Monday, August 20, 2018
Keeping It In The Family : Baron James Arbuthnot Asked To Return Excessive Expenses... A Blast From The Past !
Sunday, August 19, 2018
Saturday, August 18, 2018
IIn his piece for 1828UK, the openly gay Assembly Member has championed the Uber platform even though they frequently discriminate against the LGBT community, as well as wheelchair users and blind passengers with guild dogs.
He also talks about a level playing field which (he claims) will achieve more choice and cheaper prices. He gives as an example, in a LondonTaxi, a metered fare that comes to £23, is only £9-13 in an Uber To achieve parity, he will have to cut standing Taxi fares by half......no mention of their surge pricing though Andrew !
How many drivers are going to be able to afford a £67,000 LEVC if he halves the meter price?
Typical politician, he carefully steered clear of UberRape, Uber customer hacking, GreyBall, GodView and an ever increasing amount of road traffic accidents which has massively driven up insurance premiums
If this man becomes Mayor, it will be the final nail in the Taxi trade coffin (exactly what the Tory Chumocray want).
Tory Assembly Member Andrew Boff, writing for 1828UK.
Technology is constantly evolving. This is certainly the case in London, with private vehicle hire or ride-hailing services. It would be a backward step not to embrace this technology, which offers more choice and cheaper travel options for Londoners, but it must operate under the same rules as Black Cabs.
In order to achieve cheaper travel, there needs to be a level playing field between ride-hailing services and Black Cabs. Without this, Black Cabs struggle to compete with private vehicle hire, and consumers have less choice in terms of their transport options. When I am Mayor of London, I will ensure that ride-hailing services and Black Cabs are treated equally.
The benefits of apps like Uber are clear: they are often cheaper, they are easy to use, and they are efficient. The simple fact that Uber has soared with huge profits in London makes the most convincing case that it is what Londoners want. In fact, 3.5 million people are registered with the service, which approximately equates to half of the adult population of London. This should not be a battle between whether we love our Black Cabs more than Uber. What we want more than anything is choice.
Private vehicle hire offers a solution to Londoners who, for whatever reason, do not have a suitable public transport alternative. But consumers must be provided with a choice in these services. Clear evidence that ride-hailing services save Londoners money can be seen by comparing the price difference between a Black Cab journey and an Uber journey from Victoria Station to City Hall.
In this example, the Black Cab fare would be approximately £23, whereas, if you were to use Uber, the journey would cost between £9-13. If Uber were to lose its full licence in London, it could cost Londoners an additional £89.5 million a year in Black Cab fares.
It would also significantly inconvenience Londoners who do not live somewhere served by a significant number of Black Cabs. I cannot support something which would inconvenience Londoners and cost them a lot more money.
Moreover, a restriction on ride-hailing services in London would have a profound impact on all those employed as private vehicle hire drivers in London. Uber, the largest, (but not the only) ride-hailing service in London, employs 45,000 drivers alone. If Uber is not granted a licence to operate in London by Transport for London, not only would Sadiq Khan be working against the consumer, but he would also be responsible for the consequent job losses that would result in a collective loss of £864 million a year in earnings. Besides this monumental economic loss, it is also worth noting that 90% of the 45,000 drivers working for Uber in London say they are satisfied with their employer.
In order to ensure that adequate and fair regulations on all providers in the ride-hailing industry are enforced, I will split the licensing function off from TfL into its own organisation, answerable to me, with a remit for never compromising on public safety, and I will invite the London Assembly to scrutinise its operation and give a voice to interested parties.
I would expect the new organisation to improve vehicle guidelines and driver checks, including more effective complaints procedures in order to address poor service and performance at the same level as Black Cabs. These guidelines would also allow Black Cabs to do more in order to compete with the ride-hailing industry in London. To save the Black Cab, we must first embrace the ride-hailing industry.
Embracing the private vehicle hire industry with open arms is instrumental in allowing London to soar as a business hub, and to improve the lives of Londoners who require that form of transport. Offering consumers more choice in their transport options by allowing companies such as Uber and myTaxi to continue operating in London saves our residents and commuters money and time. Ride-hailing services offer clear benefits in increasing the quality of life of those living and working in London. What is not to like?
Greater Manchester is expected to bring forward its proposals for addressing air pollution in the city region in the coming weeks, elected members heard yesterday (16 August).
At a meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Planning, Housing & Environment Committee, officials were presented with an update on the Greater Manchester Clean Air plan, which is being overseen by Transport for Greater Manchester.
TfGM is leading the development of the plan on behalf of seven of the ten Greater Manchester authorities who were named within the government’s NO2 plan as being required to act to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions. A finalised Clean Air Plans is due to be presented before the end of the year.
Papers released ahead of yesterday’s meeting indicate that options under consideration for the city region include the potential for a charging Clean Air Zone.
But, any potential charges would only to apply to private-hire vehicles, buses and HGVs, with the Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, having previously ruled out a charge for private car drivers (see airqualitynews.com story).
Other measures included in a shortlist shown to members include the potential for a workplace parking levy to encourage commuters to use public transport, increased public transport capacity, retrofit of the existing public transport and local authority fleets and incentivising an increased uptake of electric vehicles in the region.
In the update to members yesterday, TfGM noted that initial data of NO2 exceedances across the local authority areas has been submitted to Defra, which will shortly report back with specific requirements for emissions reductions required across the region.
Once this ‘target determination’ has been completed – likely to be this month – the Greater Manchester air quality steering group, will assess which options are likely to bring about the required reduction in NO2 levels demanded by government.
The papers note: "As government has identified charge-based Clean Air Zones as the benchmark measure, the modelling process used to identify a preferred option to achieve compliance in the shortest possible time in GM is required to focus on this measure first. The Steering Group members will brief senior officers and elected members within their organisations on the options for achieving compliance."
Officers will model which of these measures is likely to bring about compliance within the shortest possible time, before submitting a business case to government later this year. The proposals will be subject to the ‘relevant GM-level governance’, the papers indicate.
Members also heard that a programme of public awareness around air quality issues affecting the region is also under development.
This is expected commence during early autumn 2018 to ‘build greater public awareness and understanding of the GM air quality issue and associated impacts’.
Under the identity of ‘Clean Air Greater Manchester’, "this would build on past public engagement activity – e.g. Clean Air Day – and aim to educate key audiences about air pollution, the health impacts, and what they can do to make a difference," members were told.
Source : Air Quality News
Preparations to pay the charity behind the Garden Bridge project its final multi-million pound chunk of public money should be suspended, the shadow transport secretary has said
The Garden Bridge Trust recently wrote to its public sector sponsor Transport for London with a request for up to £9 million of public money earmarked in an underwriting agreement provided by the Department for Transport (DfT).
However, Labour politicians including shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald have now called on TfL to withhold the money in the wake of a new legal opinion by a QC recently revealed by the AJ, raising the prospect of limiting the aborted scheme’s cost to the taxpayer, currently estimated at £46 million.
Jason Coppel, an expert in public and procurement law, said it was ‘likely’ that the trustees breached their legal duties to act with reasonable skill and care, ‘in particular in relation to the conclusion of the construction contract with Bouygues’, although he added that a claim against the trustees would not be straightforward due to the difficulty of any potential claimant proving they had suffered loss.
While Coppel’s opinion is understood to be strongly denied by the trustees, Labour London Assembly member Tom Copley has now written to TfL commissioner Mike Brown, attaching Coppel’s legal opinion and calling on Brown to ‘halt any payment of further public money to the trust’ until TfL had obtained its own legal advice over whether trustees had indeed breached their legal duties.
Copley’s intervention was backed by McDonald, the second shadow cabinet member to raise serious questions over the actions of the Garden Bridge Trust in recent weeks after repeated calls for a new Parliamentary inquiry were made by shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne.
McDonald said: ‘It’s the right thing to do by taxpayers to attempt to recover every penny possible from Boris Johnson’s scandalous Garden Bridge vanity project.
‘The taxpayer’s interest must be the priority, and that means using whatever legal means are available in order to limit the cost to the public purse.’
In his letter to Brown, which was copied to London mayor Sadiq Khan and the Charity Commission and was dated August 7, Copley wrote: ‘It has come to my attention that the Garden Bridge Trust has yet to draw down the £9 million of public money provided by the DfT, but has recently made a request to do so which TfL is reviewing.
‘I’m sure you will have seen the opinion of Jason Coppel QC … in light of this opinion from an eminent QC, which I attach, I’m writing to ask you to halt any payment of further public money to the trust until you have sought legal advice as to whether TfL can withhold further payments on the grounds that the trustees may have breached their legal duties. If this is the case it should be the trustees that are liable, not the taxpayer.’
In its latest set of accounts, published recently by the Charity Commission after being submitted more than 150 days late, the trust estimated that it would request £5.5 million or less of the £9 million underwriting facility from TfL in order to meet its financial liabilities.
The DfT’s guarantee was controversially provided in 2016 by then transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin in the face of strong opposition from the department’s then permanent secretary Philip Rutnam.
Brown has yet to reply to Copley but a TfL spokesperson said: ‘The Garden Bridge Trust has written to TfL with a request for payment under the underwriting agreement. We are currently reviewing their request.’
The Garden Bridge Trust is currently in the process of winding up and trustees were unavailable for comment.
It has never had to live on the cash it generates
In March, Uber will turn 10 years old. On paper, it’s one of the world’s most highly valued companies. Uber has become a verb for rides on demand, changed the transportation habits of millions and pushed changes in city planning around the world.
But after a decade of operation and perhaps a year or so away from its initial public offering, an essential unanswered question remains: Is Uber viable?
Put aside questions about whether Uber is overvalued, evil or whatever other clouds exist. I’m talking about simple dollars and cents. Uber Technologies Inc. has burned through more than $1 billion in cash in the last year, by design, and continues to fund itself with the huge capital pools available for young superstar companies since about 2010. If all that cash from SoftBank, Saudi Arabian oil wealth, conventional tech investment funds -- or even cash from future public stockholders -- unexpectedly dries up, does Uber’s business model work? I don’t know, and almost no one else does either.
There are always questions about whether relatively young companies will have staying power, but because Uber has never had to finance itself solely with the cash generated by its businesses, questions about the company’s basic viability are even more urgent.
It’s been said before that Uber has sensibly tailored its business strategy to the financial realities of the last eight or so years of financial markets. Never before has so much money been thrown at promising young technology companies, and for good reason. People with money are desperate to make more money, and private technology companies have been an appealing way to turn $1 into $10 or $100.
If Uber had started just a few years earlier, it might have been confined to its original business of dispatching luxury cars. Instead, Uber has taken in more than $15 billion from stock sales and borrowings, and that cash has let Uber dream big. It offers semiprofessional drivers at the tap of a smartphone screen in dozens of global cities, has branched into transportation by bicycles and has visions of robot-driven cars and flying taxis. It’s investing in food delivery, matching supply and demand for freight and more.
Uber’s cash has let it become this ambitious, but it’s never been forced to live in a world where it has to operate solely with the cash it generates. The company’s free cash flow -- or cash generated by its operations minus costs for capital projects -- was negative $1.3 billion in the last 12 months, according to Bloomberg News and other media reports on the company’s self-reported, cherry-picked financial figures. For the sake of comparison to a recent but dramatically different era in technology, Facebook had positive free cash flow for three full years when it filed to go public in 2012.
Don’t just listen to me about the importance of companies that can sustain themselves with their own cash flow. Listen to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. "The most important factor for me," he said at a Fortune conference last month, is "cash flow generation."
"I don't want to be dependent on private, public or any markets to fund the business expansion and the extraordinary expansion in front of us," he said.
Well said. Uber doesn’t need to be cash flow positive when it goes public. And maybe not for years. But eventually it does, and at this point it’s not clear how or when that might happen.
Khosrowshahi and investors in both Uber and other on-demand ride companies have said the economics of the basic business are nicely profitable and improving in some established cities. They say finances for Uber and its rivals are distorted by intentional decisions to grab market share in many cities, global expansion into areas where rides aren’t immediately profitable and investments in promising but cash-draining businesses such as driverless cars.
Young tech companies often say they can pare spending or curtail growth investments if they need to fund themselves solely with cash their businesses generate. That sounds great, but it’s remarkable to think we don’t know what Uber’s business looks like -- or if it can even exist -- if the company had to live within its means.
If times change and Uber needs to become cash flow profitable earlier than it expects, what happens to Uber’s fares or the availability of rides? Does the cost for a ride double or triple? And if so, and demand for rides shrinks, how much more does it cost Uber to attract and retain drivers, which then depresses demand from riders? If Uber has to stop or pare back its investments in driverless cars or food delivery, what happens to the company’s future value or its cash flow?
And it’s not trivial to cross the chasm from a fast-growing technology company that needs constant fresh cash to a firm that can finance its own operations. In a recent analysis I did of tech companies that had gone public since 2010, I was surprised to see that some relatively seasoned companies had for years generated less cash than their businesses needed to operate. Companies such as Pandora Media and FireEye need continual supplies of fresh cash from stock sales or borrowings.
To be clear, Uber had billions of dollars of cash on hand as of June 30. It’s not in danger of blowing up. But nothing about Uber is a sure thing. Not its eye-popping valuation, not its ability to withstand competition and regulatory challenges around the world, and certainly not its very viability as a business. .
Source : Bloomberg
Friday, August 17, 2018
Thursday, August 16, 2018
Uber brought in $2.8 billion in revenue in the second quarter of 2018, but ultimately lost $891 million thanks to increased spending by the ride-hailing company, according to Bloomberg.
Uber, which is privately held but chooses to report its quarterly earnings to investors and the public, is seeing some growing pains from its massive effort to scale globally. It’s cash-burn rate wasn’t as bad as the same period last year, when the company reported losing roughly $1.1 billion. But it’s a big drop from the previous quarter, when the company posted a rare profit thanks to its decision to sell its businesses in southeast Asia and Russia to local rivals.
Uber is planning for an initial public offering in the second half of 2019, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has said. That could be complicated by Uber’s habit of burning large quantities of cash. The company lost $4.5 billion last year, and has burned through $11 billion since launching in 2009. But Uber still has $7.3 billion cash on hand, according to Bloomberg, which certainly gives it some running room before an IPO.
Bloomberg characterized the report as Khosrowshahi embracing the company’s “growth above profit” ethos. But it has cast a spotlight on some of Uber’s more expensive, trouble-prone projects. Specifically, the company’s beleaguered self-driving car operation is said to be losing as much as $200 million a quarter, The Information reported today. And Bloomberg noted that Uber is being urged by investors to off-load the unit.
Source : TheVerge.
TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : by Tom Scullion
Uber record loss of £702m for the latest quarter.
The good old 'Gig Economy'!
Isn't it supposed to revolutionise the world and show us the way to the future, with successful, dynamic, get up and go business strategy, leaving behind those Luddite riddled, antiquated businesses like London's black cabs, you know, businesses that have been around for hundreds of years?
The Gig Economy, led by their own version of 1st World War Generals, taking their armies over the top of the trenches, to certain destruction. But the Generals are ok. They're safely hidden well away from the front line, ensconced in penthouse offices with luxurious surroundings & mega salaries, bonuses, fine dining & hob-nobbing with bent politicians and bureaucrats the world over.
Once the masses realise the carnage inflicted upon them, their families & their society, then maybe we'll see those 'Generals' and their lickspittle politician friends hanging upside down from proverbial meathooks in market squares, across the country.
Because by then, even the most ardent GiG supporter will come to realise that all 'GiG' ever stood for was 'Greed is Good'.
Exclusive : Colts Taxis Getts Rid, In Favour Of A Non-Profit TaxiApp Provided By Licensed Taxi Drivers...by Sean Paul Day.
It’s easy to be critical, in fact, it’s easy to find fault in someone or something or even something some one is doing. Add to that a clash in personality and it’a wonder we manage to get any work done with the amount of criticism we have to wade through.
Now, if you want to take criticism to the next level you need to be someone who earns a living out of the trade. It doesn’t matter who or what you do, or if you are good, bad, or ugly, you are going to get criticised.
What the trade lacks is reciprocity, alliances or partners if you will. There was a time when the regulation that governs our industry prevailed, but now it seems, with everyone else partnering anyone they can find, the trade is becoming increasingly isolated in a world where a few alliances would do us a world of good
TAXIAPP UK - London’s only Trade app that’s owned and run by drivers themselves is always looking for different ways to advertise their product, and one such place is on the side of taxis. However, TAXIAPP/ unlike the Corporate led apps- isn’t afforded the luxury of any outside investment and because a lot of the fleet owners look to maximising profits from renting cabs, the cost of advertising on cabs has always been out of the price range for TAXIAPP to consider
Enter Michael Glassman from Colts Cabs. Responding to the strong feelings in the trade against ride hailing apps, particularly Gett, he has taken the stance to remove all of their liveries and replace them with TAXIAPP ones completely free of charge. In total Glassman has supplied a fleet of 80 cabs for TAXIAPP to advertise their brand.
A spokesperson from TAXIAPP said they were thrilled at what is effectively an unprecedented act of goodwill and hopes that the exposure will generate more business for the app, and also shine a torch on the commitment Colts Cabs have shown towards the trade
Of course it’s not entirely without cost as the app had to consider designing and producing the livery itself and of coarse there was the fitting to consider. "We did actually get a very good deal from Dvinylwraps," says Scott, who looks after the app’s finances "To do all 80 cabs in one go simply wasn’t feasible, but we had to find a way as it was far too good an offer to let go by the wayside"
What you’ll see is a dozen cabs (possibly more ) each month being filtered out on to the streets of the Capital emblazoned with the TAXIAPP logo.
As far as criticism goes? Well, very few people in this world do anything for zero pay off, but as far as this act of good will is concerned, Glassman didn’t have to do it, but he chose to, and should be commended for it. That’s criticism, partnerships and helping each other all in one. As the mantra goes, support those that support the trade.
I await criticism