Saturday, January 07, 2017

George Galloway Explains That Uber Cheap, Isn't Always Cheerful.


George Galloway, backing the London Taxi Trade all the way.
 
George explains to his Talk Radio audience that cheap, isn't always cheerful. He tells them
 about the one way street incidents, the accidents, the Sat-Navs, the fake insurance. He explains about the assaults, the rapes, and about deregulation that's stripping away the public's protection. 

George said "the London Taxi trade are London", with drivers that you can trust 100%.

He went on to say that Uber doesn't even exist as a transport company, but operated from server in The Netherlands, were they pay no Tax and is spreading across London and other cities like a virus. 

Well worth a listen. 

    
     Video care of United Cabbies Group.

Uber Boundaries – Bent or Broken? ....by Lee Ward.


Within the borders of Sheffield we have Uber drivers from our neighbouring Town of Rotherham, and also as far afield as Rossendale and London to name but a few. I am sure that these City and Town names can be changed dependant on where in the country we wish to discuss this matter, but for this article I will use my local area of Sheffield because we are not special.

Now we all know that Uber do not use Sub Contracting that was introduced in the Deregulation Act 2015 (why it was ever introduced still baffles me to this day), but they do use Cross Border Hiring (also referred to as the Triple License Rule) which is legal, or rather legal as it was intended to be used. 

But then here comes Uber, bending the local Laws everywhere they go until it’s hard to see if the Law has been bent, or simply broken…

You see, my problem has always been that there is no way that a universal booking and dispatch system would work worldwide, let’s be honest here we cannot even get neighbouring authorities to have the same conditions in the UK, let alone globally. It’s like having a fishing rod, it will catch fish all over the world, but it has to comply with local laws to catch them legally, but I digress..

Uber have offices in Rossendale and Rotherham, operative word here is offices because they do not have staff, computersor telephones in these rooms that they rent, they don’t even have an open door for drivers to walk through so they are simply that, offices.

These offices have associated with them an Operator’s License for the area that they are in, but not to actually cover those areas, it’s so they can use the vehicles and drivers licensed in those areas across the border (Triple License Rule remember) but this is where I struggle to see if the Law has been bent or broken.
Here’s what I see;
• Closed Office
• No Telephone
• No Computer System
• No Staff
• No Driver Access
Now surely you would need a couple of the above to be able to operate a company, or even a branch of a company right? I mean, the internet and technology is good, but not that good surely?

OK, I will give a little benefit of doubt here, let’s say this Technology Company really is that good. Let’s look at how that Technology works.

• A customer opens an App in Sheffield (we are still not special)
• The mainframe (based in the Netherlands) looks for the nearest driver
• The mainframe informs the driver of the customer request
• The driver accepts the offer
• The mainframe looks at the driver and logs the booking with the Operator’s License that the driver is associated with (Triple License Rule, don’t forget)

Now although that’s still illegal because the driver accepted the booking and not the Licensed Operator (as I informed Sea Paul Day and Steve Garelick around 7 months ago) I will skip that part and ask this question, what area was the booking actually accepted in? Was it in Sheffield, Rotherham, Rossendale or even London?
Remember, Uber do not Sub Contract journeys, so it has to be accepted in the area that the driver who is completing the customer request is licensed (yes you are getting the hang of it, Triple License Rule) that’s legal though right?
Wrong….

The Operator can only accept a booking in the area that they are licensed, they cannot accept a booking while in another area, see : >http://www.taxi-driver.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=3810<
So, even if the driver is taken out of the equation in accepting the booking, and we say for arguments sake that the booking is accepted by the server, the server is in the Netherlands, and I am sure we do not have any Operators Licenses to work from that area, or if we did I know for a fact I have not seen any Dutch Taxi or Private Hire drivers with Dutch plated vehicles working in Sheffield.
Maybe I am wrong again, who knows, but let’s look at this a little further still…

Are the drivers ‘working’ for Uber Rotherham, Rossendale or London actually ‘working’ for them, or simply under cover of these bent or broken laws and really working for Uber Sheffield?

Let’s look at the facts around this. I have gained screen shots of Uber journeys completed by drivers licensed in Sheffield, Rotherham, Rossendale and London which are detailed below.

Please note, I have removed all reference that could put the driver in jeopardy for either breaking Data Protection or from being de-activated by Uber, I don’t agree with how Uber operate, I have no issue with the actual drivers on their platform, especially the ones who work within the area that they are licensed and I appreciate fully that some drivers may not share my view on this.


UBER Sheffield Driver (Sheffield to Sheffield)
 
This journey equates to
£1.30 (per mile) x 4.21 = £5.47
£1.10 (Base Rate) + £5.47 = £6.57
£0.10 (10p per minute) = £0.90 + £6.57
TOTAL SHEFFIELD COST = £7.47
 
 
UBER Rossendale Driver (Sheffield to Sheffield)
 
This journey equates to
£1.30 (per mile) x 3.09 = £4.01
£1.10 (Base Rate) + £4.01 = £5.11
£0.10 (10p per minute) = £0.80 + £5.11
TOTAL SHEFFIELD COST = £5.91
 
 

UBER Rotherham Driver (Sheffield to Sheffield)
 
This journey equates to
£1.30 (per mile) x 1.75 = £2.27
£1.10 (Base Rate) + £2.27 = £3.37
£0.20 (10p per minute) = £1.10 + £3.37
TOTAL SHEFFIELD COST =£4.47

Just to finish off the proof, this is from Uber TfL, and the figures are also included in the following picture to prove that even though they are a few miles from home, they are not really working for Uber TfL but for Uber Sheffield…Broken, not bent…
 
The difference between the actual cost and the costs shown is between 6p and 9p. 
This is a factor that could be simply the time is not per a whole minute but part thereof.

 

Let’s look at that map….what area are Uber Sheffield really advertising?


Now do you see where I am going with this?
Who do these Rotherham, Rossendale and London drivers actually work for?
They work in Sheffield, they charge the Sheffield rates, they are told to go to the Sheffield office if they need to talk to an Uber employee….
 
Do they work for Sheffield, or for the area that they are licensed?
So, is it just bent, or has it been broken?
You decide, because they authorities do not have the balls to decide, they just wait for case law to assist them.
 
Footnote, you cannot have case law until someone takes the case to the law…. Just saying…

Lee Ward. 

 

Friday, January 06, 2017

If Ever There Was A Time For Foresight, It's Now..... By Sean Paul Day


I cannot emphasise enough how important it is that we galvanise this year and bring a united solution to the rapidly changing, built environment, en masse 'eco' transport system. We need to be astutely aware of technological developments that might fragment us, simply by the nature of being a sole trader. We can be -once again- a formidable player in this game, but only if we work cohesively. In fact, and this is significant, it is the only way that I see us being able to continue as we are and enjoying the freedom (what little we have left) of being a sole trader.

As working cab drivers it's pretty easy to understand the significance of promoting our working model as the liberating way to access public transport. It’s sad therefore, that we are becoming increasingly reliant on established taxi hailing apps who are not incentivised in the slightest  to promote the taxi way of working. To be clear, the humble street hail conflicts  directly with their market product. 

By that, I mean fewer people hailing off the street means more of our money goes in to investors  pockets. And that's where TAXIAPP is different, because we are not bound into having to meet the needs of fat cats, we can produce and run the app at cost. The benefit of that means surplus monies can be put towards marketing our brand; something the cab trade has never had. However, a consequence of having no outside investment  means is that we all play a crucial part in regaining control over own future; and as we are battling our way against vested enterprises, then we neglect advertising and PR at our peril.

One thing we cannot do is stand still and do nothing. No one knows what technology will bring in the future, and the foreboding at TAXIAPP is the trade will not be immune from the rapacious corporations intent on filling their boots with a prime cut taken from the working class’  livelihoods. 

The way traffic is coordinated will also begin to change.  Synchronised traffic signals, giving priority to transit lanes, electronic information signs and variable speed limit signs are all part of the burgeoning ‘eco’ (can't abide that word) transport industry.

On the horizon is the ability to automatically distribute real-time congestion data to control centres. Integrating all traffic is seen to enable transience through packed to capacity infrastructure.  This cannot be ignored! If we want to continue enjoying the freedom we have as a taxi driver then we cannot exempt ourselves from this vision. 

Additionally, the government’s reluctance to legislate for emerging technologies mean we  need to be in the strongest position possible to secure  the validity of our working practices. No longer do we only need to know the way,  we also have to have the means. 

TfL, the Mayor, or even the government is not about to insulate us from the risks of heavily financed oligarchs,  so  we must  do whatever we can to protect ourselves and our great trade. If we are not on the first rung of the technological ladder, we may not get the option to be on the second. And by that, I mean we need our own technological platform, without it the  corporate owned apps will be happy to  shunt us down to a one tier system, and forever-more for us to be fodder for the stakeholders. Not only that, the policy makers that vehemently oppose our industry are watching us become less and less relevant - losing our standing-  and that's just how they want it. 

TAXIAPP cannot bear the thought of that happening and will do everything in our power to prevent further erosion. Uber is still doing its damnedest to drive incumbent taxi trades out of business in Pursuit of global industry dominance and Gett have created their own version of a taximeter adjusting it to compete with the former’s predatory pricing policy. Add to the mix, Hailo’s rebirth as My Taxi, and New York's Arro aiming to indent more damage  in our earning potential and it's easy to understand  trade faces one hell of a fight. 

But, let there be no doubt in anyone's mind, the money men would have to feed off the trades carcass whilst it was still alive  as we don't intend to  lie down for anyone. Therefore, It's time to, “Rise like lions from slumber, in unvanquished numbers” 

We have always been a vibrant, organised industry, and are determined to return to the days of being self-directive and with confidence. As much as the money men assert that we are unable to adapt, we all know they want in,  we are a self sufficient industry and they know it. And even if, as a trade, we have been slow off the mark -through no fault of our own- then that’s certainly not the case now. 

The solid trade/ pressure groups that have managed to keep many drivers feeling buoyant, especially this last year, and all the active drivers that having been nothing short of phenomenal now have an addition to the mix; a technological solution.    

Do I think it's  possible to see off this long drawn out onslaught by financiers?  
Absolutely I do! In fact, the fight hasn’t even made it to the ring yet! 

We are the Worlds greatest taxi service after-all so to us a  fiver a week seems like a minuscule commitment compared to what's at stake. And for that, we've every right to start feeling empowered again. We are after all, doing it for ourselves and for each other, our families and loved ones, future generations, and London as a whole. God forbid we leave it in such shoddy shape.  

It's time to ascend the first rung of the ladder! 

Thank You 

Sean Paul Day for TAXIAPP 

  

  

The Bunch Of Bananas & Punching Jessica's Dad.........By Semtex.


I hope it's not just wishful thinking, but I get the feeling that maybe our trade has realised that this really is our very last chance to defend our livelihoods.

I have spoken to many of our colleagues, and the support appears encouraging. Whether it will transpire that the support actually materialises on the day however, is another question. Especially when it concerns our normally fractured trade. Let's hope my optimism is founded.


Just before Christmas, I was delegated the task of going to a leading supermarket for some last minute bits and pieces. On the list that I was given, were fruit and nuts. I just got a selection of everything I could see. Amongst them were two nice big hands of bananas.

I arrived home, unloaded all the bags and my beautiful wife displayed all the fruit and nuts on the table, decorating them with Christmas holly, tinsel and stuff.

The next morning, I'm on the phone and notice the bananas on the table. I took one off the bunch, the skin was perfect. Not green, not deep yellow, just right.

As I peeled it, I was gutted to see that the whole thing was rotten as a pear inside. No biggy I thought, I will get another one, there's plenty there. Same again. Jank! Absolutely rotten !

I've got the hump now, so topped up peeling the lot, and everyone of them were rotten. Hold that thought for a moment.


Our eldest daughter is 31. She is a Senior Civil Servant and works in our National Intelligence for the Government. We are very proud of her. It's all she ever wanted to do, and she has been there since she was 16.

Just before Christmas, she told me that she had saved up a few quid, for a pair of Jimmy Choo heels, which as a matter of shocked interest, cost her more than the deposit for our first house. Would I mind taking her to New Bond Street whilst she went in and chose them. Naturally I agreed and enjoyed the chat with her on the way up to the West End. I'm driving down New Bond Street, and slowed down on the near side, pointing to Jimmy Choo's on the left hand side. I explained I was unable to wait there, so would go and do one or two jobs until she came out. No rush, I said, take you're time.

Now picture this scene folks. I drive a TX4. My daughter is sitting in the back of the cab, also on the near side. I am stationery outside Jimmy Choos, pointing my finger to the shop door way. The entrance to the shop is six feet from where she's sitting. She is nodding that she has seen it and thanking me. What do you think she did next ? As you imagine it, please bear in mind what she does for a living.


She shuffled over, and to my utter astonishment and complete bewilderment........ GOT OUT OF THE OFFSIDE DOOR !!!! Colleagues, if it were you that was driving down New Bond Street in the Vito, and my offside door made you swerve and nearly turn your cab over, my utmost apologies mate ! I could see by your face you were annoyed, and absolutely understandably too ! Can you imagine the language in my cab ? "Effing National Intelligence? My arse! No wonder we're in trouble! And they have the effing presence of mind to give you a gun........eff me !!!"  She had already got out and gone before my rant ended, she knew she had upset me !


The following week, to attempt to make amends for her blond moment I think, she invited me up to accompany her to the firm's Christmas bash in the City. Sadly my lovely wife was too unwell to attend, our youngest daughter sat with her, as I accompanied my eldest daughter to the party.

Knowing that she was going to invite me, my details and credentials had to be submitted to the Home Office security scan, some three weeks earlier, for perfectly understandable reasons.

We arrive in the City at the venue. I was well turned out, with regimental blazer, regimental tie, cufflinks......in fact, everything barring my bearskin.

I am always 100% respectable and polite to everyone I am introduced to, as all our four kids are. So the evening's introductions to our daughter's working team was no different. If I saw they had rank, I would refer to them as Sir or Madam, until a more relaxed conversation had developed. As the night progressed and the champagne began to kick in, the formalities had diluted down to Christian names.

Not long after we arrived, my daughter introduced me to a man. Although I had never met him before, I recognised his face, name and important professional remit immediately. And I must be honest, i had admired the way that he had carried his brief out, and how professionally he deals with it. As you can imagine, I held the man in awe. He has a very difficult and responsible brief, and although never having met him, I respected him a lot.


After chatting in depth about my military roles, the chap asked what I was up to these days. I explained that I still train detection dogs which I love, but just before I left the army, I also completed the grueling London Knowledge and become a Green Badge London Taxi Driver. My daughter interjected at that stage that I was very proud of it too. I'm quite good at psychology and human body language, and could tell by the smirk on his face that I was about to get some unwelcome stick from this fella.

After I told him about it, he got great satisfaction in saying " I thought old Livingstone had got rid of you buggers for ever. I know he said he would ! Surely you are just a tourist attraction now ? Uber are the proper taxis now, aren't they ?"


Folks, can you imagine how I felt ? My daughter's blood drained from her face. She knew only too well that our celebrity friend may just as well have called my dear late mother a prostitute and a whore. My brain scanner went into mode and I remember thinking that , considering the company we were in, if I only got one punch in, what side of his jaw did I think I could do the most collateral damage to before being bundled ? Or maybe even a perfectly aimed head butt on the bridge of his nose. Would that hopefully cause more pain ?

Fortunately for me (and most certainly him !!) the champagne as good as it was, hadn't totally wrecked my sensible and professional judgement, so I put my damaged pride aside. Notwithstanding, I wouldn't dream of embarrassing my daughter, not to mention bringing the London Cab Trade into disrepute.


The pain was further fired over during the evening and inflicted on me with vigor, because as I was introduced to other members of my daughter's team, this numbskull gained huge satisfaction by shouting out "Taxi ! Taxi !!" on each and every occasion that he saw me.

Noticing my embarrassment, my daughter whisked me to the other side of the room, where I was introduced to some genuinely interesting and facinating people, many that I had heard of, but never seen. My confidence was somewhat restored when the lovely daughter of the aforementioned pillock, Jessica said " Take no notice of my Dad, Steve. I've just reminded him of the roles you played in your service, and it must only be out of decency that he's still got a pulse ! Thanks for sparing him. I have recommended that he locks every window in his house tonight !"

I laughed, my daughter laughed, pillock's daughter Jessica laughed, and we carried on enjoying the evening, despite the shouts of "Taxi, Taxi !!" each and every time the fool set eyes on me.


On the journey home, I hailed a cab and the charming, professional colleague of ours took us safely to the door. It wasn't a bad job either. £152 on the meter. I paid him, gave him a tenner tip and just as he was thanking me and about to pull away, I showed him my badge in my pocket. He couldn't believe it ! He tried to give me £40 back bless him, but I was having none of it. I didn't mention that I was one of his own during the journey, as I always feel that I am asking for mates rates. It's hard enough out there as it is. During the ride, I was talking to my daughter about the evening, and in particular, her work friend, Jessica's Dad. She said she was so shocked to see him like that, as he is always so professional and efficient. The fact is though, champagne or not, he was a very rude man. Professionally capable, but his people skills and decorum were hugely lacking. He had obviously taken my politeness for my personal weakness, a flaw that is rife within the corridors of the Civil Service, MP's and Government. Fortunately for him, I was in no place to defend myself, either verbally of physically so took his childish continual onslaught on the chin. 


I have written as a trade scribe for around thirty years now. My very first guest publication was for the LTDA glossy magazine 30 years ago in 1986. It was a small A4 size magazine then, I think I remember. I was also still in the army at the time, and writing a piece about the knowledge. Since then, I have written for many of the trade orgs. The LCDC when it was under the stewardship of Alan Flemming and Alan Howes and various other orgs, including the more newly formed UCG.

I get a lot of satisfaction from writing, I enjoy it. But I must admit, and please believe me, I am not fishing for compliments, but if there was ever a trophy for the most boring trade scribe out there, I would surely win it ! The thing is, and as most of the readers that skip my articles will agree, it's only really the titles that I change ! The contents of my articles are more or less all the same. I try to put a bit of comic relief into them, I try to incorporate everyday situations whilst attempting to get to a point and I always write about what I know, a cardinal rule in writing. But as I say, ever since the first days, I have been repeating the same thing over and over again. I knew they were trying to kill us years ago, I knew we were short of trade unity, I knew TFL were dodgy, I knew the enforcement had been deliberately wittled down, I knew Uber should never had been licensed and I knew we would need to do something about it. I also knew that NONE of the so called MP's and Civil Service trade friends........would be of any value to us.

So that is all I have ever written about. I've tried to put a few jokes in here and there, write about my personal goals and hopes for our trade, but other than that, its the same old tosh, and I don't know how our great friend and Editor Jim Thomas, hasn't barred me ! But what else can I write about ? We are in trouble, we are dying, we need to unite ! ZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.


That is why I get frustrated when I hear and see really good, respected Trade stalwarts of ours say stuff like, we are so grateful that so and so MP is on board, a certain Government Minister is fighting our corner, so and so from the Civil Service is on our side. Or a particular MP is worried that they will lose our trade forever. 

NO THEY'RE NOT !! NO THEY AIN'T !!  ARE THEY BOLLOX WORRIED !!!

Folks, the only people who are worried about our trade is US LONDON CAB DRIVERS  and the families of London Cab drivers ! Mark my words, none of them would give a toss if we died out tomorrow !! Why on earth do so many of us listen to their balony time and time again ? It's ludicrous, honestly it is !

The Government, TFL, The Civil Service.........the lot. None of them give a monkey's about us, so please stop letting the stooges play for time, using classical deflection tricks and inviting us up for meetings. We are so far down on the pecking order it's a wonder we are not under the ground level !


PC Yvonne Fletcher was only 25 when a 9mm bullet tore into her stomach, on that dreadful April morning in the North East corner of St. James Square. 



I'm no pathologist or surgeon, but she must have been in agony for the next hour of her life, as she bravely fought for survival. The gravity of this horrific situation was made 100 times worse when her poor fiance, also a serving Met Police Officer tried in vain to revive her, on the pavement way back in 1984.

Scum from the Libyan Embassy has recklessly fired a sub machine gone from the Embassy building, killing a beautiful, proud, valued, kind, serving London Copper. I remember my unit being put on red stand by for that incident, as Police Negotiators pleaded for a further week and half, trying to get this filth to come out. How I would have loved to have been deployed to that and dealt with it in the same operational fashion as the Iranian Embassy in Prince's Gate was dealt with.

Sadly, it was not to be. Yvonne Fletcher's murderers were allowed to walk out of the building and onto a luxury private jet back to Tripoli, in the name that it would damage trade embargos with Libya and threaten the lives of six British hostages if Britain resisted.

I can't even begin to think how Yvonne's poor fiance and parents were thinking as the jet took off back to Libyan safety. There is rumour that the actual assassin got away from the back door of the embassy shortly after, but even so, to let his mates get onto a private jet to Tripoli after being surrounded and caught bang to rights, is a betrayal not only to Yvonne Fletcher's family, but the whole of the British Police Service. They ask our Police Officers to put themselves in front of 9mm machine gun bullets, and then dish up a nice portion of betrayal, when they die on the pavement. But that's our Government for you.


How people have the affront to burn Guy Fawkes every year, always amazes me.


My dear old Mum passed away a few years ago now. She was a very gentle, respectful, meek woman. I had hardly ever heard her swear. I therefore never actually believed what came out of her mouth when she had learnt that Sinn Fein had taken possession of their office keys in Westminster. The air was blue ! "They've betrayed us ! The bastard Government have betrayed us !" she screamed. Her anger was not unfounded. Her eldest son, yours truly, had missed having his name etched in stone at the Armed Forces Memorial in Staffordshire, by a whisker. If it wasn't for a swift lift in a WS61 Sea King and the skills and expertise of nursing staff and senior surgeon Rob McFarlane at The Military Hospital in Woolwich some years previous, the IRA would have gained another British scalp to their collection. I am, as you can imagine, eternally grateful.



We all know about Marine A, don't we ? Betrayed by his Government. Trained and ordered to do a job. Paid to do it. Its not a commercial bid, you dont have a choice whether you go on this work as a serving serviceman or woman. You just go. Just like Marine A did. And now he's in the nick, spent Christmas in the nick and most probably many more Christmas's to come. And how about the 75 year old, honoured and decorated Chelsea Pensioner ? Interviewed last week for 5 solid hours ! This former Royal Marine has been accused as a suspect for murder, in the killing of a dangerous armed terrorist, whilst on operational duty in Northern Ireland in 1972. Absolutely outrageous betrayal from the shiny arsed brigade at Westminster.

The same with the charges brought about by the Government's CPS, to arrest the Paratroopers in the Bloody Sunday affair.

Do you know what the Government is doing now ? They are forming an official body and panel, called the Historical Investigations Unit to investigate the British Army's involvement in the troubles of Northern Ireland.

F**king charming, isn't it ? They train you up, provide you with arms and ammunition, pay you a wage, give you a medal, then wait till you are drawing your pension.................then nick you !! You will find the same photograph of HM The Queen on the walls of the barracks where you were trained  how to fight, and the exact same photo on the walls of the Court Dock when you get a ten stretch ! Absolutely outrageous, hypocrisy !



My point is folks, if you haven't grasped it by now............................is what chance do you think the taxi trade has, when they can do that to our National War Veterans ? None, mate ! That's what chance.......absolutely none.

The next time I hear one of these MP's calling for British Unity or waving a British flag I think I might punch them. Is it the same flag wavers that fined Fifa and our boys for going onto the pitch with poppies on ? Probably ! 

Betraying, two faced, lying, hypocritical, bent, corrupt, shiny arsed wrong 'uns.


I almost forgot. Where do the bananas come into it ? Well,the bananas I bought just before Christmas reminded me very much of the MP's who claim to love and support The London Taxi Trade, the hierarchy of TFL and the Government who we are supposed to trust and put our faith in.


They look alright from the outside....................but as rotten as f**k in the middle !


Our last chance is almost upon us folks. Our mates and colleagues of the UCG have asked for our help. Don't blow it. Don't put your head in the sand and don't make out you knew nothing about our stand on the 12th or the UCG's request for back up. If we don't get it right this time, we're dead in the water. As rapper Eminem said :


"Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted, in one moment.........Would you capture it, or just let it slip ? Yo !


Be lucky all. See you out there. Take care.



8829 Semtex.


Thursday, January 05, 2017

A Most Remarkable And Brave Woman. RIP Jill Saward (Drake)

A rape victim who was the first in the UK to waive her right to anonymity has died aged 51. 

Vicar's daughter Jill Saward was 21 and a virgin when a knife-wielding gang broke into her Ealing vicarage home in 1986 and raped her. Her father and boyfriend, whom she was with at the time, were tied up and viciously beaten.

The 1986 attack, which came to be known as the Ealing Vicarage Rape, received widespread media attention. This continued at trial, during which the judge drew criticism when he said the trauma Ms Saward had suffered 'had not been so great'.

Mr Justice Leonard also provoked outrage when he handed rapists Martin McCall and Christopher Byrne shorter jail terms than gang leader Robert Horscroft, who was sentenced for burglary and assault and did not take part in the rape.

Ms Saward died this morning after suffering a brain haemorrhage. She is survived by Gavin Drake, her journalist husband of 23 years, and her three sons.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, described Ms Saward as a 'heroic and remarkable campaigner' in a heartfelt tweet today. Another supporter, Julie Bindel expressed the feelings of many when she said: 

'You took the shame away from women who were raped'

Just a short tribute to a really remarkable and brave woman. 

Please see full tribute >Please click here<


MINICAB Company Addison Lee To Take Over US Rival Flyte Tyme In Battle With Uber.



Addison Lee has bought US rival Flyte Tyme to try to keep pace with Uber.

The private equity-owned minicab company said the move would bolster global sales to nearly £400m and cement its position as one of the world’s biggest private hire operator.

Flyte Tyme is based in New Jersey and has a turnover of £53m, with 525 staff and 375 drivers.

The move comes after Addison Lee boosted its global footprint in June last year by buying Tristar Worldwide, which has operations in 80 countries.

The global market has undergone a radical shake-up following the rise of Uber’s smartphone app, which has driven down minicab fares, but come under fire from traditional taxi drivers.

Andy Boland, chief executive of Addison Lee, said the Flyte Tyme deal was an important moment for the private hire industry. 

The tie-up will hand Addison Lee – which is owned by US private equity firm The Carlyle Group – a US fleet of 17,400 cars through 'affiliate partners'. 

They hope it will boost annual US revenues to more than £82m per year.


Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Bank Junction; In a Game of Chess if you don’t plan your moves its Check Mate.... By Dave Davies


When someone plays Chess they plan several moves ahead, trying to second guess what their opponents reactive move will be and considering all options.

If a player does not do this it’s Check Mate.

 

You can be absolutely sure that the Mayor of London and TFL see the bigger picture and plan their moves in the same way and taxi drivers and trade orgs need to start thinking in the same way or its game over.

 

A good example is the current situation with the Bank Junction. The responsibility for this decision is supposedly the City Of London, but in reality its TFL.

 

The City of London are claiming its to reduce pollution but in actual fact it will increase air pollution.

Scientific testing was carried out in Brighton which shows that more than 90% of air pollution is caused when a vehicle is stop starting.

In the graph below the spikes in air pollution can clearly be seen at traffic lights.

 


The closure of Bank Junction will cause massive congestion in the immediate surrounding area and therefore there will be a massive increase in air pollution from Buses in that congestion. They may well be able to drive through Bank Junction more easily but they will have to drive in heavily congested traffic to get to it!

 

TFL could have opposed this  decision on the grounds that it would cause congestion and pollution in the immediate surrounding area  but they have chosen to actually support it.

 

Why have they done this?

 

Is it because the Directors of TFL have shares in the Bus companies who will benefit from the policy of having exclusive access to Bank; are they hoping that people will use their buses instead of Taxis?

 

Is it because they know it will distract taxi Drivers from protesting about TFL; the media will report the battle is with the City of London ? 

 

Are they hoping that you will send a message to the media that you are protesting about the City of London’s decision and NOT TFL ? 

 

They know that all the time Taxi Drivers are distracted by this they are not  focussed in exposing TFL and the decision to renew Ubers License in May?

 

If the message for the upcoming protests is that it’s about the closure of Bank Junction then TFL will be over the moon.

 

People need to see the bigger picture.

 

This is not about the closure of Bank Junction  to Taxis; it ‘s about the improper and unlawful regulation of TFL.

If drivers battle on a single issue like this they are not playing the game strategically; they are not planning several moves ahead.

What happens if the battle is won only for next week another Local Authority closes access for Taxis? (in Westminster for example)

Do you then protest about each and every issue month after month?

 

The smart move is to think ahead and plan your moves. Issues will continue until the Government steps in and takes action.

The ONLY way for this to happen is if there is a clear message and clear objective, which I outlined in a previous article

http://taxileaks.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/new-year-action-if-you-fail-to-plan-you.html

 

Daily Taxi protests will take place until the ALL of the following demands are fully met;

 

1/ The media fully investigates, reports and exposes the improper and unlawful actions of TFL, to include the failure to regulate Private Hire, the issuance of tens of thousands of PH Licenses without proper background checks, medicals or insurance, the improper interference of senior politicians to allow the regulations to be disregarded and the many other issues that have been raised by Taxi drivers and their Trade Organisations.

 

2/ The Prime Minister and Government immediately initiates an urgent  Statutory Public Inquiry into the improper and unlawful conduct of TFL as detailed above and in the Press Release below

 

3/ Pending the Statutory Public Inquiry there is an immediate suspension of 

·        New Private Hire License applications

·        The Uber Private Hire operator’s License; they do not meet the regulatory requirements to hold an operator’s License (no landline/office  etc ) and Sadiq Khan promised that he would do this if he became Mayor and there was a single case of a driver being licensed improperly. There is evidence thousands of drivers have been issued licenses improperly so he needs to stand by his word.

·        The improper and unlawful Taxi Age limit which is needlessly scraping taxis on a daily basis costing drivers thousands of pounds.

·        The continued road alterations(including the closure of Bank Junction) which have not complied with proper Planning Process. TFL have claimed that change of a roads use from vehicles to cycle lanes is not a change of use.

 

The details of the demands of  the daily protests could be communicated by Press Releases from Trade Orgs , Social Media and flyers handed out to drivers (there are thousands of drivers who don’t use social media and have no information about the ongoing issues).

There will be no need for representation or engagement; the protests organised by individual drivers themselves  will continue until the 3 demands are fully met.

TFL have to be exposed and there has to be a change in the regulatory body.

TFL is a web of Private Limited companies who receive £11 BILLION  a year of Taxpayers money yet are accountable to no one

 

There could also perhaps be formal protests by Trade Orgs to run alongside any unofficial protest.

I know the UCG are planning to protest against the City Of London decision to restrict the Bank junction, but it is TFL who have allowed this to happen and encouraged it. 

If there was a proper regulator in place it would be that regulator challenging the City of London

It will be good to have a clear and untied plan of action by all drivers and trade orgs

 Unfortunately this message was not well received by any Trade orgs . I previously offered to speak to the UCG, DDD ,ITA and no one has responded.

 

The message that has been suggested is being completely ignored.

 

If the need to think several moves ahead can’t be seen and the message is something else then its Check Mate!

 


PRESS RELEASE

Thousands of London Taxi’s Protest  with one simple clear message calling for a Public Inquiry into TFL, The UKs Capital is gridlocked and choking with air pollution.

The traffic chaos and air pollution in London resembles that of a third world city, not that of a world leading city.

Every single person living, working and visiting London is affected by the severe congestion and toxic air pollution, as well as the dire economic impact to business and tourism.

The regulatory Public Body responsible for this unarguable failure is Transport for London.

Unfortunately TFL is not structured as a Public Body and does not act  as a Public Body  in compliance with Public Law.

It is structured as a complicated web of private Limited Companies with TFL employees as directors of those companies.

TFL has an annual budget in excess of £11 billion of Tax Payers money yet has not been  accountable for its failures in its Duty of Care to protect the public.

The structure of TFL and its lack of accountability for the unarguable failures is something which should be properly scrutinized by a Statutory Public Inquiry

The Mayor of London is Chair of TFL so is not in a position to conduct an independent investigation.

 

There are also far more serious issues as a result of that lack of accountability.

 

TFL have failed to act in compliance with Public Law on many issues

London Taxi and Private Hire –LTPH- have failed to regulate properly. 

·         They have issued tens of thousands of Private Hire Licenses without proper background checks, without proper insurance checks , without proper medical checks and with no proper regulation or enforcement.

The result is traffic congestion, air pollution and Londoners being exposed to serious safety and security risks.

·         They have introduced a Taxi Age Limit based on false evidence that the newer taxis were less polluting. More than 10,000 London Taxis have been scrapped at great expense to drivers for no proper purpose. Trade organisations were misled by TFL that this policy would reduce air pollution when the technical evidence clearly showed the older taxis were LESS polluting

·         There is no proper process or consultation with many of the other decisions made by LTPH in relation to Taxis and Private Hire

TFL have also failed on many other issues.

·         They have failed to implement a single effective air pollution strategy for many years and as a result thousands are dying each year from air pollution in London. Every single person living, working or visiting London is affected. 

·         They have failed to comply with proper planning process and proper traffic management resulting in gridlock and severe congestion. The Cycle Lanes which have contributed to the gridlocked streets and therefore more air pollution is one example. TFL ignored the Planning process claiming the project was ‘road improvements’ and not a change of use, even though they were changing the use of the road specifically for cycles. It would be positive to encourage and enable safe cycling in a proper way but the result of the current mismanaged policies are clear to see.

·         They have failed with proper procurement process. This includes the Garden Bridge project which has failed to comply with proper lawful process.

·         The number of empty buses driving in central London causing congestion and pollution has increased, and at the same time the Directors of TFL hold significant shares in the bus companies.

 

In December 2014 the GLA Transport Committee, who supposedly have the ability to hold TFL to account, filed a report about TFL following an extensive inquiry in relation to Taxi and Private Hire. 

The report listed many failings and described TFL as ‘Woefully Inadequate’. The result of that report was absolutely nothing; no action has ever been taken about the serious failings of TFL in the report. 

This confirms two things; firstly that TFL are failing and not acting in compliance with Public  Law and secondly that they are unaccountable. They just ignored the Transport Committee inquiry and report and took no action.

 

It is regrettable that Taxi Drivers are forced to protest but the fact is that the improper actions and policies of TFL are causing widespread gridlock and congestion all day every day/ 24/7  throughout London.

The gridlock, congestion and toxic air pollution affects absolutely everyone who lives , works or visits London , so it is in everyone’s interest that urgent action is taken by the Government and the protest today is needed for this to happen.

 

The protests will continue until the Prime Minister formally initiates a Statutory Public Inquiry into TFL. It is a simple and reasonable demand which needs to be met , as no other course of action will resolve the very serious problems which are affecting everyone

 

Q and As 

The Taxi protest is causing huge disruption and inconvenience ; Is that reasonable?

It is regrettable that Taxi Drivers are forced to protest but the fact is that the improper actions and policies of TFL are causing widespread gridlock and congestion all day every day/ 24/7  throughout London.

The gridlock, congestion and toxic air pollution affects absolutely everyone who lives , works or visits London , so it is in everyone’s interest that urgent action is taken by the Government and the protest today is needed for this to happen.

 

What is the protest about?

Transport for London are a Public Body but their decisions and policies do not comply with Public Law. These decisions do not just affect taxi drivers they affect everyone.

TFL has an annual budget of £11 billion of taxpayers’ money so it is reasonable to expect them to act in the Public’s interest.

The failed policies have caused gridlock ,congestion and pollution and as a result there is harm to health and the economy.

Failure to regulate has created serious risks to personal and general security, including sexual assaults, rapes, injury to passengers and pedestrians and the fact that the capitals security in general is compromised.

 

Why has the Mayor taken no action?

TFL are accountable to no one which in itself is something which should be investigated in the format of a Public Inquiry. The Mayor is Chair of TFL and therefore could not conduct an independent investigation. The GLA are supposed to be able to scrutinize the decisions and policies of TFL but have no statutory power to take action about TFL failures. 

A GLA report in 2014 which deemed TFL to be ‘Woefully Inadequate’ has been ignored.

 

Why has the Department of Transport taken no action?

Formal complaints have been made to the DFT over a number of years and even though this is a national issue  they have continually stated that they have no jurisdiction over TFL and that it is a matter for the Mayor to deal with. The Mayor is Chair of TFL so therefore cannot taken independent action.

 

Why a Public Inquiry?

If there was a train crash and 140 people were killed there would be an immediate Public Inquiry to establish what had caused it and what steps could be taken to prevent it ever happening again.

The failed policies of TFL which are replicated throughout the UK are leading to massive air pollution  which causes 140 deaths every single day. There is also harm, injury, sexual assaults, road accidents caused by TFLs failure to regulate properly.

It is an outrageous situation and the improper and unlawful decisions need to bee scrutinized in the format of a Statutory Public Inquiry to ensure that effective policies are implemented in the future and that TFL complies with Public Law and its Duty of Care to protect the Public.

 

How Long will protests last?

The protests will continue until the Prime Minister formally initiates a Statutory Public Inquiry into TFL. It is a simple and reasonable demand which needs to be met , as no other course of action will resolve the very serious problems which are affecting everyone

 

Who is involved?

The protest has been organised by the United Cabbies Group but is also formally supported by the London Cab Drivers Club, the RMT, the Campaign for Air Pollution Public Inquiry and thousands of individual taxi drivers throughout London and the rest of the country.

 

What are the requirements of Public Law ?

It is a requirement of Public Law that decisions made by a Public body or someone in Public Office follow correct procedure, are rational and evidence based, for proper purpose, proportionate and properly reasoned. These criteria exist to ensure that decisions made by a Public Body result in effective policies and strategies.  It is extremely important to acknowledge that these criteria are not just an obligation they are legal requirements and the failure to comply with these requirements is the reason why TFL’s decisions and  strategies have failed.

 

The legal requirements for a Public Body are to

1/Follow correct procedure

2/ Be Rational and Evidence based

3/Have proper purpose

4/to comply with the European Convention for Human Rights

5/To be Proportionate

6/To be properly Reasoned

 

TFL have failed to comply with these requirements.

 

What are the requirements for a Public Inquiry ?
It seems that the Government has taken no notice of many complaints about TFL (including by MPs) and the obvious failings, despite the clear lack of compliance with Public Law and the clear harm to the Public (from air pollution , sexual assaults, and the numerous accidents in London caused by unregulated drivers) 

The ONLY reasonable solution is for the failures to be properly investigated in the format of a Statutory Public Inquiry



Certain characteristics can be identified in those public inquiries that have taken place:

·         Widespread loss of life

·         Threats to public health or safety

·         Failure by the state in its duty to protect

·         Failure in regulation

·         Shocking events

1.      Allegations of serious misconduct and prima facie merit have been made against those acting, or purporting to act, on behalf of the state and

2.      Those allegations are sufficiently widespread and are being treated sufficiently seriously by those outside Government to undermine the public’s confidence in the integrity of the State and in the rule of law and

3.      The allegations relate to a sufficiently defined event or series of events to allow an inquiry to be given proper and clear terms of reference and

An inquiry would represent the most effective means of establishing the merit of the allegations made and so of restoring public confidence.



It is the best possible way of establishing why previous TFL strategies have failed so that these mistakes are not repeated and proper effective urgent action is taken in the future.