Saturday, April 15, 2017
If Drivers Can Work Together...Why Can't Our Representative Orgs ? The Time Has Come For A Council Of War...by Jim Thomas
Friday, April 14, 2017
A judge in Brazil's biggest city ruled this week that a driver using the Uber [UBER.UL] ride-hailing app is an employee of the San-Francisco-based company, threatening its business model in one of its biggest markets.
Uber said it would appeal the decision on Tuesday by Judge Eduardo Rockenbach Pires at the regional labor court in Sao Paulo, which was made public in recent days.
"By connecting drivers and users, Uber creates thousands of flexible opportunities for generating income," the company said in a statement.
Pires ordered Uber to pay the driver 80,000 reais ($25,000), including compensation for holidays, contribution to a severance fund and 50,000 reais in "moral damages" related to attacks from taxi drivers upset with Uber's competitive pricing model.
The decision follows a similar ruling in a labor court in Minas Gerais state, along with parallel cases in the United States, Britain, Switzerland, and Europe's highest court threatening to subject Uber to higher costs and regulation.
The lower house of Brazil's Congress has also threatened Uber's business model with a bill requiring it and other ride-hailing apps to register with city authorities as conventional taxi services. President Michel Temer has pledged to veto parts of the legislation if it passes the Senate.
Adding to Uber's challenges, a Reuters investigation found a ten-fold increase in attacks on drivers in Sao Paulo last year, including several murders, after the start of cash payments on its platform at the end of July.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Transport for London and Downing Street are facing an investigation from the Information Commissioner's Office, Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon revealed in City Hall on Tuesday night (11 April).
The chair of the London Assembly's transport committee, speaking at a black cab event organised by Ukip's Peter Whittle and David Kurten, said she had asked the watchdog to launch the probe.
The development comes after emails and other documents, obtained by Pidgeon using the Freedom of Information Act, revealed that aides close to David Cameron urged Mayor of London Boris Johnson to drop proposed extra regulations on private hire app Uber in 2015.
Transport for London (TfL) dropped the plans, including making Uber customers wait five minutes between booking their car and starting their journey, in 2016 after more than 200,000 people signed a petition.
"That correspondence between Downing Street and TfL, those were my FoI requests. I have now got the Information Commissioner investigating because Number 10's response completely differed from TfL," Pidgeon said.
The comments come after hundreds of black cabs blocked Whitehall, Westminster, on 6 April over the revelations.
Grant David, chairman of the London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC), urged Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to meet with his colleagues.
"The future can be rosy. but we need TfL to regulate [Uber over private hire apps]," he added. "If they don't regulate, and we've got 120,000 mini-cabs doing the same job as me in a vehicle that's half the price and half the fair, we will just become a tourist attraction on the top of a tin of biscuits."
Helen Chapman, the general manger for TfL's taxi and private hire division, told the audience at City Hall that "we all want to work together to make sure that there's a great future and there's another 350 years of taxis in London, which are iconic and recognised around the world". Then refused to answer any questions on the grounds that this was a public forum.
Trade leaders stood up, one after another, asked questions of TfL who were represented by Chapman and Blake, but were repeatedly ignored. The whole forum was a complete farce.
UPDATE: 11:40 BST, 12 April
A spokesperson for the ICO said: "Anyone who has asked for official information from a public authority and thinks they have wrongly withheld information or incorrectly handled a request can bring their complaint to the ICO. We are aware of the issues raised and are making enquiries."
EXTRA COMMENT FROM ALAN FISHER
Uber’s head of communications has become the latest executive to leave the embattled ride-sharing firm.
Chief executive Travis Kalanick confirmed Rachel Whetstone’s departure in an all-staff email on Tuesday.
No reason has been given for her resignation, though it follows months of turbulence at Uber.
Ms Whetstone joined the company from Google in 2015. “I am incredibly proud of the team we have built,” she said in a leaving statement.
"Just as when I left Google, a strong and brilliant woman will be taking my place. I joined Uber because I love the product - and that love is as strong today as it was when I booked my very first ride six years ago.”
Jill Hazelbaker, who had deputized for Ms Whetstone, will take over. Uber would not say if the move would be immediate.
Mr Kalanick emailed staff on Tuesday afternoon to share the news - and with it, attached a picture of himself and Ms Whetstone on a recent hiking trip.
"I am looking forward to having her as an advisor for years to come,” he wrote.
“With many more long hikes along the Skyline Trail.”
He added: "Rachel was way ahead of the game when it came to many of the changes we needed to make as a company to ensure our future success - from promoting cross-functional teamwork to improving diversity and inclusion.”
Out the door
This year has seen Uber struggle under the weight of negative press.
A campaign to “#deleteuber” is said to have cost the company hundreds of thousands of accounts, though it is hard to be sure of the genuine impact.
Serious accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination made by a former employee prompted the firm to launch an internal investigation led by Eric Holder, former president Barack Obama’s top police chief.
Mr Kalanick was in February filmed in a car berating an Uber driver after he complained about low fares.
And the future of the company's self-driving car programme is under serious threat thanks to a lawsuit claiming Otto - acquired by Uber - stole self-driving technology from Google.
And then there were the resignations: Amit Singhal, who had been Uber’s head of engineering, left after it emerged he failed to disclose a sexual harassment allegation at his former employer, Google.
Then last month, Uber’s president Jeff Jones left the company after only six months in the job.
And now Rachel Whetstone who, unlike Mr Jones, has left the company on seemingly civil terms.
That said, the timing of her departure will do little to help the company as it continues to roll-out its presumably long-term strategy for restoring Uber’s reputation.
Source : BBC Tecnlogy
Monday, April 10, 2017
Minicab driver, 44, ‘killed a star ballet dancer while on a hands-free phone call as his victim made his way to his final performance of Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man’
A minicab driver killed a star ballet dancer while making a hands-free phone call as the victim made his way to perform the lead in his final Sadler’s Wells performance, a court heard today.
Abdul Qayyum, 44, was driving a Mercedes S Class when he knocked Jonathan Ollivier, 38, off his motorbike, throwing him into a lamppost on Farringdon Road Clerkenwell, north London.
Mr Ollivier, who was due to star in the final performance of The Car Man at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, suffered catastrophic head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene just before 12pm on August 9 last year.
Qayuum, who denies one count of causing death by careless driving, took no evasive action at all before clipping the rear pannier of Mr Ollivier’s bike, the Old Bailey heard.
Mr Ollivier was described by The Car Man's choreographer Matthew Bourne as ‘one of the most powerful and charismatic dancers of his generation’.
Have We Been Led Down The Electric Garden Path ? Manufacturers Claim New Diesel Cars Can Improve Air Quality.
Car manufacturers have hit back at the recent spate of negative comments about diesel vehicles, saying that the latest incarnations are “the cleanest in history” and “light years away from their older counterparts”.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said diesel cars could play an important role in helping improve air quality in towns and cities and in tackling climate change.
A government report published in April 2016 showed that diesel cars being sold in the UK emit an average of six times more nitrogen oxide in real-world driving than the legal limit used in official tests.
Since then, a number of schemes have been mooted to encourage drivers to give up diesel vehicles, including the possibility of a government-run scrappage scheme.
Last week, the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, announced a new charge on diesel cars driving into the city. Under the plans, drivers of diesel cars that are more than four years old in 2019 and petrol cars that are more than 13 years old will pay £12.50 a day on top of the congestion charge in an attempt to cut air pollution.
In a list entitled “10 facts you need to know about diesel”, the SMMT said that some recent reports had failed to differentiate between older diesel cars and those on sale today, which comply with Euro 6 emissions standards, adding: “This is unfair and dismissive of progress made.”
The organisation said the latest vehicles featured special filters and technology that converted most of the nitrogen oxide (NOx) from the engine into harmless nitrogen and water before it reached the exhaust. These cars will be exempt from the new London charges.
It added: “Contrary to recent reports, diesel cars are not the main source of urban NOx. In London, gas heating of homes and offices is the biggest contributor, responsible for 16%. While road transport as a whole is responsible for around half of London’s NOx, diesel cars produce just 11%, although concentrations will vary at different times depending on congestion.”
It said British car buyers registered almost 250,000 new diesel cars in March, more than in any month in history.
The Blind Leading The Blind? But In The Kingdom Of The Blind The One Eyed Man Is King.... By Dave Davies
It’s great to be passionate and fight for a cause but when ego comes before proper consideration or understanding of the facts it is not a good thing.
It has been proven time and time again that protests led by trade orgs have no effect. They have changed nothing over the years.
In fact those protests which had any message about Uber only served as free PR for them , increasing Uber accounts in London by 850% instantly on one occasion.
What a great idea that was!
Instead of listening to advice and directing all action to expose the corruption at TFL, a message that the media and Public will support, trade orgs have always come up with their own message which has proven to be flawed.
The UCG refused to listen to good advice or any advice except from their new friends at the LTDA or Tom Watson (promised the world and delivered NOTHING for 2 years).
They organised a protest calling for a Parliamentary Investigation , which will achieve nothing.
They claimed that a Public Inquiry would take too long, ignoring the fact that it is the ONLY mechanism which can expose TFL and also ignoring the fact that if a Public Inquiry is initiated it would be reasonable to call for Uber’s License to be suspended immediately as well as an immediate suspension of the improper and unlawful Taxi Age Limit. A Public Inquiry is the only way for evidence to be formally heard, and once that evidence is heard and exposed it has to be acted on.
The Phone Hacking Public Inquiry is a good example. Phone Hacking was know of for many years and ignored. Nothing changed until there was a Public Inquiry and the truth was exposed.
This meant the Police were forced to take action; bent reporters, Public Officials and even the Police themselves were then investigated , charged and prosecuted. The News of the World, a multimillion pound part of NewsCorp was shut down. People who had acted corruptly were sacked.
It would be safe to say that the practice of Phone Hacking was stopped as a direct result of the Public Inquiry and many of those responsible prosecuted. Anyone who says differently does not understand the facts.
A Parliamentary Investigation or Inquiry can do none of this and will therefore result in no action being taken.
The root cause of ALL the problems affecting the Taxi Trade is corruption. Anyone who thinks that this corruption does not extend to Parliament is naive and is ignoring the evidence detailed in the Mail article.
How can a Parliamentary Investigation or Inquiry possibly scrutinize evidence in a robust way or take action when it has been proven that those in Parliament have acted corruptly and would be exposed by that Inquiry?
If those involved are powerful enough to have acted corruptly with impunity , why would anyone think that they don’t have enough power to invalidate a Parliamentary Inquiry?
While we’re at it lets ask Johnson and Khan to investigate themselves and see if they find any wrongdoing!
The UCG not only don’t understand why a Public Inquiry is the only way to expose TFL, they (along with every other trade org with the exception of the LTDA) also do not understand that media management is critical.
They did not manage the media and gave no clear message.
Most of the media did not even report that a protest had taken place. The only reports beside the Mail and LBC were by City AM who initially said it was about Bank Junction.
The political website Order Order mocked Taxi Drivers for protesting in Whitehall while Parliament is in recess and also said it was about Uber.
Black cab drivers are blockading Westminster this afternoon in their latest anti-Uber protest, organised by United Cabbies Group and supported by the LTDA and RMT. Just one problem. It’s recess and there aren’t any MPs in town…
I have spent hours of my time trying to convince the UCG that they need to manage the media and it has been ignored.
In November I wrote a Press Release for them calling for a Public Inquiry and tried to help... but was again ignored.
All I get is abusive comments from those who are disgruntled, sad individuals who have no understanding of the facts and are the epitome of everything wrong with the London Can Trade.
They have a Football Hooligan mentality and will create their own demise because of it.
The efforts of thousands of Taxi Drivers last Thursday were wasted because yet again, Taxi Orgs refuse to listen to common sense and in fact even argued against it.
I recently had a massive success by getting the Cameron /Osborne corruption exposed by the Mail.
Yes; despite the claims by others, the story came about because of the hard work from myself, not anyone else.
The efforts of Ajit Chambers in initiating a website which enables drivers to send a letter to their MP calling for a Public Inquiry following the Mail exposure was a stroke of genius and full credit should be given to him for that because it is leading to significant political support.
The efforts of Jolyon Maugham and the Good Law project in setting up a legal case against Uber, has been another massive step in the right direction and could result in Uber being stopped in its tracks..
The Mail Article, the thousands of letters sent to MPs calling for a Public Inquiry and the Legal Case against Uber have all happened as a direct result of the hard work of 3 unpaid individuals who have campaigned on principal.
Another individual who has been of massive importance to the exposure and reporting of these issues is Jim Thomas; the Taxi trade should be eternally grateful for the huge amount of unpaid time and effort he has put in over many years in publishing the Anderson Shelter and Taxileaks. Some of those who are critical of any articles which are written by others and posted on Taxileaks should bear this in mind before they hurl abuse.
The orgs that thousands of you religiously pay subs to every month out of your hard earned money have achieved NONE of this. (despite the false claims of one org to have been responsible for the Mail article)
Some of them do drive very nice cars though!
If a trade org initiates an official protest they have to give Police Notice in advance which often means that any action which would be effective is curtailed.
It is also the case that Trade Orgs do not seem to understand what is needed and often send no message or the wrong message to the media.
The root cause of all problems is corruption at TFL, The Mayor’s Office and in Government.
It's no good engaging with, or negotiating with those that are corrupt.
Even if a particular issue is overcome, if the same corrupt system of management is in place then further issues will follow.
The ONLY way to expose the corruption, which has been shown to extend beyond TFL and the Mayor’s Office to the Prime Minster and Chancellor, is a Public Inquiry.
There is no need for any org or anyone else to negotiate. The demand needs to be for a Public Inquiry and nothing else; It’s that simple.
There needs to be driver led daily flash protests at multiple locations until the demand for a Public Inquiry is met.
The improper and unlawful Taxi Age Limit and Uber's Operators license needs to be suspended immediately pending that Public Inquiry.
Parliament is now in recess until April 18th so maybe April 17th would be a good day to start?
It’s time for orgs and egos to end. Both are pointless.
It’s down to Taxi Drivers; the choice is yours.