Monday, August 20, 2018

Keeping It In The Family : Baron James Arbuthnot Asked To Return Excessive Expenses... A Blast From The Past !

With thanks to Diana Jordan

James Arbuthnot, the chairman of the defence select committee, has been asked to pay back £12,241 in gardening, cleaning and maintenance claims that have been deemed “excessive” by the independent auditor.

The member for North East Hampshire, who went to Eton and is the second son of a baronet, was not told how much he should repay for other claims, however, and has offered to give back £13,486 in total.

Mr Arbuthnot designated a rented property in a Hampshire village as his second home in 2007, which he told the fees office was “an expensive house to run”.
He submitted one hand-written invoice for a three-month period, for "grass, strim, pool, fuel'', which came to £776. The bill for these services for the whole 2006-07 financial year was pounds £1,471.
When The Daily Telegraph disclosed his claims, he said he had made an “error of judgment” in using public funds to clean his swimming pool and promised to repay the money.

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Tory MP David Wilshire to resign over expenses 15 Oct 2009
Mr Arbuthnot has been told by Sir Thomas, who has been brought in to assess all claims made under the second home allowance since 2004, that he must pay back £5,840 for gardening services that exceeded his retrospective limit of £1,000 a year.

He was also asked to pay back £5,238 for cleaning services after going over the £2,000 annual maximum set by the auditor, and just over £1,000 for a maintenance bill about which he was asked to provide further details.
Mr Arbuthnot said Sir Thomas did not suggest an amount he should repay for other bills - such as repairs to a summerhouse that the auditor says were not claimable because it was not attached to his second home - so has suggested figures himself.

He told a local newspaper that he had been asked to repay £12,241 but proposed to pay back £13,486 in total. He has already paid back £10,106 since June.
In a covering letter to Sir Thomas, Mr Arbuthnot said: “I have consistently supported efforts to ensure the expenses system is replaced with procedures which are fair, honest and transparent.”

Source :-
MPs' expenses
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Martin Beckford »
In MPs' Expenses
How the Daily Telegraph exposed the dry rot fraudster
MPS' expenses: the most bizarre claims 
Bizarre MPs' expense claims
Mother and son both claimed for flat owned by her daughter  
Keeping it in the family

The Real Reason Judge Emma Arbuthnot Stepped Down. SPD Complaint 13/07/2018

Below is Sean Paul Day's letter of complaint to the Judical Conducts Office.
Why is it that again, an ordinary rank and file working driver has had to do what drivers are paying their respective orgs to do. 

I’m writing amidst the growing concern over what appears to be a conflict of interest where certain political affiliations might be construed as showing favour in respect of a particular company,  undermining the Chief Magistrate’s impartiality in two cases.
Senior District Judge (chief magistrate) Emma Arbuthnot oversaw proceedings at Westminster Magistrates court on the 6th July 2018 and Reading Magistrates Court on the 10th July 2018. The first case was brought by Uber as a matter of  appeal under the Private Hire Vehicles Act 1998 and by Reading Council in a case to determine if a driver using the Uber ‘model’ on the dates given was Plying for Hire? Both cases can be found here 
Case 1
Case 2
The conflict arises due to Magistrate Arbuthnot’s marriage to Baron James Arbuthnotand his friendship with the former PM David Cameron. Cameron’s close relationship with individuals working for Uber in marquee positions is well documented. This is further evidenced by Uber’s close links with  the previous administration at Number 10 & 11  who now enjoy financially rewarding positions with companies who invest heavily in Uber Technologies Inc. Cameron also nominated James Arbuthnot as a Life Peer in the Dissolution Peerages List 2015 of August 2015. The concern is that JamesArbuthnot’s closeness to the former PM might compromise Magistrate Arbuthnot’s ability to apply discernment in cases involving Uber. The concern is legitimately heightened on learning the same Magistrate has presided over a second trial involving Uber and both times Magistrate Arbuthnot has ruled in Uber’s favour. 
Without considering the merits of both cases in detail the conflict of interest was compounded on during the Reading verdict when Judge Emma Arbuthnot on Page 4, section 14 (how the app works)…in her summary stated that it was the driver who accepts the job and only then Uber makes the booking. This is illegal act that contravenes  legislation laid out as part of the 1998 PH Regulations.
TfL Operator License explicitly state in their terms that a Private Hire booking can only be accepted by a licensed operator at their registered operating centre.. There is a specific duty on private hire operators to keep certain records of their operation. These include booking records which must include ‘the main destination specified at the time of the booking’ (paragraph 4(d) of the PHV (London) (Operators’ Licence) Regulations. To disambiguate, the defining characteristic of a PHVs is that it must beaccepted through an operator. The Act also references  that no person other than a Private Hire Operator (PHO) shall make provision to accept a booking.  
No person shall in London make provision for the invitation or acceptance of  Private hire bookings unless he is the holder of a Private Hire Operators license for London (In this Act, referred to as London is PHV operators license
A  person who makes provision for the invitation or acceptance of Private hire bookings or who accept such a booking in contravention of his section is guilty offence and liable  on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level four or standard style.
The statutory structure/definition is referred to frequently by TfL and was referenced in the legislative provisions before Justice Ouseley. 
CITATION Number: [2015] EWHC 2918 Admin Case No: CO/1449/2015. 
Conversely, at the earlier trial on the 6th, Magistrate Arbuthnot was unhesitant in her acceptance of an explanation that Uber had altered its app, and was now equipped with a feature informing the user that the booking had been accepted by Uber London LTD (ULL). Only afterwards is the user linked with a driver. If this is the case, and as yet there is no evidence to suggest it has been altered,  the app would now comply with current legislation. 
This I starkly inconsistent with  ‘the driver accepts...then uber confirms the booking…‘nevertheless, Arbuthnot ruled that his actions did not constitute plying for hire. Itshould be noted also that Uber do not hold a PHO licence in Reading. 
The case holds gravitas as a ruling either-way could detrimentally impact on the lives of tens of thousands of sole traders and their families. It would also elevate a corporate entity to a position that resides above the law of the land. The concern here, is that a certain ruling will be used to determine future  Government policies which are relevant to both cases.
Whilst the complexity of the issue  – such as what constitutes a Hackney Carriage- cannot be understated and until such clarity can be addressed in the Courts, it would be easy for perspicacity to prevail and weight the trial in favour of vested interests. A seismic shift culturally, in the way we move about has implications that reach far beyond taxi and minicab rivalries, and a Magistrate influenced  by a conflict of interest could prove to be a very dangerous one
I trust the matter will be looked in to. 
Yours Faithfully
Sean Paul Day
London Taxi Radio

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : from Lenny Etheridge (Dads Defending Daughters).

We exposed Peter Anderson, Managing Director of the Canary Wharf Group, which received a £2.6bn takeover investment from the QIA, who invested a similar amount into Uber. Mr Anderson was a cheif member of the TfL Board which promoted Uber and allowed them to illegally operate.

Must read, by Tim Fenton aka @zelo_street.

"Does this not put the decision made at Uber’s London appeal hearing in doubt?  How can that verdict now stand?"

"Moreover, the promised changes to the Uber app ... have not been tested by a software engineer."

Sunday, August 19, 2018

LCDC Chairman Grant Davis Calls For a uber Re-Trial After Vested Interest Claim In National Press.

As news broke yesterday (which we already new) that Uber appeal Judge Emma Arbuthnot and her husband had a vested interest in the Minicab App Uber, first one up to the plate early this morning, was the London Cab Drivers Club. 

They took to social media:
Once again it surfaces of "vested interests" & the Cab Trade maybe not getting a fair hearing in the Courts over UBER - Plan B ?

Drivers immediately were calling for action on the street and one prominent trade rep said "I’m sure someone’s arranging the placards as we speak".

London Cab Drivers Club Chairman Grant Davis, made this statement earlier this morning:

The Taxi trade needs to come together and Demonstrate against yet another injustice we have had to endure. We need a full investigation from the legal Ombudsman and a Re-trial .
Complete stitch up again.

It will be very interesting over the next few days to see if Reading Council call for a re-trial after their verdict from Emma Arbuthnot went again in Uber's favour!

Read the damming article which appeared on-line in the Observer yesterday. 

Taken from the LCDC face book group.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : by Lenny Etheridge 
One of Uber's QC's stated, during the Uber license appeal, that Jo Bertram committed perjury, to win a case.

Judge Emma #Arbuthnot never batted an eyelid.

Why was this serious crime not taken any further by the judiciary?

Bertram lied during employment and during meter cases!


Saturday, August 18, 2018

Will Andrew Boff Cut Taxi Fares By Half To Level Playing Field With Uber, If He Becomes Mayor ?

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 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 Brings Forward Proposals For Clean Air Plan

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 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.

Public awareness

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 

Halt final TfL payment to Garden Bridge Trust, says shadow minister Andy McDonald

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.

Young Couple ‘Nearly Die’ As Uber Car Plunges Into Sea…But Still Charged The £18 Fare

AN Uber passenger was still charged his £18 fare — despite “nearly dying” when his cab plunged into the sea.

Businessman Nick Christoforou, 31, and colleague Sophia Toon, 23, had to swim for their lives after their taxi drove off the end of a jetty.

Nick said: “One minute I was in the back of an Uber heading home, and the next I was in the sea.”

He went on: “I managed to get the car door open and got to the surface to find the others.

"If I wasn’t in a fit and able state we would all be 100 per cent dead.”

The real estate worker from Cockfosters, north London, was on a work trip to the South of France when he booked a car via the popular Uber app.

Sophia were picked up at 1.30am in Cannes by a driver in a Citroen DS5.

Nick said: “All of a sudden I felt falling.

"Five seconds later and the car was filling up with water.

“Even now I am not certain what caused it.”

The route the car travelled and its landing point
The car sank into water 3m (10ft) deep at Port Pierre Canto, a marina for 500 yachts in the city, which hosts Cannes Film Festival each year.

Nick swam to the nearest boat and pulled the others to safety.

The driver was breathalysed and found to be sober.

Uber driver plays game on his phone as he speeds along busy London street
No arrests were made.

A police spokesman said: “Luckily the car sank slowly, allowing some time for the occupants to get out safely.”

Source : The Sun.

We Still Don’t Know Whether Uber Is a Real Business?

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

Lawless London Illegal Electric Rickshaws Driven By Drunken Drivers....Enough's, Enough

'Lawless' rickshaw drivers are accused of drinking and cycling on the streets of London by disgruntled taxi driver

This is the incredible moment a London black cab driver caught out two rickshaw hosts drinking on the job. 

Driver, Tom, noticed the the two rickshaw drivers sitting in their vehicles and drinking alcohol. 

The 41-year-old decided to pull into the taxi rank next to them on Wardour Street in London and watch the pair as they guzzled cans of lager.  

Pair of rickshaw drivers caught drinking alcohol on the job

Tom, who shared the video on Twitter, confronted the drivers who then accused him of being racist. 

He tweeted: 'There it is , you can see #London is lawless #rickshaw 'drivers' drinking alcohol outside m&m store waiting to pick up children and their parents and posting as #taxi @TheLTDA @LTDAForum @The_LCDC @MetCC @TfL @MayorofLondon how long before they gonna kill someone?' 

The pair then go on to criticise Tom's ability to speak English and said, 'When you come to Europe, you need to learn the language.'

Two rickshaw drivers were confronted for drinking lager on the job in Wardour Street, London

The pair, who shared a can, called a black cab driver a racist when he confronted them

Tom said: 'I have arrived on Wardour Street and saw two rickshaws and their drivers sitting in one of them. 

'There was a can of lager on the floor so I decided to keep an eye on them. I put myself on the taxi rank then I noticed that they are actually drinking that lager.'

'It was outside M&M store so clearly they were waiting for children and parents to take them on the ride around London.   

'Those rickshaws have electric engines which makes them illegal and drunk driving that's even more dangerous. 

See ATMs video n Twitter here:

Tom took to Twitter to tell others about what he witnessed and raise awareness of drink driving

'I've called met police but they were extremely busy as it was the same time as that incident outside parliament so it was clearly ignored. 

'I decided to record those drivers to raise awareness about this illegal activities around West End. I'm shocked that TFL and met police is powerless around them. 

'Just wondering what needs to happen for them to be taken off the roads?' 

Source  : Daily Mail.

Private Hire driver Allowed To Keep Licence Despite Previously Being Jailed For Child Sex Abuse.

A Private Hire driver has been  allowed to keep his licence and job despite previously being jailed for child abuse.
Sandwell councillors allowed the minicab driver to continue driving despite guidelines saying people convicted of sex offences be barred
Jailed for sexually assaulting a child he’s been allowed to continue working by councillors at a meeting held behind closed doors.
Sandwell councillors allowed the unnamed man to continue driving despite guidelines recommending people convicted of sex offences be barred from holding a private hire licence.
Members of the licensing sub committee made the decision at its meeting in July from which the public and press were excluded.
Minutes of the meeting released this week only refer to the driver as 'Mr S G' and exclude any information which identifies him.
The secrecy surrounding the decision has been criticised by the Chairman of the West Midlands Private Hire Drivers Association, who called for committees to be open to the public.
The conviction for sexual assault was revealed when councillors reviewed Mr S G's license.
They were told that in November 1999, he was convicted of indecent assault on a female under 14 and was jailed for three months by Warley Magistrates .

Speaking at the committee, Mr S G said he was at a fun fair and had sat next to a young girl.
Denying he touched her, he said the child reported him to the police and he was charged.
After adjourning to take legal advice, councillors decided to allow him to keep his PH licence and: "Warn Mr S G in respect of his conduct and the effect any further problems may have on his licence."
The minutes also show the committee's decision to depart from guidelines on sexual offences, was: "Due to the length of time that had lapsed since the conviction, his good driving record and good character."
"Mr S G had held a licence for 12 years and had not received any further convictions."
But Raheel Shah, Chairman of the West Midlands Private Hire Drivers Association, has criticised the decision and the secrecy surrounding it.
"No one with a conviction for sexual assault should be given a Taxi or Private Hire licence, " he said.
"I think meetings of this kind should be open so the public can see what is going on."
In a statement to the LDRS, Sandwell council admitted it knew of Mr S.G's conviction when they originally issued him a licence in 2007.

Explaining it's July decision, a spokesman said: "Sandwell's private hire and hackney carriage licensing policy, introduced in October 2017,requires existing licence holders who committed a serious offence in the past who have been previously licensed by the Committee or officers or Court to appear before the Committee to consider whether or not their licence should be revoked.
"The Licensing Committee will consider each case on its merits and take into account the length of time that has elapsed since the conviction and the drivers conduct and the length of time the licence holder has held a licence."
"The public and press are excluded from the hearing of individual cases. This is to avoid the possible disclosure of exempt information under Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, relating to an individual and or information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime."

This is similar to the “killer on the Knowledge” case were TfL allowed Shamsul Haque, who murdered his wife and assaulted his daughter, to become a Private Hire Driver and also sign on to the Knowledge program to become a licensed Taxi driver. 

After two mass demonstrations outside Penton Street, the man was thrown off the Knowledge and had his PH licence revoked. 
It also heralded the exit from TfLTPH of many directors and managerial staff at that time, and rightly so. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Uber reportedly lost $891 million in the second quarter of 2018 as growth slows

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 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

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Quebec Is Giving $250 Million In Taxpayer Money To Taxi Drivers Who Have Lost Business Because Of Uber

However, the money is not coming from Uber, the money will be paid to the drivers and Taxi companies direct from public funds.

Ride-sharing companies have quickly come to dominate the taxi market all over the world and have devastated the legitimate licensed taxi trades in many cities.  

Uber has made its services ubiquitous on Saturday nights flooding cities with cars, causing congestion, especially in Montreal, where a young population and booming nightlife have come to rely on ride-shares.

Montreal taxi drivers, have bemoaned this massive change in the industry. The taxi industry has tried repeatedly to get Uber banned from the city. Drivers have staged protests and pursued court cases but to no avail. Uber is her to stay.

For that reason the provincial government of Quebec has decided to offer compensation to taxi drivers whose business has suffered because of Uber.

A whopping total of $250 million in public funds is expected to go to drivers who have seen the value of their permits plummet from hundreds of thousands of dollars to just a few tens of thousands. 
More information is forthcoming from the government.

Many were quick to point out that, like it or not, this is just how capitalism works. New technologies, industries, and markets replace obsolete services. Workers in older industries have to adapt to changing times.

But instead of investing heavily in a transition to the new industry, the government is handing them cash to make up for the declining value of permits. Only $44 million will go toward improving taxi companies to help them compete in changing times.

Taxi drivers deserve secure livelihoods. But is this the best use of public funds? 
Lump sums will not help those drivers in the long term

Source : MTL blog.

New Tarif Update : Changes Due To Come Into Effect Saturday 6 October 2018

Tariff Update today:
Tariff email from Darren Crowson (TFL) 

Dear All,

Changes to the taxi fares and tariffs have now been approved and the changes are due to come into effect on Saturday 6 October 2018.

The changes approved were:

 *   Increasing the minimum fare from £2.60 to £3.00
 *   Increasing Tariff 1 by 0.6 per cent
 *   Increasing Tariff 2 by 0.6 per cent
 *   Extending the fuel charge arrangements until the next taxi fares and tariffs update
 *   Increasing by 50 pence the fixed fares for shared taxis from Euston Station (with the exception of the Euston Station to Lords Cricket Ground fare)
 *   Increasing the soiling charge from £40.00 to £60.00

The following were also approved:

 *   Freezing Tariff 3
 *   Freezing the tariff rate for journeys over six miles (sometimes referred to as Tariff 4)
 *   Further work and research being conducted to look at fixed and capped fare schemes to and from Heathrow Airport
 *   Adding fares for six passengers sharing to the shared taxi conversion table

·        Requiring all card payment devices approved for use in taxis to accept American Express as well as Visa and MasterCard

Some items discussed when we met or which were included in the consultation document were not taken forward and I'll run through what changed, what wasn't approved or consulted on, and the details of the new tariffs when we meet on Thursday 30 August 2018.

Information for the taximeter companies is now being finalised and I'll send you a copy of this as soon as it is ready.

If you have any questions let me know and I'll either respond by email or collate these and then run through them when we meet.


Darren Crowson
Policy Manager
Transport for London - Taxi and Private Hire
3rd Floor (3G2), 230 Blackfriars Road
Tel: 020 3054 2945 (internal 82945)

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :  by Jim Thomas.
This is probably the worst negotiated tariff change ever in the history of the trade.
Coming at a time when we are fighting what appears to be a losing battle with not only the competition but also the public and the press over our prices. 

The public use Uber and other PH companies because they say we are well over priced
And at first glance this looks like quite a big increase ....... But that's not the case. 

The 40p is in effect “free” to passengers, as the yardage requirements are being altered.
The increase will net out at 0.6% per job, not 0.6% plus 40p.
The nighttime fare on rate three will be unchanged yet the stigma of the 40p will see us crucified in the media, with headlines in the Standard announcing "Greedy Cabbies Put Up Taxi Fares". 

A rise of 0.6% is worthless and should never have been agreed by our orgs. 
Think about an extra 0.6% going to buy you a new £70k TXe ?
We should have gone for positive PR and been in the headlines with "London Cabbies Freeze Fares".