Saturday, March 04, 2017

Uber Using 'Secret Program' Greyball To Profile Passengers And Hide From Regulators

Uber has been using a secret program to prevent undercover regulators from shutting down the taxi-hailing service in cities around the world.

Greyball is part of a program called VTOS, short for “violation of terms of service,” which Uber created to root out people it thought were using or targeting its service improperly. The program, including Greyball, began as early as 2014 and remains in use, predominantly outside the United States. Greyball was approved by Uber’s legal team.

Greyball and the VTOS program were described to The New York Times by four current and former Uber employees, who also provided documents. The four spoke on the condition of anonymity because the tools and their use are confidential and because of fear of retaliation by Uber.

The software, called Greyball, was developed to help protect the company from "violations of terms of service".

But data collected through Uber's phone app was also used to identify officials monitoring its drivers.

Uber has acknowledged that Greyball has been used in multiple countries, the New York Times reports.

The tool has enabled the company to monitor users' habits.

But it also identified regulators posing as ordinary passengers while investigating whether Uber was breaking local laws governing taxis.

The software works by collecting geolocation data and credit card information to determine whether the user is linked to an institution or law enforcement authority.

A "fake" version of the app would then allow those individuals suspected of attempting to entrap drivers to hail a cab, only to have their booking cancelled.

We know that Uber use Greyball program to profile against enforcement, but they also allegedly using it to discriminated against disabled people and shut them out of the system. 

When this fellow used the Uber app, drivers accept then cancel costing him £5 a pop and he still ends up not getting a car. 

Same with wheelchair passengers 

It's disgusting that this company is not only discriminating against disabled passengers, but their drivers are profiting immorally from cancellations. 

Many Uber drivers use the cancellation policy because it can be more profitable to cancel than actually do the job. This process must be stopped by TfL as it is no more than theft from customers. 

Not one Licensed Taxi service will charge passengers if the drive cancels 

The existence of the Greyball program was revealed in an article published in the New York Times on Friday, which attributed the information to four current and former Uber employees, who were not named.

"This program denies ride requests to fraudulent users who are violating our terms of service," Uber said in a statement.

"Whether that's people aiming to physically harm drivers, competitors looking to disrupt our operations, or opponents who collude with officials on secret 'stings' meant to entrap drivers," it added.

It comes in the same week that the chief executive of Uber, Travis Kalanick, was forced to apologise after a video emerged of him swearing at one of the company's drivers. Just two weeks earlier he apologised for "abhorrent" sexism at the company.


>Click Here for story<

To lose 1 senior Vice President in a week is never good. To lose two is very careless.

Add to the growing woes captured on this thread just this week.

But there's more ... check out this:

>The list of all the other crap - JUST - from this week can be found here.<

Also in the Times, news that passengers in Uber cars only pay 41% of the real cost of their ride, the remaining 59% covered by investors cash. 

This is known as predator pricing and is supposed to be illegal. But legality hasn't stopped Uber in any form in the past 5 years, since they were first licensed by TfLTPH under John Mason's directorship.

Unlicensed, unregulated:
Uber used covert methods to operate in cities like Boston, Las Vegas, Portland, and even Paris, France, without the authorities or city officials finding out. When an officer tried to request an Uber, the app would display “ghost” cars, which would never pick them up. In some cases, authorities will not see any cars on the app at all.

In 2014, the ride-hailing service began operating in Portland without the city's permission, violating the city’s Private For-Hire Transportation Regulations and Administrative Rules.

Erich England, a code enforcement inspector in Portland, Oregon, posed as a customer, trying to catch a ride in order to build a case against the company. England and city officials recorded themselves requesting multiple rides through the app, each of which was quickly canceled.

Unknown to England, he was already tagged by Uber’s software, and all of the rides he saw were fake.

Three days after launching, Uber was sued by the city for operating without a permit, and the company agreed to suspend its operations in Portland for a period.

Uber claims this software was developed to protect its drivers from code enforcers that are working with taxi interests.

“This program denies ride requests to users who are violating our terms of service — whether that’s people aiming to physically harm drivers, competitors looking to disrupt our operations, or opponents who collude with officials on secret ‘stings’ meant to entrap drivers,” Uber said in a statement, according to the New York Times.

The company also allegedly watched people that were opening and closing the app near government offices, searched through users’ social media profiles and credit card information, and used several other indicators to single out any police officers or individuals that might be associated with government agencies.

Those individuals were then “Greyballed,” or blocked from accessing the real app.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he is still “very concerned that Uber may have purposefully worked to thwart the city’s job to protect the public,” according to a statement released on Friday after the New York Times report.

At least 50 Uber employees knew about the existence of Greyball, which was approved by their legal team, according to the report.

Uber has also been in legal battles over sexual harassment charges and allegedly stealing intellectual property from Google parent company Alphabet's self-driving car company, Waymo.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Uber Lose English Tests Appeal In The High Court, But It's Not All Good News

Uber loses court case to block English-language test in London. The instant hail app was attempting to halt Transport for London demand that drivers pass language test to obtain licence

The minicab app Uber lost a court battle on Friday to stop plans for strict new rules on the need for its drivers and those of other private hire services to prove their reading and writing skills in English to operate in London. 

San Francisco-based Uber, which allows users to book journeys at the touch of a button on their smartphone, has faced bans and protests around the world as regulators play catch-up with technology disrupting traditional operators. 

Uber launched legal action in August after public body Transport for London (TfL) said that drivers should have to prove their ability to communicate in English, including to a standard of reading and writing which Uber said was too high.

"TfL are entitled to require private hire drivers to demonstrate English language compliance," said Judge John Mitting as he rejected Uber's claim.


Apparently it's not all over yet, as Uber say they are to appeal this decision. 

If Uber can appeal then TfL should appeal the parts they lost. But I wouldn't hold your breath on that one.


One rule for them....and a different one for us of course. 


Too Much, Too Many...Capping PHV Licenses. By Lee Ward.

Capping PHV Licenses?
I recently sent an email to the Chairmen of NALEO (National Association of Licensing Enforcement Officers) and ILO (Institute of Licensing Officers) with my suggestions for what could, or rather should, be considered as a National Standard for Taxi and Private Hire Drivers.
Currently, it says so in the LGMPA 1976 at Section 48, no cap can be placed on the amount of Private Hire Licenses issued by a Council, although I cannot find why this was decided when the Act was written, but I am sure it was put in there for a reason which I will find one day because I need to. But, if a Unmet Demand Survey is done every three years, then a cap can be placed on Hackney Licenses, so really, why not Private Hire also?
Until we find that answer, I decided to give NALEO and ILO my thoughts, these would not only slow down the issue of too many licenses, but would raise the standard of driver also, but that’s in my opinion of course, let’s see if you agree.
My suggestions are;
• Enhanced DBS check
• Driving Standards test
• Local knowledge test
• Intended use policy
• Applicants to LIVE within 20 mile of the area to be licensed
• NVQ or BTEC Professional Taxi & Private Hire Driver Qualification
• Group 2 Medical
• Proof of eligibility to work within the UK
• English Language Test to level CEFR C1 minimum
• Maths Test to level OCR Functional Skills minimum 
(I would love to see the look on Uber and the GMB’s faces when these get placed as a standard across the country, they didn’t like the idea of just an English Test)
Also, on the back of this, I noticed in the LTDA’s January Edition stated that 

So I emailed Mr NcNamara and introduced myself and offered my suggestions and help with regards to the Private Hire sector, I didn’t get a reply of course until I emailed again stating common courtesy does not hurt where I then got a reply from a Lady who works for Newington Communications who stated;
We do not plan to campaign for minimum national standards over and beyond criteria that you have listed below, which drivers in Sheffield must comply with.
Hopefully they go for equal and not below if they are not going for over and beyond…
On a positive side to this, the solicitor for ILO emailed me asking if I would like to sit down and have a chat about things and NALEO took my letter that I sent to their Annual Meeting at the end of January to be discussed, I await the feedback from it with eager anticipation.

Mobile Phones and PDA’s
The news going round about PDA’s and Mobile Phones regarding both the Taxi and Private Hire Trades needs some clarity, and I found the best explanation on the Save Our Black Cabs Facebook Forum by Jason Clauson and a well written explanation it is too, thanks for this Jason.
To Read the full article that Jason wrote, >Click Here<
But to summarise it states;
The LAW has not changed, only the fine and points. Therefore we should all KNOW how to use a phone as a professional driver when at the wheel, if in doubt then I strongly suggest that you click on the link and READ Jason’s article, you cannot afford not to…
The device MUST be in a cradle fixed to the dash and it is OK to interact with the device to accept a booking ONLY when SAFE to do so. 
You break the law when your interaction with the device interferes with your ability to stay in control of your vehicle.
Common sense must always prevail when in control of a vehicle (my words, not Jason’s, he explains it much better)
Taxi Leaks Extra Comment 
TfLTPH have stated on their Twitter account (read by about 5% of the trade) that "The use of apps on a cradle-mounted phone is lawful if done with common sense and good judgement:"
Taxi Leaks has asked TfL to make a Notice To The Trade, defining common sense and good judgement....unfortunately they have refused to do this. 

We at Taxi Leaks believe this tweet from TfL is just a lame excuse to try to protect Uber's modus operandi. 
This company cannot opperate without driver interaction with a mobile and SatNav while their vehicles are in motion. (How does an uber driver accept a second and subsequent job on UberPool without touching the phone?)

TfL have also stated that the law hasn't changed, just the penalties. 
This means that TfL knew Uber's system would require the driver to break the law, but they licensed the company, regardless of the 2003 Act.

GMB United...?
Well, what a week I have had, and it’s going to rain at the weekend too for the extra bonus!!
Apart from saving two drivers their licenses at Committee hearings, I also got two vehicles passed with exemptions to get the owners back on the road working and Sheffield had its largest trade demo with around 80-90 drivers attending, to which I thank each and every one of you.
If anyone missed the slight slur on the Drivers Association that I Chair, called ALPHA, you can watch it below.


Well, I am going to have one of these, I have given you all enough to think about and I am ready for one… 

and, if I may so, I deserve one…
Bottoms up !!

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Update : Minicab Driver First To Be Caught In Birmingham, Meanwhile In London !!!

Minicab driver caught using mobile phone is one of first to receive six points under new law

A minicab driver caught using his mobile phone behind the wheel is one of the first to receive six points on his licence after a new stricter law came into force on Wednesday.

Central Motorway Police Group tweeted they had stopped a private hire driver in Birmingham city centre.

CMPG tweeted: “Birmingham city centre. Private hire driver stopped using his mobile phone whilst driving. #DontStreamAndDrive #noexcuses #6points”

They said: “The 1st day of new legislation for using mobile phone when driving 9 tickets issued to motorists #no excuse.”

  Picture tweeted from the police to show how busy this crossing is. 

Meanwhile in London at Kings Cross, surrounded by private hire vehicles illegally plying for hire, using their phones to accept job offers and setting SatNavs coordinates, our brace impartial (not) Traffic Cops dish out a £200 fine and 6 penalty points to a driver on the feeder rank at Kings Cross campaign.

Funny though, it's just been on the news that police are so short of man power, they can't investigate serious crimes and many projects have had to be shelved. 
But they can always fine Officers to nick a cabby. 

Why Are Beijing's Electric Taxi Passengers Are Freezing?

Nice ride, but you wouldn't want to travel in one in the winter.

Beijing had the best of intentions when it started to promote all-electric taxis in 2011. Not only would the green cars reduce the city's choking pollution, but they'd highlight its commitment to becoming a center of innovation. There was just one problem: cold weather.

Electric cars lise their charge  quickly when temperatures drop, reducing their range, utility and -for taxi drivers- profitability. Just ask the unlucky souls driving them around Beijing this winter. According to local news media, they're shutting off battery-draining heaters and driving in warm clothing, thanks to fares lost while charging their batteries which they can't really afford.

With a laudable commitment to the environment, Beijing still plans to replace the city's entire fleet of 67,000 gas-powered taxis with greener ones. But as with so many of China's renewable-energy initiatives, this one prioritizes symbolism and publicity over planning and practicality. The results are likely to be disappointing.

Beijing's experiment started modestly enough, six years ago, with the introduction of 50 electric taxis in the suburbs. By the end of 2013, there were 1,000. But they didn't come cheap. In many areas, the favored vehicle was the Beiqi, made by state-owned Beijing Automotive Group Co., which cost as much as $35,000, compared to $10,000 cheaper for a comparable gas-powered car.

Another problem was that the number of charging stations around the city failed to keep up with demand. In 2014, there were 539 of them for 1,150 electric taxis. But thanks to the rapidly expanding number of private electric cars Beijing (51,000by 2016 alone) that soon proved inadequate. One result was that taxi fleets spent half their time charging, with a typical wait time of two to three hours.

That's a real hardship for drivers. According to China's Economic Observer newspaper, a fully charged Beijing electric taxi has a range of about 90 miles. That's not far in a city where a daily commute averages 23miles. And it gets worse with age: Drivers report that a year-old taxi's range drops to around 60 miles, and some older ones struggle to reach 30. A study last year found that the city's electric taxis average two charges, two trips and a mere 72 miles a day.

Unsurprisingly, many drivers want out. At Beijing Yinjian Taxi, the city's largest vendor, monthly rents for the cars have fallen from $1,000 in 2014 to as little as $300 today, as cabbies prove harder to attract. Although the city government is offering a $200 monthly subsidy to drivers who work a set number of hours in an electric taxi, there aren't many takers so far.

For a program with such admirable goals, that's disappointing -- but not unusual. In its impatient drive to become a leader in renewable energy and conservation, China often underinvests in the infrastructure needed to realize its ambitions. Much of the energy generated by China's wind-power turbines, for instance, never reaches consumers because the electric grid lacks the capacity to transmit it. In one province, fully 43 percent of generated wind power goes nowhere. The situation is similar in solar, where a significant amount of new capacity isnt even hooked up to the grid. In sunny, vast Xinjiang Province, more than half the solar power generated simply goes to waste.

If China continues to approach renewable energy this way, it isn't going to get very far. A better approach is to be, frankly, a little boring. Start by building up public works, such as power grids and charging stations, before imposing new-energy requirements and technologies. Amsterdam became a world leader in electric car use partly by installing charging stations on a large scale and shifting to electric public transit. It also established one of the world's few successful electric taxi fleets by giving drivers exclusive rights to pick up passengers from Schiphol Airport, where fast energy chargers are now waiting to cater to them.

But don't get excited over this as this won't be the case at Heathrow as no one wants to pay for the fast charge units

Geely can't claim they didn't know about the effect from the cold weather as they've been spotted in Poland test the TX5 throughout the winter. 

TfL Board Member's Company, In New Deal With Uber.

Courtesy of Jamie Hawes we once more have news of alleged skulduggery and shady goings on at TFL. 

Jamie had uncovered an advertising campaign giving £16 off the first journey in an Uber car. The advert is for Worldpay Benefits Club, who's CEO Ron Kalifa is on the TFL Board of Directors. 
I'm no legal brain but this can't be right. 

A board member of a transport regulator advertising his credit card payment company, offering discounts to customers who use a transport provider unfairly competing with us, that he's supposed to (in part) regulate himself. 

Add the fact that the transport provider in question is Uber, and along with all the recent associated damaging press and media attention, I can't understand how this isn't unethical or illegal if not both.

Surely it's a breach of law, or at the very least a clear conflict of interest. 

He can't make clear, impartial decisions regarding our industry without obvious favoritism towards Uber knowing Worldpay benefit from board decisions.

Their's also the moral issue surrounding the ad campaign.
In the ad picture a young lady is seen smiling in the back of a car. How many rape and sexual assault allegations have been made against Uber drivers worldwide?

How many accidents, assaults, attacks, abusive outbursts?

The list goes on, yet a newly appointed member of the Transport for London Board of Directors is happy to advocate the use of this dreadful company in order to grow his business knowing the dangers attributed to it.

I wonder if Khan knows?
I wonder if Khan cares?

It's also been pointed out that TfL's Managing Director for surface transport, Leon Daniels, is a regular user of Uber

Jamie also discovered Kalifa apparently sold 1,858,000 Worldpay shares valued at a peak of £2.87p per share on the 17/10/2016 amounting to £5.4m, two weeks before mandatory acceptance. 

Once again I'm no legal brain but it seems strange to me, then again it could all be completely legal and common practice but the two together puts me on edge.
It makes me wonder who else on the board is "at it"?

Then their's the new mobile use rules that have come into effect this week.
Why now?

I question the timing of these new rules along with the structure of them. We all use mobiles or tablets to do our job so why now?

I love a good conspiracy and I'm wondering if this is all part of an elaborate ruse TFL and the Mayor have come up with to weasel out of getting rid of Uber themselves, having realised they messed up big time and are slowly heading for the cliff.

They can't refuse the second license for fear of litigation, they can't sit back and do nothing anymore because the shits finally hitting the fan so TFL have to be seen to do something.

At the same time they can't be seen to backtrack as that would be a sign of weakness and an admission of guilt, they got it wrong and Uber shouldn't have been licensed in the first place which would result in compensation claims from now until doomsday and in terms of TFLs bank balance, the cost probably would be. Not to mention claims for damages caused by malfeasance, misfeasance and possibly nonfeasance that could be filed against famous TfL staff such as Daniels, Emerson, Chapman, Blake and let's not forget the rogue brass bonking Peter Hendy.
The thought of that lot in prison makes me weak at the knees.

So I'm wondering if the Mayor has had a chat with his bitch Hogan and his heroes and between them constructed a cunning get out plan where everyone wins a bit. Starting in Essex and spreading nationwide it soon becomes clear Uber's operating model is not only at odds with the law it's also illegal which makes it unlawful therefore not able to fulfill the criteria for a second license. 

Doing it sneaky this way, it's the law that denies Uber the second license and not TFL which in turn stops any litigation in its tracks, stops any compensation claims firing into TFL from us and removes any chance of getting those slimy rat bastards into court, lined up next to each other like a Nuremberg trial, my constant day dream. We, however win because we get our livelihood back.

I doubt very much whether any of this is true but nothing would surprise me about Khan or TFL but at least it gives me hope.

No amount of devious, sneaky, underhanded moves would make me sit up in amazement with these leeches.

The hatred I feel for these parasites is beyond measure. 
What they've done to us is beyond forgiveness but I view their actions as a personal attack on my wife and kids. 

And for that I won't rest until I see justice done in court. Everything they do to us impacts on our families.

The extra hours in the cab for less money, the compulsory weekends needed to make ends meet, the constant money worries where they never existed, the strain on your health, home life, reduction in living standards, the depression etc,etc, all brought on by TFL for other people's financial gain.

I know I keep bashing on the same old line but somewhere along this road we have to draw a line and say ENOUGH!

Negotiations can only go so far before they become redundant and pointless. In my opinion they're entered into with trained negotiators who have complete control of them.

They make it very difficult to gain any ground at all, they make you fight tooth and nail for something they intended to give you all along and when they finally give in it seems like a victory, but it's not, it's negotiation management. 

Bank Junction is already ongoing so that must play out to its natural end but after that we must resume a course of direct action unseen before in London. 

I would also urge all the orgs to pursue any possibility of joining forces with trade associations from around the country to form a national movement in order to bring TFL and whoever else is responsible for this terrible period in our trades history to book.

Our collective lack of physical force and apathy that has given TFL the hold and grip over us they now have, I personally consider a stain on our great trade. 

It must be put right, it must be wiped off and must be done now.
The clocks still ticking but only we can decide if it's too late.
It doesn't have to be.

Credit to Jamie Hawes for his discovery.

Be lucky.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Back To The Future ? First call Woodfield I'm Spartacus

Drivers: Changes to penalties for handheld mobile phone use:
From 1 March 2017, the penalties for using a hand-held mobile phone while driving will increase to 6 points on your licence and a £200 fine.

THINK! has launched a new campaign encouraging drivers to put their phone in the glove compartment while driving to avoid temptation.

Ironically, TfL advise their own drivers to find a safe spot and pick up messages, return calls or set up SatNavs.
Yet there is no such publication aimed at the Taxi and Private Hire trades

So in the week that a long overdue crackdown on mobile phone and use of devices in the vehicle will attract 6 points and stiffer fines, as expected TfL & the Met are silent on the matter but be sure other constabularies will do their duty.

We expect them to give a special look at those interacting with a certain app outside their area of licensing.

With the technology available today, apps can be adjusted so they only work below 4 kph, but it's probably safer that they only work when stationary.

So maybe back to the future with voice despatch for Taxi's, who doesn't miss it?). Swop shops, quizzes, banter, cheating, mad dispatchers, all part of the fun.

Somewhere stashed away in stores, are loads of old radio sets, rumour has it some are in the back of what's now the wine cellar at Woodfield Road.

How much longer can TfL defend the indefensible, no excuses not to act and pass regulations prohibiting in motion use.

'Can anyone offer a time?'

I'm Spartacus

Editorial Extra :
Taxi Leaks have recieved this message from the London Cab Drivers Club. The clubs ranks and highways officer Alan McGrady has asked the Essex Police to clarify the situation regarding mobiles and SatNavs in cradles.

Nothing from the LTDA, nothing from the UCG, nothing from the RMT and nothing from Unite.

This from the GMB

Bit hard though if your on an UberPool job 😂😂😂

Drivers Are Being Cautioned By Police For Accepting AppBased Jobs On Mobiles In Cradles.

Are TfL purposely misleading drivers over the change to the legislation that governs using a mobile phone in a vehicle? 

Yesterday we asked our regulator if it is legal for a driver to accept a job booking through an app based platform whilst driving?
They replied as long as it was in a cradle... it was legal. When pointed out what the Surrey and Nottinghamshire police were advising they said " as long as common sense is used you should be ok" 

In fact what TfL are saying here is as long as you don't get caught, you'll be OK. 

They also insisted that the law hasn't been changed just the penalties. This would mean that TfL are aware that they have licensed app based systems such as Uber, Gett and Hailo, knowing full well that the systems require the driver to break the law laid out in the Act of 2003.
Is this why they are refusing to make a statement of any kind, in a notice to the trade?

Going by what Surrey police are saying on their Twitter page, using certain Credit Card phone based apps such as PayPal and iZettle etc requires the driver again to contravene the 2003 act. But TfL authorised these systems and insist the drivers use them.

Taxi leaks has spent two days asking  TfL if they would make a statement to the trade, to clarify the legality of mobile apps and using a phone to clear credit card transactions. 
TfL have flatly refused to make such a statement. 

The only trade org who have asked questions of TfL on behalf of their members is the London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC). Their chairman, Grant Davis put this out on social media yesterday.....

"We have contacted Tfl today asking for clarification regarding the new mobile phone laws and the repercussions for taxi drivers using their apps:
Tfl did not have any impact assessment on any apps and I have stated as our Regulator, should any drivers be charged, I assume you will be representing them."

It's been left to Surrey police to make a statement which incidentally contradicts what TfLTPH have been putting out on their Twitter account. 

This is what Surrey police have said 
We've receiving lots of questions about using a mobile phone whilst driving.

The attached images below should answer most…

The burning question on every Taxi drivers lips is....
"How can an uber driver, currently undertaking an UberPool job -sanctioned by TfL- accept a second or subsequent  fare legally?

Again this is a complete mess from our licensing authority TfLTPH and again shows them to be woefully inadequate as a regulator. They have have many years to sort this out. By their actions, they should be held as complicit should any legal action be taken against a driver by the police.  

TfL's incompetence in regulating, also affects 120,000 private hire drivers who currently use their mobile phone, while driving, to accept jobs and job details. 
The Uber drivers Union has asked TfLTPH what is the legal definition and TfL's guidance on what is 'common sense/good judgement' in this context. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting Launches Inquiry Into London’s Black Cabs Today

Parliamentary inquiry into the future of London’s taxi trade, chaired by Ilford North MP Wes Streeting, is inviting black cab drivers to have their say.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Taxis, meeting for the first time today, will examine whether enough is being done to protect the public, and to determine whether an overhaul of current taxi regulations is necessary.

To do that most effectively, they are hoping black taxicab drivers across London will get involved with the group over the next month. 

Mr Streeting said: “The issues facing the taxi industry in London and right across the UK need serious action, and we hope that this inquiry will add to the debate about what the trade will look like in the future. 

“I know that in London the black cab is an icon that everyone would like to see continue to serve our capital.

“We welcome submissions from Taxi drivers across the UK alongside the expert witnesses we will have contributing to the inquiry.”

The APPG will hear three evidence sessions – today’s on public safety before taking a look at the effectiveness of current regulation on March 14.

They will then reconvene on March 28 for their final session on the future of the taxi trade.

Written contributions to the inquiry can be sent to:

Unbooked, Unlicensed Minicab Warning After Woman Was Sexually Assaulted.

Wrexham County Borough Council’s Licensing Section is reminding people of the dangers of using unbooked private hire vehicles following a recent sexual assault of a woman. 

The woman was sexually assaulted last weekend by a man who approached her and posed as a taxi driver.

Reports have also been received from other parts of the country where people suffered injuries after travelling in unbooked minicabs and were unable to claim compensation because the vehicles were uninsured.

Wrexham Council’s Licensing Section are now reminding people to take extra precautions and check the vehicle is licensed before using it.

Cllr David Griffiths, Chair of the Council’s Licensing Committee said: “The only way that a private hire vehicle is legitimate is if it is licensed by the Council and is pre-booked through a private hire company. 

Uber cars licensed by TfL are not licensed to work in Wrexham 

“It is illegal for a private hire vehicle to accept custom after being hailed down in the street. Only Wrexham licensed Hackney Carriages (‘Black cabs’) are allowed to ‘ply for hire’ for business in the street.

“The Licensing Section, in partnership with North Wales Police, work actively to combat unlicensed cars picking up passengers and any report of such activity should be reported to them immediately.”

A licensed private hire vehicle will display licence plates on the vehicle and the driver will wear an ID badge and display a copy in the windscreen. All private hire vehicles in Wrexham display distinctive yellow stickers on the rear passenger windows.

All licensed drivers will have been DBS Checked for Criminal Records and DVLA motoring convictions.

A licensed Hackney Carriage will display a rear plate and an illuminated roof sign displaying the word ‘TAXI’.

To enjoy a safe journey, Wrexham County Borough Council’s Licensing Section have issued the following tips:

  • PRE BOOK– Plan ahead and always pre-book through a licensed operator, alternatively use one of the Hackney ranks in the town centre.
  • CHECK THE DETAILS – Ask for details of the car when making the booking and make sure that the driver knows the destination and the name it was booked under, when it arrives.
  • CHECK THE PLATES – Make sure that the vehicle is plated with private hire licence plates on the front and rear of the vehicle. Private hire plates are white, Hackney plates are purple and on the rear only.
  • ASK FOR ID – Ask to see the driver’s ID badge. He or she is obliged to wear this badge in such a manner as to be distinctly visible. There is no reason a driver should refuse to show this to the customer and they must have it in their possession to carry out licensed journeys.
  • DO NOT give any personal details to the driver, other than what is needed to get to the destination.
What they are saying on social media today :