Saturday, August 05, 2017
I diligently waited for the renewal pack to arrive some 4 months before the current license expiry date only to be disappointed it hadn't arrived, and so I called TFL who said "it was posted last week... but I will send another in case it got lost in the post".
As I counted the weeks and months away...still no sign of my new bill, I got a call from TFL @6 weeks later by Jonathan who politely stated that there were severe delays at DBS but I am on the system and they would keep me informed, and so they did.
on section B, If you tick B1, "I have applied for a new enhanced DBS disclosure" you tick the box and state your E-number and this is how I and all cab drivers I know have always done it.
But...There are 2 other options.
B2, "I have an existing DBS disclosure which I would like to use as part of this application"..... of which I obviously do not have,
Or... B3, "I am DBS update service subscriber and do not need to apply for a new disclosure" ... Which again I am not, so this didn't apply to me either.
And Importantly you can only tick one option!
But Stewart was having none of it, and said that unless I joined the DBS "update service" at a further cost of £13, I would not get a temporary measure license which could be issued in the likely event that my DBS was not returned in time before my bill soon expired.
So (I asked), a DBS initial cost of £56.85 has already been cashed, and because a delay has occurred at your end (he blamed the Met Police), I have to pay to join a separate duplicate system for the right to work?
I was livid, and complained bitterly to him stating that I would not be forced or coerced into paying any more for what should have been already been processed and informed him that I was going to take this to a higher level... (he didnt give a fig)...and so we ended the call.
I subsequently contacted my GLA Representative Andrew Dismore (who I have Met before on other occasions when he was my MP and contacted his office and explained that through no fault of my own, I could not go to work because of severe delays through my licensing authority (TFL) and hoped their office could help, and rightly enough they contacted TFL... and obtained a senior level response a few hours later From Andrew Hatch, Communications and Engagement TFL Managing Directors office who' reply was very revealing....
Mr Hatch stated that whilst he had escalated my details to the Met Police to ensure it was processed straight away, He said I had also been contacted prior, to arrange for a Temporary Licence to be issued but I had refused to accept this because I would not join the "Up date service"... which is a "mandatory" requirement!
There is nothing anywhere in writing to state that a "Mandatory" status exists on this service particularly when you fill in the renewal application form they send you (MCH/203R) .... it clearly states;
It is absolutely abhorrent to see any TFL system licensing delays (whoever its partners are) to be somehow levelled an extra cost toward you the applicant for no contributory reason is exactly what happened and wrong.
Andrew Dismore's office advised me to pay £13 now so as to negate any losses which I could not recoup, but continue to complain to TFL about such an awful level of service, which meant that I had to travel at my own cost to southwark stn and see a member of TFL staff to obtain a means to work.... none of this was ever my fault.
The Temporary licence lasted 14 days, and on the 14th day I angrilly called TFL to ask if they really expected me to make another long journey down to southwark for a second temporary licence?
No need they said, they were informed my proper new license was in the post and If I was stopped by a compliance officer or Police just inform them to contact TFL for authorisation...so there you have it, you dont really need a licence on you if they say so?
The appalling nature of how TFL both conducts our business of licensing is so poor and lacking in quality towards the client (us) because its make it up as you go along policies and is one very good reason how Uber has snuck in under the radar of TFL and the lower pay-graded staff it employs....But climb up the ladder of TFL authority and ask pertinent questions and all you get is smoke and mirrors...never clear concise explanations and that is why we the Taxi trade will never surrender to such a despicable bunch, who always call lies 'mistakes or errors'.
In all my life, I have never seen such appalling mismanagement in a local government office, but I am absolutely certain things will have to come to an abrupt end.
Keep up the fight and watch out for breaking news soon to hit the headlines!
greenbadgejohn (on twitter)
Friday, August 04, 2017
Let’s all say it together: Ugh, Uber, ugh! We’re like five minutes into the company’s “180 Days of Change” apology tour and more awful Uber news is already coming out. The Wall Street Journal reports that the multi-billion dollar startup rented dangerously faulty cars to hundreds of drivers in Singapore, after the model had been recalled. According to internal messages obtained by the paper, Uber knew about the recall, too.
The brazen behavior really fits well with the “move fast, break things” mantra. Essentially, Uber made Singapore the first Asian city where its service would be available, but the company had trouble finding drivers, because owning a car in Singapore is prohibitively expensive. As a slapdash solution, Uber then reportedly set up a separate company that bought cars in bulk from shady importers who operate in a grey area of the law. The cars were cheaper this way.
We haven’t even gotten to the bad stuff yet. Last year, Uber apparently bought over 1,100 Honda Vezels from one of these gray-market companies, even though the model had been recalled for a faulty electronic component that could overheat and cause a fire. You can guess what happened next. The Journal describes an incident in January 2017:
Uber driver Koh Seng Tian had just dropped off a passenger in a residential neighborhood in Singapore when he smelled smoke in his Honda Vezel sport-utility vehicle. Flames burst from the dashboard, melting the interior and cracking a football-sized hole in his windshield.
Thankfully, the driver wasn’t injured, but Uber quickly heard about the incident. Did they pull all of the faulty vehicles off the road? Nah, that would be too expensive. Instead, the company allegedly told drivers with Honda Vezels to take their vehicle in for service without specifying the problem. In February, when Uber threw a party celebrating the conclusion of the PR and safety nightmare, the Journal reports that “65 percent of the defective Vezels still hadn’t had the faulty parts replaced.” Uber says all of them are fixed now.
But man, what a mess. This isn’t your typical Uber-is-a-shitty-company story, either. If these claims are true, it seems Uber actually put people’s lives at risk in order to save money. The company reportedly gambled with minivans that could spontaneously combust, because it would be a big pain to fix them, and well, the drivers and passengers would probably be fine. Then it had a party while these explode-y cars were still driving people around! (If you haven’t deleted your Uber account already, today’s a great day to take action. Here’s how.)
We’ve reached out to Uber to see if it cares to comment on the Journal’s story and will update this post if we hear back.
Update 4:55pm - Uber sent us the following statement:
As soon as we learned of a Honda Vezel from the Lion City Rental fleet catching fire, we took swift action to fix the problem, in close coordination with Singapore’s Land Transport Authority as well as technical experts. But we acknowledge we could have done more—and we have done so. We’ve introduced robust protocols and hired three dedicated experts in-house at LCR whose sole job is to ensure we are fully responsive to safety recalls. Since the beginning of the year, we’ve proactively responded to six vehicle recalls and will continue to do so to protect the safety of everyone who uses Uber.
Thursday, August 03, 2017
TfL Completely Ignore Policy Question....But Defends Colleague's Questionable Identity Multiple Times
Wednesday, August 02, 2017
Addison Lee has become the latest company to face defeat in court over its treatment of workers as “independent contractors” without rights to holiday pay, sick pay or the national minimum wage.
The employment judge Joanna Wade issued a damning verdict against the £260m-a-year-turnover minicab firm, ruling that it had unlawfully failed to pay the cycle courier Chris Gascoigne, 48, holiday pay and attacking its attempts to “frighten off” Gascoigne from challenging his employment status.
The ruling at the central London employment tribunal that the cycle courier should be classed as a “worker” follows similar verdicts in cases brought against Uber, City Sprint, Excel, and eCourier.
It comes as the government considers recommendations from a Downing Street review to bring in a new law that any self-employed worker under “control” or “supervision” from their contracting company should be considered a “dependent contractor” and benefit from holiday pay, sick pay and the minimum wage.
There are now an estimated 1.1 million people in Britain’s gig economy. Addison Lee’s main business involves 5,000 minicab drivers, who it classes as self-employed, but it also has approximately 500 couriers. Around 40 of them use bicycles, like Gascoigne, who delivered parcels in London for Addison Lee for almost seven years before leaving in March.
“I am really happy,” he said. “It is an important verdict. This is a pretty tough job and I think it is only fair considering what we do. The payments don’t justify the fact we don’t have these pretty basic rights.”
The judge highlighted Addison Lee’s use of contradictory language in its contract to avoid the courier being treated as a worker. Workers were given Addison Lee-branded bags and T-shirts, responded to a central controller and used Addison Lee IT devices, including a system that had no “decline” button when a job was offered.
Meanwhile Gascoigne was asked to sign a contract that stated: “You agree that you are an independent contractor and that nothing in this agreement shall render you an employee, worker, agent or partner of Addison Lee.”
Wade said the evidence showed “couriers need to be responsive and work quickly during a tightly controlled working day” and pointed to recruitment material on its website saying “we are proud of our couriers – we’d love you to be part of that”.
She said: “It does not say: ‘We want to find couriers who are independent and work on an ad-hoc basis. If you do account work you [will] be a self-employed sub-contractor and for non-account work we will be your agent so you carry the risk.’ Not only is this confusing and wordy, it is not the way the business ran, or could run, as [Addison Lee] well knew. This is why it employed ‘armies’ of lawyers; to do the best possible job to ensure that the claimant and his colleagues did not have … worker status.”
Wade also said she was saddened that the contract included a clause “designed to frighten him off from litigating”. It stated that he should “indemnify Addison Lee against any liability for any employment-related claim or any claim based on worker status brought by you”. This, said the judge, “suggests they knew the risk of portraying the claimant as self-employed”.
Gascoigne’s case was supported by the International Workers of Great Britain trade union.
Its general secretary, Jason Moyer-Lee, said: “As if we needed any more evidence, today’s judgment once again proves our point. The law is clear, and employers in the so-called gig economy have been choosing to unlawfully deprive their workers of rights. Yet another domino has fallen with regard to the inevitable conclusion that people in the so-called gig economy are workers.”
A spokesman for Addison Lee said: “We note the tribunal’s verdict, which we will carefully review. Addison Lee is disappointed with the ruling as we have always had, and are committed to maintaining a flexible and fair relationship with cycle couriers.”
Source : Guardian.
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
A raucous crowd attacked Uber drivers and their vehicles with clubs and stones outside the Mexico City airport, according to the company, as licensed taxi drivers demonstrated to demand a “total halt” to app-based rideshare services in the capital.
Video of the demonstration showed people throwing eggs and flour inside the windows of vehicles, kicking doors and trying to rip off side mirrors. One man destroyed a sedan’s rear window with a large rock.
“What happened is a very grave attack on everyone’s freedom and right to make a living in a dignified manner,” Uber said. “Incidents like this are completely unacceptable and we trust that authorities will act so that justice is done.”
Wednesday’s attack and a taxi drivers’ protest outside the Colombian embassy on Tuesday to proclaim solidarity with cabbies in that country and around the world are a clear signal that newly issued regulations designed to create a legal framework for Uber and the smaller Cabify have not put an end to Mexico City’s simmering taxi dispute.
An Uber spokeswoman, Rocio Paniagua, told Televisa news that between 10 and 12 cars had been damaged in Tuesday’s clashes. Some drivers were struck but there were no reports of serious injuries. She said taxi cabs had been used to block off the street but those who took part were not carrying anything to identify who they were.
At Wednesday’s protest, leaders of the Organised Taxi Drivers of Mexico City union denied any involvement in the “regrettable” incident. They promised to pursue only legal avenues and said the attack had been carried out by people fed up with Uber drivers parking in their neighbourhood for airport pickups.
“They are decisions that the neighbors of the area made but we have nothing to do with it,” said a union spokesman, Juan Carlos Rovira. “We say so categorically.”
This month Mexico City became the first city in Latin America to set down official regulations for smartphone-based ride services such as Uber. They call for the companies to pay 1.5% of fares to a fund for improving transportation; require drivers to register and submit to annual inspections; and bar them from accepting cash or establishing the equivalent of taxi stands.
Cabbies questioned whether Uber drivers may have been breaking that last rule by parking outside the airport. Paniagua said the company’s drivers were not permitted to wait on airport grounds so they stayed in the surrounding streets until customers who summoned rides were in a place where they could be picked up.
Several dozen medallion-cab drivers rallied at the demonstration, setting off firecrackers. They hoisted signs calling rideshare operators “criminals” and criticising the mayor, Miguel Angel Mancera, for letting them operate.
They vowed to continue pushing for the regulations to be repealed or modified until they feel there is a truly level playing field. “These transnational applications are infiltrating different countries as an economic parasite, endangering the livelihood of thousands of taxi drivers and their families and devouring the market for the legally established service,” said a union official, Ignacio Rodriguez.
Uber is increasingly popular among middle- and upper-class Mexicans as they turn to what they consider a safer, more reliable, more pleasant, convenient and cost-competitive alternative to street cabs.
In a poll, 80% of Mexico City residents surveyed gave Uber positive ratings, compared with 52% for medallion cabs. Just 12% said they backed a ban on Uber.
Francisco Rodriguez Esquivel, a 61-year-old who has been driving a cab for 15 years, said the airport attack was the “unfortunate” but unsurprising result of pent-up frustration.
“I think it’s a logical consequence, that people start to get desperate because these companies continue to work and are probably even laughing at us,” Rodriguez said. “The struggle continues, and it is going to continue until this gets fixed.”