that the London Taxi Trade have fended off over the last five years, should in essence, be the correct and most democratic route of travel for us. For all I know, it still very well may be. But I will be the first one at the head of the queue to say that I was wrong, if our trade wins a success via this decent, lawful path. And please believe me folks, I would have no shame in admitting I was wrong. I would love to be.

Until such times though, I will stick to my inbuilt natural instinct alarm that has ensured my safe passage and kept my pulse beating in some extremely volatile situations in life's obscure and perilous path. I don't trust MP's or Civil Servants. I have never trusted them, and neither should I have done. I will divulge something of interest though to our colleagues who have an interest in human psychology. 

NOT ONCE did I witness an act of betrayal, back stabbing or deceit against colleagues, whilst serving in the army. NOT ONCE. When I joined the Civil was a run of the mill occurrence., and I would witness it on a weekly regularity.  Strange that, don't you think ? I wonder why that is ?  

Anyway, back to reality. If our trade believe a Public Inquiry is the best way forward, I suggest that it is launched without further ado, as the Great London Taxi Trade Clock is ticking it's little tickers and tockers off ! It could take years to get this inquiry into a court room, and if colleagues of ours think we have realistically got that amount of time to spare, then maybe i'm a pessimistic, wary old git ! 

You do change as you get older, so I'm not ruling that accusation out ! My idea as we all know, is one of militancy. A bit like the French Fisherman or The Durham Miners. When their representation got nowhere through dialogue, they went out and dealt with it themselves. Sadly, I am under no illusion. For the legal court room path we need time and money................which we don't have, and for the militant path we need unity..............which we don't have either.  Folks, there aren't any other alternatives. We MUST choose one form of action or other. 
Obviously, there is a third choice, of which I was hesitant to mention. A choice to which my heart fears could well be our final destiny. And that do nothing !

If we choose that route, then rest assured folks, that with the onslaught of Uber, an untrustworthy Regulator and lacklustre representation as a trade............WE ARE DEAD IN THE WATER !!
The London Transport Museum in Covent Garden will make space for the very last London Black Cab, alongside the horse drawn Hansom Cabs, and Trams. 

As mentally tough as I have had to have been through life both professional and personal, I would find it tearful and emotional I am sure, to look back at our majestic old black cab on it's WC2 burial plot, in the middle of a City that it had served so proudly. Further tears would have to be no doubt choked back, as I told my grandchildren "That's what Grandad used to drive."

There is absolutely no need whatsoever to allow the bent shysters to kill off a perfectly serviceable, proud and world famous Icon folks ! We are still the best, we are still the safest, we are still the most professional, we are still the most knowledgeable, and we are still by far the most superior Taxi service in the World, let alone London !

They want rid of us for no other reason than Uber earns them more money. Fact ! Nothing else ! 600 Mini Cab licences each week is better than selling Opium ! It is money for old rope for them shiny arsed back stabbing suited bastards and the sooner they kill us the more dough they will earn !

Dave, I love ya to bits mate, you know I do. But if we are going to defeat this mob in the courtroom, we need to get it up and running pronto ! I will of course do everything I can to help, even if I am dubious. You can count on me. I won't let you down. But one thing is affecting my day to day life like a very serious case of Tinnitus. It is the noise in my head. It's not voices, it's not God telling me to hurt people, it's not voices pretending to be the devil. No. Its neither of those noises. It's a noise that has grown so loud, that it is terrifying me. It goes...............Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick tock, tick.............and gets louder and louder each day !

Of all the things I have stopped as a professional, of all the things I have stopped as a father, of all the things I have stopped as a husband and of all the things I have stopped as a you think I can stop this poxy clock ? 
I can't ! 
And neither can any of my mates in The London Cab Trade. 

As far as I can see, there is absolutely no way of taking the batteries out !  

Iv'e taken the back off, the front off and unscrewed the insides, but I just can't stop it ticking ! 
So let's get cracking folks.....we have much work to do !

Be lucky all.

8829 Semtex.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

City Of London Want Us Banned From Bank Junction. It's The Gloves Off Time.

                     Here we go again!

Trevor Merralls, UCG general secretary met with the City of London transport section on Monday, to put our case regarding Bank Junction.

CoL explained their reasons for making the area bus and cycle only, including cycle fatalities at this dangerous junction detailing pollution & congestion. 

They produced figures on what traffic would be like with cycles and buses only. The UCG have asked them to include Taxi's in these figures and by Taxi's they should differentiate between us and PH.
By no means do Taxi's cause the build up of traffic at the junction. This is caused by large numbers of PH vehicles, construction lorries, delivery vehicles etc.

The UCG made them aware they view the proposal's as a restriction on our trade. Trevor made it known it will affect city workers and tourists to the area, severely impacting on their travel routes. They also made it clear, the London Taxi trade are 100% wheelchair compliant and this will inconvenience disabled city workers.

The UCG have  asked that Taxi's be included in this trial.

As a trade, we have always had historical links to the City, a city we have served for centuries. 

    AFS firemen with Taxi during the blitz.

We are one of the last liveried occupations. In two world war's there were two city of London regiment's, in which cab driver's also served some paying the ultimate price. 
We deserve better.

Restricting Taxi's from Bank Junction gives working people in the vicinity two option's. Bus or tube, both of which are owned by TfL so the restriction on our trade is creating a state assisted cartel for TfL on journeys in this area.

The UCG made it very clear we will fight this with every mean's possible every inch of the way.

Today's announcement means that the trade will be taking action, starting with the official UCG protest scheduled to take place on 12 January at 17.00 till 20.00 

This will be followed on the 16th of January by five days of action, in the form of a mass ply for hire, which I believe is being called by the Independent Taxi Alliance (ITA) 

Uber whistleblower says company erased data during raid on Montreal offices


Uber whistleblower says company erased data during raid on Montreal offices

Lawsuit alleges 'Uber would lock down the office and immediately cut all connectivity'

Samuel Spangenberg says he helped Uber remotely erase data on computers during Revenu Québec raids of the company's Montreal offices in May 2015. (Sean Henry/CBC )
A former security employee at Uber says he was part of an "incident response team" that helped remotely erase data when Revenu Québec raided the company's Montreal offices last year.

Samuel Spangenberg worked as a forensic investigator for Uber at the company's head office in San Francisco for 11 months in 2015.

He made the allegation in a sworn statement in October as part of a wrongful dismissal lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of the state of California.

In the statement, Spangenberg mentioned Revenu Québec's raid on Uber's Montreal offices in May 2015.

After that raid, Revenu Québec alleged that Uber had remotely erased data on the office's computers as soon as the raid began.

Taxi monopoly over: Quebec City, Montreal airports allow Uber
Spangenberg said in his statement that's exactly what happened, and that he helped do it.

'Cut all connectivity'

Spangenberg's statement said it was standard practice at Uber during police or government raids to "lock down the office and immediately cut all connectivity so that law enforcement could not access Uber's information."

"I would then be tasked with purchasing all new equipment for the office within the day, which I did when Uber's Montreal office was raided," Spangenberg said.

Spangenberg said that after such raids, data was often subject to "litigation holds" by law enforcement.

He said Uber "routinely deleted files which were subject to litigation holds," a practice which he said he objected to.

'Attempt to obstruct justice'

Revenu Québec has always maintained that Uber tried to block access and delete information during its raid, something that Spangenberg's statement now backs up.

Superior court judge Guy Cournoyer wrote that Uber's conduct during May 2015 raids 'had all the characteristics of an attempt to obstruct justice'. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)
After the raid, Uber tried to challenge the validity of Revenu Québec's search warrants in Quebec superior court.

During that proceeding, Revenu Québec investigators told a judge that on the the day of the raid, smartphones and laptops seized appeared to have been remotely restarted and that data they were looking for was then encrypted from the company's head office in San Francisco.

In a decision released in May upholding Revenu Québec's warrants, Superior court judge Guy Cournoyer wrote that Uber's conduct "had all the characteristics of an attempt to obstruct justice."

Uber tried to appeal Cournoyer's decision in the Quebec court of appeal. The court refused to hear the case. Uber is now trying to have its appeal heard in the Supreme Court of Canada.

Uber denies 'each and every allegation'

Uber fired Spangenberg in February.  

He has filed a lawsuit in California alleging he was fired based on age discrimination and whistleblower retaliation.  

Court documents said that Uber told Spangenberg he was being fired because he violated the company's code of conduct when he reformatted his company laptop.

In court documents filed in May, Uber said it "generally denies each and every allegation contained in the plaintiff's complaint."

On Wednesday, Uber Canada spokesman Jean-Christophe de Le Rue reaffirmed that denial in a written statement to CBC News.

"We have always said and want to reaffirm that no information has been deleted," he said.

"Following the agreement reached this summer with Revenu Québec, we continue collaborating with them on matters related to our operations in Quebec."

Uber Blames Humans For Self-Driving Car Traffic Offences, As California Orders A Halt To Trials.


Transit regulators ordered the company to take vehicles off the roads on first day they were launched without permits in Uber’s home town of San Francisco.

California regulators ordered Uber to remove its self-driving vehicles from the road on the same day that the company’s vehicles were caught running red lights – violations the company immediately blamed on “human error”.

“It is essential that Uber takes appropriate measures to ensure safety of the public,” the California department of motor vehicles (DMV) wrote to Uber on Wednesday after it defied government officials and began piloting the cars in San Francisco without permits. “If Uber does not confirm immediately that it will stop its launch and seek a testing permit, DMV will initiate legal action.”

An Uber spokesperson said two red-light violations were due to mistakes by the people required to sit behind the steering wheel and said the company has suspended the drivers.

A video posted by Charles Rotter, an operations manager at Luxor, a traditional cab company, shows one of Uber’s computer-controlled cars plowing through a pedestrian crosswalk in downtown about four seconds after the light turned red. Elsewhere, a photofrom a San Francisco writer showed one of the Uber vehicles entering an intersection against a red light.

“People could die,” Rotter said in an interview later. “This is obviously not ready for primetime.”

The traffic violations and threat of legal action are a significant blow to Uber in its home town, where the California department of motor vehicles has said that Uber requires permits to test the technology on its roads

Despite that stated mandate from a government agency, Uber declared in a blog postthat it did not believe it needed a “testing permit” to launch self-driving vehicles in San Francisco, arguing that the rules don’t apply since the cars have people in them monitoring movements. 

“Most states see the potential benefits, especially when it comes to road safety,” wrote Anthony Levandowski, head of Uber’s advanced technology group. His post announcing the Wednesday launch noted the Volvo XC90s’ “core safety capabilities”.

In his letter to Levandowski, the DMV’s deputy director Brian Soublet noted that 20 companies have already been approved to test self-driving vehicles in California. 

“They are obeying the law and are responsibly testing and advancing their technology,” he said, adding, “This technology holds the promise of true safety benefits on our roadways, but must be tested responsibly.”

The self-driving vehicles of the popular car-sharing company were first unveiled in Pittsburgh in September. The vehicles have technology that allows them to navigate on their own, though licensed drivers sit behind the wheel and can take control as necessary. 

Annie Gaus, a San Francisco writer and producer, said she was riding to work on Wednesday in a Lyft, Uber’s biggest competitor, when she saw one of the Uber self-driving vehicles nearly crash into her

“The Uber car sort of jutted out into the intersection,” she told the Guardian by phone, noting that she and her Lyft driver were both taken aback. “It was close enough that we were both kind of like, ‘Woah.’ It’s close enough that you kind of react and are sort of rattled.” 

Gaus, who has written about technology and has contributed to the Guardian, said the red-light violations on day one of the pilot seem to highlight how the implementation of the technology in a place like San Francisco may be premature. 

“I don’t think anybody has a good understanding of how this works in a city context.”

An Uber spokesperson said both cars running red lights were not part of the pilot and weren’t carrying customers.

“These incidents were due to human error. This is why we believe so much in making the roads safer by building self-driving Ubers,” the statement said. “The drivers involved have been suspended while we continue to investigate.”

The company did not immediately respond to questions about the state’s order to remove the cars from the road.

It’s unclear how law enforcement may address these kinds of violations. 

Asked how the San Francisco police department would respond to a self-driving Uber running a red-light, officer Giselle Talkoff said: “I don’t even know. I guess we could pull them over.” 

After the Guardian sent Talkoff footage of the Uber violation, first reported by the San Francisco Examiner, she said the police were not investigating the specific incident at this time. But she noted officers would follow up in cases in which there was an injury or if they witnessed a violation in person – though she said she wasn’t sure if the “secondary driver” or the company would be held accountable.

“There was a person that was walking very closely,” she said of the footage, pointing out that a pedestrian was entering the street when the Uber car ran the red. 

Talkoff further noted that there aren’t state or federal laws governing self-driving cars. 

“First comes technology, then comes policy. It’s going to be a matter of setting some precedents,” she said, adding, “The companies that are putting these vehicles on the road should have their vehicles operate with due regard to the rules of the road.” 

A sergeant with the police traffic division said his department was not even aware that Uber had started using autonomous cars in San Francisco. 

Rotter argued that the technology company should be held responsible for sending the vehicles out on the road despite government objections. 

“What this company has done is start operating illegally and push for permission later".

Source :  Guardian News. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

California Dreaming .... By Semtex.

Uber were first licensed just before the Summer of 2012. Two years later on the 3 October,  co-founder, Travis Kalanick, attended the Albert Hall no less, to deliver a presentation to 2000 senior moneymen and women, from the City of London. The audience were no fools, and many of them elite members of the Institute of Directors.

The purpose of Kalanick's address, was to persuade the financial elite, that the mini cab firm, Uber, was well worth investing in.

By and large, the audience of shrewd investors, loved him. The 36 year old Californian university drop out, convinced almost everyone that his dream to fill every country in the world with Uber cars, would effectively make owning a car pointless. After his spiel, he received a standing ovation.

Adding weight to Kalanick's claims, Chancellor of the Exchequer  George Osborne informed the assembled IOD members, "clearly the economy is growing, unemployment has fallen sharply and business investment has picked up".

The brief was huge, the possibilities endless and the dream was rapidly becoming real. Travis Kalanick's motto was, "Win at all costs", and up until now, Travis has proved that he was and is, no slouch. He is on record as quoting " When I push a button, something in the world will move !"

Arrogant ? Egotist ? Bully ? Over confident ?

Who knows. 

I suppose it depends on where your dollar is invested. 

One thing is for sure though, Travis Kalanick is a very clever man when it comes to getting a few quid, and it would be foolhardy to underestimate a player of his calibre, in any financial arena. One thing he did say at the event though, was that he would aim for 100,000 Uber cars to be in London by 2018.

As I type, I have no idea of how many of the 600 mini cab licences issued EACH WEEK by TFL, are intended for use with Uber cars, but my guess is it would be a large percentage. However, Uber's mammoth targets were not just about raising finance, they also had to overcome many many different rules, regulations, cultures, criteria and licensing. 

Some countries stood firm against the Californian's plans to take over transport responsibility, and banned him immediately. Other countries however, welcomed him in with open arms. Uber's invitation at the Royal Albert Hall that spring day, was to decide if London would take the Californian's dream of perfect travel, or stick with the world award winning Taxi service, that it already had. 

If you wanted to buy a licence to drive a mini cab in London today, the Regulators, Transport For London, would charge you about £250.

If the Californian's dream of putting 100,000 Uber cars onto London's already massively gridlocked streets is anywhere near realistic, that would net TFL an awful lot of dough. In fact, it would earn them around 25 million pounds !

On a cold November morning at 06.40 in 1983, staff at Unit No 7 of the International Trading Estate in Heathrow, were just preparing for a night shift rosta change over. Unit No 7 belonged to International Bullion Dealers Brinks Mat.  Unbeknown to the staff, six armed robbers, wearing hats, gloves and balaclavas, had pulled right outside in a Transit van, and using essential inside information and highly sophisticated codes, made an unexpected and swift entrance.

Initially believing there was three million pounds in the vaults, the robbers poured petrol over the guards, and produced a box of matches. Looking at the determined eyes of the robbers through slits in the balaclavas, the terrified guards were forced to reveal both parts, of a two part code, to access the huge bullion safe. Acting in sheer terror, the guards tapped the codes into the safe's locking system and the firm from South East London, were in ! 

Once inside, the gang were overwhelmed to find that rather than the three million pounds that they had come for, there was instead a pallet full of 7,000 solid gold bullion bars, stored in 70 cardboard boxes. The heist was labelled "The Crime Of The Century" as the baffled Met's Flying Squad revealed that the gang had escaped into thin air, with 3 tons of gold bars. 

The value ?................26 million pounds!

When Travis Kalanick offered to put 100,000 Uber mini cabs into a City that already boasted the best Taxi Service in the world, London Black Cab drivers could have been forgiven for taking the American's plans with a pinch of salt. After all, not only were Uber unable to comply with much of the licensing criteria of a mini cab Operators Licence, but logistically London could no way make room for 100,000 mini cabs ! 

It was a ludicrous suggestion. The streets and roads of London are still cobbled in many places, demonstrating the lack of change and infrastructure investment since Queen Victoria. Roads, streets and alleyways, unchanged since the Hansom Cabs of our forefathers, expertly navigated the capital, just as we do today.

Sadly for my great trade though, and sadly for my wonderful London that I was born in, the temptation of the pallet of gold bars from California, was too good to turn down by Cameron, TFL and City Hall. Licensing 100,000 Uber mini cabs was going against every sound principle of sensible logistics, infrastructure foresight and LAWFUL criteria, totally.

Despite Uber being unable to satisfy certain lawful licensing criteria that would apply to everyone else, the draw of a blag just slightly short of the whole of the Brinks Mat Gold Bullion Robbery amount, would be just too much to turn down from our Government and Regulators.

TFL had to ask themselves many important questions though. 

Such as.....surely a landline wasn't that important? 

Surely we were being over zealous demanding a London Registration Address ?

What does it matter to us if Uber pay either none or the very minimum amount of tax after fleecing London dry ?

It's no problem of ours if Uber are not accurate in what service they are, ie transport or technical services, is it ?

Now come on, a mobile phone is just as good as a Customs & Excise sealed and calibrated taxi meter, surely, isn't it ?

The topographical London Knowledge exam is old hat, for Christ sake! Anyone can safely navigate around London with a half decent smart phone or sat nav, can't they ? 

OK, granted, it will be hard for Travis to recruit 100,000 Uber drivers with no criminal form, all fit and health and upstanding members of society. 

But just ease up on the entry qualification and criteria, let's stop being so over the top, shall we ? 

Wheelchair accessibility ? 

Not to worry, the infirm and disabled will just have to use other forms of transport. It's no biggy is it ? 

Choice of vehicle ? 

No, don't bog Travis down with that. He's too busy, don't keep driving him mad. Let him use any car that he wants. He's not silly. Can't we let him just get on with it ? 

Not registered in the UK ? So what ? Loads of Companies are registered overseas, aren't they?

The potential of the Californian dream of Travis Kalanick will be and is, an enormous detrimental threat to the very existence and heritage of the Great London Black Cab Trade. With extremely strict criteria of licensing, we are indeed very rigorously controlled. It is nigh on impossible to compete on a level playing field financially, if your vehicle, meter, criminal record checks, medical checks, topographical knowledge standard, personal deportment and access of  vehicle wheelchair requirements are written in stone, as your competitor imposters are subject to none of the above. 

Cameron, City Hall and TFL were only too happy to take the whizz kid's dollar., regardless of the professional casualties and traditions it would drag to death with it. The tragedy of it all though, is that Uber were just not needed in the first place. Contrary to what a senior TFL Officer openly stated, it WASN'T what the public wanted ! And neither did London want it ! Does London need MORE Buses ? 

Of course not ! And neither did they need Uber mini cabs ! 

The London Cab trade have managed very well all of these years without them. Mini cab outfits such as Addisson Lee have also serviced customers who wanted an alternative form of transport. Uber were not required. So why were so many LAWFUL breaches of licensing criteria literally torn up and shredded for Uber ? 

Why was the Californian's dream so welcomed and so easily accommodated in the first place ?

We can only assume folks. But my guess is simple. If Micky McAvoy and Brian Robinson had realized in 1983 how easy it was to earn 25 million pounds without upsetting the Flying Squad, then maybe they wouldn't have ended up with a 25 stretch each, after all.

Travis Kalanick was only seven when the Brinks Mat firm parked the Ford Transit van outside Unit Number 7 on that cold November morning at Heathrow. I bet that even at that young age, he would have known that you didn't need balaclavas, hats, gloves and petrol to earn your wages and keep the wolf from the door. An office, a desk, and a smart business suit, were a much more appropriate attire.

It's simply about, what you know, who you know, and persuading them to be in the coup with you ! You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours ! It's really not that hard when you think about it ?

Be lucky all.

8829 Semtex.