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 Drivers...by Sean Paul Day.

GETT RID



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.

Regards

Darren Crowson
Policy Manager
Transport for London - Taxi and Private Hire
3rd Floor (3G2), 230 Blackfriars Road
London
SE1 8NW
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 it....is 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".

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Uber Driver Was Accused of Sexual Assault, But Not Fired. Then It Happened Again, Lawsuit Says.


Amber* and her friends spent a hot and humid July 2017 evening in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at The Pickle Barrel, a pub in a flatiron building with southern bites and a crowded roof deck.

As she had many nights before, Amber called an Uber for her and a friend to make the more than eight-mile trip home at about 1:30 a.m. But unlike those other nights, on July 22, 2017, Amber says she was sexually assaulted by her driver before she made it to her own front door.

Though Amber immediately reported her assault to both Uber and the authorities, another woman says she was victimized by that same driver just 15 days later.

Now, the women want answers.

Both unidentified plaintiffs filed a 65-page lawsuit against Uber last month in Hamilton County, Tennessee. The complaint was first covered by The Chattanoogan, and it claims the company was negligent in its retention of the alleged perpetrator, 26-year-old John Kyle Lane, after the first incident. The women are seeking at least $25,000 in damages to be determined at trial.

Lane began his ride with Amber by "offering details of his personal life that [she] found to be inappropriate," according to the complaint. After dropping off Amber’s friend, Lane arrived at her home, pulled into the driveway, and positioned his vehicle "such that he was between [her] and her house," the lawsuit claims.

Then, he allegedly locked the doors. Lane asked Amber how she felt about uncircumcised penises and then forced his genitals into her hand while groping her breast, according to both the lawsuit and police documents obtained by The Tennessean.

When Amber threatened to scream and jerked her hand away, Lane allegedly unlocked the door and let her out. As he sped away, Amber ran into her house and called the Red Bank Police Department and notified Uber, according to the lawsuit.

"This driver should be fired. I find him to be a danger to his passengers," Amber allegedly wrote at the end of her complaint to the company.

An Uber representative purportedly sent her an email shortly afterward, noting that the company had launched an internal investigation and that someone would be in touch with her as soon as possible. A phone call later that day from another representative confirmed the investigation, the lawsuit claims.

Uber refunded Amber’s money for the ride and placed a restriction on her profile so that she would never be paired with Lane again, according to the complaint.

Afterward, she was traumatized, had nightmares, and had difficulty sleeping, according to the lawsuit.

"The trauma of this event became embedded in her mind to the point where it often infiltrated her every thought, impeded her ability to carry out her daily activities and infected her relationship with her husband and young daughter," the complaint claims. She "suffered severe emotional distress and was forced to enter counseling and seek psychiatric treatment," the court papers say.

Meanwhile, Lane was still driving customers. On Aug. 6, 2017, he picked up Julia*.

She was trying to get home from downtown Chattanooga and, again, Lane struck up an "inappropriate" conversation and eventually asked if he could "come inside and ‘have a threesome’" with Julia and her boyfriend, court documents allege.

When she moved to get out of the car, Lane yelled and allegedly exposed his erect penis.

"You’re not going anywhere until you do something about this," he said, according to the complaint. She frantically left the vehicle and ran to the back of her house.

That evening, Julia reported the incident to the East Ridge Police Department and to Uber, which allegedly took six days to respond to her report, the complaint claims. The ride-hail giant said it would restrict Lane’s driver access and investigate the situation. A few days later, Julia allegedly received another message from the company, claiming that Lane’s account was put on hold until an investigation could be completed. She was also told that she would not be paired with Lane again.

After receiving another Aug. 14, 2017 email from Uber, Julia wrote: "I very much appreciate that I will not be paired with this Uber driver, but my concern is that another girl will end up with this individual and something worse will happen to her…. I have been a member of this community long before Uber came to our city and I feel a certain responsibility to the other women I live alongside."

Lane has been charged in Hamilton County with stalking, harassment, sexual battery and indecent exposure, according to The Tennessean. He is scheduled for a court hearing on Aug. 14 and 15, the newspaper reports.

Lane began driving for Uber in spring 2017, according to the lawsuit, which claims the company "failed to exercise reasonable care in retaining Lane and continuing to allow him to drive its customers."

In a statement sent to The Daily Beast on Monday night, an Uber spokeswoman said: "What’s been described is appalling and this driver remains permanently removed from the app."

Another suit against Uber, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, first alleged in November 2017 that the ride-hail giant operates a system that enables perpetrators to have access to thousands of victims all over the country.

One driver is even accused of masturbating in the presence of a customer, explaining: "I thought this is what you wanted." The nine plaintiffs have each claimed that they were sexually assaulted, harassed, or kidnapped by their Uber driver.

"Uber has done everything possible to continue using low-cost, woefully inadequate background checks on drivers and has failed to monitor drivers for any violent or inappropriate conduct after they are hired," that lawsuit, amended in March, says. "Uber has created a system for bad actors to gain access to vulnerable victims."

Attorney Jeanne Christensen, who represents those plaintiffs, told The Daily Beast in March that "Uber’s goal is to stop women from getting the justice they deserve through our court system."

An April investigation by CNN found 103 reports of sexual assault by Uber drivers within the past four years.

An Uber spokesperson told CNN then that safety is the company’s top priority this year, pointing out numerous recent protocol updates, including more background checks, in addition to a "safety center" on the app. Another Uber spokesperson said in March that the company takes all sexual-misconduct allegations against its drivers "very seriously."

*Pseudonyms were given to the unidentified victims in these lawsuits.

MyTaxi Driver Sacked For Pointing Out Company's Multiple Contraventions Of Taxi Regulations

Earlier this year, the flaws in the MyTaxi app passed before my inspection: 

it was possible for someone with multiple convictions to get on to their system, to the point of receiving a statement of earnings. 

But, it seems, MyTaxi is not for listening to those pointing out problems with this app. And one cabby found recently that his insistence on observing regulations meant being sacked from the platform altogether.

Chris Johnson pointed out that MyTaxi was offering app jobs to drivers outside the Greater London area - drivers could lose their licence if TfL concluded that the driver was plying for hire using the app. He asked if drivers were plying for hire on the app, or if an instant hire was a pre-booking (drivers can accept a pre-booking anywhere in England and Wales, but can only ply in their licensed area). He received no reply.

His TfL Taxi licence expired on the MyTaxi system, although he had renewed with TfL. But MyTaxi were sending him instant app jobs on an expired licence, so he complained that this was a public safety risk, as revoked drivers could still operate on MyTaxi on a potential expired TfL licence. No word from MyTaxi.

These are basic safety and regulation issues. And it gets worse.

MyTaxi tells the driver to charge a minimum fare of £10 at certain times of the day, but taxi drivers are not allowed to charge more than the metered fare - as it is an offence. Johnson explained to MyTaxi that MyTaxi could charge the customer more than the metered fare but that would mean that they are the principal in the contract, making him potentially a worker for them. Still no word from MyTaxi.

Read the full story on Zelo Street Blog...click this link:-

https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2018/08/mytaxi-sacks-whistleblower.html?m=1

Source : Tim Fenton, Zelo Street 

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 

MyTaxi have excluded a driver after he pointed out that drivers could lose their licence for charging more than the metered fare, under their minimum fare policy. This has in the past been pointed out to TfLTPH but they have not commented on the practise, in the same respect that Graham Robinson, General Manager of TfLTPH refuses to comment on the practice of Gett dispatching private hire work on their Taxi app without a PH operators licence. 


It seems if you are a Taxi driver, you have to abide by and comp,y with all Hackney carriage acts, but if you are company run by billion dollar third party investors, you can run roughshod over legislation laid down by parliament. 

You onl have to look at the regulations that have been broken and still continue to be broken by Uber. Yet TfL continue to make excuses for them in the same way they have for the past six years.

EXCLUSIVE : Fake News From The LTDA...Surely Not...by Jim Thomas

Under the Heading FAKE NEWS The Rumour Mill, the LTDA have put out an article claiming that certain ill-informed and gossip-based websites are putting out posts about e-Taxis that are complete nonsense. 

The article they are referring to (albeit unnamed) is more likely to be (as we haven't seen it anywhere else), the post which appeared in Taxi Leaks news blog that was headed:  
Exclusive....Another Done Deal For London Taxis, From The Same Mob That Bought You Rear Fitted Credit Card Readers?

So far nothing fake or misleading here!
They say the so called article appeared first on some ill- informed and gossip-based websites before spreading to Twitter. This is not correct as the information appeared first on Twitter then, after we'd checked it out, appeared in Taxi Leaks!

As proof of the so called uninformed fake news gossip, the LTDA offer the explanation that the signage was authorised by the Department of Transport for Manchester City Council.
As evidence of the fakeness of the post they posted 3 images of which two they say, show signage that they claim were intended for Manchester Council. 

Notice the article is unsigned 

Our original article was based on receipt of a letter from the DfT which stated :


Letter reads:-
Thank you for your email to the Department of Transport of 22 July regarding electric Taxis. This passed to the traffic and technology division and I have been asked to reply.
I can confirm that signs have been approved for use by Transport for London.
See letter below. 

Yours sincerely
Fiona O'Neal

In the images sent to us, you can clearly see the TfL Surface Transport logo in the bottom right hand corner. 

As can be clearly seen, these signs were authorised by the DfT specificly for Transport for London and carry TfL's logo and address in the bottom right hand corner of the illustrations


The logos clearly marked out on the DFT PDF, appear to have been omitted from the images which appear in Taxi !

No only does it carry the TfL logo, it also has their address on each sign, 197 Blackfriars Road. 
Now unless we are mistaken, that's definitely not the address of Manchester City Council.....over to you Steve???

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 
Was this an attempt to blacken the good name and reputation of Taxi Leaks?
Or was this an attempt to cover up the news from a whistleblower that the LTDA were pushing for e-Taxis only at the Bank Junction and Tottenham Court Road?

More bad press on its way for the general secretary of the LTDA in the pipe line... This appeared earlier on the ITA Twitter feed:
One of the proposals in the Task & Finish Group is it asks the Government to review the case for restricting the number of hours Taxi and PH drivers may drive.

Steve McNamara is an advisor to this group.
Why is he keeping this information to himself?
We need to know! And we need to know now!

Good luck paying for your new overpriced e-Taxi, if that particular proposal goes through.

No wonder Mr McNamara isn't happy with social media. 
Good luck explaining this away as fake news!

TAXI LEAKS BREAKING NEWS JUST IN :
We have been informed today that a meeting is to take place at Taxi House, between the LTDA, TfL and supposedly other trade orgs to discuss reducing the age limit on current TX diesel taxis. 

Taxi leaks has spoken to org reps who say 'so far the meeting hasn't been arranged but could have already taken place between TfL and The LTDA'. 


Monday, August 13, 2018

Uber Rival Ola has hired the former Chief Operating Officer of Google Europe to run its UK operation

Uber's latest UK challenger, Ola is the market leader in India's ride-hailing market with a service including taxis, luxury cars and even rickshaws. It is set to launch in South Wales and Manchester later this year.

Both Legg's technical and business credentials will serve Ola well when it comes to competitive strategies in the evolved British transportation market. 

Before embarking on a corporate career, Legg was a Captain in the British Army’s Royal Engineers for 10 years.

He joins from digital advertising company AdParlor.

Can’t wait for TfL to licence London’s electric rickshaws and then see them operate under the Uber or Ola banner. 

The Lycra clad happy clappers will lap up the zero emission reichshaw bikes which are turning London into a virtual third world City 

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 

Indian ride-hailing platform Ola has appointed Ben Legg to lead its British expansion as UK managing director, a position which will see him build a senior leadership team, oversee strategy and manage operations as the business seeks to establish a nationwide presence by the end of the year.

A former chief executive of New York-based global marketing technology firm AdParlor Legg can also draw upon a wealth of experience gleaned from his time as Group CEO of Adknowledge as well as a stint as chief operating officer for Google Europe.

Legg’s elevation comes after Ola was granted licenses to operate in Greater Manchester and South Wales, commencing operations in the latter region over the coming weeks.

Legg said: "I’m excited to be joining Ola as it launches in the UK and brings its compelling ride-hailing services to passengers at their fingertips. Ola is committed to working in partnership with policymakers and regulators in all local markets in the UK, to help ensure that our goals are aligned with theirs.

"As we have shown elsewhere, Ola is focused on ensuring that its services bring benefits to customers and drivers alike. I, for one, don’t own a car and strongly believe that through innovative services like Ola working in conjunction with local authorities we can help to reduce traffic congestion and pollution, improve mobility, and eventually redesign our cities, towns and public spaces for the better."

Rapid expansion in countries such as Australia has seen Ola grow to conduct over one billion rides annually

Source : The Drum, the Telegraph. 

Mike Brown's TfLTPH And The Mayor Give Uber 1,000 Strikes And Your Out With 14 Months To Go.


Story on Twitter Twitter today....Katers Douk left a wallet in an Uber Car. After agreeing to return the item, the drive later text saying he would hold on to the wallet until a sum of £30 was paid. 

The uber account holder contacted Uber support by email, but was then given the run around. Uber insisting the issue should be sorted using the in app support team option!




But it seems the in app support team are not listening to complaints today!



Uber are now supposed to be on probation for 15 months, a suggestion from TfLTPH director Helen Chapman and granted by Uber Judge Emma Arbuthnot. 
Remember when Mayor Sadiq Khan promised us...one hit and they're out!
The Sexual assaults, the rapes, the thefts, the account hacking, the crashes and the bad driving has continue, although Uber's PR machine has managed to get the media to sanitise their indiscretions publishing only bad PR about licensed Taxis.

Who in their right mind, truly believes that Uber's 5 year licence won't be restored after the 15 months are up. Another TfLTPH done deal perhaps? 



Uber investor Bradley Tusk Says Dara Khosrowshahi's kinder, gentler approach Is Makibg Uber Apoear Weak

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi

 • Regulation critic Bradley Tusk, who is also an Uber shareholder, has some strong opinions on New York's new regulations that cap the number of ride-share drivers.

 • He believes that Uber's kinder, gentler approach these days could be interpreted as weakness by Uber's traditional rivals.

 • But an Uber insider tells us that times have changed, and Uber's view on its former rivals has changed with them.

Political-campaigner-turned-regulation-critic Bradley Tusk -who is also an Uber shareholder - has some unsolicited advice for Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi: Uber's kinder, gentler image isn't a good thing when it comes to a "bare knuckle fight" with would-be regulators who want to limit Uber's business.

"Effectively, if you want a CEO who is chosen because he is calm and smooth and avoids conflict at all costs, that may work really well in certain parts of the business. But when it comes to a sort of bare knuckle fight with the city council, you really have no chance at all," Tusk tells Business Insider.

Tusk's comments are in response to new rules approved earlier this week in New York, when Mayor de Blasio achieved something he had been wanting to do for three years: limiting the number of ride-sharing cars operating in the city.

Tusk's viewpoint poses interesting questions for tech startups fighting incumbents in heavily regulated industries.

Is there still a time and place for Silicon Valley's famous resistance to government regulations? The most extreme example of that attitude is Uber's brash former CEO Travis Kalanick, who fought them with gusto. But companies like Airbnb, FanDuel, Bird, and the bevy of self-driving car companies are all having their own stand-offs with city and state regulators. And in the years before Kalanick's spectacular fall from grace, he was widely praised in the Valley for his tactics in taking on the old-school incumbents...and winning.

In fact, in 2015 de Blasio tried to do this same thing, and limit the number of ride share drivers. But Uber engaged in an all-out assault of protests that was so powerful, it became the blueprint for how tech upstarts could combat would-be regulators.

It also catapulted the take-no-prisoners political operative who orchestrated Uber's counter-regulation campaign, Tusk, into a sought-after star helping other tech upstarts fight regulators.

Bradley Tusk Getty 

Tusk was paid in Uber stock to help Kalanick navigate New York's notoriously thick taxi regulations in those earlier days. Those shares of Uber, paid in lieu of Tusk Strategies' usual fees, were believed to be worth $100 million in 2017.

Tusk cashed out some of his Uber shares earlier this year, when SoftBank invested in the company and bought up equity from existing shareholders. However, he still owns a significant chunk of shares in Uber, he said.

But he says he's never met Khosrowshahi, much less advised him.

Still, he has some advice for Uber's current CEO.

"What I would say to him: there's a lot of areas where a kinder, gentler approach makes sense. But taxi is a cartel. Uber only exists because Travis and team were tough enough to take them on and fight them tooth and nail in every city in the United States," Tusk said.

"And if you don't do that, they are going to re-emerge," he warned. "They didn't become nicer people or kinder people. Or, just because you have a better reputation than Travis, they are all of a sudden going to treat you differently. More likely they are going to see you as weak and they are going to come after you."

Do nice guys finish last?

And yet, just because tough tactics worked in the past doesn't mean they are necessary for the future, argues a person familiar with Uber's New York operations, who requested anonymity to discuss the company's internal deliberations on this latest city council ruling.

"A lot has changed since 2015 in terms of driver and rider sentiment and how they feel about Uber has declined significantly. If this was a political campaign, Uber doesn't have a base anymore," this person said, adding that Uber has suffered a 30%-plus drop in reputation, even among riders.

That drop would have "weakened" the company's ability to rally protesters, should they have tried a repeat of the tactics used in 2015.

Also, under Khosrowshahi, Uber doesn't view the taxi industry as the all-out enemy anymore, this person said.

The company particularly has sympathy for the the drivers themselves hurt by the rise of ride-sharing, the person said. Six of them have committed suicide in New York, blaming Uber for destroying their livelihoods.

Plus executives believe that Uber, under Khosrowshahi, has won back the good graces of regulators in London and Buenos Aires, and that this is a better strategy than campaigning against them in the long-term.

Internally at Uber, executives nowadays didn't see much of a threat to their long-term business by capping the number of ride sharing vehicles on the road at current levels in New York for a year, this person said. They don't believe that New York will become a model for other cities instituting caps, as Tusk warns.

Meanwhile, even if Uber has moved on, Tusk has no shortage of takers that want his brand of fight. He's currently working with electric scooter rental company Bird and daily fantasy sports firm FanDuel.


Source : ukbusinessInsider.com


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 

Uber investers are getting worried about their huge investments, as Uber's reputation starts catching up with them. 


Saturday, August 11, 2018

The London Electrical Cab made its debut more than 120 years ago.

In August 2017, London’s first electric black cabs hit the streets ahead of new legislation that came into effect this year, requiring all new cabs to be ‘zero emissions capable’. The TXe can operate for around 70 miles on battery power alone, with a petrol range extender allowing it to clock up around 400 miles before refuelling. But London’s very first electric cabs actually came into service exactly 120 years earlier.

"Mr W H Preece inaugurated a service of electrical cabs which are to ply for hire in the streets of London in competition with the ordinary hackney carriages," wrote The Engineer in August 1897. "Thirteen of these cabs are now ready for work, and a staff of drivers have been instructed in the use of them. 

The cabs will be let out by the proprietors, the London Electrical Cab Company, Limited, just at the same rate and in the same manner as the London cabs. The ‘cabbies’ are, we are informed, quite enthusiastic about the new vehicle."

The London Electrical Cab – also commonly known as the ‘Hummingbird’ due to its sound, or the ‘Bersey Taxi’ after its young designer – first took to the streets of the capital on August 19 1897. Inventor Walter Charles Bersey was just 23 at the time, but had been designing and patenting electric vehicles for several years already. According to our predecessors, his creation was intended to mimic the appearance of the horse-drawn taxis of the day.

Read the whole 1897 The Engineer article, click here:

"The vehicle resembles very closely a horseless and shaftless coupé. It is carried on four wooden solid rubber-tired wheels. There is ample space for the coachmen. The accommodation within is luxurious. The propelling machinery consists of a 8-horse power Johnson-Lundell motor, with double wound armature and fields, so that by the use of a suitable switch or controller a variety of speeds can be obtained."

"The current is supplied by 40 EPS traction type cells, having a capacity of 170 ampere hours when discharged at a rate of 30 amperes. The cabs can thus travel between thirty and thirty-five miles per charge."

The vehicle had speed settings of three, seven and nine miles per hour, controlled by a lever at the side of the driver’s box. A powerful footbrake that broke the electrical circuit could also be applied, halting the vehicle in short order. This was one of four key conditions under which taxis were granted licenses by Scotland Yard, with carriages also required to be capable of turning in small spaces and climbing central London’s steepest ascent of the time, Savoy Hill.

The batteries, which weighed some 14 cwt (over 700 kg), were hung from springs underneath the vehicle and could be swapped out at Bersey’s Lambeth station using a system of hydraulic lifts. This was undoubtedly restrictive, and it was planned at the time to introduce other stations throughout London where the batteries could be charged and swapped. Though Bersey’s company claimed cab drivers welcomed the vehicle, it appears its introduction was not received as warmly from all quarters, as the following passage from a September 1897 edition of The Engineer illustrates.


"Mr. Walter C Bersey, the general manager of the London Electrical Cab Company, Ltd., has written to the general secretary of the London Cab Trade Council, saying that he fails to see how it can be contended that the introduction of electrical cabs can be against the interests of the cabdrivers. He says he has spoken to hundreds of cabmen on the subject, and has always understood they were most anxious for the change, as it would shorten their hours by saving the time wasted in changing horses, and also save them the unpleasantness of frequently having to drive tired and undesirable horses."

Despite Bersey’s protestations, the vehicle never really took off, with the fleet only reaching a peak of around 75 units. The cab’s two-tonne weight caused huge wear on the tyres which led to noise and vibrations escalating significantly after six months of use. Bersey’s company lost £6,200 in the first year of operation, and the business was forced to close in 1899, the vehicles disappearing from London’s streets just two years after making their debut.


Source : the engineer.co.uk, makewealthhistory.com

Will Ola Out Uber, Uber? Woman on way to Kempegowda International Airport forced to strip, pose for pictures by Ola cabbie

A traumatic ride: 
Keep quiet or my friends will gang rape you’ 


26-year-old had booked the cab at 2 am as she had to fly to Mumbai; driver arrested after she mailed a complaint to the Commissioner 

A 26-year-old city-based architect had a traumatic experience enroute to the airport after her Ola cab driver took a detour, held her hostage, molested and took pictures of her in the car in the early hours of June 1. The woman was travelling alone in the cab from her residence in JB Nagar to the airport to catch an early morning flight to Mumbai. Based on her complaint, the driver, V Arun (28), has been arrested and his cab seized. 
The woman said in her complaint that she had booked the Ola cab at around 2 am. Once on the road, she found that the driver had taken a different route. When she enquired, he claimed it would be faster and free of toll. 

Near the airport, when she found that he had taken a secluded road and asked him to turn around. But the driver stopped the car, locked the doors and molested her. When she put up a fight, he threatened to call a group of men and get her raped. He also snatched her phone and threated to kill her if she screamed for help, the woman said in her complaint. 
The driver has been arrested and the cab seized. I spoke with the victim after the arrest. She had mailed us the complaint

Seemanth Kumar Singh, Additional Commissioner of Police (East)

A police officer investigating the case said: "The accused reportedly asked her to strip as he wanted her pictures. He tried to strangle her when she refused. Fearing for her life, the woman complied and gave him the photos he wanted. He clicked the pictures on her phone and shared it through WhatsApp to his phone number." 

The accused told her he was leaving for Dubai the very next day, a claim that proved to be false. After much begging on her part, he dropped her off at the airport around 3 am. He threatened to post her pictures on social media if she complained. 
After the incident, the woman said she took the flight to Mumbai. In the meantime, the accused had called her twice after which she blocked his number. 

"After reaching Mumbai, she mailed her complaint to the city police commissioner. The complaint was then transferred to the jurisdictional JB Nagar police station for further action," said the officer. 


The car used in the crime has been seized and parked at the Jeevan Bima Nagar police station after the driver’s arrest
The woman managed to get the driver’s details through the OlaCabs application and had attached it along with her complaint. This helped the police arrest him within a few hours of the complaint. The JB Nagar police also sought help from the cyber crime police to check if he had shared the photos with anybody else. 

"The driver has been arrested and the cab has been seized. I personally spoke to the victim after the arrest and updated her on the progress of the case. The woman had mailed us the complaint. A case in this regard has been registered by the jurisdictional JB Nagar police," Seemanth Kumar Singh, Additional Commissioner of Police (East) told BM. 

The JB Nagar police has registered a case of assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe (IPC 354B), voyeurism (IPC 354C), assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty (IPC 354), attempt to murder (IPC 307), putting person in fear of death (IPC 387), wrongful confinement (IPC 342). The IT Act of 2000 has also been invoked. 

When BM reached out to Ola for its comments on the incident, a spokesperson said: "We regret the unfortunate experience the customer had during the ride. We have zero tolerance for such incidents and the driver has been blacklisted from the platform as an immediate action upon receiving the complaint. Safety of customers is our top priority and we are extending our full support to the police authorities in their investigation." 


Gang Rape And Murder By Ola Drivers In Kolkata Raises Alarm On Safety Of App-Based Minicabs Again

    

As we get into a lull and begin to believe that the world is becoming saner and calmer, things end up becoming messier and murkier. In the most recent and rather appalling incident – two Ola drivers in Kolkata have gangraped and strangled to death a 12-year-old girl. Reports suggest that the girl’s body was thrown over a bridge.

A tweet by ANI News said that the two cab drivers have been arrested:

Kolkata: 2 cab drivers arrested for allegedly gang-raping and killing a 12-yr-old girl, body recovered.

-- ANI (@ANI_news) August 31, 2016

A report by CNN-News18 said that the accused have been arrested and they even confessed to picking up the girl from the footpath when they were drunk. The drivers told the police that they were looking for some ‘merriment’ and after killing the girl, the drivers - Shankar Shaw and Guddu Singh - threw her body into the canal below Park Circus Flyover.

Reacting to the news, Ola immediately issued a statement. However, it called the rape and murder a case of "alleged misbehaviour". It said:

We are saddened by the reports of the alleged misbehaviour of a driver in Kolkata. On preliminary identification of the cab details shared by authorities, we have suspended the account associated with this cab with immediate effect. As per our records, this incident has not occurred while on the Ola platform. We will work with the authorities to share any information that will help support their investigation.

This isn’t the first time that such a report has been filed against an Ola or Uber driver. In December last year, a woman passenger was raped by an Ola driver in Delhi who even threatened to kill the woman if she told anyone.

In May this year, a Belgian national was molested by an Ola driver in Delhi. And how can anyone forget the incident where an Uber driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav, raped a woman in Delhi in December 2014.

Today, with the growing convenience that cab aggregators provide, news of this magnitude again brings to question the safety and security of passengers, especially women. It is interesting to note that a few months back, the cab aggregators and the government authorities were at loggerheads for some of the rules the government had imposed.

The state governments had requested for complete police verification of every driver on the Ola and Uber platforms. One of the main reasons for this was to ensure women’s safety. However, such incidents clearly show that much more efforts need to be put into the safety aspect. According to the new rules, every cab is required to have a panic button, but little has been said on the response time in dire situations and cases like these.

Source : YourStory.com, ITA.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT....

Looks like it's true that Ola will outdo Uber. I thought they were talking about the amount of booking, but after a little digging it looks like Ola will out Uber in the realms of UberRape and murder!

Thursday, August 09, 2018

New York City Council Capped The Number Of Ubers Allowed On City Streets

The New York City Council just passed the bill to cap the number of Uber drivers for 12 months, along with four other bills. An overwhelming majority of the City Council’s 51 council members voted in favor of the bills.

The City’s 12-month pause on new vehicle licenses will threaten one of the few reliable transportation options while doing nothing to fix the subways or ease congestion. We take the Speaker at his word that the pause is not intended to reduce service for New Yorkers and we trust that he will hold the TLC accountable, ensuring that no New Yorker is left stranded. In the meantime, Uber will do whatever it takes to keep up with growing demand and we will not stop working with city and state leaders, including Speaker Johnson, to pass real solutions like comprehensive congestion pricing.

UBER-CONGESTED. The New York City Council is expected to vote on setting a cap on all new Uber vehicles on Wednesday. The bill, if it passes, would halt the issue of any new licenses for any new ride-hailing service drivers for a 12 month period. Several outlets have reported that the City Council is likely to vote in favor of the bill. If the vote goes as predicted, the outcome could be a boon to drivers and, as the New York Times notes, "a major blow" to the ride sharing service.

This is the first of several bills on which the City Council will vote in rapid succession. Others will decide a similar fate for other ride-hail apps like Lyft and Juno; another would establish a minimum pay rate (effectively a minimum wage) that ride-hail companies must pay its drivers operating in NYC.

DECONGESTING NYC. These bills are a response to New York City’s increasingly congested streets, for a number of people, including leaders at the city’s public transportation authority, the MTA, have largely blamed Uber and its ilk. According to Bloomberg, the use of app-based ride services has skyrocketed in the last couple of years -- its drivers now represent "more than half of all for-hire cars on the road" in New York. Meanwhile, the number of iconic yellow cabs is virtually unchanged in the same period of time, thanks to a strict (and costly) medallion system.

By limiting the number of ride-hailing service drivers, the existing drivers would be able to complete more trips, and make more money in the process.

Predictably, Uber is not happy about New York City Council’s plans. "A 12-month pause on new for-hire vehicle licenses will leave New Yorkers stranded while doing nothing to prevent congestion, fix the subways and help struggling taxi medallion owners," an Uber spokesperson told the New York Times.

UBER-WORKED. In bringing this series of bills to the City Council, council-members hope to create a more sustainable job market for ride-hail app drivers. As the number of ride-hail drivers on the roads has risen, many have started to buckle under the economic difficulties of the situation. Most lack benefits like a 401K or health insurance. Low wages are rampant --a new report found that Uber and Lyft drivers in the U.S. only make a median profit (factoring in insurance, maintenance, repairs, and gas) of $8.55 per hour -- which is, in New York City, well below the minimum wage set by the state. The situation has become so grim for some that six taxi drivers have taken their own lives in New York City alone, according to the New York Times.

Despite the tough situation for drivers, Uber has continued to grow. The company had a very healthy first quarter of this year, raking in a $2.46 billion profit, according to the Wall Street Journal. There are rumors that Uber might go public some time next year. A driver cap in the biggest city in the U.S. could put that plan in jeopardy.

A 12-month ban on new licenses isn’t a death knell for the company, not by a long shot. But the cap might buy legislators some more time to study the effect the ride hailing industry has been having on the city, and make sure it’s working for everyone.

Source : Futurism.com

Taxi Leaks Extra Bit : 

Message from the LCDC to The Mayor of New York :

@NYCMayor - Bill, you couldn’t put a call@into our @MayorofLondon today could you? 

He says his powerless to cut numbers of UBER & other PH cars, but can make us buy only £65k electric taxis.........


Uber is struggling in the UK. Can India's Ola do things differently?


India’s largest ride-sharing service, Ola, is coming to Britain. It’s news that will make not just Uber sit up and pay attention.

For Uber, it’s another direct rival. The US company, marred in the UK by controversies and court cases, is trying to rebuild its reputation in UK after after Transport for London (TfL) first withdrew its licence to operate in the city and then put it on notice by only issuing it with a probationary short-term licence.

Now Uber and the UK’s plethora of minicab firms find themselves cautiously eyeing a fresh competitor, and – once again – demand on it playing by the rules.

"Ola says that it is committed to raising safety standards in the UK’s private hire industry from the get go, unlike Uber," says Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association. With Uber’s reputation harmed, "Ola will be hoping to establish itself as a more ethical alternative," adds Lauren Foye, an analyst at Juniper Research.

Cautious about diving straight into London traffic - not least in light of all the issues Uber faced in recent years, the Indian company has chosen South Wales and Greater Manchester as pilot areas. An Ola spokesperson says the decision was based on "positive engagement" with the local authorities. Analysts, however, put it quite bluntly: rather than enter the fray in locations where ride-sharing is being scrutinised from a legal perspective, Ola is looking to get a foothold in areas yet to be significantly disrupted by the gig economy.

So who is Ola? Backed by SoftBank, the company has had its fair share or problems in its native India. There have been reports of drivers engaging in unethical and at times criminal behaviour, while Ola itself has been accused of exploiting its drivers, by first offering incentives to sign up and then cutting earnings later. It’s enough of a track record to make UK consumers wary, says Foye. "To address this, Ola will need to impose stringent checks on its drivers, and could look at features to make customers feel safer, such as panic buttons or CCTV equipment," she adds.

A major challenge to succeed with customers and to hire drivers will be brand recognition. "It is not known," says Yugal Joshi from Everest Group, a research firm. "[It will need] a meaningful marketing blitz around its entry, create incentives for drivers, work with regulators to better understand the constructs, and understand the taxi habits of UK passengers," he adds. What it shouldn’t do is market taxis as an alternative to other modes of transport, as it does in India. Instead, Joshi argues, it should make it essential for British commuters.

That Uber and licensed cabs have to make space for a newcomer isn’t a total surprise – quite the opposite. "The demand for that type of (sharing) mobility is certainly there, and I certainly believe that transportation as a service is going to grow," says Egil Juliussen, an analyst at IHS Markit. Uber, Ola and a few other major ride-sharing players such as Lyft and China’s Didi are just the beginning. The next step will be, inevitably, driverless cars – and that will at least remove the problem of underpaid or unethical and abusive drivers.

Pilot projects using driverless vehicles are growing in number, and Waymo, GM, Uber and Lyft are set to bring them to our streets in just a few years’ time. This, in turn, will make the cost of sharing mobility plummet, driving up demand and slowly but surely killing car ownership. "The peak in terms of car ownership will come very, very soon," Juliussen predicts.

For now, passengers will have to share their cab with a driver – and many UK drivers may soon find themselves working for an Indian firm. The UK, Ola’s spokesperson says, "marks a natural but significant next chapter in our international expansion," – after its expansion into Australia in January this year. The UK, the spokesperson adds, is "crying out for a responsible, new competitive player".

Ola will offer British passengers something different from Uber. And it has grand plans. Greater Manchester and Wales are "only the beginning", the spokesperson adds.

Source : Wired 

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT:

We received this email today from a driver. Name and badge number have been reserved by us.

            

Morning Taxileaks,

   I'm a London Cabby - only found your website this morning - another cabby recommended it. I read the article in TAXI magazine yesterday about sueing Uber, and could not believe what I was reading. Mishcon de Reya, the legal firm that is supposed to be putting the case together, are the most bent legal firm in London !! Private Eye magazine have spent the last decade trying to uncover some of the corruption and cronyism at Mishcon. They are the Establishment cover-up legal firm of choice !!

     As soon as I read the article, I stopped the cab and ran into the Private Eye office (6 Carlisle St Soho) - they said they would dig out some of their more recent articles about Mishcon.

     I assume Uber have already agreed to pay them to lose the case, or Mishcon may already know it's not actually possible to win the case. Either way, it's another stitch-up.