Friday, October 06, 2017

When will Transport for London challenge Uber on exploiting drivers?

James Farrar is chair of the Private Hire Drivers branch of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain’s and the co-claimant in Aslam & Farrar vs Uber. 

Uber lost its London licence – but not because of its treatment of workers.

London's mayor Sadiq Khan made headlines in September, after Transport for London decided not to renew Uber's licence (it continues to operate freely in other cities). The Trades Union Congress hailed Uber’s delicensing as a "big win for workers' rights". Yet for many members of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, the prospect of losing their livelihood and facing unmanageable vehicle debt doesn’t seem like something worth celebrating.

Uber now has two quite separate existential legal battles on its hands, one to keep its licence to operate and the other to maintain a business model entirely dependent upon the exploitation of workers. The two legal battles are too often conflated. 

I was one of two former Uber drivers who took the company to court last year in an attempt to win workers' rights. Myself and fellow driver Yaseen Aslam returned to court last week to fight Uber’s appeal of an earlier ruling in our favour, which confirmed our status as self-employed “limb (b) workers”. This is a technical term which means we have the right to earn the minimum wage and get holiday pay.

It’s a must-win battle, because if we lose there will undoubtedly be a rush to ape Uber style "partnerships", with workers bearing all the risk in return for the notional flexibility of "being your own boss". Too often, workers are confronted with an unfair and false choice between flexibility and fairness.

Uber’s market valuation is close to that of Unilever or Vodafone. Is guaranteeing the minimum wage really too much to ask? As for holiday pay, I never knew the true value of it before reaching the point of not being able to afford to stop working.

Consider, too, the plight of my friend whose child is critically ill in hospital. He is struggling to keep the family unit together in a crisis, while knowing every minute he stays off the road his vehicle rental costs just keep racking up. For the very low earning, holiday allowance can provide much needed respite.

In a remarkable volte-face last week, Uber argued at the Employment Appeals Tribunal that it is not the gig economy’s poster child, but a traditional minicab operator after all. Yet in 2014, Uber testified to the London Assembly that the traditional minicab business model is "brutally exploitative", characterised by drivers who are "very low paid" working "long hours to earn a suitable" salary. I find it hard to disagree.

Uber’s runaway growth has coincided with a spectacular fall in driver earnings. Many drivers work up to 90 hours per week and earn little more than £5 an hour after costs. Drivers must spend ever more hours on the road just to make the same money. Labour MP Frank Field, in his own independent report, compared Uber workers to "sweated labour" of the Victorian era.

The market is now flooded, which has led to increased congestion and a shift of passengers away from public transport attracted by unsustainably cheap minicab fares. Uber benefits greatly from the network effects of a driver waiting on every corner. However, the external costs of this inefficiency are paid for by us all.

TfL stripped Uber of its licence after finding it "not fit and proper" to hold one. It cited several major reasons: a failure of process in medical  and criminal background checks, a failure to effectively co-operate with police in reporting passenger sexual assaults, and the use of a software tool called greyball to evade regulatory inspection by identifying known compliance officers and likely locations of pick up (Uber says that it does not use greyball to avoid UK regulators). 

While I agree that TfL is right to raise these important issues, it has singularly failed to challenge Uber on its exploitation of drivers and the negative knock-on effects this inevitably has on public safety. This sends all the wrong signals with competitors now poised to compete with or take Uber’s place. Taxify is expected to return to London soon and Lyft is planning its debut in the capital. Both app-based operators offer similar driver terms to Uber.

We believe TfL has made the wrong decision for the wrong reasons. In doing so, it failed to tackle the excesses of the gig economy’s most famous protagonist. If TfL sends Uber packing, it leaves drivers with a terrible choice: debt-burdened unemployment or a quick trip out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Things might have been different if the voice of minicab drivers was stronger at TfL. Today, 120,000 minicab drivers, of whom 80 per cent hail from London’s minority communities, pay in £20m per annum or 73 per cent of TfL’s total licence revenue. Yet these drivers are denied dedicated representation in TfL’s stakeholder process. In contrast, 23,000 taxi drivers have five recognised representative bodies. Operators have two, while Addison Lee and Uber are approved for direct access.

There are signs that tensions are easing, the mayor is softening his approach and Uber’s CEO jetted into town to patch things up. While things remain in flux, progress can still be made. However, the heavy lifting required to clean up the entire minicab industry should not be left to workers alone. Londoners deserve a transport system free of sweated labour.

Uber should stay in London and be forced to obey all employment and transport regulations, as a condition of licence renewal. In a market where labour abuses have festered for decades, there are few better alternatives for drivers and many much worse. In many ways, Uber’s poor record on compliance and workers' rights is the logical outcome of a regulatory breakdown as much as it is the cause of it.

It’s not too late for the mayor and TfL to stand up for workers' rights and, in doing so, forge a new model for the gig economy – one that finally reconciles flexibility with fairness.

Source : New Statesman 
As expected Uber made this unbelievable statement in response to the article. Not forgetting they have a policy of if you tell a lie long enough, people will believe it’s the truth !

“Almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades before our app existed. With Uber drivers have more control and are totally free to choose if, when and where they drive with no shifts or minimum hours. The overwhelming majority of drivers say they want to keep the freedom of being their own boss. 

“Last year drivers using our app made average fares of £15 per hour after our service fee. We’ve recently invested in a number of changes, including discounted illness and injury cover, paid waiting time and the ability to cash out fares at any time.” 
Again, their figures don’t add up 

See Taxi-Point :

Tim Cook reportedly threatened to pull Uber from App Store

Apple's CEO was upset over the app secretly identifying iPhones, even after the app had been deleted, The New York Times reports

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Apple takes the privacy of its iPhone users very seriously.

This is after all the company that famously resisted FBI demands for a backdoor into a terrorist's iPhone. 

Also see :

So it was understandable that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick might have been a bit anxious before a 2015 meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The reason? Kalanick had been directing his engineers to camouflage a feature in the ride-hailing app that allowed Uber to secretly identify and tag iPhone users, even after the app had been deleted from users' phones, according to a wide-ranging profile published Sunday by The New York Times. But Apple was on to the ruse, which violated Apple's app privacy rules.

"So, I've heard you've been breaking some of our rules," Cook reportedly told Kalanick in a calm tone. Cook then demanded Uber stop the deception or face getting yanked from Apple's App Store.

Losing access to millions of iPhone users would destroy Uber's business, so Kalanick complied with Cook's demand, the newspaper reported.

Uber denied using its app to track individual riders' locations, saying the feature was used for fraud detection.

"We absolutely do not track individual users or their location if they've deleted the app," Uber said in a statement. "As the New York Times story notes towards the very end, this is a typical way to prevent fraudsters from loading Uber onto a stolen phone, putting in a stolen credit card, taking an expensive ride and then wiping the phone -- over and over again. Similar techniques are also used for detecting and blocking suspicious logins to protect our users' accounts. Being able to recognize known bad actors when they try to get back onto our network is an important security measure for both Uber and our users."

This isn't the first time Uber has been accused to using software for nefarious purposes. The company was recently caught using a secretive tool called Greyball to thwart efforts by local authorities to catch the ride-hailing company violating local regulations. The company has since said it would stop using the tool for that purpose.

In 2014, an Uber executive allegedly used an internal feature known as "God View" to track a reporter's location without her knowledge. Uber's use of the tool, which allows employees to see logs of Uber customer activity, suggested "a troubling disregard for customers' privacy," Sen. Al Franken, chairman of the Subcommittee On Privacy, Technology and the Law, said in a letter to the company.

The resulting backlash led the company to hire a third-party data-privacy expert to review its policies and provide recommendations.

It wasn't immediately clear if Kalanick's meeting with Cook in 2015 was about the "God View" tool.

Representatives for Apple didn't immediately respond to requests for comment

Source : CNet/New York Times.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

CILT urges policy review for London Mayor’s transport strategy

The Mayor of London’s Draft Transport Strategy (DMTS) lacks realism and risks unintended consequences, according to a report from the Charted Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT). 

Proposals on bus priority require a fundamental review as  speeds on a third of London’s bus routes have fallen more than 5% in the past year, including a reallocation of road space, construction works (with resulting congestion) and an increase in the volume of private hire and van traffic. CILT calls for bus corridors to be redefined, expanded and upgraded, and a review of how to reinstate bus priorities as a core aspect.

Meanwhile, funding for Crossrail 2 remains unclear and the draft’s does not include assessments of London’s railways’ ability to manage load distributed within London or consider rail heads’ potential to transfer goods for last mile deliveries by road. Furthermore, it says the DMTS focus on freight vehicle movement, rather than logistics, risks increasing traffic volumes, higher costs and constraints on the economy - CILT proposes eliminating freight journeys by a consolidation of loads.

CILT proposes permitting certain zero-emission electric freight vehicles to share bus priorities, to investigate the use of off-peak capacity at passenger railway stations to move roll cages or totes on trolleys and examining a permit scheme to kerb space for deliveries.

A full copy of the report can be viewed here 

Taxify has launched in Paris after being kicked out of London

Ride-hailing service Taxify has launched in Paris, one month after being banned in London.
The company said it was "fully committed" to complying with local regulations around private hire cab firms.
A rival to Uber, Taxify is trying to attract drivers by offering a lower commission fee on fares of 15%. The company is also offering 50% off fares for the month of October.
Taxify claims it has 2,000 Parisian drivers on its platform already, according to local newspaper Le Figaro.
It isn't clear yet whether Taxify might run into the same regulatory issues in Paris as in London. But France's taxi union, the UNT, is already gearing up for a fight, according to local media, saying that the "name of the app will create confusion in the mind of the consumer."
The argument is one similarly made against Taxify by black taxi drivers in London - that the word "taxi" can only be used to describe taxicabs, as opposed to minicabs. The UNT said it had appealed to France's competition authority.

Taxify is fighting to re-establish in London

Taxify launched to much fanfare in London on 4 September, but had to stop operating three days later after the capital's transport regulator launched an urgent investigation.
Transport for London (TfL) said the company was not a licensed operator. The issue stemmed from the fact that rather than obtaining its own operator's licence, Taxify took a shortcut and bought a local company which already had a licence, called City Drive. Taxify also warned its drivers not to tell regulators that they were employed by Taxify.
Taxify told Business Insider that the regulatory environment was different in Paris, and that it did not require an operator's licence.
Still, the French capital has a strict regime around private hire, and Taxify's biggest rival Uber has already run into trouble there. Uber had to suspend and was fined over its UberPop service in June last year, which connected passengers to non-professional drivers. Local startup Heetch was fined for running a similar service.
Source : Business Insider. 

Manchester Taxis In Protest Over Out Of Town Taxis

Hundreds of protesting taxi drivers bought traffic to a halt in Manchester city centre yesterday afternoon.

The drivers made their way through the city centre demanding action against cabs they say are illegally operating in Manchester. Many of the Illegal cars working in the area are licensed by TfL.

Over 1,000 Taxis journeyed from Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground via Deansgate to Salford at 1pm yesterday afternoon.

They say that other drivers are illegally working in the Manchester borough without the relevant licence and taking their custom.

Instead of securing a Manchester licence up to 6,000 drivers are getting one elsewhere - where they say the process is quicker and easier - and then coming into the city to find fares.

Luckvear Singh, 47, a Manchester driver of five years, said: 

"This is having a big effect. They are coming into Manchester because there is more business but they need to have a Manchester licence.

"We have lost a lot of revenue, 30 to 40 per cent, a lot of drivers are now struggling to make ends meet and some are giving up.

"Manchester City Council needs to take action against this and take our protest seriously. The public also needs to be aware what is happening".

Finally, the last taxis involved in the protest made their way out of the city towards Salford and MediaCity. 

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Lord Alan Sugar Supports London's Taxi Drivers And Refuses To Support The Call To Keep Uber.

Lucy Siegle's report on 'The One Show' -in regards to Dara Khosrowshah's visit to London to sort out Uber's revocation- was biased beyond belief. Not once did she mention last year's 48 Uber drivers convicted of serious sexual assaults including rapes, a 50% increase on the previous year's 32.

#UberRape is presently running at one attack every eleven days....taking into account that 90% of sexual assaults go unreported, it could be as high as one attack every fifteen hours. 
These statistic are based on the result of Freedom of Information requests made to the Metropolitan Police earlier this year. 

The One Show reporter touched very lightly on "a problem with background checks and medicals" but didn't give any details!
She didn't mentioned the 13,000 Uber drivers who have fake DBS (enhanced criminal record checks) certificates with about the same again, having fake medicals!
No mention either about Fake topographical pass certificates!
But Lucy's mention of how easy it was to download Ubers app.....didn't go unnoticed!

Things took a dramatic turn when Lord Alan Sugar was asked the question: "Would you support the call to keep Uber? "
To the presenters surprise he answer... "Not at the moment, I have to think about our friends the black taxi drivers that have gone through a lot of training and testing before...." He was then cut off by guest presenter Amol Rejan, who then moved the program on.

   Presenters Amol Rejan, Alex Jones and Lucy Siegle.

Would be nice if Lucy could investigate another real issue, which is putting the lives of Londoners in danger!

Uber crash statistics being hidden by TfL 

The BBC -itself riddled with staff who have a history of collusion and suppression of stories about rape and Paedophilia- have tried repeatedly to muddy the waters between Taxis and Private Hire. 
Even though the words are protected by legislation, they continually insist on calling Minicabs/Private Hire Vehicles 'Taxis' at every possible opportunity.
They also continue to call Minicab drivers 'Taxi drivers' or 'Cabbies', even after complaints from the Licensed Taxi trade. Presenter Jeremy Vine, aggressively attacks the Taxi trade and supports Uber at every opportunity.
Also, we mustn't forget that TfL have known about this since January and were going to sweep it all under the carpet, until inspector Neil Billany wrote to TfL demanding action. His letter was subsequently found by FOI check and past to the Sunday Times by the LCDC. 

Now we find that Inspector Billany, who suddenly went on garden leave after the letter was sent, is leaving his job???
Was he pressured into leaving?

Job Offer???
Taxi Leaks would like to take the opportunity of suggesting Mr Billany for the role of Director Of Enforcement and  On Street Operations at TfL. 
It would be so refreshing to know we would finally have someone at TfL, who would do the job without bias against the Licensed Taxi trade and best of all, put public safety above all else. 

Taxi Leaks Extra Bit:
Drivers at London airport have today alleged that A film crew were seen trying to get Licensed Taxi drivers on the rank to refuse to take Mr Khosrowshah into town. 
But had to abandon the set up when every driver agreed to take him regardless of who he was. 

We recently saw a film crew from ITV news company try to fix a news item which purported to show Taxi drivers not stopping for a wheelchair passenger. 

Fortunately for the Taxi trade, it was quite evident that all the Taxis 'Hailed' had their lights off or had passengers on board. When this was pointed out, the disabled actress in the sting attempt apologised to the Taxi trade saying she didn't realise what was happening and that she always uses black cabs and has had no problems in the past. This was reported on Taxi Leaks. 

A question that would be interesting for The One Show:
Is TFL's continuing licensing of Uber, illegal state all other PH operators have to pay VAT?

Over to you Lucy Siegle.


Is TfL Right to Strip Uber of its License to Operate in London? 

Please vote

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

"Uber Unlikely To Get Its London Licence Back After Emergency Talks With TfL". says Evening Standard

TfL refuse to talk with "aggressive" London management!

The emergency summit between the bosses of Uber and Transport for London is unlikely to result in an immediate breakthrough leading to a restoration of the cab hailing app’s licence, sources said today.

Uber chief executive’s Dara Khosrowshahi meeting with London Transport Commissioner Mike Brown will start a “hopefully constructive dialogue” that will help both sides understand each other’s position, according to figures close to the company.

Mr Khosrowshahi flew into London for today’s crunch talks following TfL’s bombshell decision to strip Uber of its licence to operate in the capital at the end of September. 

No details have been revealed of the timing or location of the meeting because of its extreme sensitivity.


Industry watchers said it was indication of how high the stakes are in London that the Uber boss was prepared to quit dealing with a boardroom battle in San Francisco and fly half way round the world in a bid to patch up relation with TfL.

The Uber board is today expected to vote on reforms that could limit the power of former chief executive Travis Kalanick. Mr Kalanick, who is still one of the firm’s biggest shareholders, appointed two new directors in a surprise move on Friday.

The meeting comes the day after the tech giant’s UK boss Jo Bertram quit the company after four years.

TfL regulators ruled last month that Uber was not a “fit and proper” company to hold an operating licence citing concerns about how it carries out backgrond checks on drivers and how it reports serious criminal offences.

However, its 40,000 London drivers have been allowed to continue working pending an appeal of the decision.

Mayor Sadiq Khan authorised the “peace talks” after Mr Khosrowshahi issued a public apology in a letter in the Evening Standard. The letter said that “while Uber has revolutionised the way people move around in cities around the world, its equally true that we’ve got things wrong along the way.”




Monday, October 02, 2017

Uber's UK Boss Jo Bertram, Quits As Firm Battles To Keep London License

                                       TAXI FOR JO

It seems there's been a knock on affect as Uber's chief executive Dara Khosrowshah has to come to London. TfL and Sadiq Khan refuse to talk to Uber's aggressive UK management. Uber have no alternative but to have a clear out of staff who have failed to operate within the legislated guidelines. 

Announced today, first to go is Northern European Manager Jo Bertram, who will leave within the next few weeks. 

Speculation builds as the more aggressive Fred Jones is put in the frame to be next to get the chop.

Perhaps the Mayor, who is also chair of TFL's board should take a leaf out of Uber's book and get rid of the TfL management who have aggressively bent over backwards to support the instant hail app. 

(Reuters) - Uber's [UBER.UL] top boss in Britain will quit the taxi hailing app, according to an email seen by Reuters on Monday, as the company prepares to meet the London transport regulator in a bid to keep operating in one of its most important foreign markets.

Transport for London (TfL) shocked the San Francisco-based app last month by deeming it unfit to run a taxi service and deciding not to renew its license to operate, citing the firm's approach to reporting serious criminal offences and background checks on drivers. 

Uber's license expired on Sep. 30 but its roughly 40,000 drivers will be able to take passengers for the Silicon Valley company until an appeals process has been exhausted, which could take several months. 

The firm's new global chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi will meet the TfL commissioner on Tuesday in London in a move backed by the city's mayor, who has criticized the app's management in the Britain but welcomed Khosrowshahi's apologetic tone and promise of change. 

Uber's Northern European Manager Jo Bertram will leave the firm in the next few weeks, according to an email sent to staff seen by Reuters. She said the firm, valued at around $70 billion, needed a replacement in the region to tackle the issues it faces.

"Given some of our current challenges, I’m also convinced that now is the right time to have a change of face, and to hand over to someone who will be here for the long haul and take us into the next phase," she said. 

"While I would like to have announced my move in smoother circumstances, I’m proud of the team we’ve built here and am very confident in their abilities to lead the business into the next chapter." 

Bertram, who will take up an undisclosed new role elsewhere, will be replaced in her UK role by Uber's London boss Tom Elvidge on an interim basis. 

On Tuesday, Khosrowshahi - who has apologized to Londoners for the firm's mistakes- will meet TfL's Commissioner Mike Brown in a bid to repair a fraught relationship between the regulator and the taxi app, which has prompted strong opposition from unions and traditional taxi drivers over working rights. 

Uber has until Oct. 13 to submit its appeal, which will be reviewed by a judge. 

But TfL's Chairman is Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, a Labour politician who has been critical of the app. 

Last week he singled out Uber's management in Britain for criticism. 

"The global CEO... seems to recognize some of the issues raised by the decision from TfL," Khan told Channel 4 news. 

"I just wish that Uber in the UK would rather than hire an army of PR experts and an army of lawyers, would address some of the issues raised by the TfL decision," he said. 

Taxi Leaks Extra Bits :

Email Jo Bertram sent to Uber employees:

Subject Line: Thank you for a brilliant journey 
As many of you have just heard at our All Hands meeting, I've decided to move on to something new and exciting. I'm leaving Uber with great memories, friendships and many amazing experiences, and I'll never forget the great things that we've achieved together as a team. 
When I showed up on my first day four years ago, at our tiny serviced office in Baker Street, I quickly realised that this company was special - not only in its ambitions, but also in the way we all pulled together. Whether responding to all sorts of customer questions, buying our own laptops, or distributing mobile phones to our early partner drivers, we all had to roll up our sleeves and figure out how to build a business. I had wanted to experience the pace and craziness of life at a start-up, and Uber certainly delivered! I'm tremendously lucky to have spent the last four years with you, and it has been breathtaking to see the team grow so quickly. 
When I joined as General Manager for London, we had just three team members in the city and a few hundred drivers. Together, we then rolled out our services to more than 40 towns and cities across the United Kingdom, where we now serve almost 5 million riders and more than 50,000 drivers. Since I became Regional General Manager for Northern Europe, I've been proud to lead what is now a team of 300 people across 10 countries. I've learned a lot during this rapid expansion and, in every market we entered, you could quickly see the impact we had on the way people travelled and lived their lives.
While we often talk about the growth we've seen, we can also be proud of the progress our team has made in improving the service for both drivers and riders. Though there's always more to be done, we've taken big strides for a young company. From the introduction of discounted illness and injury cover for drivers, to the roll out of ACCESS for wheelchair users and most recently our Clean Air Plan, there are many initiatives we can be proud of. I know there are many more exciting things to come.
Over the course of this year, I've been reflecting on these incredible last four years and what might come next for me. I've also discussed this with Pierre and I'm proud that we've built this business into more than we ever thought possible. And I've realised that taking a nascent company and helping it scale into a major international operation is what I've enjoyed most. An exciting new opportunity has arisen that will allow me to apply what I've learnt here and I'll be able to share more details with you soon.
Given some of our current challenges, I'm also convinced that now is the right time to have a change of face, and to hand over to someone who will be here for the long haul and take us into the next phase. While I would like to have announced my move in smoother circumstances, I'm proud of the team we've built here and am very confident in their abilities to lead the business into the next chapter. I'll work with you in the coming weeks on the best possible transition. I'm grateful for everything I've learned in the last four years. This company and its people will always have a very special place in my heart.

Fake Medicals, Fake Topographical Tests, Fake DBS Checks...And Now Fake Uber Drivers??

First we had fake medicals!
Then we had fake topographical tests!
Then we had fake DBS certificates!
Then we had Uber's fake petition!
And now we have fake Uber drivers ? 

It's been alleged that the Uber drIver in this program "Round Table" DAVID SINCLAIR, is actually a journalist and has a parallel profession as a singer guitarist in a rock group. 
 David Sinclair was born on October 24, 1952. He was educated at Eltham College, London and at Warwick University, where he graduated in 1975 with an honours degree in Politics.
We are being asked to believe that he is extremely happy working for Uber where he claims to be earning (on average) £10 an hour...

This guy is a published author, music critic, writes for several newspapers and has released the album "Hey"....and we're asked to believe he has to top up his income -earning just over the minimum wage- driving for Uber???

Interestingly, the program mentions the direct link between driver and passenger, predator pricing and the erosion of traditional workers rights. 

Uber, as a company, has been red lined by TfL in London as not being fit and proper after news hit the nationals by way if the Sunday Times (thanks to the LCDC's work) that Uber were not passing on to the police complaints of serious sexual assaults by drivers on passengers. 

It's all about safety:
Officially an Uber driver sexually assaults a passenger every 11 days, but with the fact that over 85% of such attacks go unreported, the frequency could be as much as one assault every 15 hours. 

Over the week end, the tide of opinion has changed with London's agreeing with the TfL ban.

The message is getting out.
The escalation of UberRape and assaults, rising from 32 last year, to 48 this year, a rise of 50%.
The 13,000 drivers with fake DBS certificates that TfL have allowed to continue driving since they found out in January...

According to a YouGov poll for Queen Mary University of London, (published in the Guardian) 43% back the decision, while only 31% oppose it.

Another question we would ask... if Uber haven't done anything wrong, why then did their CEO say he was coming to London later this week to apologise to TfL for the way they've behaved. 
If you've 'done nothing wrong' why would you apologise. 

Perhaps this could top all the other fakes off nicely, as 'The Fake Apology'.  

Czech taxi drivers blockade Prague airport in protest against Uber

Another country where Uber thinks it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission 

Czech taxi drivers are blocking a major road to Prague's International Airport on Monday (2 October) to protest against Uber and other similar ride-hailing services.

The protest began with taxis driving slowly in both directions on a key road to Prague's Vaclav Havel airport, causing traffic delays.

The protest comes after inconclusive talks between the drivers and City Hall, which says only the government is in a position to address the complaints.

The drivers claim Uber and other ride-hailing apps are illegal because they don't meet all the requirements traditional taxi companies have to.

The airport has advised passengers to use public buses, which drive along a special route not open to other forms of transport.

Recently, Uber had its licence to operate in London withdrawn, although the taxi hailing app is appealing the move against it by Transport for London

Sunday, October 01, 2017

UberRape, Getting National Coverage : Uber drivers’ ‘sex attacks’ across Britain

At last, the word about UberRape is getting out to the public. This article to day, appeared in the Sunday Times. 

Uber drivers have been accused of more than a dozen sex attacks, including at least two rapes, outside London.

Alleged sexual assaults were reported to six police forces outside the capital, according to data released under freedom of information laws, revealing the scale of the ride-sharing group’s security problems.

Forces in Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Avon and Somerset have recorded 13 alleged sex attacks by Uber drivers since 2015.

Greater Manchester police recorded three alleged sexual assaults and one alleged rape by Uber drivers, while South Yorkshire police investigated one alleged sexual assault and an alleged rape. West Yorkshire police recorded three alleged sexual offences involving Uber drivers, while Avon and Somerset investigated two and Warwickshire and Leicestershire each recorded one.

The true number of cases nationwide could be much higher, as 20 of the 45 forces across Britain asked by The Sunday Times for information on Uber’s public safety record either refused to provide figures on the grounds of cost or did not respond.

The 19 forces that did respond either had no cases reported against Uber drivers or recorded offences that were not of a sexual nature. Eleven forces in total revealed that they had recorded reported crimes by Uber drivers, including violence against the person, theft, handling stolen goods and drug offences.

The figures were released as Uber fights to keep operating in the capital after Transport for London (TfL) decided not to renew its licence. The announcement led to speculation that councils across the UK would follow London’s example.

TfL bosses accused the company of failing to ensure passenger safety after the number of alleged sex attacks involving Uber drivers in London rose 50%, to 48, in the 12 months to February 2017.

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief executive, will be in London on Tuesday to meet regulators. He hopes to stop the revoking of his company’s licence, which was due to expire last night. Uber will be allowed to continue operating while it appeals against TfL’s decision.

The meeting, which TfL said was instigated by an approach from Uber, comes days after Khosrowshahi wrote an open apology to Londoners, saying “we have got things wrong”.

Uber said: “Drivers who use our app are licensed by a local council and have gone through the same enhanced DBS checks as black cab drivers and others. We take any allegations of this nature seriously, working with the police and preventing drivers using the app while any investigations take place. Our GPS technology means that every trip is electronically tracked and recorded.”

Source : Sunday Times