Saturday, May 06, 2017

Coventry-Made London Taxi Heads For Capital To Say Farewell.

A London icon that’s made in Coventry is set to take centre stage at a major motor show in the capital this weekend.


The end of an era is approaching as the London Taxi Company prepares to bid a fond farewell to its famous black cab and one of the final diesel models is heading to Battersea Park to do just that.

The Coventry-based manufacturer is set to celebrate the life of its iconic diesel taxi at The London Motor Show before finally saying goodbye to it later this year.

A high-tech electric taxi will replace the diesel cab at the end of the year, but in the meantime LTC will be pulling out all the stops to honour its existing model.

The Coventry company opened the UK’s first dedicated electric vehicle factory in Ansty in March


The new factory will manufacture the new TX5 electric taxi and also a new electric light commercial van (LCV) as the firm expands its range.

The current cab has spent 10 years as the world’s number one taxi of choice and has been exported to over 40 countries around the world, including Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy and New Zealand.

It has also attracted a host of celebrity owners, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Stephen Fry and Terminator Arnie has put a deposit on one of the final diesel models.



Its appearance at this weekend’s London event is a big nod to the black cab’s spiritual home and it will be on show at Battersea Park from May 4-7.

As part of the event LTC is also inviting show-goers to say a personal goodbye by sharing their own London taxi stories.

A giant ‘leaving card’ will be displayed at the LTC stand, which guests can sign with their favourite taxi tales and memories of their time spent in the vehicle.

The model on show will be a Limited Edition TX4, one of the last 300 ever diesel cabs to roll off the firm’s production line at its Holyhead Road factory.


It is thought the TX4 has appeared in more than 5,000 movies and TV shows, including James Bond films, Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes.

The Limited Edition TX4 will join a long list of exhibits in Battersea Park, where more than 130 new cars will go on display.


Motor show chairman Alec Mumford said: “Welcoming a true London icon to our show in the capital is incredibly fitting and we’re very excited to play a big part in paying tribute to a legend.

“We all have memories of being in one of the current cabs and it’ll be very interesting to see what our guests write in the LTC leaving card.

“London automotive stalwarts don’t come much bigger than The London Motor Show and the London Black Cab, and the union is sure to be very special.”

Source : Coventry Telegraph. 

Why Didn't The Mail Print The Whole Story ? ... Part 1

Why didn't the Mail print the whole story and go after the Directors and former the Directors of TfL, who have allowed a company that was not fit for purpose to be Licensed?

Let's not forget that as Mayor, Boris was the head of TfL.


In an article written by James Titcomb, and published in the Telegraph back in October 2015, Mayor Boris Johnson openly admits Uber drivers are breaking the law. 

Why didn't TfL revoke the operators licence immediately?

Boris Johnson has claimed that Uber drivers are breaking the law “in lots of minor ways”, to the extent that London’s authorities are unable to keep up. 

The Mayor of London said the minicab app’s drivers are consistently violating laws on loitering and plying for hire, as well as being responsible for “aggravating” the level of traffic in the capital. 

Boris said this in the article and sat back and did nothing.

TfL knew Boris had said this....and then as regulator, sat back and did nothing. 

In a game of smoke and mirrors, TfL held a consultation and announced they were going to introduce 25 tougher regulations. 

At a glance, the regulations that TfL dropped. 

To this day TfL have done virtually nothing other than relaxed regulations to make it easier for uber to operate. 

We've now been informed by the GMB that Ubers relicensing is already a done deal.


Read the whole article published in the Telegraph back in Oct 2015 by clicking below : 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/uber/11946576/Boris-Johnson-says-Uber-drivers-break-the-law-in-lots-of-minor-ways.html

Friday, May 05, 2017

Something For The Weekend : High Court Orderers Government Strategy On Air Pollution.

Thousands of people have died and will carry on dying every year due to air pollution. The European Commission is finally forcing the UK government to tackle the issue. 

As a first step, the UK will be publishing a strategy outlining how it will deal with the crisis.

But, it is our guess that the strategy will be much watered down, as it will be lobbied against by the big businesses it will affect. As they say, "Follow the money"


The strategy should have been published two years ago, but the government has dodged and delayed, presumably because it knows that the strategies in the policy will not be popular with drivers. 

The most recent delay saw the government claiming that purdah rules now applied to the strategy, due to the upcoming general election.

However, the High Court has now stepped in and ordered the government to publish its draft strategy by 9 May, with the full strategy published by 31 July

Why is tackling air pollution so controversial?

The government seems afraid of the air pollution strategy’s potential impact on votes. However, the High Court judge, Mr Justice Garnham, was clear that,

“The continued failure of the government to comply with directives and regulations constitutes a significant threat to public health.”

So why is the government so worried? Without having seen the draft strategy, we can of course only speculate, but it seems likely that the policy will contain controversial and unpopular measures to cut air pollution.

What we think will be in the pollution plan

We expect the pollution plan to include policies such as clean air zones, which will see motorists who drive heavy polluting vehicles facing city centre access charges. The idea is that the charges will dissuade them from driving into city centres where pollution levels are high. This is likely to apply to several major cities, including Manchester, Southampton and Leeds (amongst others). This measure is likely to be unpopular with small businesses, construction firms and HGV operators, who will see their transport costs increase. This could then be passed on to consumers as higher prices.

These concerns have led to the Freight Transport Association to call for a longer timescale for these changes to be introduced. That would give small businesses time to adapt, as well as time for a market for compliant second hand vehicles to emerge.

In addition to this, there may be incentives such as price and tax subsidies for using public transport and purchasing more efficient vehicles . We also think it’s highly likely that the government will introduce a diesel scrappage scheme.



Not so long ago, the government told drivers to buy diesel. 

Thus it’s hardly surprising that the administration that prioritises removing diesels from the nation’s roads will face backlash from drivers. 

However, the government has reassured motorists that it will help, with recent reports suggesting that the scheme will include paying owners up to £2,000 to scrap older, heavier-polluting vehicles from the most polluted UK cities. The government is yet to confirm any final details.

But then, in the case of the London Taxi, a report from Kings Collage showed evidence that a Mayor Boris with help from disgraced MP Tim Yeo scrapped cleaner older Taxis in favour of newer, more polluting vehicles. 

A big difference could have been made in London by the Mayor insisting on the introduction of LPG and CNG. But Boris wanted to shore up the failing Chinese company by insisting on an electric vehicle which the Taxi trade can ill afford.

Such schemes cost money and revenue of this nature is likely to come from drivers themselves. The 2015 Conservative Manifesto pledge not to increase any taxes looks set to be dropped entirely thanks to the snap election. 

An increase in vehicle excise duty for diesel vehicles and the expansion of charges for diesels to enter city centres across the UK are both distinct possibilities. 
Neither will go down well with the UK’s 12 million or so diesel drivers.

An unpopular move

There is no avoiding the fact that these policies will be expensive to run. The Guardian reports that for London alone the measures could cost more than £500m.

What makes the situation so difficult to swallow for many diesel drivers is that just ten years ago the government was actively encouraging people to buy diesels. Government policy encouraged the purchase of diesel cars by offering cheaper road tax due to their lower carbon dioxide emissions, which led to the number of diesels on Britain’s roads more than doubling.

Now, those same drivers look set to pay for a system under which they will have to scrap their vehicles and replace them with more environmentally friendly ones. Such an unpopular move could well cost the government votes at exactly the time that it is trying to increase its power.

EDITORIAL COMMENT :
Since the article was written on Wednesday, the draft plan has come out today, Friday. As we predicted it’s been massively watered down. 

Client Earth has labelled it “woefully inadequate” (shades of the GLA's opinion of TfLTPH) and “passing the buck to local authorities” ... in other words a complete avoidance of the main issues causing pollution because a General Election is about to happen. The Government’s draft plan is so poor, they may face more court action because of its inadequacy.

Editorial Extra :
After TfL put pay to the Nissan Taxi of tomorrow,
they are now seriously looking at this...

          You just couldn't make this stuff up
                TfL, Totaly Failing London

Fit And Proper Or A Bunch Of Criminals ?? Uber Faces Criminal Probe Over Software Used for Evading Authorities


These comments were posted on social media earlier today. 

The mere existence of Greyball tells us @Uber are not 'fit and proper'. How can they be licensed?

It's not as if they found it in a skip. It's a bespoke piece of tech. Specifically designed to evade and undermine the law. 

Gelignite for techies.

The U.S. Department of Justice has begun a criminal investigation into Uber Technologies Inc's use of a software tool that helped its drivers evade local transportation regulators, two sources familiar with the situation said.

Uber has acknowledged the software, known as "Greyball," helped it identify and circumvent government officials who were trying to clamp down on Uber in areas where its service had not yet been approved, such as Portland, Oregon. 

The company prohibited the use of Greyball for this purpose shortly after the New York Times revealed its existence in March, saying the program was created to check ride requests to prevent fraud and safeguard drivers. The Times report triggered a barrage of negative publicity for the company. 

The criminal probe could become a significant problem facing the company that is already struggling with an array of recent business and legal issues. 

An Uber spokesman and the Justice Department declined to comment. Uber lawyers said in letters to Portland authorities, which Portland made public in a report last week, that the Greyball technology was used ”exceedingly sparingly” in that city, before the service was approved there in 2015. 

The nature of any potential federal criminal violation, and the likelihood of anyone being charged, is unclear. The investigation is still in its early stages, the sources said.

Bloomberg news service reported the existence of a federal probe last week, but did not identify it as criminal. 

AGGRESSIVE STARTUP

Uber received a subpoena from a Northern California grand jury seeking documents concerning how the software tool functioned and where it was deployed, one person familiar with the request said. That indicates a criminal investigation is underway. The second source confirmed that was the case. 

A subpoena from a grand jury is a formal request for documents or testimony concerning a potential crime. It does not, in itself, indicate wrongdoing or mean charges will be brought. 

The ride services company's board has retained an outside law firm, Shearman & Sterling LLP, to conduct its own internal investigation into what transpired, those two sources and a third said. 

A Shearman spokeswoman did not return a message seeking comment.

Uber, a venture capital-backed firm most recently valued at $68 billion, has long had a reputation as an aggressive startup.

It has been battered with multiple controversies over the last few months that have raised questions about Chief Executive Travis Kalanick and led him to say he needed "leadership help."

MINING CREDIT CARD INFO

The technology at issue in the criminal probe helped Uber tag some users so that they saw a different version of its standard app, the company said in a blog post in March. 

Uber said Greyball obscured the real location of Uber cars in various circumstances, including the possibility of physical threats or merely to test new features.

The program was part of a broader Uber system, called Violation of Terms of Service, that analyzed credit card, device identification, location data and other factors to predict whether a request for a ride was legitimate, current and former employees said.

The technology was used partly to prevent fraud and protect drivers from harm, the company blog post said. If a ride request was deemed illegitimate, Uber's app showed bogus information and the requester would not be picked up, the employees told Reuters.

However, the Greyball technique was also used against suspected local officials who could have been looking to fine drivers, impound cars or otherwise prevent Uber from operating, the employees said. 

The system might have gone farther than suggested by Uber's terms of service for app users. For example, it mined credit card information to see if the owner was affiliated with a credit union used by police and checked social media profiles to assess the likelihood that the person was in law enforcement. 

After the Times exposed the program in March, regulators who had been unable to catch Uber in places where it was banned accused the company of obstructing their inquiries. 

Transportation officials in Portland investigated and reported last week that Uber had used Greyball to evade 16 Portland Bureau of Transportation officials, denying them dozens of rides, in December 2014 before Uber was authorized to operate there.

The city said it found no evidence that the behavior was repeated when Uber re-entered the market in April 2015.

Uber said it used the Greyball technology in December 2014, while it was operating without approval, because it was “deeply concerned that its driver-partners would be penalized financially” or otherwise for their driving

Source : Reuters.com

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Uber sues San Francisco over tax collector’s move to obtain drivers’ names


SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — Transportation network company Uber sued San Francisco this week over an attempt by the city’s tax collector to obtain the names of drivers to get them to obtain business licenses.

Uber filed a petition in San Francisco Superior Court on Monday seeking to quash a city subpoena issued in February, arguing that the demand for the names and addresses of drivers violated driver privacy and exceeded the tax collector’s authority.

“…The Tax Collector’s office is asking us to give them personal information of drivers – including their home address- without their consent and will put that information on a public website,” Wayne Ting, Uber’s San Francisco general manager, said in a statement. “We’ve asked the city to allow us to get the consent of drivers and to remove their personal information from the public website, but they have refused.”

The requirement that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft obtain a business license with the city is nothing new, and applies to anyone working as an independent contractor in San Francisco, according to Amanda Kahn Fried, a spokeswoman for the tax collector’s office.

However, it was not until last year that the city began enforcing the requirement.

Since then, the tax collector’s office has mailed notices to around 60,000 drivers and registered around 20,000, Fried said. Another 15,000 have filled out declarations that they don’t need to register for various reasons.

The subpoena seeking contact information of drivers for notifications of the registration requirement is a standard tool the office uses regularly to enforce tax laws, Fried said.

The names of those registered for a business license are posted to a public database, but registrants are allowed to use post office boxes as addresses and register fictitious business names. There are around 130,000 registered businesses in San Francisco and the requirements apply to every one of them, Fried said.

“This is about one particular company and one industry seeking special consideration under tax laws,” Fried said.

Uber also argues that the requirement for drivers to register in individual cities where they operate creates “confusion, burdensome paperwork and takes hundreds of dollars out of the pockets of small business owners.”

The company is backing state legislation, Senate Bill 182, that would instead require drivers to register for a business license in only one city, regardless of how many they operate in. Cities such as San Francisco could not require a business license if the driver was registered in another city.

The bill also prohibits cities from publishing drivers’ personal information on a public web site.

The bill, which is opposed by San Francisco’s legislative delegation, was heard for the first time in committee today in Sacramento and advanced to the judiciary committee with amendments, Fried said.

A court date is scheduled for Uber’s petition on June the 1st.


Tuesday, May 02, 2017

The United Taxi Trade Mass Demo, Saved By The ITA and DDD.

"Let's be there to welcome Osbourne on his first day on the job" they said.


It was billed as a 'United Taxi Trade' demonstration. The largest trade org, the LTDA emailed all of its 10,000 members. As did other orgs.  Support was posted online by all other orgs and unions.


In truth, if the militant members of the Independent Taxi Alliance and Dads Defending Daughters members hadn't shown up en masse with their signature placards, there would have been no demonstration.

A spokes person for the ITA said :
"We marched from the All Nations Taxi shelter, to Northcliffe House, down the middle of the road. 
Placards waving high.

"As we turned into Derry Street, there was an ITN crew with camera on a tripod, London Tonight, three or four sets of reporters, with photographers ....but no LTDA, except a lone Steve McNamara, not a sniff of the UCG, no RMT members or committee had turned up to Derry Street.
We were later informed that Trevor Meralls and Bryn Phillips arrived by Vito, but didn't stop.
Also Peter Rose (Unite) did pop in late, to show his face.

"Only the ITA -a mixture of Org and non Org proactive drivers- the same ol' faces, marched left into an empty Derry Street.


"Mc must've breathed a huge sigh of relief, as his blushes and sheer embarrassment was saved by the DDD/ITA boys and girls.

"What the hell would've happened had the ITA not turned up?

"I don't think Trev or Steve will be harping on about "Hijackers." or "Placards." ever again.

"I'd estimate around 250, maybe 300 of the usual suspects brought some dignity back to our piss poor trade of sleepers and shirkers.

"Steve McNamara can thank his lucky stars that the ITA, a group he claims to have never heard of, saved him from facing the press on his own.

"Guy Adams, the Daily Mail reporter who broke our stories in his paper, came down to see us.





"As he came down he spotted Grant Davis Chair of the LCDC.
Grant proceeded to introduce us.
Guy didn't appear to recognise Steve. 

"All that tosh in the Taxi about LTDA putting the Daily Mail onto those Taxi scoops, should now be finally put to bed.

Dave Davies has worked on exposing TfL and government connections since 2014. Charlie Crocker (Chris) and Tootles (Mark) also deserve our gratitude.

"No doubt Steve Mc and Co will claim we were their members. But those of us who are in the broil, demo in demo out, know the truth.

"Another resounding success for the trade and the DDD/ITA.
One day we might fail, but not so far".


Also at the demo were Artemis Mercer and the girls from the #SaveTaxi Admin. 


Editorial Comment :
This is the first demo in years that's been in the national press and on all TV news channels....and 99% of the trade couldn't be bothered to turn up.

The LTDA failed to inspire their alleged10,000 members, and I'm told the handful of orange lanyards were either being paid to be there, or members of the Real LTDA.

The video below is from the BBC London News.

  

Monday, May 01, 2017

Tomorrow's SubStandard Headline...Tonight.





Friends and colleagues, we are marching on The Evening Standard in Kensington. 

Meeting up at Kensington Gore at 9am and descending on the newspapers offices for 10am to welcome George Gideon Oliver Osbourne into he's new role as editor. 

This man along with his uber loving bullenden club chum David Cameron, has done more damage to our trade, than any individual in living history. 

He will now attempt to finish the job in he's highly paid role at the cab hating ES. 

This man should be facing a prison sentence for his alleged malfeasance. 

If you are one of my colleagues, please do not mug your fellow colleagues off by being a scab between the hours of 10 and 12ish or in the very least, not in the Kensington area. 

Thanks.

Widow of Uber engineer who committed suicide files lawsuit blaming the father-of-two's death on the start-up's toxic work culture

The widow of a Uber engineer who committed suicide last year is suing the company after they denied her and her two young sons workers' compensation. 


Zecole Thomas (back row left) is suing Uber, claiming her husband Jopseph (back row right) committed suicide because of the stress of his job as an engineer at the San Francisco start-up. The couple picture above with their sons Joseph, 9 (center), and Ezekiel, 8 (left) 

Zecole Thomas argues in her lawsuit that she deserves the approximately $722,000 payout because it was the San Francisco start-up's toxic work culture that caused her husband Joseph, 33, to kill himself in August. 

Mrs Thomas says that her husband was happy when he left LinkedIn to start at Uber last April. 

He even turned down a job at Apple because he thought he would have more opportunity to grow at a younger company and profit from stock options when it went public.  

The $170,000 a year salary also helped the childhood sweethearts buy their very first home, a Spanish style dream house in Pittsburg, California where they moved with their two young sons Joseph, 9, and Ezekiel, 8.

But soon, Mrs Thomas started to see the toll her husband's work was taking on him. 

'Uber’s culture was different,' Mrs Thomas told USA Today.  'Here was a man who was very good at what he did, who took care of his family. But within months, he started to tell me that he ruined our life. That he was broken.'

Uber's culture was different. Here was a man who was very good at what he did, who took care of his family. But within months, he started to tell me that he ruined our life. That he was broken.  
Zecole Thomas, widow of Joseph Thomas 
Mrs Thomas says her husband, a self-taught engineer, started coming home, complaining about how his supervisors were constantly calling his skills into question.  

'He would say, "I feel stupid, they’re all laughing at me," and yet this was a guy who was as hardworking, driven and focused as there ever was.

'He only had one year of college, but if there was a coding language he didn’t know, he’d study hard and three months later get certificates saying he knew them. It’s all very heartbreaking,' Mrs Thomas said. 

When her husband grew depressed, Mrs Thomas went with him to see a psychiatrist who recommended he quit his high-stress job. 

But by then he was so run down at work that he couldn't muster the effort. 

'The sad thing is this place (Uber) has broken me to the point where I don’t have the strength to look for another job,' Mr Thomas wrote a friend about a month before his suicide.

Joseph Thomas committed suicide a little less than five months after joining Uber. His wife claims he was happy before the job, but quickly became depressed

One morning in late August, Mrs Thomas had just returned home from dropping her sons off at school when she noticed her husband sitting in his car in the garage. 

She got into the passenger's seat to talk to him, and then noticed the blood - he had shot himself. He was pronounced at the hospital two days later, a week before he would have turned 34. 

After his death, the company denied Mrs Thomas' claim for her husband's workers' compensation. 

Under California law, such insurance doesn't cover psychiatric issues if they occur under six months into employment, and Mr Thomas had only been working at the company a little less than five months when he died.

But there's also an exception to the rule that Mrs Thomas and her lawyer think gives them a case. 

The law doesn't apply if the 'psychiatric injury is caused by a sudden and extraordinary employment condition'.   

'We think it was stress and harassment induced by his job, between him being one of the few African Americans there, working around the clock and the culture of Uber,' Mrs Thomas' attorney Richard Richardson told the San Francisco Chronicle. 'And he couldn’t talk about it to anyone because of nondisclosure agreements.'

If she wins the lawsuit, Mrs Thomas will receive about $722,000 - part of it in lump sum and the other part in weekly checks of $1,100 until both of her sons are 18. 

Mrs Thomas says she also hopes her lawsuit will draw attention to the terrible work-life balance that start-ups force upon their tech employees. 

The way these companies work is they want you to love your job more than your families, with breakfast, lunch and dinner and places to sleep at work. But people in IT want to have families, too.  
'The way many of these companies work is they want you to love your job more than your families, with breakfast, lunch and dinner and places to sleep at work,' Mrs Thomas said. 'But people in IT want to have families, too.'

Since her husband's death, Mrs Thomas sold their dream home and moved her kids to North Carolina, where she is working as a project coordinator with a small company. 

She was close to finishing her master's degree in computer science but said she is struggling due to her husband's sudden death.   

'I’m trying to rebuild my life and generate enough income to provide for my two children.

'I just don’t understand it. He was young, successful, smart; he had everything going for himself. I never in my life thought I would be without him. It’s devastating,' she said. 

Uber has refused to comment on the lawsuit, but they did released a statement saying: 'No family should go through the unspeakable heartbreak the Thomas family has experienced. Our prayers and thoughts are with them.' 

This is far from the first time that details of Uber's work culture have cast a dark light on the ride-sharing company. 

The company has been the center of a string of scandals - from CEO Travis Kalanick storming out of an Uber when a driver questioned his business practices to former employee Susan Fowler writing a scathing blog post in February about the company. 

In the blog post, Fowler described the start-up as a toxic and sexist work place.

Source : Daily Mail.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

In A Bid To Win Back Customers Uber Resorts To Fake News Stories... Gerald Coba

After a barrage of bad publicity over recent months, regarding customer rapes, serious sexual assaults and even murders by Uber Drivers, on top of accounts being hacked and customers tracked (even after deleting the app), with Apple threatening to evict Uber from the App Store-  Uber has now hit back- with fake news.

They say you couldn't make this up!
Well, it appears Uber have. 


ATLANTIC CITY:
Hundreds of Uber drivers in South Jersey are suing the Atlantic City Yellow Cab Co., alleging taxi drivers have been fraudulently posing as drivers working for the rideshare serviceto steal their customers.

United Drivers South Jersey -- a rideshare drivers group that serves South Jersey, Atlantic City and Philadelphia areas -- filed a class-action lawsuit Tuesday in Atlantic County Superior Court on behalf of 240 Uber drivers, according to a statement issued by the group.

The Uber drivers allege that taxicab drivers in Atlantic City have been depriving "authorized Uber drivers of customers and fares that they otherwise would have received," said United Drivers South Jersey on its Facebook page.

The owner of Atlantic City Yellow Cab Co., Murray Rosenberg, called the lawsuit "outrageous," and flat out denied the allegations.

"There's no validity whatsoever," he said.


In a post last month, the United Drivers group said customers' trust was being broken by "lying, greedy cabdrivers trying to scam them and the whole Uber system in general."

The group has also posted videos that it claims shows taxicab drivers posing as Uber drivers and stealing their customers.

The lawsuit, according to United Drivers South Jersey, includes claims under the New Jersey's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, which is a state law to combat racketeering in commerce.

The group also alleges that taxicab drivers are "putting riders at risk" because posing as Uber drivers invalidates their insurance.

Earlier this year, Gov. Christie signed a law to license and regulate ridesharing companies after years of that industry's own controversy and regulatory battles with the state.

"It is the hope of United Drivers that the taxicab companies will take immediate steps to stop this dangerous practice," United Drivers South Jersey said on its Facebook page.

Source : NJ.com

Great News For Claire And Alex Blackman, And All Who Supported Marine A

'She has saved me': Sgt Blackman tells how the love of his campaigning 'wife in a million' Claire won his freedom as he gives his first interview since being released from prison.


Sealed with a hug from his ‘wife in a million’, Alexander Blackman finally savoured freedom yesterday.

The Royal Marine was reunited with Claire after 1,277 days behind bars and said: ‘She has saved me. Her determination to keep on fighting for me has been nothing short of incredible.’

Released from prison in the early hours of yesterday, he described waking up as a free man to the sound of ‘glorious birdsong’.


It was the moment the couple have dreamed of since the commando was jailed for life in December 2013 for shooting a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan. 

Top brass and the Establishment left him to rot in prison but Sergeant Blackman – known as Marine A at his military trial – was saved by a campaign for justice spearheaded by his loyal wife.


Daily Mail readers raised £810,000 to fund a fresh legal challenge and last month he won a stunning victory at the Appeal Court which dramatically slashed his sentence.

Now released on licence from HMP Erlestoke Prison in Wiltshire – half way through his revised jail term – Sergeant Blackman, 42, said: ‘I will be eternally grateful to Claire and I cannot put into words how wonderful she is.

‘She is a wife in a million. Other inmates often said how lucky I was to have her fighting so hard for me. 

'I don’t think there is anybody who has witnessed the effort she has gone to who will doubt how she feels about me, and that’s beyond words really. You just can’t imagine anyone cares for you that much.

‘I also want to thank the Daily Mail’s readers with all my heart. Without their amazing support, I would still be behind bars.’

Sgt Blackman added: ‘Being out of prison is an immense feeling, but I am very conscious that my sentence is not complete. I have been released on licence, and there are certain conditions which I must – and I will – respect.

‘But it is the little things I can enjoy. Suddenly I can sleep when I want, eat when I want, go for a walk... this freedom of choice over basic things is going to take some getting used to.’

Careful What You Wish For, Because Sometimes... Dreams Come True.


Never underestimate the collective Cab trade  ability to overlook the inexplicable!

Questions : 
Where did Gett get their pricing structure ?
And what is it they are working towards ?

In Uber a Law suit it was explained, no complicated maths.
In one case, an Uber rider paid $54.80 to be brought from the Fairfax district in Los Angeles to LAX. But Uber used a fare of $43.55 when calculating the amount it forwarded to the driver, which came to $32.89.

Sound familiar ?

If Uber fail to get relicensed this month, there will be 30,000 PH drivers looking for an app!
Gett say Taxi fares are too expensive!
2+2= 4... It's not complicate maths

The hits keep coming for Uber — and not the good kind.

The embattled ride-share company, already buffeted by a barrage of lawsuits and public-relations crises, is being sued again. This time, a driver is alleging that the Silicon Valley behemoth’s fare structure deliberately shortchanges drivers.

In the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, attorneys for the plaintiff say they seek to have the case designated as a class-action on behalf of all Uber drivers in California.

At the center of the lawsuit is Uber’s use of upfront pricing. Introduced in major markets last year, the feature provides passengers with the cost of their ride before they summon a car. Uber pitched the fare model as a way to increase transparency and address anger over unexpected rate surges when demand for rides spiked.

“There’s no complicated math and no surprises: Passengers can just sit back and enjoy the ride,” the company said in a press statement.

However, according to the lawsuit, Uber also took the change as an opportunity to pull off “an active, extensive, methodical scheme … to defraud drivers.”

The lawsuit alleges that Uber essentially calculates two fares for each ride — one charged to the passenger and a cheaper one used to determine the driver’s pay. Uber, according to the suit, then can pocket the difference. (Sound familiar?)

The lawsuit claims that the discrepancy between the two prices violates the terms of an agreement Uber drivers must sign, specifying that they will receive the amount charged to passengers minus a percentage the company keeps.

In California, Uber generally takes 25%.

To bolster their claims, attorneys Bobby Saadian and Daniel Miller — representing driver Sophano Van — allowed The Times to review photos of receipts that drivers and passengers received from three rides.

In one, a rider paid $54.80 to be brought from the Fairfax district in Los Angeles to LAX. But Uber used a fare of $43.55 when calculating the amount it forwarded to the driver, which came to $32.89.

A spokeswoman for Uber declined to comment on the lawsuit. She acknowledged that the calculations used to determine what passengers are charged and what drivers are paid can differ.

"Riders agree to a fare upfront, while drivers earn based on the actual length of the journey plus applicable surge and promotions,” the spokeswoman wrote in a statement to The Times. “There are times when the two differ, and as we’ve noted before, the rider fare is often lower than what a driver earns for the same trip.”

Uber’s software algorithms calculate the fare charged to riders based primarily on the distance of the trip and an estimated time it will take, as well as factors such as how many drivers are in the area at the time, the company said when it unveiled upfront pricing.

But Uber's programs can overestimate or underestimate the distance or duration of a ride, leading to passenger fares that are out of line with the reality, according to the company.

The lawsuit is only the latest legal trouble for the company.

For years, Uber has been fighting class-action lawsuits that seek to redefine the employment status of drivers in California and elsewhere from independent contractors to full-fledged employees. A ruling against the company would upend a crucial underpinning of its business model, as it would have to pay drivers benefits and reimburse them for gas and other expenses.

A $100-million settlement proposed by the company was rejected last year by a federal judge in San Francisco as insufficient.

And Uber has been in damage-control mode over a sexual harassment allegation from a former employee that led users to drop the service’s app from their phones. Google also has sued over alleged theft of trade secrets, and Uber’s senior vice president of engineering recently resigned for not disclosing another sexual harassment accusation.