Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Redressing The Balance... Letter To TfLTPH From A Grateful Passenger

The piece below is an extract from a letter sent to TfL by a grateful passenger. Taxi Leaks would like to thank TfLTPH for passing this on to us by way of their Twitter account. 

My taxi driver and I got talking during the journey and he asked me where I'd been. I told him that I'd come from visiting my mother for the final time, she being 82 and living in Plymouth, me being towards the end of the terminal illness and living in East Yorkshire.

He told me that his sister in law had recently been diagnosed with stomach cancer and was struggling emotionally. He wondered if I had any advice to give. 
The traffic being heavy, I was able to tell him my story and give him as much advice as I could.

When we got to King's Cross he very kindly waived the fair. We shook hands and parted. I wish I'd taken his name or the cab number, as I wanted him to know that the fair I should've paid will be donated to the Dove House Hospice, which I attend regularly and I shall never forget his kindness.

All too often London cabbies get bad press. I would like to redress the balance a bit.

Institute of Licensing writes to Government To Highlight The Failures In The Taxi Licensing System.

The Institute of Licensing (IoL) has written to the Government to raise concerns about failings in the taxi and private hire licensing system that is putting public safety at risk.

IoL President, James Button, said in the letter: 
“We are aware that there is currently much discussion ongoing in relation to the licensing of taxi and private hire drivers, operators and vehicle owners, including the recently established working party by Minister of State John Hayes MP. We are conscious that any discussions must seriously consider the adequacies of current arrangements concerning criminality checks, data sharing and ability of licensing authorities and police practitioners to identify concerns relating to licensed individuals and those seeking to be licensed with a view to maintaining public safety and taking appropriate action as necessary.”

The letter addressed to the Home Office, DfT, National Police Chiefs Council and the chairman of the newly established Taxi and Private Hire Working Group, outlined the result of its member’s survey about the level of checks undertaken, data sharing with the police and other similar issues:

• Less than 25% of respondents consider the current data sharing arrangements are satisfactory
• More than 50% of respondents agreed that changes to the Notifiable Occupations Scheme affected information sharing between police and licensing authorities
• 72% of respondents said that do not receive immediate notifications from the police when a taxi licensee (driver, operator or proprietor) is under investigation, arrested or charged
• 42% of respondents said that the Data Protection Act used as a reason for not sharing information
• A substantial 80% of respondents agreed it would useful would it be to have a single point of contact within the police for taxi licensing issues

Mr Button continued: “The IoL has raised concerns previously with the Home Office in relation to data sharing between police and licensing authorities in relation to taxis. In March 2015, we put on record with the Home Office our concern over the then imminent changes to the Notifiable Occupations Scheme and the proposed removal of Home Office Circular 006/2006 which provided guidance to police forces about the disclosure of convictions and other information in relation to people in professions or occupations which carry additional trust or responsibility (notifiable occupations). In summary, the concern at that point was that the changes would increase uncertainty and inconsistency in data sharing.”

The IoL is currently leading on a project to develop a national model convictions policy for licensing authorities to consider adopting locally. It has been working with the Local Government Association and the National Association of Licensing and Enforcement Officers on the project and the aim is to consult on the draft document imminently. This project has been undertaken with the sole purpose of providing a potential national minimum standard endorsed by the relevant organisations with a view to raising consistency across England and Wales.

Decision Later Today on Uber's future in Brighton and Hove, could result in disappointment

THE future of taxi-hailing app Uber in Brighton and Hove is to be decided in a closed-door meeting today, according to local paper The Argus.

Cab companies have fiercely criticised the secrecy surrounding the relicencing decision, in the wake of Transport for London’s move last month not to renew Uber’s licence to operate in the capital.

The Argus understands the decision will be taken by council officers in conjunction with the three councillors who are their party leads for licensing.

A vote between councillors Jackie O’Quinn, Labour, Linda Hyde, Conservative and Lizzie Deane, Green, resulted in the decision to hold the meeting behind closed doors. Sounds extremley suspicious.... 

And yet, Cllr Hyde has consistently and publicly said she was in favour of an open meeting.

An announcement on the future of Uber in Brighton and Hove will be made after the meeting concludes.

Cllr Hyde said: “All I wanted to be clear about was that there should be a public meeting.
“That doesn’t mean I have already made up my mind one way or the other.”

Officers are due to present evidence on the fitness or otherwise of Uber to hold the licence to provide taxi services in the city.

In a letter to council officers, Streamline Taxis’ vice-chairman John Streeter said: “The licensed trade here in Brighton and Hove are bitterly disappointed that council officers and councillors have apparently decided not to hold a public enquiry into Uber’s application to renew their current licence here in our city.”

A previous letter from the city’s three largest taxi firms, Streamline, Radio Cabs, and City Cabs, alleged: “Uber Britannia Ltd is not and cannot be a fit and proper person to hold such a licence.”

The firms said Uber had broken its promised to use only locally-licenced drivers. The letter added: “We remain also very concerned that such an operator attempts to dilute, if not ignore altogether, the very high standards prescribed by the council’s Blue Book.”

In September, a petition with more than 1,000 signatures was presented to the council, asking them to re-examine the licence.

Rob Lawrie, a Brighton taxi driver, said: “Originally, Uber told us they would only use Brighton and Hove vehicles. Since then, Uber has paid drivers to come in from out of town and promised them at least the minimum wage.

“Every weekend we have 200 to 250 out-of-town drivers coming in, which is reducing the income of all Brighton drivers by 25 per cent.”

Uber launched in the city on October 28 last year, after being given a licence in October 2015 after four days of deliberations by the council. The licence will expire on November 4.

The company was granted its licence on the condition it abides by all the conditions in the Blue Book – a set of guidelines for the local cab trade.

Taxi Leaks Breaking News : 5:35pm
It's just been announced that after all the evidence has been considered, Brighton and Hove Council say they will announce whether or not app-based cab company Uber will be allowed to keep its licence this Thursday.

Beleaguered app hires PepsiCo’s Tony West as chief legal officer

Just a month after Uber drafted in Hogan Lovells to launch a legal challenge to Transport for London’s (TfL) decision to not renew its private hire licence, the US-based ridesharing company has hired Pepsico’s Tony West as its new chief legal officer.

Considering where he's come from, he should fit in nicely with Uber's business model...

In a company email, Uber’s chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said that West, who served as PepsiCo’s executive vice president for public policy and government affairs, general counsel (GC) and company secretary, was ‘exactly what Uber needs now’.

‘He has public company experience leading a global team of lawyers across more than 200 countries. As a former federal prosecutor and senior Department of Justice official in the Obama administration, he’s well equipped to handle the investigations into our past practices. And at Pepsi, he has emphasised diversity on his team and across the company.’

Khosrowshahi added: ‘Perhaps most importantly, Pepsi has been named one of the world’s most ethical companies 10 years in a row. Under Tony’s leadership, I’m confident that we will one day join this list.’

Before working for the Obama administration West was a partner at Morrison & Foerster for over seven years. He will begin the role next month and replaces Uber’s current chief legal officer and GC Salle Yoo, who confirmed in September that she would be leaving the company after five years.

West will have his hands full as the company is facing several legal challenges over the coming months, including a legal challenge to TfL after the transport provider revoked Uber’s licence to operate in London in September. According to TfL, Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences and how medical certificates are obtained were among the reasons it came to the decision.

‘Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications’, the statement read.

Hogan Lovells regulatory partner Charles Brasted is advising Uber, and has instructed Tom de la Mare QC of Blackstone Chambers.

The firm has previous history advising the company, as it acted for Uber last August on its legal challenge against new guidelines proposed by TfL. The regulations included written English tests for drivers and insurance for drivers for the entire time that their vehicle is licensed. In that matter, TfL was represented by its in-house team and instructed Martin Chamberlain QC of Brick Court Chambers.

Paul Dacam, who has since retired from the firm, led for Hogan Lovells and instructed de la Mare QC alongside Hanif Mussa of Blackstone Chambers.

Taxi Leaks Extra Bit : English Tests 

Is it that these two Uber Prius don't understand English....or are they just illegally touting, by plying for hire from the licensed Taxi rank in Russell Street Covent Garden???

Source : Legalbusiness.co.uk

Monday, October 30, 2017

Uber Accused Of Not Disclosing The Full Picture : Tories Accused Of Keeping Quiet Over Sex Pest Claims

Downing Street said Prime Minister Theresa May was being kept up to date with developments.

Uber Technologies Inc are under attack again, this time for its financial reporting and have drawn criticism from accounting experts, who say it may even contradict the company’s own auditor’s published advice to clients and investors. 

Uber Technologies Inc said it believes it has the blessing of the Securities and Exchange Commission to report financial results without the portion of rider fares that goes to drivers, reported earlier this week by MarketWatch.

On Wednesday, MarketWatch reported that after consultation with the SEC and auditor PwC, Uber adopted new accounting rules that allow it to report only the net revenue that goes to the company when a transaction takes place, leaving out the drivers’ take completely.

Uber said it requested the regulator’s approval in what’s called a “preclearance” letter to the SEC’s chief accountant and noted PwC agreed with its conclusions. The SEC declined to comment on whether Uber had precleared its revenue-recognition approach.

Uber declined to provide to MarketWatch with a copy of its letter to the SEC or the regulator’s response.

“Uber is an accounting opportunist, and it looks like PwC is trying to accommodate them instead of pushing back as they should.” 
Tom Selling, author and professor emeritus, Thunderbird School of Global Management

J. Edward Ketz, an associate professor of accounting at Pennsylvania State University, said Uber is foolish to not report what it pays drivers even if it doesn’t have to. 

“That statistic is an important data point for investors in the evaluation of how well the company is doing because it helps in the estimation of future business,” Ketz told MarketWatch. “Some investors will walk away from the firm if Uber does not allow them to understand and quantify its business model.”

Uber, the preferred choice of the Tory party ???

PM Theresa May REFUSES to voice confidence in minister as 'dirty dossier' lists THIRTY-SIX 'sex pest' Tory MPs including one branded 'handsy with women' - while ex-No10 aide says whips hold material to help control votes

  • A Cabinet minister is alleged to have placed his hand on the thigh of a female journalist and said 'God, I love those t*ts';
  • Anonymous reports suggested a second senior minister had an affair with a junior female aide who is also now an MP;
  • A Liberal Democrat peer was rumoured to have invited female journalists to lunch, telling them to wear knee-high boots and short skirts;
  • MPs were said to be sharing stories about a Conservative who allegedly takes pictures of young men in compromising positions and uses them to extract sexual favours;
  • It also emerged that women working at the Scottish parliament have been victim to a 'catalogue' of sexual harassment incidents, according to a high-profile lawyer;
  • Mrs May's former communications chief said whips often kept incriminating evidence to push MPs into following the party line in votes.  

Last week Mrs May described the sex pest claims as deeply concerning and encouraged victims to report their allegations to the police. Overnight she wrote to Mr Bercow to demand the establishment of a grievance procedure to deal with Westminster harassment complaints.

The Prime Minister said: 'It is important that those who work in the House of Commons are treated properly and fairly.'

36 Tory MPs are engulfed in these sex pest claims, compiled yesterday by Conservative researchers. That's more than 10% of their sitting MPs in the commons.


Source : MarketWatch, Twitter, The Times and DailyMail. 

TFL's New Cash Cow Announced, As They Intend To Raise Extra Funding From The 125,000 Minicabs.

TfL looking to make an extra £375,000,000 a year from new tax on Minicabs.

Uber drivers are among those who face paying an extra £3,000 a year each to operate in London even if the company keeps its licence, according to The Sunday Times.

Transport for London (TfL), the regulator, plans to force private-hire vehicles to pay the £11.50-a-day congestion charge because of concern that the proliferation of minicabs is choking streets and emptying bus services. If Uber shoulders the payments, it could cost the company between £20m and £60m a year. 

At a meeting of licensing and enforcement officers in Leeds this month Tom Moody, head of policy for taxis at TfL, said the authority would propose the move within months. “We will be looking at the congestion charge potentially for all private hire vehicles,” he said. “In the summer of next year, we will likely be consulting on that and other policies.”

It is understood that the “other policies” being considered by Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, include extending the charge from 6pm until 11pm or midnight and applying it on Saturdays for the first time.

Congestion and Uber competition have caused sharp drops in bus use. 

According to a presentation to the TfL board, passenger numbers have fallen 5.6% in two years, creating a £100m hole in the authority’s coffers. In big cities outside London, bus use is down 4%.

Source : Sunday Times. 


It seems there was a method behind TFL's madness of giving out PHV licenses like sweets, after all....they are now going to charge them the congestion charge. That's  125,000 times £30k per year. The expanded London Minicab fleet is now being blamed by TfL for the massive congestion that is bringing London to a grinding halt. 

Funny, when Tom Moody announced the proposed bonus to TFL's coffers, he never once mentioned the segregated cycle lanes or the fact that at any one time, there are twice the number of buses needed. 

     Image from Twitter this morning
Daily spectacle...A wall of buses, adding congested and pollution...Total number of passengers 6, not counting the drivers!

Outside the rush hours, you can see empty bus after empty bus. Driver etiquette is appalling with blatant disregard to yellow box junctions (bus drivers appear to be exempt from receiving fines). 

We've also seen a huge upturn in the number of bus related RTAs, caused be driver fatigue. It's a well known fact that many bus drivers are supplementing their income by driving long shifts, ironically working for Uber. TfL registered Prius can be spotted, parked up outside most bus garages. 




Saturday, October 28, 2017

Looks Like The Wheels Have Come Off Uber’s Operations On Another Continent

Uber now has massive concerns about the legality of its operations in South America. 

The chief executive of Uber Technologies Inc, Dara Khosrowshahi, will visit its operations in Brazil next week. 

The company told Reuters on Friday, that Brazil’s Congress nears a vote on legislation threatening Uber’s business model.

Khosrowshahi will visit Sao Paulo, Uber's biggest city by trips, and then onto Brasilia, the nation's capital, on Monday, according to a person familiar with the executive's plans.  

Canary Wharf Sales Worker Sacked After Bilking Taxis To His Home Near Brighton.

A serial fare dodger has been sacked from his job after it was discovered that he had failed to pay for taxis from London to the south coast. 

Jake Dean, 24, who worked in sales in Canary Wharf, told cabbies that he worked for JP Morgan before setting off to Peacehaven, to the east of Brighton. 

He admitted that he had racked up more than £600 in unpaid fares but said it was ‘just impulsive’. 

Dean hailed a cab outside Waterloo train station in February and told the driver that he would get the £256 cash en route when he was closer to home. He told drivers that his card would not work so would offer to make a bank transfer or deliver the money to their address. 

On one occasion he said he would sell a games console so that he could pay the driver back. 

However, he failed to do so and ended up facing magistrates in Brighton. 

He told them: ‘I take full responsibility and apologise to the taxi drivers, they just wanted to do their job. It was never malicious, it was just impulsive.’ 

The court heard of three other taxi fare dodging incidents between December 2016 and February this year, where Dean strung drivers along promising payments. 

He told the court: ‘I was working in sales in Canary Wharf. 
Due to the fraud, I have lost my position. These four mistakes were my own fault and I am very sorry for what I’ve done.’ 

He was ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and told to pay £621.40 in compensation and costs

Source : Metro. 

Have TfL Shoot Themselves In The Foot (Again) ? With A Conflict Of Interest Over CC Clearance Interest Rate

In an announcement to a trade org, TfL have again overstepped the mark as they tell drivers that the 0% hand held credit card machine which MyTaxi drivers are using, are not authorised by TfL and its inferred that they are taking a dim view on this issue. 

How can TfL interfere with the way independent traders conduct their business expenses?

• Under the terms of our licensing as Taxi drivers, we have been forced to accept a Credit Card acceptance mandate, that's fact. 
• Under the terms of the condition of fitness of our vehicle, we at made to have a TfL authorised working machine in the rear passenger compartment, that's another fact. 

But I would suggest that as long as a card payment is undertaken and all conditions of our licence and that of our vehicle have been satisfied...TfL have no say in the service that we as a trader chose to use to conclude a payment transaction. 

The problem seems to have arisen over the point that the unit given to MyTaxi app users has a 0% transaction clearance charge, unlike the units authorised for rear fitting by TfL. 

It makes you wonder if TfL Board Member Ron Kalifa had anything to do with this new proclamation. 

Will TfL be insisting to uber, that all journeys (which are on account but paid for by Credit Card) have a transaction charge paid for by the driver ? ....of course they won't. 

Instead of meddling in the finances of hard working, tax paying Taxi drivers, shouldn't they concern themselves more by dealing with the 48 serious sexual attacks on passengers by uber drivers in the last 12 months, or the 13,000 uber drivers with fake criminal record checks, or the Uber drivers who presented fake medicals, or the mountain of road traffic accidents concerning Uber drivers !!!
Or do they have a conflict of interest with this company ?

Where do the New United Taxi Group stand on this issue ?
Will they be using the full weight of their legal teams to defend the right of their subscribers to use which ever system that suits their need best ?
Or will they just say (again) "it's a done deal, nothing we can do about it) ?

TfL are also telling drivers that if you do an App job which has a minimum price attached , and the customer complains, they will pursue the driver for charging more than the meter fare and not (repeat not) the App provider. 
Their advice is to offer the customer change....so now we are expected by TfL to do cash back! 

Typical of TfL though is, they've said nothing about certain CC equipment suppliers who have a miminum price per transaction fee, charging a higher rate to transactions below the minimum. Still I Suppose that was also part of the done deal. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Here We Go Again : More Designed Chaos As TfL Launch The Borough Junction Consultation.

TfL are proposing changes at the junction of Borough High Street with Marshalsea Road and Great Dover Street, in Southwark. 

The junction carries high volumes of traffic from Elephant and Castle and Bricklayers Arms towards London Bridge and Southwark Bridge. 

During the peak hours it can be heavily congested and this causes delays for the bus routes that use the junction, as well as for other road users. 

Borough Underground Station is located on the western corner of the junction, and there is high demand for pedestrian crossing points as a result. 

It has been the location of a high number of collisions, many of which involved pedestrians or cyclists.

TfL say they have looked closely at the issues and are now proposing a number of changes that are intended to make walking easier and safer and improve journey times, especially for the eight bus routes which pass through the junction.

To see what TfL are proposing, and have your say in this consultation, click link below 

Taxi Leaks Extra Bits :

Ever since the Greater London Authority Act 1999 gave us Transport For London, founded July 2000, our streets have become more and more over crowded.

Most of the extra congestion has been caused by TfL themselves with the escalation of Private hire licenses, dished out like sweets at an unprecedented rate. Currently there are over 125,000 PHV drivers, a bit different to what we were promised back in 1998. We were told back then "when Minicabs are licensed, touting would be their problem not ours and their numbers will half from 30,000 to around 15,000"..... Well that never happened!!!

Then along came Boris who thought it would be a great idea to keep the share holders happy and expand the number of on street buses. His decision to double London's bus fleet has lead to a massive over supply, that can't be met by the bus company garages, who in off peak hours, run mostly empty or out of service buses through central London, adding to the congestion and exhaust pollution. 

This bus driver in traffic, perhaps showing fatigue of one extra-curricular UBER shift too many. 

It's common knowledge that of late, bus crashes have risen dramatically. 
Also, no secret that bus drivers are 'moonlighting' with UBER, whoose RTA's are at epidemic levels.
What will it take for this blatant greed, that risks lives, to be reigned in?

Then came the nightmare of segregated bike lanes which have bought parts of London to a complete gridlock, day and night. 

Are the planners at TfL blind, do they not venture out onto the streets....can't they see what their loony systems have done to the capital !
Leon Daneils stood by the roadworks at the Elephant and Castle and said "we are creating a space people will want to come to....on,y if they have a day to waste and their own gass mask Leon. 

Then we were given another nightmare in the shape of the Bank Junction ban.

TfL have spent the last 15 years passing the buck, spinning the results, massaging statistics and blaming the wrong criminals.....when the perpetrators of the mess created are in house. 

Frankly these consultations are a waste of ratepayers money as TfL rarely take any notice of the result. 

Smart motorway revenue generation revealed

Smart motorways were originally sold to motorists as a more efficient way to use the roads. Their innovative technology and time saving insights were going to free up traffic flow and reduce air pollution. Apparently.

However, could it be that they are really just another means of raising revenue through driving fines?

The red X

There will soon be a £100 fine for anyone caught driving in a lane marked with a red X. The red X is used predominantly to indicate when the hard shoulder has been closed. Not only will defying the red X now garner drivers a £100 fine, it will also incur penalty points on their licence.

The fine announcement follows Highways England sending out 50,000 warning letters to drivers who had been caught using smart motorways wrongly. A third of those letters related to drivers who had driven in a lane with a red X displayed above it. If all those drivers had received fines, instead of just warning letters, a cool £1.6 million would have been raised. Clearly, someone in charge has been doing some sums.

Safety concerns

The RAC agrees that handing out these fines is the right thing to do. The organisation hopes that the implementation of the fine will deter people from driving in closed lanes, which is often dangerous due to a hazard.

Seeing motorists using these closed lanes also makes other drivers frustrated, which can be dangerous in itself. This is especially true when people are intentionally using the closed lane until the last minute so that they can then cut in and get ahead of other road users.

Education needed

The red X that indicates the closed lane is very clear. However, in the cases of other transgressions, it may be lack of education about smart motorways that is causing motorists to make errors. Many don’t realise they are doing anything wrong. 

The Department for Transport is expected to release plans for the new smart motorway fees shortly. In the meantime, it has been suggested that drivers be given more information about how to use smart motorways in the correct way. This would mean fewer drivers ending up with unexpected fines.

Not only would this help people to avoid fines, but it would also make smart motorways safer to use. At present it seems that many drivers are unaware of the risks involved with not using them properly.
For example, many people are unsure of what they would do if their car was to break down at a point when there is no hard shoulder to pull onto. Without this knowledge, there’s much greater scope for a breakdown to result in a nasty accident.
(In case you were wondering, there are emergency bays spaced along smart motorways at regular intervals. These can be used in the event of a problem. Meanwhile, you are advised to always check your tyres, oil, fuel and water before making a journey, to reduce the risk of a breakdown.)

Unfair fines?

With so many drivers being unaware of exactly how they should be using a smart motorway, it could be said that it really isn’t fair to impose fines on people until they have been given far more education about the new way of using these particular roads.

The lack of effort in terms of educating drivers certainly points to an intention to use smart motorways for revenue generation. The move will add to the pressure on drivers already struggling with rising motoring costs. Clearly, using smart motorways incorrectly can result in dangerous situations. However, does that make it right to prioritise fining transgressors before sufficiently educating them?

A cynic might presume that information is being withheld in order to catch people out when they are unsure of how to drive on these new roads. Perhaps our smart motorways are simply offering a smart new way to make more money from the UK’s beleaguered car owners.

With this in mind, Highways England has been asked to provide motorists with a better education about smart motorways. Drivers need to know what they do, how they should be used, and what the different signs mean. They also need to know what not to do, so that they can avoid being fined!

Are you confident that you understand all the rules and regulations relating to smart motorways or will you be one of those who could be in line for a fine due to lack of knowledge? 
Let us know your views by leaving a comment. 

Source : PetrolPrices.com

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Uber War Of Words Explodes As Council Boss Hits Back At 'Fake Outrage' Coventry Politicians.

A war of words has erupted between councillors in Coventry and Wolverhampton as the row over Uber licensing in the city reaches boiling point.

There is a long-running dispute with Coventry accusing their Midlands neighbours of exploiting a loophole in licensing regulations to allow Uber drivers with Wolverhampton licences to operate in the city. 

Wolverhampton Council has made £1.3m by giving out taxi licenses this year - with over 200 of these drivers operating out of Coventry.

There are concerns that the licensing of Uber cabs is affecting Coventry’s black cab trade - though many residents are in support of Uber’s presence in the city.

Today, a top Wolverhampton councillor hit back at “fake outrage” Coventry politicians and said that the authority was only interested in preserving its “long-standing cosy relationship” with the hackney carriage trade.

It came after Coventry councillor Damian Gannon accused Wolverhampton of handing out Uber licenses "like sweeties".

This is the staggering number of Wolverhampton taxi drivers exploiting loophole to work in Coventry

Wolverhampton City Council’s Cllr Alan Bolshaw, chairman of City of Wolverhampton Council’s licensing committee, said: “The attitude of some Coventry politicians towards the issue of private hire licensing is getting tiresome.

“I’m afraid my patience has run out with those who are cynically trying to drag the reputation of City of Wolverhampton Council through the mud to further their own agenda.

“I think it’s about time someone called out the motivation of these people who are hiding behind smoke and mirrors. The reality is that there is a long-standing cosy relationship between Coventry City Council and the hackney carriage trade and preserving this relationship is what this is really about.

“Of course the hackney carriage trade, which has been protected in Coventry for so long, doesn’t want competition. They are doing everything possible to try and stifle competition which is simply not on because it is the people of Coventry who suffer.”

      Councillor Alan Bolshaw

Thanks to a loophole, Uber cabs can pick up fares in Coventry despite not being licensed to operate in the city.

That means an accident could potentially leave passengers uninsured.

Black cab drivers in the city say Uber drivers undercut their prices and do not have the same standard of safety checks that they do.

But taxi users in the city say all they want are value fares and efficiency.

Cllr Bolshaw said Wolverhampton was doing nothing wrong in giving out licenses to drivers.

He said: “Surely Coventry councillors should be welcoming the fact that 240 jobs have been created in their city due to the private hire licences we’ve issued?

“It is galling to hear the fake outrage voiced by certain individuals in Coventry who know full well that we are doing nothing wrong here in Wolverhampton. All we are doing is following the law which allows taxi drivers and operators to choose where they get their licence.

“Frankly, this smacks of sour grapes. Coventry know that our systems and processes are modern, efficient and far superior to their own. This is why drivers choose to come to us. People are trying to make out that our standards are lower than Coventry’s, but this is absolute nonsense.

He added “Nobody is fooled into thinking that the Coventry opposition is about safety – this is about protectionism and perpetuating the status quo to the detriment of customers.

“You only have to look at the comments left by residents on the Coventry Telegraph website to see that they welcome competition and want that choice. 

“I hear people talk about the supposed ‘gold standard’ of black cabs in Coventry. If that were true, people would have nothing to worry about from increased consumer choice and competition. The bottom line is that the time has come for those who are peddling myths and playing dirty tricks to be honest about their motivations and stop using City of Wolverhampton Council as a scapegoat."

Coventry taxi drivers and council members including cabinet member for city services Cllr Jayne Innes launch a campaign for safe professional taxis outside Council House
Talks between Cllr Jayne Innes, Coventry City Council’s cabinet member for city services and Cllr Bolshaw two weeks ago seemed to have yielded a positive outcome, with talks of improved communication between the two mooted.

But any good feeling appears long gone, with Coventry councillor Damian Gannon accusing Wolverhampton of "handing taxi licenses out like sweeties".

He said Wolverhampton did not "give a damn about how it makes the taxi trade unaccountable to Coventry residents".

     Cllr Damian Gannon

Cllr Gannon said: "Ideally, the taxi trade should be accountable to Coventry residents so if you drive a taxi in Coventry you should be accountable in Coventry.

"At the moment Wolverhampton are exploiting a gap in the licensing regulations to make as much money as they can and that is just plain wrong. Treating taxi licensing as a cash-cow undermines local democracy, it undermines public safety and it undermines the ability of taxi drivers to make a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

“But we also need to accept that the trade has changed and companies like Uber are not going to go away. We need a better way to ensure that they can operate in a manner that delivers an accountability, public safety and fair wages. Council’s should not be pitched against each other in a race to the bottom of licensing regulations.

“At the moment Wolverhampton City Council are undermining local democracy, public safety and worker’s rights and it is not good enough.

"It's time they treated taxi licensing as less of a cash cow and took its duties and obligations much, much, more seriously as a result, I have written to the Minister for Licensing and Metro Mayor to ask them to put pressure on the council to stop this race to the bottom.

"This is a regional problem, it needs a regional solution and the regional mayor Andy Street should step-in and resolve it.”