Tuesday, December 18, 2018

New Taxicard Contract A Disgrace : Users Protest As Free Journeys Decrease. Councillor Blames Government Funding.


Disabled people protested against what they see as an insufficient number of free taxi rides offered by their council.

Users of the ‘Taxicard’ service in Harrow handed in a petition at the borough’s civic centre on Monday – International Day of Disabled People – criticising the low number of journeys they are entitled to.

Harrow Council now offers just 40 free trips a year which, as the protesters pointed out, equates to less than one return journey every two weeks.

It is one of the lowest in London and, by contrast, neighbouring Hillingdon Council provides 104 annual journeys.

Adam Gabsi, vice-chairman of Harrow Association of Disabled People (HAD), organised the march to the Civic Centre alongside several other charities.

He said: “The council needs to speak to the very people that they are affecting to understand what impact their decisions are having on people’s physical and mental health.

“Disabled people want equality, justice and the freedom to live. The Taxicard scheme helps to facilitate this and should not have been cut.”

He added that blaming austerity for the cuts is an “excuse” and urged the council to come up with “innovative ideas” to help plug any funding gaps.

Nigel Long, chief executive of HAD, believes there is “room for manoeuvre” on the Taxicard issue and hopes to see the number of journeys at least doubled.

“We are sympathetic to the council’s financial situation, but disabled people should not have to bear the brunt of austerity,” he said.

“It seems as if they have taken the soft option and they have let disabled people in the borough down.”


Cllr Adam Swersky, who is responsible for finance at Harrow Council, agreed that it is important to find alternative sources but said it is impossible to ignore the impact of reduced government funding.

He said: “This is a symbol of how long austerity has been going on for. We’ve been facing cuts year-on-year and so, in that respect, things are only getting worse.

“These things affect the people who need our support the most, and that is why we are fighting for fairer funding in Harrow.”

He explained that the demand for adult social care does not meet the council’s budget and, as a result, it needs “as much help as possible” from outside bodies.

And he promised to work with HAD and other charities in the borough to see how they can move forward together.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

Funding for disabled cut, yet the Mayor found £1bn to fund cycle lanes which have crippled businesses all over London




DONT FORGET, JANUARY 2019 ....WHERE BUSES GO, TAXIS GO PROTESTS 

Supported by ITA, LCDC, RMT, DDD and MM 

Dates and venues will be posted in the New Year. 

One Of Uber's Biggest Investors Goldman’s Sachs, Facing Criminal Charge In 1MDB Scandal.

The 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal or 1MDB scandal is an ongoing political scandal occurring in Malaysia.

Malaysia is demanding Uber investor Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bear the brunt of the 1MDB scandal, opening up another legal front for the Wall Street firm over its role raising money for the investment fund.

The country filed the first criminal charges against the U.S. bank in the global corruption probe on Monday, after publicly urging Goldman to come to the negotiating table or face litigation. The firm already is in the thick of investigations by U.S. prosecutors and regulators over Goldman’s conduct in the controversy.

Malaysian authorities allege that Goldman misled investors when the bank knew that proceeds from 1MDB bond sales it arranged would be misappropriated. The government is seeking fines in excess of both the $2.7 billion of allegedly misused funds and the $600 million in fees received by Goldman on the deals. Goldman has blamed rogue employees for any wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB, a state-owned investment fund.

"Their fraud goes to the heart of our capital markets," Malaysian Attorney General Tommy Thomas said in a statement announcing the charges. "If no criminal proceedings are instituted against the accused, their undermining of our financial system and market integrity will go unpunished."

Goldman Sachs’s role in raising about $6.5 billion for 1MDB in 2012 and 2013 has evolved into its thorniest scandal since the global financial crisis a decade ago triggered a public backlash against banks. Former Goldman partner Tim Leissner has pleaded guilty to U.S. bribery charges and his former deputy, Roger Ng, was arrested in Malaysia. And one of its senior investment bankers in Asia has been put on leave after being referenced in charging documents.

Ex Partner Tim Leissner 

Goldman Sachs said it would "vigorously contest" the charges, which it said came without a chance for the firm to provide its view.

"Certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to Goldman Sachs, outside counsel and others about the use of proceeds from these transactions," the bank said in an emailed statement Monday. "1MDB, whose CEO and board reported directly to the prime minister at the time, also provided written assurances to Goldman Sachs for each transaction that no intermediaries were involved."

Goldman’s increasing proximity to the scandal has weighed on its stock, which is down about a third since the beginning of the year. That has erased its so-called Trump bump, a reference to the boost all major banking stocks received after President Donald Trump’s surprise victory in 2016. Goldman shares are now trading at the lowest level since October 2016.

Along with targeting the firm, Malaysia filed related charges against Leissner and Ng, as well as former 1MDB employee Jasmine Loo Ai Swan and fugitive financier Low Taek Jho.

The indictment focuses on circulars and memoranda that Goldman prepared for the 1MDB bonds, saying that they contained statements that were false or misleading or both. Malaysia is pursuing the claim on the basis that the relevant bond documents were sent to the regulator in its offshore banking haven in Labuan, and therefore were covered by its securities law, Thomas said in the statement.

Malaysia is filing the charges against three of the bank’s units -- Goldman Sachs International (UK), Goldman Sachs (Singapore) and Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC -- the Edge newspaper reported, citing charge sheets from the Kuala Lumpur court.

"The criminal charges of this nature are grave, and it goes to the core of Goldman’s business as an investment bank," said Nizam Ismail, a partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP in Singapore. "If the outcome of the case results in a criminal conviction against the bank, there are potentially severe reputational and financial risks to the bank, as well as the bank’s standing as a licensed financial institution with regulators worldwide."

Officials in Malaysia had previously said they were seeking a full refund from Goldman Sachs for the fees it received for the 1MDB bond sales. The $600 million Goldman earned from the bond issues dwarfed what banks typically make from government deals.

Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, the alleged mastermind of the schemes to siphon billions of dollars from 1MDB, was also charged in absentia in the U.S. He was accused of conspiring with Ng, then a Goldman Sachs banker, to launder billions of dollars embezzled from 1MDB, known formally as 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

A spokesman for Low issued a statement from his attorneys that he maintained his innocence.

The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, is ramping up an investigation into how executives dodged the bank’s internal controls while helping Malaysian authorities raise the money, people briefed on the matter said late last month. The probe examines the actions of Goldman Sachs as well as individuals and has been gaining momentum, the people said, asking not to be identified because the inquiry is confidential.

Leissner’s guilty plea suggests he’s helping U.S. authorities with their investigation of the bank. Other regulators are examining if its conduct points to a broader pattern of prioritizing lucrative business deals at the expense of following rigorous compliance standards.

And two Abu Dhabi funds -- International Petroleum Investment Co. and Aabar Investments -- have also filed a civil suita gainst Goldman Sachs in New York, seeking damages for alleged fraud in connection with embezzlement at 1MDB.

Source : Bloomberg 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Islington Cab Drivers Release Christmas Single About Being In Love


Joe and Jon the Islington cab drivers have made a Christmas single about being in love

Two crooning black cab drivers from Islington have released a Christmas single about being in love.

Joe Cartwright, 49, and Jon Cox, 50, have written and produced their track Christmas Just Ain’t Christmas Without You from their studio space at Parkhurst Road’s Islington Arts Factory.

The festive tune features backing vocals courtesy from a True Stars Academy Theatre School choir, run by the Eastenders actor and anti-knife crime campaigner Brooke Kinsella.

"It’s a song that can be universal, said Joe. "So it doesn’t matter if you’re in Afganistan or away on an oil rig, because it just encapsulates the feeling of love for another person."

Jon, who grew up in Clerkenwell, told the Gazette: "I’m very excited to write this song because it’s an emotional time of year and if our song becomes part of that I’ll be happy."

You can listen to the track on Spotify or iTunes.

Source : Islington Gazette.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Top German Court Rules Uber Limousine Service Illegal 🤔

 
    Uber's Limo drivers, outside the Federal Court of Justice

KARLSRUHE, Germany (Reuters) - Germany’s highest court ruled on Thursday that a limousine service offered by Uber [UBER.UL] was illegal. It's a setback for the U.S. ride-hailing company, that has struggled to comply with the law in Europe’s largest economy.

The Federal Court of Justice, handing down a final decision, upheld lower-court rulings in favor of a complaint brought by a Berlin taxi business that the so-called Uber Black service had violated German laws governing car rentals. 

Responding to the judgment, Uber said it had taken Uber Black out of service in 2014, adding that the services it now operates in four German cities complied with the law. 

“This ruling has no impact on our current services in Germany as we changed our operating model more than four years ago,” the company said in a statement. 

“We will continue to engage with local stakeholders as we develop services that address Germany’s growing transportation needs and shape the future of urban mobility in a responsible way.” 

Uber, which could fetch a valuation of $120 billion when it floats next year in what would be the biggest stock market listing by a tech startup, has had a series of run-ins with regulators, courts and drivers around the world. 

In Britain, the company has fought a long-running court battle over whether its drivers should be given workers’ rights, including a minimum wage. The company argues that drivers are self-employed. 

In the German case, two lower courts had banned the Uber Black service based on the complaint brought by a Berlin taxi operator, Richard Leipold. 

He had argued that its operations should be covered by laws covering car rentals. These require a car to return to its base after each trip and for trips to be awarded by a dispatcher. 

Taxis, by contrast, can accept orders directly. 

Uber now offers its services in four German cities - Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt and Duesseldorf - and says it is in full compliance with German laws. 

Its Uber X service operates in partnership with car rental companies whose drivers hold a license to carry passengers, a company spokesman said. Its UberTaxi service functions as a regular taxi service. 

Establishing an important principle, the Federal Court found that Uber was subject to German transportation laws, dismissing arguments that European Union rules governing the provision of services should apply.

Lisson Grove Muggings Escalate : Police Have The Tools, So When Are They Going To Use Them? by Tony Casey

  Lisson Grove muggers, recently spotted in Berkeley Square 

The instances of muggings on Taxi drivers is increasing at an alarming rate...worst still, they are becoming more and more violent. 

The police keep saying we need more drivers to report these crimes. 

So I have been doing just that. 

I have also written again to my own local MP, Frank Manning. 

Hello Frank 
Thanks for your continued concern for the London Taxi community.
Despite my very best efforts since Sept 2018 and 4 alleged arrests by warrant recently,I have to report that this week the mugging Gangs are out of control...

Two nights ago at 9.30 attempted robbery of Taxi drivers in Rossmore road NW8 junction with Park Road near the Flower Shop.How many were succesful i'm not sure.

Today at Harrow Road W2 eastbound from Sandell and Perkins roundabout toward THE NOW CLOSED Paddington Green Police Station. The Robbers could be the same ones who robbed 78 year old George Vyse who may live on the neighbouring social Housing Estate.

Around a month ago I reported robbery activity opposite todays crime on the westbound carriageway of Harrow Road on the over side of the flyover, the taxi feeder line that feeds Paddington Station just before the roundabout of Bishops Bridge Road. This area may be covered by lady wpc Sgt O'Brien and her policing team.
What ever is going on in the Policing circles is embarrissingly POOR.
Drivers are asking me daily what is happening and I am ashamed to report VERY LITTLE.
Perhaps its time to take the matters into our own hands.
Could you please let Andrew Know.
Thanks and regards 
Anthony Casey LCDC. 

I have been working alongside the neighbourhood police teams and local MP’s for the Maida Vale and Harrow Road areas for some time, yet it is now even worse than ever.

Recently four muggers were arrested at their homes and their premises searched. Unfortunately for us, they are now back out on the street and are continuing to rob unsuspecting drivers. 

Perhaps they believe we are all holding bundles of cash because of the christmas period.

The muggings have now become increasingly violent and our biggest fear is that a driver could eventually be seriously injured or even killed. 

London Taxi Radio Interview with mugging victim Laurence.

    

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

They have the intel, they have the tools...so when are hey going to use them?

During our recent show of strength of feeling towards TfL’s recent consultation about the closure of tooley street, Met police sent out two licensed taxi's complete with ID cards containing undercover police officers who mingling with the Taxi protesters, using hidden body cameras to try to identify the ring leaders.

The met police have currently 3 Taxis in their under covet fleet fully plated etc.

Why have'nt these vehicles been deployed around Lisson grove and Harrow Road?

Perhaps they are still awaiting a response on a risk assessment.

TfL’s enforcement officers have been using a vauxhall zafira with minicab indentifiers complete with blues and two's and ANPR cameras.

The police have no excuses to solving violent crime ,they have the tools, vehicles to get the job done, but appear to be holding back. 

Mayor Sadiq Khan needs to divert money away from the vanity fountain fund and cycle super highways to fight crime and prevent further violence towards Cabbies which could eventually resort in murder.

    

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Uber, Lyft and their like are the least of our worries at the moment


Uber, Lyft and their like are the least of our worries at the moment. 

We now have apps coming along that are allowing Hackney Carriage drivers from outside London to pick up on their platform. 

They say this is legal as TfL class all app jobs as ore bookings. 

How has this been allowed to happen ???

Firstly our largest org, the only one that TfL is willing to listen to, is asleep on this type of issue in case it interferes with their advertising revenue 

Secondly, to all the drivers who thought Chris Johnson’s campaign wasn’t worth supporting... it’s your fault that this is happening. 

And it’s not over yet, it’s about to get so much worse.

You may be doing alright on your app work, but you will soon be competing with Taxi drivers from all over the Home Counties.

The power to stop this happening is in your hands....the orgs aren't going to do it for you, so that just leaves you!

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mytaxi/


Out of the many thousands of drivers currently on a Taxi type app in central London, just over 300 have actually made a donation to secure their future. Many (over half these drivers) have made a second and subsequent further donation. 

16 days left to go with just £2980 to raise!

Don't wait to see if someone else is going to save your trade, this is something YOU need to do for yourself.


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : by Chris Johnson

We all know that Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi recently met with Chris Grayling. After obtaining FOI requests, we now know what they spoke about. 



We know Dara spoke about Uber pool express (minibuses) - to use in bus lanes?

But Dara akdonspoke about integrating taxis into the Uber App. 

This is the same reason MyTaxi won't confirm whether we are plying on the app or not because this is the strategy for all apps - they call it fully intergrated platforms. 

Now please try to understand that these orgs and unions are actively working against driver by not supporting the employment tribunal case against MyTaxi - Daimler own MyTaxi, Blacklane (PH), ViaVan (PH), Hopp was Taxify (PH). 

He also goes on to talk about homogenised regulations 
*this is a 1 tier system* 
again this is why MyTaxi won't defined that they are a plying app, all of these app companies want this homogenisation.

WHERE BUSES GO, UBER GO, BUT NOT TAXIS...Statement From The ITA

WHEN DARA MET CHRIS

Dara Khosrowshahi met with Chris Grayling of #DfT.

Dara said he'd accept the Congestion Charge, but refused to allow a cap on minicab numbers.

He also told Grayling about the new Uber Pool Express minibuses which can use bus lanes!

REMEMBER THIS WARNING?...Look at the date!


So those of you who agreed with Macca to 'do nothing' and 'wait and see', how do you feel now?

Want to go through Bank Junction? Up Tottenham Court Road? Along Tooley Street? You can't!

Only buses, cycles and Uber Pool Express!

Feel betrayed?

It looks like the TfL and DfT plan could be:

WHERE BUSES GO, UBER GO, BUT NOT TAXIS. 

HOW LONG DO YOU THINK THIS INTEGRATION INTO TFL'S TRANSPORT SYSTEM FOR UBER, AND EXPULSION FROM TFL'S TRANSPORT SYSTEM OF TAXIS, HAS BEEN PLANNED?

HAS THE PENNY DROPPED YET?

ARE THE ITA STILL WRONG TO PROTEST OVER TAXIS EXPULSION FROM LONDON ROADS?

FIGHT OR DIE!


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Uber Looking To Integrate London Bus And Tube Data Into Its App


Uber looking to integrate London bus and Tube data into its app after Dara’s visit with on-side Mike!

Uber has spoken with London’s transport authority about "deepening" their relationship, as the ride-hailing app seeks to strike partnerships with public transportation providers

This from the FT:

Uber has spoken with London’s transport authority about "deepening" their relationship, as the ride-hailing app seeks to strike partnerships with public transportation providers.

The company is attempting to integrate Transport for London’s data about bus and Tube timetables into its app, according to people familiar with the matter, in a move that would put it into direct competition with venture capital-backed start-up Citymapper.

Although TfL has a publicly available interface for accessing the data, Uber is seeking to build services on top of that, such as live updates. Three people said Uber had a long-term ambition to build a full journey planner and accept payments on behalf of public transport authorities such as TfL.

TfL said it was "not actively doing anything to help" Uber integrate data.

A spokesperson added: "We’re not in discussions with Uber or anyone else about taking payments for our services through their apps, and not looking to do so in the future."

Uber declined to comment.

TfL has tried to incorporate new mobility services, such as bike-sharing and ride-hailing, into London’s transport system. But it has been wary about integrating with private companies in any move that could lead to greater competition for public transport.

Uber has had a fraught relationship with TfL in the past after facing a public battle over its licence to operate in London. The licence was revoked after TfL found Uber was not a "fit and proper" operator, but the company won it back after announcing a series of concessions to the regulator.

Since its victory in court this summer, Uber has retrained its sights on London as a test bed for its new vision to build a marketplace for bikes, scooters and other forms of transport. Uber is expected to launch electric bikes in the capital by early 2020.

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief executive, has suggested public transport is the company’s next frontier in passenger transport. Uber has already run trials to integrate its app with public transport information in San Francisco through the Bay Area Rapid Transit system and announced a partnership with Masabi, an app that provides mobile ticketing for public transport.

One senior UK-based executive said Uber’s ambition was to become an alternative to Google Maps or Apple Maps for someone planning a journey. The service would resemble one run by Citymapper, which operates in several US and European cities, including London, Berlin and Paris.

Michael Hurwitz, director of innovation at Transport for London, told the Financial Times earlier this year that TfL was ambivalent about fitting private services into a comprehensive transport app, saying: "It’s about getting our own house in order, better integrated, and when and under what commercial circumstances you might open that out."

BREAKING NEWS : Confirmed At Yesterday’s TOPS Meeting First ZEC Only Rank Coming Early New Year


It is now official......and in the concept of the term 'dived and conquer', TfL are to use the new LEVC TXe to split the trade further, (with a little help from their on-side friend).

While 'Project Horizon' looked to destroy the two tier system, integrating both services of the Taxi and private hire trades into one, it now appears that TfL have suddenly swerved 180° and are now bent on introducing a new tier into the Taxi trade itself, to divide the drivers even further. 

At an all trade TOPS meeting yesterday, it was announced by TfL, that there are to be certain rewards for "Green Pioneers" who have made the investment in LEVC's TXe. 
This will come in the shape of eTaxi only ranks and bus lanes, with unique access to certain areas around central London and parts of the CoL. 



Unsurprisngly, this subjec was bought up at the end of the meeting, so there was no discussion on the issue....although we can probably guess at the LTDA's opinion being different from the rest of the trades. 

After recent events, followed by damaging emails and statements from a major trade representative org, TfL totally believe that now is the right time to unveil these measures as there will be little to no resistance from within the body of the trade. TfLTPH's perception of Taxi Drivers, is that we are extremely badly led with the fight kicked out of the general rank and file driver.

According to slides shown at yesterday's meeting, the new eTaxi only ranks will start to appear in the new year.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : WHAT'S BEING SAID ON SOCIAL MEDIA!



So TfL preciseve the majority of the trade as deeply divided, having no stomach for a fight and extremely badly led.

Before TFL's special friend starts slinging accusations about fake news stories on a certain online website, let us point out that the images above came directly from  the TOPS meeting....and the ones below, originated from the DfT. 

Monday, December 10, 2018

High Court Quashes Wakefield Taxi Fees


The High Court has quashed the licensing fees charged for private hire vehicle and Hackney carriage licences set by Wakefield City Council, following a claim for judicial review by the Wakefield District Private Hire and Hackney Association.
 
His Honour Judge Saffman, sitting as a deputy judge of the High Court, held that the fees charged by Wakefield were unlawful. In particular, the Council had wrongly interpreted section 70 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and had erroneously charged the costs of enforcement against drivers (for speeding, bad parking, dressing inappropriately and a miscellany of uncivil or illegal conduct) to the control and supervision of vehicles. Wakefield’s case had been that the costs were properly accounted for against vehicles because the errant drivers were driving vehicles. The learned judge described that as ‘stretching beyond breaking point’ the language of the section.
 
The case is of wider importance as it dispels any suggestion that there is a general principle of law that licensing regimes should be self-financing. The judge made it clear that a local authority’s entitlement to recover from the licence fee the costs of administering a licensing regime is governed by the words of the empowering statute. Where Parliament has awarded local authorities a broad discretion (e.g. “such fee as they think reasonable”) the courts have upheld policies of full cost recovery on the sole ground that the policies, being reasonable, are intra vires; but where, as in s 70 LGMPA 1976, the power to charge a fee is circumscribed by reference to specific heads of recovery, recovery is restricted to those specified heads. Licensing authorities are creatures of statute, and have no powers beyond those which statute has given them.
 
In the course of the High Court action it became apparent that Wakefield Council has overcharged private hire vehicle licence fees by an aggregate sum in excess of £1million, which will form the subject of a claim for restitution.
 
Gerald Gouriet QC and Charles Streeten acted for the successful claimant, with the assistance of A2Z licensing

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

As the article states, the greater legal significance of the judgment was to recognise that there is no general principle of law that requires licensing regimes to be self-financing, but for members of the Wakefield trade, it might be the prospect of being able to bring a restitution claim for in excess of £1 million that was the most significant thing to come out of the case, which was heard by the High Court in Leeds last Wednesday (5 December 2018).

For the sake of completeness, I should advise that the Council was refused permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal, but does, of course, have 21 days in which to renew its application directly to the Court of Appeal.

David B Wilson
a2z Licensing 

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Breaking News : Uber, In A Race With Lyft, Has Confidentially Filed To Go Public In 2019.

    


* Uber has confidentially filed paperwork to hold its long-awaited IPO next year, reports the Wall Street Journal.
* This comes a day after word got out that Lyft, the company's perennial rival in car-hailing services, made its own IPO filing.
* Uber was last privately valued at $76 billion, and the Journal reports that it could go public with a market cap of $120 billion.

Uber has confidentially filed an S-1 document in preparation to hold its long-awaited IPO, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Uber has previously been valued privately at as much as $76 billion, and its advisers reportedly say it may go public with a market cap of as much as $120 billion. According to the Journal, Uber might go public "as soon as the first quarter." Internally, Uber is referring to the IPO planning process as "Project Liberty."

A spokesperson for Uber declined to comment.
The report comes one day after Uber's arch-rival, Lyft, announced that it had filed its initial paperwork to go public, and the two are now racing to be the first to float on the public markets in 2019.

The Uber IPO has been long-awaited, as investors and employees await liquidity, after the company raised $24.2 billion in debt and equity funding since its founding in 2009. Uber investors include Toyota, Softbank, Microsoft, Jeff Bezos, Jay Z, Morgan Stanley, and Axel Springer (the parent company of Business Insider), though some may have already sold their stakes through various share sales along the way.

Uber lost nearly $1 billion in the third quarter of 2018, according to its self-reported financial results, while it saw quarterly revenue of $2.95 billion. Recently, Uber has expanded into new lines of business beyond its flagship car-hailing service, including bikes and scooters, even as it invests in its Uber Eats food delivery business.

In August, Uber hired former Merrill Lynch CFO Nelson Chai as its new CFO, as it geared up to go public. The move comes as Uber attempts to move on from successive scandals throughout 2017, which culminated in the ousting of founder and CEO Travis Kalanick, who was replaced by Dara Khosrowshahi, formerly the chief executive of Expedia.

2019 is shaping up to be a blockbuster year for tech IPOs. As well as Uber and Lyft, work messaging app Slack also plans to go public next year, among others.

Source : Business Insider. 

Saturday, December 08, 2018

The right of Brighton and Hove to decide its own taxi regulations is being "undermined" by Uber ..... Brighton & Hove News

   

The right of Brighton and Hove to decide its own taxi regulations is being "undermined" by Uber ..... Brighton & Hove News

https://www.brightonandhovenews.org/2018/11/27/uber-undermining-local-rules-appeal-judge-told/#comment-187027

"Right To Roam" Philip Kolvin QC

"The right of Brighton and Hove to decide its own taxi regulations is being "undermined" by Uber and its use of out of area cars, the city council argued as it defended its decision to suspend the controversial ride hailing app’s licence.

Brighton and Hove City Council appealed to district judge Tessa Szagun’s sympathy for localism over the so-called "right to roam" which allows cars licensed in other areas to operate within the city.

But Uber fought back, saying there was not a "scrap of evidence" that out of area taxi drivers had been "rampaging into Brighton" and causing harm to passengers, and pointing out the only complaints had been made by local taxi companies.

Leo Charalambides, appearing for the council at Uber’s appeal, told Brighton Magistrates Court the implications of cross border hiring as used by mobile apps such as Uber had not been tested in the higher courts.

He said: "There were concerns from the outset that the impact of this novel operation needed to be assessed and considered.

"If you look at the example of CCTV in Brighton and Hove, that’s a local policy which is rooted in genuine local concerns.

"There are 97 Uber drivers in Brighton who have CCTV but 117 registered in Lewes operating in the area which may not have.

(AP Comment: No mention of all the other areas that have flooded this city...just concentrated on Lewes.. nothing about all those cars from Chichester.. Southampton.. Portsmouth... Fareham ...Havant.. and more?? )

"My case is an appeal for your sympathy for loyalism.

"Our local councillors are concerned that that the right to roam is having an adverse impact on the application of our local policy.

"Can the right to roam be of such importance that the power of local people to decide what their own public interest requires can be so outweighed by that particular legal consideration?"

(AP Comment: Philip Kolvin QC was very vigorous with using the phrase "Right to Roam!" many times throughout the hearing.... possibly a clever subconscious ploy that these clever people use.....And quoting Knowsley... But didnt that just apply to the driver licence and not actually the vehicles licence? However... Uber has created those ‘Uber Mythical Regions" which ironically "Restricts the right to roam" )

"The council’s head of safer communities Joanne Player, said that should Uber "geofence" its app to prevent anyone hailing a non-Brighton licensed taxi within the city, the council would be happy to reinstate its licence.""

(AP Comment: There was no mention that Uber had geofenced London from allowing any other PHV from accepting work within the city.. probably because of the outcry that it would cause in London and affect the Uber London licence...... So Uber uses ‘Right to Roam’ when it suits....)

"However, she also acknowledged that should Uber lose its licence, it could still offer rides in the city but the council would have no power of enforcement over it or any of its drivers. She said: "There probably is a degree of absurdity.

Philip Kolvin QC, appearing for Uber, said it was not the court’s job to apply an unlawful condition, such as geofencing, for the higher courts to then decide on.

He said: "The chief magistrate has said the question of cross border hiring is irrelevant to the fit and proper assessment.

"This is a perfect example of using licensing law for an ulterior motive.

"Are these Uber drivers rampaging in Brighton and causing harm? In fact there’s not a scrap of evidence that speaks of actual harm."

(AP Comment: Well how about all the photos and videos of out-of-town cars sleeping in the vehicles night in and night out.? How about all those PHV and hackneys that have been reported by the trade for breaking conditions of their own licensing rules such as removing council door signs....illegally working (not having to display licence or livery) under an ‘Exemption Policy’ which councils do not allow for everyday PHV work.. with the biggest culprits being Lewes DC & Chichester vehicles. I fear that Mr Charalambides was not briefed on this as none of this was mentioned in court to defend ‘Localism’.  

Additionally I spoke with the local Uber rep at the Appeal and had an interesting conversation of localism and put to her the issue of all those out-town-vehicles sleeping in their cars on the seafront... including using the car park by the cafe near Roedene School....night in and night out...... there was no reply... no reaction..... just silence.... )

"Removing the right for Transport for London drivers to drive here has taken a lot of heat out of this situation. My client is now well on track to meet the 20 per cent wheelchair accessible vehicle requirement when it hits 100 cars.

"The heat which seemed to be there in April and May seems to have vanished. The direction of travel is a good one."

"My client should be allowed to continue to be licensed here rather than operating outside the council’s jurisdiction."

Fred Jones, Uber’s head of mobility who has been involved with Uber in Brighton since it launched in October 2016, told the court that a web page which unfavourably compared the cost and speed of getting a licence in Brighton with Lewes had now been taken down.""

(AP Comment: Yep you took it down because I pointed this out the council as proof that you were effectively encouraging drivers to get a quick and easy licence outside of Brighton & Hove to come and work here)

He explained the page had been put up after Uber created nine UK regions within which drivers had to be licensed if they wanted to drive there, which meant many London based drivers who worked in Brighton would need to be re-licensed.

He said: "They were facing a situation where they would be not able to drive. We didn’t provide pros and cons, we just provided information about what drivers are most interested in, which would include costs and the different steps."

(AP Comment: No.. there are other Apps and companies in the city Mr Jones... in fact a lot of Brighton & Hove Uber drivers use more than one App.. so please don’t try the ‘heart strings’ ploy) 

"He also said that Uber had given £1,000 to any driver who applied for a Brighton licence, with a further incentive of 250 commission-free trips once the licence was granted."

"And he explained that Uber was strongly in favour of cross border hiring because it meant drivers weren’t having to travel back from other areas with no fares, thus driving up congestion and pollution as well as overall fares."

(AP Comment: Very funny Mr Jones... so what about all those out-of-town drivers who actually drive up to hundreds of miles to come to Brighton & Hove to predominantly work in the city.. and then drive back again? You couldn’t make it up unless you are an Uber employee!)

"Uber originally lost its licence in May following a licensing panel hearing in April at Hove Town Hall after councillors decided it was not a "fit and proper person" to be an operator, citing cross border hiring and a data breach, for which Uber was today fined £385,000."

"Today’s appeal hearing, which was originally scheduled for two days, finished this afternoon. Ms Szagun scheduled another hearing for 11 December at Brighton Magistrates Court where she will announce her judgement."

AP Comment: I would like to thank Jo Player (Brighton Council) who was sworn in as a witness.... and was up against the Uber QC Philip Kolvin who robustly asked all the right question to which Jo had to answer with absolute honesty.

With the typical Surging of nearly 3X normal rate this week because it rained in the city.... this is what will be probably be the normal cost to the public in Brighton & Hove when it takes over Brighton & Hove... and to think the hackney trade is currently hesitating for a small fare review as fares have remained static for three years.

Perhaps the trade should ask for permission for the hackneys to have a ‘Rain Tariff’ ... because at the moment Uber has the unfair advantage over the hackneys because the council controls what hackney drivers can earn...

Friday, December 07, 2018

MYTAXI LAUNCH ELECTRIC SCOOTER FLEET IN COMPETITION TO ITS OWN TAXI SERVICE.

 

After announcing plans to add electric scooters to their portfolio a month ago, MyTaxi revealed the location of their pilot as Lisbon. 

Customers in the Portuguese capital can rent a scooter from a fleet of hundreds. For Daimler, this may open a whole new venture labelled Hive and is in competition to its current Taxi services. 

For now they run the kick scooters under a new label, Hive, and Daimler embedded the service in a dedicated app of the same name. Yet Mytaxi CEO Eckart Diepenhorst told German media that this model will either kick-start a new service via Hive or else they may integrate it into the existing MyTaxi ride-hailing offer.

The pilot is new territory for Daimler and the CEO confirmed as much. While they use electric scooters made by Segway in Lisbon, Diepenhorst stressed that it would be "crucial to develop our own hardware" especially when moving into regions with more adverse weather conditions.

Indeed Hive may expand as early as next year depending on the market and the experiences they are making just now. The MyTaxi CEO also pointed to the importance of a good working relation with the respective city. He added it had been a decisive factor when opting for Portugal.

To rent an electric scooter via the Hive app comes at the cost of a one euro base fee and 15 cent per minute afterwards. Half an hour thus adds up to almost 5 euros. This is the normal market rate and the same Lime in Paris is asking. The electric scooters of both Lime or Hive can be left anywhere.

MyTaxi will consider to rolling out their Hive fleet of electric scooters across Europe if things work out in Lisbon.

We are not sure if Hive is the right choice of names for this venture given the popularity of the Hive smart home devices.

TFL ADVISE TAXI DRIVERS TO REFUSE CARD PAYMENT, RATHER THAN USEALTERNATIVE PAYMENT DEVICE

You really couldn’t make it up...TfL telling independent traders how they can and can not conduct their businesses.

Today has seen outages on the O2 network, the O2 website has the following Service Status inormation.
The network issue we are currently experiencing remains a top priority for us and we are working as quickly as possible to fix the issues.
All O2 technical teams are working closely with one of our third party suppliers who has identified a global software issue in their system which has impacted data services. 
We believe other mobile operators around the world are also affected.
We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience. 
Normally a mobile telephone network outage would not affect a Taxi drivers daily life, but since October 2016 London Taxis have been compelled to accept card payments.
A lot of these card payment systems use the O2 network for their data connections, so an outage affects taxi drivers being able to accept card payments.
After a number of tweets from drivers, TFL have posted a Tweet stating that they are aware of the data outage on the O2 Network affecting some mobile payment devices. They state that affected drivers should advise customers before accepting a fare and offer to take them to a ATM so that they can pay by cash.
The piece of advice that is considered unbelievable is that TFL state that "Under no circumstances should drivers use an alternative, non-fixed card payment device. 
As far as we know, TfL have no right under any current regulation to make this statement. If a passenger wishes to pay the fare by any means the driver finds acceptable, TfL’s argument is not valid. 
Source : Taxi-News.co.uk

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT 
Latest news in the O2 data outage from Sky News :
Click this link 

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

The Battle of Tooley St - Sean Paul Day's victory speech at Bank Junction.

Enjoy this morning my merry brothers 🔵

By Jove, I am not covetous for gold
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost...
It yearns me not if men my garments wear
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.

But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.

We few, we happy few.... we band of brothers 

The drivers who worked and now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here

They hold their manhoods cheap while any speaks that fought with us upon Bank Junction day.

   

Exclusive : St Pancras Station Improvement Works, Lost In Translation.


The LCDC's ranks and highways officer Alan McGrady had a 45 minute phone conversation today with the chief officer in charge of the changes currently underway at St Pancras Station. 

The officer assured Alan that other than the removal of the bypass access road to the taxi rank (which is to be given over to become a two way cycle lane) there are no other plans to make further changes to our rank. 

He explained that a problem seems to have arisen because of a difference of meaning to the term Taxi Rank. When the trade refers to the term 'Taxi Rank', it means the marked space outside the Midland Road doors where Taxis rank up plying for hire. But to the station planners, 'Taxi Rank' refers to the area inside the station where passengers wait to access Taxis waiting outside at (in he's words) the Taxi pick up point. 

He went on to explain the email posted on social media:
The email stated, 'the under utilised Taxi rank area'...meaning the area inside the station, 'owing to the popularity of private hire bookings from firms like Uber, will be given over to become a shop space inside the station'.

He went on to say that there were no plans whatsoever for an Uber/PH rank or waiting area. 


See Alan's Periscope, click link below.

ANOTHER NAIL IN UBERS BUSINESS MODEL COFFIN ?


The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission voted on Tuesday to set a minimum pay rate for drivers who work for app-based companies like Uber and Lyft.

This new rule will go into effect in 20 days, and it will require drivers to be paid at least $27.86 an hour, which translates to $17.22 after expenses. According to a study from TLC, most drivers currently earn around $11.90 an hour. This change increases the yearly earnings of drivers by $9,000.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) applauded the change, citing years of activism in hopes of achieving an increase like this. “It’s the first real attempt anywhere to stop app driver pay cuts, which is an Uber and Lyft business practice at the heart of poverty wages,” the NYTWA said.

In a statement, Uber said the new rule would likely lead to fare hikes for users of the ride-hailing service. Uber “supports efforts to ensure that full-time drivers in NYC — whether driving with taxi, limo or Uber — are able to make a living wage, without harming outer borough riders who have been ignored by yellow taxi and underserved by mass transit,” a spokesperson added. 

Lyft voiced similar sentiments as Uber, saying, “These rules would be a step backward for New Yorkers, and we urge the TLC to reconsider them.”

Via, which already pays drivers a higher-than-minimum wage, supported the move. In a statement to The Verge, the company said, “As the industry leader in driver earnings in New York City, we are looking forward to working with the TLC on implementing this rule.”

This move is only one of several in New York targeting these services. Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft have been facing backlash from New York City officials for the past few years over the number of vehicles allowed on the streets. In August, after a summer of debate, city officials moved to restrict the number of for-hire delivery and transportation vehicles. It was the first city in the country to do so, poking a dent in one of the companies’ most profitable markets.

Source : The Verge.com

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Latest Score From The Where Buses Go We Go Demo..Taxi Trade 2 - TfL 0


It’s just been announce on London Taxi Radio that after today’s meeting with Mike Brown, the trade has learned that we are to be included in the Tooley Street, Duke Street Hill Bus lane initiative. 

At the meeting were Grant Davis (LCDC) and Andy Nichols (RMT) who have left Mike Brown in no doubt that this isn’t the end of our action but the beginning of our fight to reclaim all the streets, bus lanes, no right and no left turns. 

He was told in no uncertain terms that, as part of Public Hire and under the terms of the Hackney Carriage acts where Buses Go, We Go. 

The announcement was made at the conclusion of today’s action at the Bank Junction by Sean Paul Day, who received a massive cheer and was lifted up shoulder high by the jubilant drivers. 

There is just one request and that’s for every driver and their family and friends to make sure you fill in every consultation that concerns/affects the trade. 

This will come as a shock to all the knockers who said ‘Demos don’t work’.... truth is they more often than not do. And we’ve won this one hands down. 

A massive thank you from the ITA, LCDC and the RMT, to all the drivers who gave up their time and money, to support their colleagues and fight for the future of the trade. 

Tin hat on now, because we expect the trolls and stay at home keyboards warriors will be out in force saying it’s not enough, it’s too little or that we shouldn’t stop now. 

Well we are not stopping....we are having a break till after Christmas and will be back in the new year, refreshed, fighting for every street that’s been taken away. 


Remember the words of Bob Crow:

"If you fight, you may not win.

But if you don’t fight, you will definitely lose".

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT:

A word from the ITA ...

YOU'VE DONE A FANTASTIC JOB 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

GO BACK TO WORK 

FILL IN EVERY CONSULTATION.

AND HAVE A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS 🎄🎁

SEE YOU ALL AT TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD IN JANUARY ✊🏼

AND BANK JUNCTION, WE'LL BE BACK - WE HAVEN'T FORGOTTEN YOU CHRIS 

Day 7 : Who Said Protests Don't Work...Stick It Out People. by I'm Spartacus


Emmanuel Macron has signalled for France's Prime Minister to suspended the fuel duty rises that have sparked widespread protests and unrest across the country. 

The French p.m. Edwardos Philippe is to announce a suspension of the fuel tax hikes on Tuesday, the AFP news agency reports.

Mister Philippe is to meet with the groups who organised the protests today. 

 
Reason being....the yellow vests! Le Gilets Jaune!


Shops in Paris took 20% of the normal takings, 3 weeks from Christmas. Restaurants were empty because of the protesters on the streets...

They all got together and got onto the Mayor of Paris, and the Mayor of Paris got onto the president saying how businesses can't stand this, we can't stand this...

So ladies and gentlemen who are out in the city between the hours of 4pm and 7pm :

The message is clear, the message is simple...think about whats happened in Paris...think about the big chain stores, think about the Primarks, think about the restaurants and all these type of businesses in the run up to Christmas and the January sales!!!

Imagine the fuss these people can make with the politicians, if people aren't going through their doors, because of difficulties to get around!!!

So stick it out brothers and sisters, stick it out and Viva La France. 

WHERE BUSES GO, WE GO.

By I'm Spartacus.