Saturday, September 16, 2017

Uber found guilty of avoiding government officials by using Greyball software


More troubling news for Uber, as an investigation conducted by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), have found Uber Guilty of using Greyball software that enables the firm to avoid government officials.

The concluded in their report that Uber had “illegally entered the Portland Market in 2014,” whilst they had no permit to do so.

PBOT said that Uber had “intentionally deceived PBOT’s officers” by using the Greyball software in the city as the software had been applied to 16 accounts that belonged to government officials.

The report further said: “In using Greyball, Uber has sullied its own reputation and cast a cloud over the TNC [transport network company] industry generally.”

So, what is Greyball?

Greyball is preventing undercover regulators globally from shutting down the hailing app service. This secret program can identify officials monitoring Uber drivers however, it was initially developed to protect the company from any “violations of terms of service.”

However, data collected from the Uber phone app had been used to identify regulators and other officials monitoring their drivers. This secret program has allowed Uber to monitor user’s habits to identify undercover regulators using the service as normal passengers by obtaining geolocation and credit card data.

Once the program has identified any official, regulator or even the police trying to entrap a driver another version of the app cancels their booking.

These methods and techniques are clearly enabling Uber to globally circumvent the authorities.

Dan Saltzman of Portland city commissioner said: “As regulators, it is our job to ensure these companies [like Uber] play by the rules, keep passengers safe, and act ethically.

“Moving forward, we have ensured that no attempts to evade regulators or deny service to riders in violation of city code or law will be allowed in the future.”

This week ten MPs said Uber is an “unfit and improper operator,” police have also accused the firm of failing to report sex attacks.

Labour MP Wes Streeting, who is the All Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis, wrote to Mike Brown, TfL’s commissioner, he wrote: “The safety of Londoners must be at the forefront of decisions taken about the taxi and private hire industry in our capital city.

“We do not believe that Uber has shown itself to be a fit and proper operator.

“Competition in the taxi and private hire industry is welcome, but it must be on a level playing field and the safety of passengers must be paramount.

“In cities around the world, Uber has shown itself to be an unfit and improper operator.

“It’s time that London followed cities in the United States, Canada, Australia, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Bulgaria and Hungary by revoking Uber’s licence.”

Inspector Neil Billany of the Metropolitan Police, has said Uber only informs the police of “less serious matters” therefore being selective of the crimes they report.


Source : London Loves Business

"Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done."... By Lenny Etheridge


       Brighton & Hove Taxi Trade News

        ITS NOT ABOUT COMPETITION



          SIGN PETITION CLICK HERE


The GMB Brighton & Hove Taxi Section calls for the November 2017 renewal of the Uber Britannia Ltd Brighton & Hove Operators Licence to be held as a Public Hearing with participation of the trade..media and other interested parties.


When Uber Britannia Ltd (UBL) originally applied for an Operator’s Licence in 2015 it was effectively treated as an unknown entity which is why the application was referred to a ‘Licensing Panel’ that was held in public and was open to questions and objections and recorded for a local TV station..


The licence was granted but UBL did not launch until nearly the end of that one year period so there was no basis of evidence not renew the licence... albeit for another one year period instead of the standard five years... and thus the decision was held in ‘In Camera’.


However with UBL now operating in the city for approaching one full year there is every reason for the renewal process to be fully focused on a Public Hearing.
Justification for this... even on just one simple point... can be based on the fact that at that initial ‘Panel Hearing’ which was held in public... UBL made a statement of their undertaking to only use Brighton & Hove licensed vehicles. This statement is often used when UBL applies for  local Operator Licences in various locations throughout the UK.

This undertaking has been blatantly broken with the use of TfL minicabs and private-hire vehicles from all over the country predominantly working in the city out of sight and control of their respective Enforcement Officers.

On this point the argument given by UBL every time is that they only use B&H licensed vehicles on their Brighton & Hove Operators Licence. However... as we all know.. this is all smoke and mirrors. The undertaking was from UBL and not from ‘UBL Brighton & Hove’.

We have photographic and video  evidence of Uber TfL minicabs sleeping in their vehicles literally 'camped out' which is unprecedented in Brighton & Hove.

We have photographic and video evidence of Uber Tfl minicabs and 'Out-of-Town' ph vehicles driving the wrong way in one way streets....

We have photographic and video evidence of Uber TfL minicabs illegally using bus lanes and driving in restricted areas....

Uber Britannia Ltd is fully responsible for these activities but takes no responsibility...

In addition at that 'Panel Meeting' UBL undertook to address the provision of wheelchair access stating that as it was a ‘Start Up’ company it would need a few month to progress this. we have an original audio recording of this commitment. On this basis the trade is within its rights to publicly question that failed commitment for this to be on public record.

The question that the council needs to be asked in public is if UBL had stated: “No.. we will use private hire vehicles from all over the country” then would the council have granted the licence in the first place?

The trade needs to address UBL directly in the same way as with the initial application. 

Mr Fred Jones of UBL is now a Trade Rep attending the Council Trade Form Meetings but often refuses to address matters of concern by the trade. Or when matters are addressed the answers are quite frankly beyond belief such as matters regarding public safety of CCTV and vehicle identification. Such matters are of extremely high public interest which needs to be reported on by the media.

The trade has officially been refused the request for a 'Public Hearing' but given the recent high media exposure of Uber  both nationally and internationally that covers a significant range of allegations such as government intervention through to Uber using software to “Dodge the law”* known as ‘Grey Ball” and the hundreds of lawsuits  then it is quite incredulous that Brighton & Hove City Council has chosen not to undertake the renewal process of the UBL Brighton & Hove Operator’s licence in Public but instead behind closed doors.. away from the direct questioning of the trade and the media.

We now request that the council reconsiders the process of the renewal of the UBL Brighton & Hove Operators Licence and place the matter for a Public Hearing for trade... the media and public to participate in.  

If any other Brighton & Hove Licensed Operator acted in the same way then we would demand the same Public Hearing for its licence renewal....

     ..................................................

       ITS ABOUT PUBLIC SAFETY

Andrew Peters  Secretary GMB Brighton & Hove Taxi Section


This is inspired and rousing!
Sean's Paul Day's best to date.

Check out @seanpaulday’s Tweet: 

Friday, September 15, 2017

London's Gold Standard Taxi drivers giving free lifts to people affected by the tube explosion

London's Gold Standard Black Taxis have been offering free rides to people caught up in the terror attack at the Parsons Green underground station.

Drivers who had finished night shifts reportedly returned to work to help evacuate terrified commuters.

Parsons Green explosion: BBC's Sophie Raworth describes woman with burns "from top to toe"


London TaxiApp Cabby Gerald Coba said:

"While others seek to profit by increasing their rates (surge pricing) our drivers have again turned out in force to help the public free of charge, it's just what we do. 

"We've been doing this for many years. We are London's 4th emergency service and can always be relied on in emergencies such as this. 

“Our drivers don't want to make money from other people’s misery, that's not what we do.”

It's been reported that local minicab company Hayber Cars has also been offering free lifts to people undertaking short journeys following the incident.

At least 22 people have been injured by the Parsons Green blast, which Scotland Yard are treating as a terrorist attack.

A manhunt has been launched to find the person who planted the suspected Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

Other local residents offered to open up their homes to people affected by the explosion.

London Mayor tight-lipped on pending Uber license decision


 London Mayor Sadiq Khan declined to comment on Thursday on whether taxi app Uber [UBER.UL] will have its license renewed ahead of a decision due by the end of month, saying that giving a running commentary could prompt legal action afterwards. 

Uber, which has faced protests from drivers of London’s traditional black cabs, had its license extended in May for four months as the city’s transport regulator considers several factors including a new fees system which could raise the costs paid by larger private-hire firms.

Several lawmakers wrote a letter this week calling on Uber’s license not to be renewed, accusing it of not being a “fit and proper operator” and criticizing its record on safety and working rights. 

Asked about the upcoming decision during a question time session on Thursday, Mayor Khan said it would be wrong to comment ahead of the announcement. 

“You would appreciate I‘m sure how inappropriate it would be, bearing in mind that this is quasi-judicial role that is played, for me as the Mayor of London and Chair of (transport regulator) TfL to give a running commentary,” he said. 

“If for no other reason, because they would then challenge that in the courts and say that the outcome of the application had been pre-judged.” 

Uber has faced criticism in recent months over working conditions and later this month it will appeal against a decision by judges who ruled it should treat two of its drivers as workers and give them the minimum wage and holiday pay. 

In recent weeks, the app has announced a series of measures in the UK capital, including the introduction of tipping and plans to stop using diesel cars by the end of 2019. 

On Thursday, Uber said it was making further improvements for drivers by increasing some fares, allowing in-app messaging and committing to faster and easier administrative processes. 

Uber’s General Manager in London Tom Elvidge said their cars remained a key part of life in the city. 

“The app’s popularity speaks for itself with 3.5 million Londoners using it to get a reliable ride. More than 40,000 licensed private-hire drivers also rely on our app to make a living. We want to continue contributing to our city,” he said.

Source : LONDON (Reuters) -

Thursday, September 14, 2017

TfL Taxi and Private Hire, Have Knowingly Been Putting The Public At Risk... Part 1...by Jim Thomas


To add insult to injury, TfL have recently sent out this letter (below), to the 13,000 PHV drivers who have been found to have submitted DBS certificates from an Unauthorised source. 

While London Taxi drivers have been thrown out of work as their TfL authorised DBS applications have been caught up in a back log (some drivers have been out of work for over 3 months), the PHV drivers have now been given 28 days to submit new certificates. 

But this hasn't just come to light, TfL have known about the authenticity of these certificates since January and have scandalously said nothing!!! 
Until the story was given to the Sunday Times by the LCDC. 

Let's just reiterate on this....that's 13,000 Minicab drivers running round, picking up passengers, who have not had a proper criminal record background check.... 
TfL knew this was happening, yet were prepared to sweep it under the carpet and say nothing!


Senior staff at TfL are guilty of putting he public at risk from PHV drivers with fake DBS certificates. 

The question we now ask is:
Why have these PHV drivers, not had their licenses suspended, in the same respect as London Taxi drivers have been stopped from working, when caught up in backlogs beyond their control ?

Below is the letter sent out by TfL to the PHV drivers with unauthorised DBS certificates:


Please note: 
TfL ask for drivers to contact them once they receive their reference number, to verify they have made a new application, so their progress can then be tracked.

How come this is good enough for PHV drivers who have purchased fake DBS certificates...but not good enough for Licensed Taxi drivers who have gone through the correct channels and have been caught in a queue through incompetence ?

We cannot have one rule for them and a different rule for us:
Helen Chapman has stated that PHV drivers have the same enhanced checks as Taxi drivers. This is a lie!
We have been informed today that Taxi drivers have lifetime checks, whereas 'foreign' PHV drivers are only required to have checks which go back 3 years!


Our orgs must now insist that no Taxi driver is stopped from working while caught up in delays that are beyond their control, even if Chapman can't live with herself. 
She can always resign!

             Twitter poll

Letter to Editor From Lee Ward : Making A Stand, Part 2


If I had more time, I would write a shorter article, but to get everything I want into a short article is beyond my writing skills, so I apologise in advance.

Let’s recap from my last post, where I explained that TfL are between a rock and a hard place in dealing with Taxify, and as you know they have forced them to stop operating which, in my opinion is a knee jerk reaction, and one that’s showing the cracks in TfL from the pressure that they are under…
ok then, have a cheer or two for that….
 Feel better now? I thought you might…

Now how can TfL order Taxify to cease trading when they in fact do no different from Uber as shown in the table;


Now we know Taxify have stated that they operate within from the following statement, but it has a tone of ‘we do no different to Uber’ (highlighted by myself for ease of reference).

Taxify has now issued a statement saying it has “done everything in its power to comply with the local regulations, but is faced by aggression from TfL.” It says that running Taxify as a technology platform directing bookings to City Drive Services registered drivers is “completely compliant within the existing UK law, and is a common practice.” 

TfL has revoked the license held by City Drive Services
I guess TfL didn’t like two Genie’s popping out of the bottle so threw one back in, and I cannot see how they can now renew Ubers license later this month, not with this, the London Assembly voting against it and Sadiq Khan saying he wouldn’t let his daughters travel alone in a minicab (a bit harsh on the genuine minicab drivers, but they will always be tarred with the same brush as Uber while Uber is around I am afraid).

Perhaps for the first time in many months, I actually think that Uber will not be relicensed and the court case can finally begin, hopefully with the best Barristers and a judge that has common sense in abundance.

Now about that crack that showing in TfL, well, we heard of the very imminent departure of one Leon Daniels, not unlike how Travis Kalanick left Uber earlier this year, perhaps Daniels will be investigated the same as Kalanick is, now that would be a nice little turn up for the books, wouldn’t it?

And then we have the 13,000 Uber drivers who have incorrect DBS Certificates, I say Uber because the company Onfido was used by Uber for its ‘Ignition Scheme’ where they assist drivers in obtaining a TfL (or other area’s) license as soon as possible.

For TfL to give these drivers 28 days to acquire a new DBS is beyond me, regardless of who is at fault for this diabolical situation. At the end of the day, the DBS is possibly the biggest part in the application process of deciding who is ‘fit and proper’ to drive the public around. 

What’s next, a driver cannot show a driving license that is valid so they can have 28 days to find one? 

So how did the trade in London get into this mess that they are in?

Well, I will give my two penneth on what I think caused this situation from talking to various people and reading everything I can on the matter.

And my conclusion is, Uber played a game of chess while the Orgs were playing Tic-Tac-Toe.
OK, someone just walked over my grave, I felt the shiver like Miami felt Hurricane Irma today.

I will elaborate, so hang on before you all look north and put two fingers up.
Let’s look at that game of chess that Uber played first.

In 2013 they employed Jo Bertram, who had previously worked for McKinsey & Co. and Accenture, both companies specialise in ensuring that companies work smoothly with Governments across the world.

They employed Racheal Whetstone in 2015, a very well-known public relations executive, someone who for the past 10 years had worked with Google, and no doubt had previous correspondence with George Osbourne when he was dealing with the Google TAX issue.

She was the God Parent to David Cameron’s child, who sadly passed away (hate Cameron, but the child was innocent).

Cameron and Osbourne both told Boris Johnson to back off legislating Uber.
In 2014 along came Tom Elvidge, previously with Accenture and also Goldman Sachs.

Also in 2015 Fred Jones joined Uber, who was a Director at Accenture when Jo Bertram was there and specialised in strategic engagements for FTSE 100 clients and large Government Departments.

You can fill in the blanks about how this network of people got together, either before or after they joined Uber, who knows, but the game of chess was, I must admit, very well played.

Now, while this was going on, the Orgs did…. Erm, well, I can’t find anything really apart from the Taxi Meter bit. Tic-Tac-Toe a futile game where even children soon learn that it ends in a draw, a bit harsh? Maybe.

The Orgs have had plenty of quality information from various people across the trade who have happily supplied their work to the Orgs to take up and run with, but instead, because they didn’t come up with it themselves, they doctored it to make it their own argument and in doing so totally got it wrong, why fix something that isn’t broken or try and reinvent the wheel? Baffles me.


Instead of working together, sharing information and trying to make a joint effort to close down Uber, Uber sat back and giggled watching the Orgs fight amongst themselves, talk about Divide & Conquer masterclass.

There has been enough ammunition supplied to fire a Gatling gun, but no one pulled the trigger and that’s lead to apathy, apathy from people thinking of joining an Org and apathy from members of an Org. Despondency has set in where in reality, right now, drivers should be being constantly updated with information and called to arms like Rottweilers on a short leash with its prey in sight.

But no, nothing, nadda…
The Orgs are so busy not letting the other Orgs know what they are planning or doing that they don’t tell their members what they are planning or doing either, so the members are left in limbo and all that energy that should be being built up with less than 3 weeks before Uber are or are not licensed instead leaves those Rottweilers more like Pugs with their faces so long while sat on a rank.

Hey I may be completely wrong and everyone has signed up to a NDA Like TfL and Uber, if I am, then I apologise now. If I am not, remember I am a Yorkshire man, I say what I like and I like what I bloody well say.

Every area marked on this map has a serious issue with cross border hiring, it’s no surprise that Uber are licensed in every one of these areas.

Cross border hiring, or the Triple License Rule is the result of the Deregulation Act 2015 so people say, and personally, I think they have the argument wrong.
Before 2015 an Operator could sub-contract a booking to any other Operator within the same area, the Deregulation Act allowed them to Sub-Contract a booking to an Operator outside of their area, but its been twisted to the Operators advantage. 

Bookings taken inside area A by Operator A are being sub-contracted to Operator B that’s licensed in area B to cover the booking that’s actually in Area A…confused? Look at the map that should help.


Now the only thing that the Deregulation Act did was support companies to grow, at the expense of the drivers. Saturation was soon to follow with companies realising that they could get an Operators license in the area next to theirs, or further afield and use software to use the drivers from that area (usually the easiest to get licensed and no actual work for the drivers) to saturate the local market. It was all radio rent for the owners, longer between jobs for the drivers.

This, along with Uber and other companies, using the Triple License loophole, where provided the driver, Operator and Vehicle were all licensed by one area then that driver can work anywhere in the country, again something that the legitimate drivers object against.

I say legitimate because these drivers, who are the victims to all of this, have gone through all the necessary obligations to be licensed to drive in the area that they wish to work, not circumvented these requirements and gone for the easy route to get on the road.

It’s not only the companies to blame here, far from it, some authorities have jumped on the money maker, Wolverhampton as an example where they have licensed 6395 drivers up to August this year which is up from 927 in 2013. I think they were giving TfL a run for their money on the bragging rights for revenue stream.

These two issues, the Deregulation Act and Cross Border Hiring have caused massive saturation across the country, no different to the saturation in London itself as percentages go.
The trade cannot continue in this way, or the drivers.

We have waited on the Orgs and Unions, and nothing has happened.
We have waited on our Councillors and MP’s, and nothing has happened.
We have waited on our Local Licensing Authorities, and nothing has happened.

The only thing that has happened is drivers are working longer, losing families, homes and vehicles. Apathy if not depression has set in, reports of suicide have been heard, please, any driver out there that contemplates this, reach out, talk to someone, this is not the way out of trouble.

So, do we wait longer, do we lose more and do we feed apathy?

Or, do we make a stand, a national one.
Taxi drivers and Legitimate Private Hire drivers, for once in history, standing shoulder to shoulder to say enough is enough.

I don’t want any Org or Union to step forward here, but I would like them all to tell their members that they support it.
If you are a member or not, now is your time, now is your opportunity to make that stand.
Every City (or anywhere that is suffering) in this country protests, all on the same day.

It just needs one person in each area to rally the troops, no matter how many or few. Inform the local police and news outlets, give the public notice of what you are doing and why.

Let’s turn everyone’s heads, let people know. Let the authorities know.
They rely on our apathy and lack of unity, let’s show them what we are capable of.
Let’s MAKE A STAND.

If this fails, I have nothing more to give…. My time in this trade will come to an end.
Your friend, colleague and supporter…
 
Wardy
 
 
This is inspired and rousing!
Sean's best to date.

Check out @seanpaulday’s Tweet: 

BBC DIY SOS, Can You Help?

Can you help? 
Or know anyone who can? 
The email address for the show is at the bottom of this post. Thank you for taking the time to read it......it concerns one of our own.

BBC DIY SOS
Do you know anyone who has a building trade that could assist the BBC’s DIY SOS in Barnet? Here's why...

On 22nd March 2017, 35 year old Kris Aves attended a London Police Commendation Ceremony and was awarded for his exceptional work as a Police Liaison Officer in the Metropolitan Police. What should have been a happy day shortly turned to horror as Kris became a victim of the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge.

The horrific attack left 5 people dead, including Police Officer Keith Palmer and another dozen with very serious injuries including PC Kris. Kris was returning from the ceremony when he was suddenly mowed down by the terrorist in a speeding car. Kris took the brunt of the collision. 

It left him with two broken legs, numerous head injuries, a lacerated elbow, a damaged left shoulder, sternum, and tragically a damaged spinal cord which has left him wheel chair bound.

Kris now resides in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury, undergoing daily routines to assist with his rehabilitation. His partner Marissa cares for son (6) and daughter (4) in their home in East Barnet which is now inaccessible to Kris and unsuitable for his rehabilitation. The home needs considerable adaption throughout, and a through floor lift before Kris can return to his loving family.

DIY SOS invites trades and to volunteer and companies to support this build for Police Officer Kris Aves and his family. The build will take place between 10th and 19th October.

Taxi Leaks Extra Comment:
Not all of us have a trade that we can offer. But there is something else we can do!
Wouldn't it be fantastic if we could organise a fleet of shiny Black Taxis, to pick up and take home the army of volunteers. 

The same spirit we regularly see with Poppy Cabs, Taxi Charities and the Children's Outings.

Something we haven't seen before on this show....Taxi drivers volunteering, to help the volunteers. 

To join the build you need to attend a Trades Day being held on 21st September. 

Please email diysosbarnet@bbc.co.uk as soon as possible with your trade details, availability and telephone contact details.

   

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

More FOI Revelations With Uber Telling TfLTPH What They Will Be Doing At Heathrow.

      Top : Chapman, Bertram. Bottom : Blake, Kennedy-Todd, Byrne.

There have been more FOI revelations, with UBER telling Tfl how they want to bring in Uber drivers, who are themselves licensed by authorities outside of London, to pick up at Heathrow.

Below is the transcript of an email sent on the 13th of September 2016, by Uber's Tom  Elvidge, to TfLTPH general manager, Helen Chapman. Others cc'ed into the email were 
Blake Peter (TfL); Kennedy-Todd Silka(TfL); Jo Bertram (Uber) and Andrew Byrne (Uber)

Dear Helen,

We discussed at our last meeting the practice of enabling the Uber platform to allow drivers/vehicles licensed with authorities from outside of London to undertake private hire trips within the TfL service area - particularly at Heathrow Airport. This is of course a common practice undertaken by many other UK licensed operators, and the basis upon which non-London licensed operators are able to accept booking requests from Heathrow. Indeed, as you will be aware there are many drivers with other operators and make pickups predominantly outside of their licensed area.

The below sets out how this works with the Uber platform:

A rider requests a booking using the Uber app by setting the location at which they would like to be picked up

The Uber system locates the most appropriate driver to offer that trip to based on the criteria set by the local Uber staff managing the system through the dispatch tools

The driver confirms that he/she is available to complete the booking

The request is accepted by the relevant Uber operator associated with the driver(in accordance with the triple-licensing requirement) with confirmation of the booking being sent by Uber to the rider (including the driver’s name, photograph, vehicle registration and make/model)

The relevant operator maintains the record of the booking in accordance with its local licensing conditions

It is worth noting that a record is also kept of any attempt to make a booking that is not fulfilled due to unavailability of drivers/vehicles. Whilst not bookings, these records are maintained to monitor the number of requests and ability to fulfil them.

I wanted to set this out in writing so that it is clear how the Uber platform operates in regard to drivers from multiple jurisdictions. As you will be aware, Uber holds private hire operator licences in over 60 jurisdictions around England and Wales. Up until now, these operations have configured the system so that non-London licensed partner-drivers are not able to carry out trips within London, but there is no legal restriction preventing Uber’s other licenced operations from taking bookings in London, as TfL itself acknowledges on its website.

Regards, Tom

Tom Elvidge 

13 September 2016 17:34
Chapman Helen (TPH)
Blake Peter; Kennedy-Todd Silka; Jo Bertram; Andrew Byrne Uber Booking Process

Ends

In true Blue Peter fashion, here's another one we found from earlier : 🤗

Source : London Cab Drivers Club

    Interesting thoughts from Twitter:


There's a serious chance Uber won't be allowed to operate in London

There’s a real chance Uber won’t be allowed to operate in London, with the city’s transport authorities spooked by the firm’s history of poor behaviour.

Three board members at London’s transport regulator, Transport for London, want Uber’s operator licence cancelled, or renewed only with strict conditions, according to The Sunday Times.

They are particularly worried about Uber’s corporate behaviour, predominantly in the US where the firm is being investigated by the FBI for using secret software to evade local regulators.

A leaked letter that TfL board member Michael Liebrich sent questions Uber’s alleged “regulatory evasion”, its passenger safety record, and the way it rates passengers.

The newspaper quotes a second board member as saying: “My position is that we shouldn’t renew the licence. I did raise concerns about the way Uber reportedly ‘games’ its application to deceive regulators, also issues around increasing congestion and private hire vehicle numbers.”

Transport for London is responsible for licensing black cab and private-hire drivers, as well as private-hire operators like Uber.

It’s under serious pressure either to revoke Uber’s licence or to impose serious restrictions on the company when the firm’s licence comes up for renewal at the end of September.

Former Uber drivers, black cab firms, the police, and MPs have all been hugely critical of the firm over the last two years, claiming that drivers end up out-of-pocket, and that Uber fails to adequately report sexual assault.They argue that Uber has unfairly wriggled around existing rules and regulation to the detriment of London’s traditional black taxis.

Uber’s licence actually came up for renewal earlier this year, and TfL granted the company a four-month licence. In the meantime, it launched a consultation on whether to hike up the fees for a private-hire operator licence.

That means that even if Uber wins a five-year licence, it could end up paying more than £2 million for its 40,000 drivers in the city.

Uber said in a statement to The Sunday Times: “Over 3m Londoners regularly use Uber. We want to continue to do so.”

The news comes as Taxify, a cheap rival to Uber, had its licence revoked by Transport for London. The company has appealed the decision.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Statement To the Trade Re National Make A Stand Day 25th September 2017... by Harry Wall


Last December I was interviewed on London Taxi Radio where I protested about the lacklustre fight all three orgs were putting up against TFL and Uber. 

I said I thought Steve Mac was TFL's bitch and other than fruitless meetings, nothing tangible was being done by any of the orgs to show us as a trade deserving of respect. 

I also said they needed to show some backbone. Soon after, I was invited back on the show as a guest when trade matters were discussed by UCG, LCDC and RMT leaders. The LTDA was invited but chose not to show up. 

I asked why they didn't go after John Mason as many think he illegally issued Uber it's first license, it wasn't received well and needless to say I didn't get an answer as my question and presence wasn't a comfort.

Since then I've regularly posted my thoughts on social media and always called for firm action by the org leaders in meetings with TFL, direct action where necessary and a firm undertaking by all orgs to stand together for the sake of us, the drivers they represent. 

I've regularly warned of the dangers complacency brings and of allowing missed opportunities to become common practice, not once was I or other advocates of similar thoughts listened to and has now lead us to a position of desperation. We all know what needs to be done as a unified trade but we've never been listened to, never been considered and in my opinion never will be.

Nine months later, our fate lies in the hands of the same corporate whores I warned against in December and nothing's changed. One of them however, Leon Daniels has decided to retire. He leaves having ravaged the lives of all of us, responsible for drivers depression, repossessed homes and cabs, wrecked marriages along with countless  numbers of Uber victims he could've prevented.
He also leaves with a wonderful payout no doubt, along with an equally wonderful pension partially payed for by Uber and Geely, I suspect. 


The pension fund for TFL is managed by Blackrock who have shares in Uber and also Geely, so aside from our nightmare contributing to it, every electric cab you buy adds more to his pension pot somehow through the financial quagmire of hedge funds.
You couldn't make it up.


Every week a bombshell comes to light regarding the corruption, double dealing, cover-ups, sneaky emails trying to manage bad press, and endless accounts of deviant behaviour by Uber drivers ignored by TFL managers. The latest being 13k Uber drivers driving without the adequate DBS checks who've been given 28 days by Helen Chapman to rectify the situation, we all know if they were BC drivers each one would be suspended immediately.

Also this week it was revealed TFL signed a non-disclosure agreement with Uber back in May shortly before Uber received a 4 month extension, why?
Secrets and lies obviously lace the corridors of TFL's power base and we're the victims of them, it's time we put a stop to it. A meeting was had by org leaders and TFL but...........?

We all know Uber function on an illegal licence and business model. The crimes committed by its drivers are well documented so why is it allowed to continue?
The corporate pound note is all forgiving, that's why.

But that doesn't mean we should be, but our silence gives another impression.

The only fight we see from the orgs is constantly on display on social media as seen in recent weeks. It's like a permanent power struggle with infighting clear for the world to see.

All of them insulting each other and battling for trade supremacy as if it matters, forgetting their petty arguments and egos mean nothing to us when we're working longer hours with little family time. 

If they spent half their time fighting TFL as they do each other we'd be much better off.
This has to stop but somehow I can't see it happening.

It's come to my attention that drivers are becoming increasingly tired of this behaviour and direction, they want more. A driver lead national day of action has been decided upon and for the first time in our history, taxis are being asked to join with private hire drivers in an effort to maximise the effect.


It's also endorsed by the GMB.

It's our chance to make our own stand where the orgs have failed. From what I'm told the last straw was the deafening silence that followed the Mail revelations, but more recently Inspector Billany's letter to TFL and last week's DBS discovery. It seems no amount of proof of wrongdoing and possible malfeasance is enough to bring about change, nor will it prompt action and that's the problem.

There is no direction planned, this is a chance for all of us to make a stand in our own way, whatever stand we hoped the orgs would make for us, but won't.

It's a case of organising and coordinating among ourselves with the only guidelines being to behave like the professionals we all are and to act within the constraints of the law at all times.
One day of action won't solve our many complex problems and damaged trade but in order to begin the process of repair we must first force TFL and the establishment to take us seriously and listen, which is the most important element that none of the orgs have managed to secure.

The last few years have taken its tole on people and it's a case of enough is enough. Driver lead action has now become a reality which is something TFL and the authorities are equally desperate to avoid as its uncontrollable, despite the threat of revocation of licenses which has been a successful tool used to control us along with being safe in the knowledge of an inadequate record of missed opportunities to make our voices heard.
However, the constant "Big news Monday" with nothing happening Tuesday has had its day and the tide has turned.

It's a day for you to make your voice heard, to protect your future and to stand shoulder to shoulder with legitimate PH in order to shout louder than before and make a difference for yourself instead of burying your head in the sand and hoping someone does it for you. Forget trade differences for this one day, argue later if we make a loud enough noise.

Together we must stand firm and say no to the corruption and wilful destruction of our livelihoods throughout the country, demand Uber's license be denied, the business model outlawed and those responsible for our 5 years of torment brought to book wherever they are, it can't be tolerated anymore.

The success of this day depends solely on the will to make it work, your will to protect your job and your family. It must be considered a watershed moment for us all and approached with the utmost common sense and intent to forget all our differences for 6 hours and put our families interests first and foremost.
It can work if we want it to but we have to be grown up, adult and make it work.

Men have spent hours gathering proof and evidence of guilt, corruption and all sorts of wrongdoing, managed to get it in the media only for lead figures to allow it to be forgotten.
It's like they've loaded a gun to be fired at TFL, only to watch it dropped by those charged with pulling the trigger.
Shameful.

                


The 25th September is MAKE A STAND day.
Make it our day.
Make it work.

Harry.