Monday, September 24, 2018

The Task And Finish Report We've All Been Waiting And Seeing For....Read It Here For Yourself.


Below is the independent report re: 
Taxi and private hire vehicle licensing... 
Recommendations for a safer and more robust system

This report is said to set out the Task and Finish Group's recommendations on taxi and private hire vehicle licensing.

Click on this link below to download the report:

This report presents the views and recommendations of the Task and Finish Group’s Chair on taxi and private hire vehicle licensing.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 
This weeks Staristics from TfL :

Taxi and Private Hire
Information about the number and type of licence issued will be updated regularly. The following figures cover the week ending Sunday 23 September 2018:

Taxi driver licences - 23,493: a decrease of 8 on the previous week, 13 licences are new. Of those taxi drivers, 20,559 hold All London licences, and 2,934 hold Suburban licences.

Taxi vehicle licences - 20,519: a decrease of 11 on the previous week, 28 licences are new.

Private hire driver licences - 109,042: a decrease of 150 on the previous week, 101 licences are new.

Private hire vehicle licences - 87,576: an increase of 91 on the previous week, 480 licences are new.

Private hire operator licences - 2,315: an increase of 2 on the previous week, 6 licences are new.

Knowledge of London 
The number of candidates studying the Knowledge of London is currently;
1,349 at Stage 3 (down 4 from last week).
410 at Stage 4 (down 5 from last week).
281 at Stage 5 (down 3 from last week).

In addition, as of August 2018, there were 4,252 candidates that had not yet reached Stage 3 (this figure may include inactive candidates).


Fantastic News As High Court Judge Blocks TfL Appeal Over Westminster Council Blockage Of CS11


High Court judge Sir Ross Cranston, who last week blocked Transport for London’s (TfL) plans to begin building the CS11 cycle superhighway in Swiss Cottage, has denied TfL permission to appeal his judicial review ruling.

The judge has also ordered TfL pay Westminster Council’s legal fees. They must agree a figure or pay £50,000 within 14 days of the order, which was made today.

Campaigner Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who was a named party in the judicial review proceedings, told the Ham&High: "Have TfL learned nothing – rather than reading and absorbing the comprehensive defeat from last week, reviewing their processes and learning from the judge’s criticisms, TfL just went for an appeal. How clear does the judge have to be about his decision?"

A TfL spokesperson called the judge’s decision "procedural". They said: "We can still apply to appeal at the Court of Appeal, and we remain in discussions with Westminster regarding payment of legal fees."

Source : http://www.hamhigh.co.uk

Saturday, September 22, 2018

London Taxi Caught In A Hail Of Bullets Sitting In Traffic On Essex Road Islington.


A London Taxi Driver has been left shaken, after being shot at multiple times in Essex Road, Islington.

London Taxi driver Mike White, was left shaken after being caught by a hail of bullets, as he sat in traffic  on Essex Road.

Mike White posted these shocking images on Twitter of the incident which showed bullet holes which shattered his rear window and punctured his tyre. 

He was sat in traffic on Essex Road when the shocking incident happened, a parked car was also hit and a young lady was seen running screaming along the road with blood pouring from an arm injury.

"I was adjacent to this parked car when it went off. Apparently the bullet is still on the front seat. Thought i was made of strong stuff but i feel like throwing up" said Mike



He posted on social media: “Lovely, sitting in traffic, suddenly 4 or 5 gunshots very close behind me.”

“One shattered back window, one flat tyre and a very lucky passenger. Police here in force.”
No more work for me tonight.”



Mike hit out at London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter and said: “Thank-you for failing on this city Mr. Mayor.”

An hour ago my taxi was in the wrong place at the wrong time when gunshots rang out just behind me in Islington.”

Mike said both he and his passenger were injured but was unable to comment further on the incident due to Police advice. 

London totally out of control, more akin to the Wild West....
    Is it time for these two to be replaced 


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :  by Jim Thomas.
It's not pleasant being caught up in this type of incident. I can speak from personal experience. 
It's only after that the horror of the situation can suddenly hits you for six.

It was just befor Christmas 1978, I picked up a smartly dressed Irish man in Edgware Road. On the journey to Southgate, he produced a revolver from his coat and held it close to my head. He said don't look at me just drive. I truly  thought I was never going to see my wife and children again and had come to terms with the fact that this would be my lot. 

We got to Bourn Hill Southgate and he directed down towards Green Lanes. Approaching the lights, I what the hell.... and decided to take the chance to jump ship. I ran off as fast as I could along Green Lanes leaving the chap in the cab rolling over the lights down the hill. 

It's a long story and I won't go into detail, but the man escaped and the police weren't happy with my actions. But I know I did the right thing for my, because I'm here today to talk about it...

The incident affected my confidence quite a bit and took me a good few weeks before I got my nerve back again and was able to pick up passengers late at night. 

Taxi Leaks would like to take this opportunity to wish Mike all the best and hope he's back at work soon. 

How to be 1960s London Taxi Driver : Chats with my Dad oral history.


Came across this amazing set of videos recently. Neil Mossey sits and chats with his dad Ian, who explains to him in detail, what it was like to do the knowledge and become a cabby, back in the early 60s. 

The story is told in 6 parts but if you have the time, there is a final video of the whole interview. It really is an eye opener to see who the Knowledge of London has changed over the years, well worth watching.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtZM4-pHDwPm3NS3PpFmraEqOHUeZhhpT

These interviews are now available on Amazon.
HOW TO BE A 1960S LONDON TAXI DRIVER: Chats with my Dad about doing The Knowledge and driving a black cab eBook: Neil Mossey, Ian Mossey: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

My Dad’s a London taxi driver. A cabbie. Licensed Owner/Driver of a black taxi. Except he’s stopped driving now.

But Taxi drivers don’t retire, they just stop driving, and hand in their precious Green Badge.

You don’t get a leaving gift and goodbye card, even after serving Londoners for over 50 years. But he pounded the streets of London for money, I knew it was hard getting that licence, that Green Badge.

When he stopped driving, I suddenly realised that I had no idea exactly how hard, or how he got there, or why!

I’ve got kids and I know they will ask me about him or look him up in the future.
So in the Summer of 2018, I set up a camera and we had a chat. 

I know there are questions in here I’ll kick myself for not asking, or answers where I didn’t follow up... But this book is what he did tell me. Maybe now it’s in print, I’ll think of other questions and things to add to later editions.

Ian covers what it was like to pass "The Knowledge" - the toughest road test in the world: to memorise every street, building and place of interest in London; Getting the Green Badge; Hiring and buying a London black taxi cab; How London's licensed taxi radio circuits worked and how to join them; plus the tricky odd and weird customers he's faced over the years.

I hope this helps anyone in the future researching the London Licensed Taxi Cab Trade, Black Taxis and private hire cabs in general or even public transport in London.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

TFL In The Dock: High Court Action To Expose “Appalling Failure” Of Taxi Regulator

This is the action we have all been waiting for.....this IS the big one we must all support.
Regardless of what org or union you belong to, this action transcends trade group loyalties. 


This is action by the trade, for the trade and is probably our last chance to make a stand.

TFL In The Dock: High Court Action To Expose “Appalling Failure” Of Taxi Regulator

TFL accused by top QC of an “appalling failure” to uphold the law on taxis 
The regulator faces High Court action for allowing Uber to ignore the law
Uber’s entire UK taxi operation could be brought to a halt by an injunction
Westminster Chief Magistrate faces criticism for a conflict of interest

One of the UK’s top QCs is about to launch a High Court action against Transport for London for failing to uphold the law on taxis. It gives traditional taxis the exclusive right to display their availability for hire in return for higher standards.  

Robert Griffiths QC, whom The Times described as “one of the biggest names at the bar”, is preparing pre-action protocols for a High Court case which could lead to all of Uber’s UK operations being shut down for failing to comply. 

The case gives the High Court its first opportunity to examine the core legal issue in an action bought by an alliance of London taxi drivers and industry suppliers.

“In this case I will chart the appalling failure of TFL to apply a law designed to ensure the safety of passengers. That purpose has not changed. Nor has this law been superseded by either technology or the scale of Uber’s illegal activities,” said Mr Griffiths of 6 Pump Court Chambers who is seeking an injunction to stop Uber’s UK operations.

The view that Uber is also not "fit and proper” to hold a licence was put forward by Clifford Chance in 2015 when it called for TFL to shut it down with “immediate effect” for multiple failures. [1] TFL acknowledged earlier this year that it had allowed Uber to operate despite it not meeting the standard. [2] 

The High Court case will argue that Uber continues to fail to be “fit and proper” for reasons including its avoidance of almost all tax on its UK profits. It portrays them as being the tax-free royalties of a Dutch company which has no employees.  

“Uber is a corporate vulture. It does not pay for the roads it drives on. Even if it became the perfect company tomorrow the damage it has done through its illegal operations have still caused actionable harm. Uber has long thought itself bigger than the law of this land. Our High Court judges will have a different view,” said Mr Griffiths, who is pursuing substantial damages for traditional taxi drivers against Uber.

The legal action will additionally contend that Westminster Magistrates Court failed to uphold the law in a case in June. In that the court’s Chief Magistrate, Emma Arbuthnot, gave Uber permission to continue to operate despite the company admitting that it had repeatedly failed to conform with the law. [3] 

The taxi alliance behind the High Court case was further outraged when it was later revealed that the magistrate’s husband worked for one of Uber’s biggest investors. The uproar over that led to Ms Arbuthnot ruling herself out from hearing future cases involving Uber. [4]

“By admitting it was a big enough conflict to stop her sitting in future cases it shows that she had no right to sit on the case in which she gave Uber a green light,” said Angie Clarkson of the London Taxi Action Group which is fighting the case. [5]

Speaking about the action Trevor Merralls, General Secretary of the United Cabbies Group, said “TFL have repeatedly said ‘we know your views about what we are doing, if you don’t like it take us to court.’ Well we don’t and we are."  

Notes
[2] TFL says Uber “not fit and proper”: https://www.ft.com/content/c3b58f51-6daa-371a-b8cf-97618a3accbc
[5] London Taxi Action Group: consists of UCG and five key suppliers to the London taxi trade


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : AND SO IT STARTS...

 

Listen from 27:48 to Sean Paul Days interview with Trevor Merrals on London Taxi Radio



Monday, September 17, 2018

John Farrell's Resignation Letter To The Corp of London Over Bank Junction Ban.


With his permission, this is John Farrell’s resignation letter to the Corp of London:

Dear Sir,
Following the decision of the Corporation of London to permanently ban taxis from Bank Junction between the hours of 7am and 7pm, I hereby return my Freedom of the City of London certificate.

I do so with a heavy heart but you leave me no other option. London taxis, in one form or another, having been serving the City of London since 1600 and now it appears we are being kicked in the teeth. Since the implementation of the ban there has been a marked drop-off in journeys within the City of London. After all, who wants to pay for sitting in a queue of traffic, especially one artificially created. Several London boroughs have refused to implement cycle schemes etc through their streets because of the chaos that would ensue. 

Not content with witnessing the daily queue of traffic on Upper and Lower Thames streets, successive Lord Mayors have kowtowed to successive Mayors of London. It seems the upstarts of twenty-odd years have tossed the 800 plus years of the Lord Mayor onto the scrap heap.
I have no doubt that the decision to ban taxis will be reversed in the future but by then it may be too late. 

Already there has been a sudden decrease in the number of people on the Knowledge. Why spend years learning to be one of the best taxi drivers in the world only to find that you are excluded from streets that you had to learn. Without exaggeration I put it to you that traffic management decisions implemented by the Corporation of the City of London and TfL are killing the trade.

When I was “on the Knowledge” back in the 1980’s I fell in love with the City. Before then I knew nothing of its rich history but reading all the various plaques I became so enraptured that I later went to University and studied history - a subject I had hated at school. This new-found love of history also led myself and another cab driver to start up the Fellowship of Hackney Carriage Drivers in 1990 where I was the founding Clerk. 

The Fellowship went on to receive Livery status and is now a Worshipful Company. But what of their future. I hold no position at all within the present-day Company and so it is up to their Master, Wardens and Court to decide on that. This is just as well. Were I still Clerk I don’t think I could sit idly by and watch as we become the laughing stock of the trade.

Yours, regretfully
John Farrell
Proud London taxi driver and ex-freeman of the City of London.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

It seems the custodians of the Cabmen’s Shelter Group on Facebook have been offended by a post showing Sean taking down and ripping up his freeman of the city certificate. 


They have removed the post for two reasons;
A) There are no Cabmen’s Shelters in the CoL
B) Sean was not a regular Shelter user ???

They have completely missed the fact that this was a selfless act in support of his fellow Taxi drivers. 

As the group is mainly frequented by members of the WCHCD, we can probably assume that this elitist group, won’t be supporting the trade or its drivers, come the Lord Mayor’s Show. 

Meanwhile, the trades largest org is waiting and seeing !!!

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA COMMENT :

As a founder member of the FHCD I fully support John's protest re the COL attitude towards the Taxi trade. 

Even when I was the Master of the FHCD and asked a question at a meeting of the COL  re the use of Arthur Street we were laughed at in a very derided way. 

I hope others support John and do not participate in the Lord Mayors Show. They have no respect for us so why should we support them.

Gerry Dunn

East West Cycle Superhighway Has Cost £62k For Every Extra Cycle Attracted To The Route

London radio station LBC,  has revealed that the East-West cycle superhighway has cost over £62,000 for every extra cyclist attracted to the route.

The blue cycle path, which currently runs from Lancaster Gate to Tower Hill, was Boris Johnson's flagship cycling project as Mayor. Heralded as the "Crossrail of cycling", the £47 million project was "designed to encourage the large numbers of people who would like to cycle, but currently feel unable to."

The news will infuriate taxi drivers and hauliers who have seen their journey times significantly increased, who lost a lane on the Embankment to make way for the Cycle Superhighway, doubling journey times.

See LBC article and video here:

https://amp.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/nick-ferrari/cycle-superhighway-cost-62k-for-every-new-cyclist/?__twitter_impression=true

Sunday, September 16, 2018

More Trouble For Uber Drivers, As They Don't Get Paid Again : Is The Flow Of Cash Drying Up?


Glitch Prevents Uber Drivers Getting Paid...Is There A Problem As Cash Flow Appears To Dry Up ???

SAN FRANCISCO — Uber on Saturday said it was still working to fix an issue that was preventing its drivers from collecting their earnings.

“We have identified an issue affecting drivers’ visibility into their trip earnings and our Instant Pay feature. Drivers will be paid for all trips and we sincerely regret any inconvenience,” a spokesperson for the San Francisco-based rideshare company sannounced on Friday.

“We are working to quickly resolve the issue,” the spokesperson added. “As always, drivers in California will see their weekly earnings deposited directly into their account for every trip they have taken after being processed on Tuesdays at noon.”

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the issue or when it began, as the spokesperson declined to comment further, but some drivers reported that they hadn’t been able to cash out for more than 24 hours. Regular checks just keep bringing up the same message...."Processing UberX"

Drivers took to Twitter to express their frustration.


“@Uber when are you guys paying the drivers?” @silvanaeagle said in a tweet to @Uber_Support on Friday afternoon. “SF Bay Area drivers don’t really like to work for free!”

“Our team is working on fixing this issue as soon as possible,” @Uber_Support said in a reply.

“Although the trip or fare may not appear on your statement, you will still be paid as normal for any trips taken during this period. Thank you so much for your patience.”

In a reply to a different driver, @Uber_Support said in most cases Instant Pay would return to normal in a few hours.

Source : MercuryNews

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : Meanwhile, in London !



Friday, September 14, 2018

Joint Founder Of The Fellowship of Hackney Carriage Drivers, To Send Back His Freedom Of The City Certificate.


Following the City Corp's decision to make the no entry at the Bank junction permanent, Sean Farrell, one of the two founders original Fellowship of Hackney Carriage Drivers, wrote this on Dial-a-Cab's Facebook page:

I used to be proud of my Freedom of London certificate that hung on my wall. At the moment it is lying on the floor behind my desk, where it has been since the Bank junction ban started. For those that don't know, I was the founder (along with Chris George) of the original Fellowship of Hackney Carriage Drivers. Getting that off the ground took up every minute of my time and nearly wrecked my marriage. I used to be proud of what I had achieved, but not any more. 

Our trade has served the City for over 400 years and this is how we are repaid - and it wasn't even a taxi that caused the death of the cyclist. Seems turning the junction into a bus lane is too much to ask for.

But no doubt the Worshipful Company will probably still take part in the Lord Mayors Show, they may see it as an attempt to win hearts and minds. Perhaps they could even have a float letting everyone know that your taxi has to take the long way round because of the Mayor that is being honoured doesn't want us going past his front door. I gave up being clerk back in 1995 to go to Uni where I studied history and so cannot criticise those who have made the WCHCD what it is today. But what will it be tomorrow? 

It is in danger of becoming a laughing stock - after all, who will want to join. It never was, nor should be, a political body - we left that to the LTDA and LCDC etc but if I were still Clerk, then yes, I (the WCHCD) would not participate in the Lord Mayors Show. 

Neither would I attend any function in which the Lord Mayor was in attendance. 

I would even consider dropping the "Worshipful" from our title - the Watermen and Lightermen's company is not worshipful either. 

Perhaps I would even consider dropping out of livery altogether - leaving an embarrassing gap at our position as the 104th livery. There is nothing, as far as I am aware, that prevents the company from continuing its good work, Disney etc, just that there has to be no reason why it has to be under the umbrella of the Lord Mayor.

Despite the ban, I will continue paying in my monthly donation to the WCHCD charity, but how many members will lose interest and leave? 

Over the weekend I will be retrieving my Freedom certificate, I will dust it down, put it in an envelope and return it to the Chamberlain's Court at Guildhall, from whence it was issued. My freedom is being eroded. To continue to display it is hypocritical, they can stuff their certificate. 

Sean Farrell, WCHCD. 

Source Dial a Cab FaceBook Page.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Uber drivers in Denmark must pay fine for every ride, supreme court rules



The Danish supreme court on Thursday ratified fines given to four Uber drivers for operating illegally, paving the way for similar fines on a further 1,500 drivers.

The four taxi drivers, one of whom was fined 486,500 Danish crowns ($78,060), were charged with failing to have permits and for violating a law introduced to combat Uber which imposed extra rules on taxis operating in Denmark.

After launching its service in Denmark in 2014, Uber Technologies Inc was criticized by taxi driver unions, companies and politicians who said the company posed unfair competition by not meeting legal standards required for established taxi firms.

"We are very disappointed for the drivers involved and our top priority is to support them during this difficult time," an Uber spokeswoman said.

"We are changing the way we do business and are operating in line with local laws across Europe, connecting with professionally licensed drivers," she said.

The landmark case means the police can issue a fine for each individual ride made by Uber's more than 1,500 drivers in the country between 2014 and 2017. 

A spokesman for the Copenhagen police said it would assess the verdict and decide next week how to proceed.

Parliament passed a law in February 2017 that introduced more stringent requirements on taxis, such as mandatory fare meters and seat sensors. The new rules prompted Uber's withdrawal.

The company has previously said it would pay any fine given to its drivers, according to Danish newspaper Berlingske

Source : Rueters

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT: 

Meanwhile here in London, our largest org’s General Secretary Steve McNamara says they, the LTDA will not be contesting the Uber verdict from conflict of interest Judge Emma Arbuthnot. 

Even though Uber admitted in court they were operating illegally, there are no plans to take the responsible TfL directors to court for knowingly allowing Yber to operate illegally for 6 years .... (the proof is available) 

Driver opinion:

Drivers are now wondering if Steve McNamara is actually representing the best interests of his membership, or the best interests of TfL?

Is TfL's Official Line To Kill Off The Knowledge... By Green Badge John.


I know knowledge students who's 'points' on appearances have become so narrow and virtually unknown I really do wonder what the examiners are trying to prove?

Points must have reason, and the runs connected between two points clearly demonstrate a knowledge students ability to travel in a direct and positive way, so the examiners deliberately 'pinging' points of stupidity to a nervous student serves no point at all and wastes an examination of 'Knowledge' which is precisely the point everyone is attending on the day.

I remember getting the 'odd' red herring point to put me in my place and served as a reminder to current day a passengers awkwardness and understand why a random shop in a random high street occasionally arises, but looking at some of the points being asked and even getting both the points the examiner excludes one or two important roads necessary to complete the run,....and again I understand the necessity to do this due to the roadwork madness we all have to circumnavigate, but looking at the points and excluded routes particularly given that specific candidates have been doing the knowledge for some time demonstrates to me a deliberate attempt to hinder progression particularly 'older' students who are subjected to a change in career but find the going 'complicatedly' difficult for no real reason.

The knowledge is not easy, it never was, but The Mr Millers, Mr Shoens, Mr Mayhews and others to many to name, would never have conducted the trivial point exercises currently being used which are preventing knowledge progression and dampening the enthusiasm of candidates who clearly share their blights with outsiders who might have been considering starting the world famous knowledge but are being put off by a created absurdity! 

Maybe that is the official point to kill the interest off?  

Be Lucky

greenbadgejohn 



TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 
I as shown a letter yesterday from the secretary of the Transport Secretary. 
In it she refers to the trade as the Taxi, Private Hire and Uber trade. 
So now Uber are being recognised as a separated service to Taxis and Private hire, we now have a three tiered system at government level. 


But to be honest she's right. Uber are not in the Taxi category, and can't be confused with Private hire which have to be pre booked!....They are in their own Johndra as ply for instan hire, totally illegal under legislation but backed to the hilt by TfL and Government ministers. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

It Used To Be Lions Lead By Sheep, But Now It's Sheep Lead By Sheep....by Jim Thomas

Tuesday 11 September : Just been informed that at a meeting earlier today, the United Trade Group (UTG) agreed not to support Chris Johnson’s Limb B Action, even though most of them had no idea what his action is about and hadn’t even read any of his posts on social media. 

They (the UTG) admitted they hadn’t read and didn’t understand Chris Johnson’s action...so
Why didn’t they invite him or SPD to explain it to them at this meeting ?

Also at the meeting, Steve McNamara announced he (the LTDA) would not be objecting to the Uber court case decision, as he didn’t think we could win.

If Steve thinks we can’t win an objection against Uber’s appeal judgement, when it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that the Chief Magistrate (Emma Arbuthnot) had a direct conflict of interest (though her husband Baron Arbuthnot) and has since been banned from any future Uber cases/trials, then why is he fronting the consortium case for compensation, asking drivers to sign up without first seeing any T&Cs. (Strange that!)

More interestingly, did they take minutes, so we can check exactly what was said ?

It seems like the LTDA have rolled over every time, every conflict, scared to act, scared to upset TfL, scared to represent the rank and file who pay their wages. 

We are losing rank spaces, bus lane access, access to the Bank Junction, Tottenham Court Road, and all we get from our largest org is “let’s wait and see”.

More recently they cancelled branch meetings, they scrapped a branch, they cancelled the branch election... and they just keep getting away with it.
This is getting more like a SitCom.

In my opinion, this trade is no longer represented democratically, it appears we are now part of a self styled dictatorship lead by Steve Mc and all the other orgs appear to be too frightened to upset him and so, do as they’re told.

It’s now up to you the drivers alone, to fight for the trades survival on the streets. 

Your orgs appear not to be representing you best interests.... some never did and some never even entered the ring when the bell went for the start of round 1.

EXTRA COMMENT : from Chris Johnson.
My understanding of the all trade meeting yesterday is: @Sammyscarf & Micky Walker argued for supporting a claim for worker rights:
but the other 4 orgs/unions didn't support.


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : by Patric Lynch. 
Last week, the London Taxi trade lots 114 drivers....that's apart from the ones who have taken other jobs but are holding on to their licenses!

Licences issued
Information about the number and type of licence issued will be updated regularly. The following figures cover the week ending Sunday 9 September 2018:

Taxi driver licences - 23,426: a decrease of 114 on the previous week, 10 licences are new. Of those taxi drivers, 20,479 hold All London licences, and 2,947 hold Suburban licences.

Taxi vehicle licences - 20,537: a decrease of 19 on the previous week, 28 licences are new.
Private hire driver licences - 109,613: a decrease of 177 on the previous week, 110 licences are new.
Private hire vehicle licences - 87,426: a decrease of 21 on the previous week, 415 licences are new.
Private hire operator licences - 2,316: a decrease of 3 on the previous week, 2 licences are new.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Why We Should All Support Chris Johnson’s Tribunal Case Against Taxi Hailing App- MyTaxi... by Sean Paul Day

 There are those, especially newer drivers who didn’t experience a time before apps existed, who don’t feel they (as service providers) are being taken advantage of or that the apps are acting in any way that is remotely predatorial? If you are one such person, then it’s only natural you’d like it to stay that way?

Taxi driver Chris Johnson’s tribunal claim against MyTaxi is not about taking away how we currently use the app, or doing away with the apps altogether, far from it, Chris Johnson’s case is about the accountability of the app companies themselves.

Chris personally feels he was unfairly deactivated, or at the very least, not offered an explanation as to why he was deactivated. The closest he got was to be told that MyTaxi ‘didn’t need a reason’ to deactivate drivers. It was only after several unsuccessful attempts at getting a satisfactory answer that he decided to take matters further. 

To be clear, this is not a debate over whether he was or wasn’t unfairly dismissed, its about his right to contest the dismissal, the same as he would in any other work place. For MyTaxi to win, they will have to argue drivers act independently on the app, and MyTaxi is merely an agent and the app a proviso for the driver to accept jobs- to ply for hire if you will. This alone would strengthen our trade immeasurably.  

In theory, it also heaps pressure on Uber to apply conditions so their drivers unequivocally do not ply4hire- the province of licensed taxis only- which solidifies The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruling that Uber drivers should be classified as workers, entitled to basic employment rights. And if that is so, the pending court battle over claims uber has failed to pay (what could amount to) hundreds of millions of pounds in VAT is also strengthened. So all those who want PH to pay the congestion charge? Well if Uber has to pay VAT then costs to use an Über will also rise, no,

Conversely, if Über is entitled to pay Taxi drivers compensation for loss of earning and the intention to cause harm,, then why isn’t MyTaxi also entitled to pay compensation if (1) a driver’s income is detrimentally effected by a dismissal and (2) the driver has been unfairly dismissed? 

At the very least, the case should stop the app companies from thinking they can do want they want, when they want, and get away with it. And if MyTaxi flatly refuse to declare their hand as a plying app, then maybe they too should be subjected to the same responsibilities as others who’re engaged in an employment relationship.

There is simply no argument for not supporting this case. If tomorrow MyTaxi says you have to stand in the middle of Piccadilly Circus with your thumb in your ass and pirouette 3 times, and if you refuse you’re deactivated? What recourse would there be? Couple that with fewer and fewer jobs on the street, and…? Think seriously about protecting what you’re enjoying now.

It’s time to disambiguate. Incertitude only serves those who hold the controlling capacity, and the trade has been left in limbo for long enough. No doubt, a regulatory framework will be formatted at some point down the line, and personally, I’d rather that formatting be influenced by drivers than be left to those whose end game involves the demise of the taxi trade

We have a two year window to make the trade attractive enough to encourage potential drivers into undertaking the KOL. As it stands, I don’t think the apps provide enough distinction to entice drivers to commit four years of their life to studying when they could be driving for Über within 28 days. If the KOL draws to a natural end, then what are we left with? A vehicle that’s not allowed into certain roads? If this doesn’t get the trade thinking they need to do whatever it takes to defend what we have left to defend, then nothing will.

Chris Johnson is looking to raise £18,000 to fund a legal challenge against MyTaxi.

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

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Lisson Grove : Cabbies Fear For Their Lives’ As Gangs Target Drivers

Taxi driver Tony Casey, fears somebody "could be killed" as drivers are being targeted by a gang from Lisson Grove.

Tony, who has been driving a black cab in London since the 1980s, says the attacks are becoming commonplace. The road is one of the main routes into Marylebone and Paddington from St John’s Wood, along with the Edgware Road.

Gangs are targeting taxi drivers and their takings. This includes brazen attempts to stop the cars in the street, and even trying to get drivers to help disabled people get into the Taxi, only to rob them when they step out of the cab. Tweets also say a driver was attacked with a fire extinguisher.

Tony said: "For the last few years, licensed cab drivers have been robbed while driving through Lisson Grove. It’s a joke.

"The police don’t seem to be interested or care about taxi drivers. Somebody, either a taxi driver or one of the gang members, could be killed."

Alex Workman has been driving taxis for 11 years, and lives in Lisson Grove. He has seen the aftermath of a robbery.

"I picked up a group in Praed Street," he said. "When they all piled in, they said: ‘Can you pick up my friend’s bag on the way?’"

When Alex’s cab pulled up, the youths picked up a bag from the street. He quickly realised they had a driver’s money bag.

"I told them to get out, and they dropped the bag on the way. When I checked, it was empty. A woman came up and said she’d seen a taxi driver being robbed."

The 37-year-old says some taxi drivers are no longer carrying cash bags to minimise the risk of being robbed. He told us he fears for his safety.

"Myself, and drivers know who these people are. It would be an easy problem to tackle, but they would have to get a police presence in the area. I don’t have much confidence in the police full stop. I don’t blame individual officers or Sadiq Khan, but I put blame directly at the door of commissioner Cressida Dick.

"Like a lot of visible crime at the moment, you need visible officers. It’s not about taking DNA or doing stuff behind computer screens, it’s about getting boots on the ground."

Scotland Yard pointed us to Church Streets neighbourhood police team, who could not be reached for comment.

Source : Article From The Ham and High.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT: by Jim Thomas.

The age of the attackers range from young teens to late twenties. 

I have myself been targeted by these gangs. A few weeks ago, I picked up a young man in Finchley Road and was directed to Church Street Edgware Road. The passenger directed me to stop by a group of men standing in a door way. 

As we pulled up (I had my foot on the brake locking the door) he put his arm out the window and let himself out of my Cab. He then goaded me to get out and confront him, but I just drove off with the door open, untill I got a safe distance away and was able to close. 

   I managed to get this image of him with my in cab CCTV


I was also the victim of a failed attack in Eversholt Street, when a young man ran up to the side of the Taxi while I waited at a red light and tried to pull open the near side luggage door. He made no attempt to enter the vehicle via the rear doors (which were at the start of his approach unlocked) and was shouting "please open the door, do me a favour, put down the window I just want to tell you something. 

I had to jump the lights to get away as I feared he was about to smash the window....this I have on video from mydash-cam. 

Other drivers have been attacked by two men with powder fire extinguishers. The driver is doused in powder through the open window, the attackers open the driver's door through the window and pull out the driver. His phone moneybag, etc are then taken and the attackers run off in the direction of Church Street. 

Other drivers have been flagged down by Frampton Street, told my nan is coming out in a wheelchair can you get the ramp out. As the driver gets out to position the ramp, he is then attacked and robbed.

These gangs have been allowed to carry on robbing Cabbies for far too long. As far as we know they have been doing this for over two years now. Drivers have been robbed and assaulted. 

Drivers involved in these attacks have been told by operators on the emergency number 999 that no officers are available and have been told to report the robbery to a police station and as we all know, at night, finding one open is not a simple excersise.

A few weeks ago, two Cabbies sitting in the rank at Marylebone Station, were threatened with a bottle alleged to contain acid....the police were called and the drivers were told that there were no units available in the area!

These attacks show why it is so important to lock the front doors at all time, not just at night. Many of these attacks have happened in broad daylight. "Keep em out".


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA COMMENT: by John Reid 

Just remember this, an American was locking up his house at night when he saw 2 men in his garden shed. He called the police and they said cannot help as no one in the area. 

So he rang back five minutes later and said he had just shot and killed the 2 men. In no time at all, their were10 to12 police cars and a helicopter and other emergencies vehicles outside his house.

When the duty office saw the 2 men were not dead he said he was going to arrest the man. When he asked why he was being arrested the duty officer said for lying to me!

The man then said, but you lied to me when you said you had no one to send..... 

So, just think about it when you cannot get help.

Friday, September 07, 2018

*OUR DESTINY... IS IN OUR OWN HANDS*


Taxileaks understand that London Cabbie Chris Johnson is bringing an employment tribunal claim against app operator MyTaxi. 

Johnson claims that he was unfairly dismissed after a series of whistleblowing claims and questions surrounding his employment status on the app.

We understand that for Johnson to lose an employment tribunal MyTaxi will need to argue he was operating independently on the app, akin to plying for hire, If he wins, drivers using the app will be entitled to basic protections such as National Minimum Wage, paid annual leave and protection under anti-discrimination legislation. Given the increasing market dominance of these apps these are important rights and winning may well stop apps like MyTaxi illegitimately undercutting individuals who are genuinely operating on their own account.

An employment tribunal rightly brings the arguments in to the public domain and it's an argument that the trade must have "this is about 'our' future claims Johnson.

Do we (orgs/unions/drivers) want to try to close down the ability of taxi app companies putting private hire drivers on the app like Hailo & Gett did? Or do we want to walk blindly into oblivion.. and an eventual one tier system?

We all accept that apps have revolutionised the industry and drivers and passengers have embraced this, but if we are going to protect ourselves isn't it best that we fight for basic employment rights if app companies want to suspended or terminate us without reason....?

Johnson is looking to raise £18,000 to fund a legal challenge against MyTaxi.

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

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Uber Has Till 1st October To Install 24/7 Manned Help Line For Passengers: (Voice Contact Requirement).

In June 2016, Transport for London (TfL) made a number of regulatory changes to raise standards in London’s private hire industry and improve safety and convenience for customers.

This included the introduction of a requirement for London private hire vehicle (PHV) operators to make someone available for passengers to speak to during their hours of business and at all times during a journey if passengers want to make a complaint or discuss other matters relating to their booking (the Voice Contact Requirement).

Following a legal challenge, the Court of Appeal, in a judgment given today, have reversed the High Court’s decision and found the Voice Contact Requirement to be lawful thereby upholding TfL’s original decision to introduce it.

As a result of the judgment, the Voice Contact Requirement remains in place. However, in order to allow operators time to implement any necessary changes following the judgment, they should make sure they comply fully by no later than 1 October 2018. TfL encourages operators to comply fully with the Voice Contact Requirement sooner if possible. Guidance and information on how to comply will be published on our website in due course.

If you need further information, please email us at tph.enquiries@tfl.gov.uk or call our Licensing Team on tel. 0343 222 4444 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm).

Graham Robinson

Interim General Manager London Taxi and Private Hire Transport for London 

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT.......?

In the words of Johnny Nash....there are more questions than answers!

This noticed was signed off by Helln Chapman's replacement on the 25 May 2018.

So why have they only just put this on their website....why the secrecy again?


Also a word from Cabvision on Twitter....more questions that need answers.

Prius Fires Update : DVSA Answer Immediately....TfL Finally Breaks It's Wall Of Silence.

ONE RULE FOR US....AND A SOFTER MORE FRIENDLY RULE FOR PRIVATE HIRE.
NEVER MIND ABOUT PUBLIC SAFETY THOUGH, MIKE BROWN ! 


This below from London Travel Watch :
It has been brought to our attention by one of our followers Mr @@@@ @@@@@ about the recent recall on ToyotaPrius models 2015-18 because of a fire risk.

Many of these vehicles are used as MiniCabs. 
Are TfLTPH and the DVSA suspending the licenses on these affected cars ?

We have asked both the DVSA and TfL for a statement in regard to the issue of public safety regarding licensed vehicles associated with the Toyota recalls.

We got this back straight away from the DVSA:


As yet, after nearly a week of requests, we haven't had a single reply from TfL.
See below, TfL finally broke their wall of silence and put out the tweet below late afternoon.
Surely public safety is paramount?

TfL issued stop notes on hundreds of TX4s as soon as the problem first emerged.
But it seems Private Hire vehicles are not subject to the same safety conditions as Licensed Black Cabs.

This isn’t a new problem with Prius PHVs bursting into flames, it’s been going on for a number of years and it’s a problem TfL have failed to deal with. 


These images are from January 2017 



Are @TfLTPH afraid to issue a stop note to all #Toyota licensed minicabs that affected by the recall?

TAXI LEAKS COMMENT from Paul DDD:
Will TfL continue to ignore the problem of spontaneously combusting Prius’s?

Are @TfLTPH liable if a member of the public gets injured in a Toyota Fire ?

Are @TfLTPH afraid to issue a stop note to all #Toyota licensed minicabs that affected by the recall?

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :
The LCDC has written to Mike Brown at Tfl asking for an explanation to why there has been no action taken against the owners of Private Hire  Prius, which are subject to a recall from Toyota. 

It’s been nearly a week?
Maybe Dara’s got to get back to him


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA COMMENT FROM JIM THOMAS : 

Sorry but writing letters, sending emails and tweets are not working. It's simply not good enough for members who pay orgs and unions for proper representation!

Get yourselves down to Mike Brown's office and refuse to leave a until he deals with the problem, even if you have to go day after day !!! ....that's what you subscribing drivers pay for.


BREAKING NEWS: 
Nearly two years in from when we first started seeing these Prius, bursting into flames, TfLTPH has finally broken its silence with this tweet:



@taxi_leaks As with any manufacturer recall, we will work closely with both the manufacturer and the DVLA to establish which individual licensed vehicles are affected. We will then take appropriate action, which could include licensing action, to ensure the safety of the travelling public. ends.

Are they waiting for fatalities before doing the right thing and protecting the public?
Their foot dragging has become scandalous. 
They have known about this problem for almost two years.... we would suggest that any member of the public injured in a Prius PHV fire to sue TfL directly.