Sunday, September 30, 2018

Chris Johnson Answers The Most Frequently Asked Questions


Dear All

I'm going to start by thanking everyone who has been so supportive over the last 3 weeks since we embarked on this journey to bring a limb-b worker rights claim for taxi drivers who work on the MyTaxi App.

We have just over £800 to raise within the next 7 days - I reiterate the "we" because this employment case affects everyone, it affects me, taxi drivers, our children and our children's children - these corporate companies who operate Apps in every sector imaginable simply want to undermine the employment laws as set out by parliament and exploit ordinary working people for their own benefit - this cannot be right, and this is why I believe we must speak out.

I am so disappointed that the taxi trade organisations & unions have failed to support our efforts, one would think that protecting drivers working conditions would be high on the agenda of these organisations & unions, but alas, it seems not to be the case, so we must seek basic employment rights and worker protections alone.

None of this happens without your support, therefore, I'm humbled that you should be so kind with your pledges and overwhelmed by the messages of support.

I hear some of the concerns that have been rightly raised, and I will try to address some of the questions.

Q. Why do we want to lose our self-employed status?

A. A limb-b worker is a category of self-employed, therefore, as taxi drivers we won't lose our self- employed status, we simply gain worker status should we win.

Q. Would it damage "our" Apps [taxi apps]?

A. I’ll answer this with a question, by suspending and terminating drivers without giving any reason are MyTaxi damaging drivers’ livelihoods?

Q. Would MyTaxi be subject to VAT on the full taxi fare if I win an employment tribunal?

A. Potentially yes, but if MyTaxi were to win an employment tribunal it’d be unlikely that they are making the VATable supply, so they would need to argue really hard that they don't control the driver and they don't suspend or terminate drivers without reason - this is a very tricky argument for MyTaxi as I have been terminated without reason and so have many other drivers

Q. Would taxi drivers face additional costs (i.e. an increase in the procurement fee that is currently 10%)?

A. Doubtful, the employment tribunal regarding Uber determined that drivers are workers for all of the time the app is switched on and the driver is available (less the time the driver is unavailable because of other work). Therefore, if a driver has the app switched on for 10 hours per day then MyTaxi are potentially liable to pay drivers the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for the drivers’ available hours plus expenses - If a driver isn't being paid the NMW now at the 10% MyTaxi procurement rate, drivers certainly wouldn't be paid NMW if MyTaxi increased their procurement fee.

In short, claims that MyTaxi could "jack up" their procurement fee to cover basic worker rights and NMW payments is scaremongering.

Q. Is it crazy to bring an employment tribunal claim for basic worker rights against MyTaxi?

A. No, I allege that I was terminated for blowing the whistle on public safety, what employment protections do taxi drivers currently have for unfair dismissal when working on the MyTaxi App?

Q. Does Daimler own MyTaxi?

A. My understanding is that Daimler invests heavily in MyTaxi and minicab apps Taxify, ViaVan and Blacklane – Taxify & ViaVan minicab drivers don’t have worker rights, but Uber drivers do – work that one out – why doesn’t Daimler grant worker rights to these minicab drivers or any associated companies?

In summary.

• There is still another funding round to go as we need to raise £18k in total – but we have time on our side.

• I’m confident that collectively we can make MyTaxi and other app companies aware of their responsibilities to ordinary working people.

• Finally, protecting drivers livelihoods should be the responsibility of Orgs & Unions, not individual drivers.

Please feel free to ask any questions or concerns that you have on Twitter my account is: @InThePinkTaxi and I will endeavour to answer as best I can.

Once again, thank you for your continued support. 

Best wishes

Chris.


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 

Is this the future that Taxi drivers really want....working for a third party investor owned App company, boasting about how many minicabs they have on their app???


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Sadiq Khan...Take Heed : Netherlands To Ban Cyclists From Using Mobile Phones


Dutch cyclists are going to be banned from using their mobile phones while riding their bicycles. Sadiq Khan, please take note!!!

Anything but the hands-free use of mobile phones will be illegal in the Netherlands from July next year. It's about time something was done about the attitude of cyclists in London too, who believe there's no law they can't break. 

The ban will extend an existing law from 2002 making it illegal for car and lorry drivers to use their phones out of hands-free mode. In London, the Met police have been having a crack down on Taxi drivers using their mobiles while being stationary on Taxi ranks......you couldn't make it up. While Private Hire drivers are illegally plying for hire opposite the Kings Cross Taxi rank, undercover police officers with body cams are recording stationary Taxi drivers checking their phone messages/emails and other heinous crimes. Apparently unless you remove the keys, you are still classed as driving, even with the engine turned off. An easy Nick ???

The Netherlands transport minister, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, told the Algemeen Dagblad ​newspaper that the draft legislation will make it an offence "to hold a mobile electronic device while driving all vehicles", including bikes.  

The maximum fine for breaking the current law is €230 (£205).

"This decision sets a clear standard: if you drive a vehicle in traffic, whatever the vehicle, you do not need to hold a mobile electronic device," Ms van Nieuwenhuizen added. 

Surprisingly, bikes outnumber people in the Netherlands.

Last year, the transport ministry said one in three 12 to 21-year-olds use their mobile phones while cycling.

Phones reportedly played a role in 20 per cent of bicycle accidents involving under-25s, the ministry said.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Appeal : Volunteers Needed For PoppyCab's Remembrance Sunday Centenary


Are you willing to help PoppyCabs this year? Please let me know.

Because this message is sent to several recipients who are unknown to each other when you reply can you please let me know
Name
Phone number
Your location (area)
TX / Vito /TXe 

You can also let me know if any member of your family is willing to help as a marshal or if any of them (older children usually) will be travelling with you to assist in your taxi

If you want to contact me you can do so by email to mike@mikehughes.org.uk, or by SMS to 07973 430022.
You can also follow on Twitter @PoppyCabs

Look forward to seeing you all again this year.

Finally I've attached a copy of this year's flyer which has already been printed. If anyone can help get these out to various locations please let me know.
-- 
Mike Hughes 
A taxi driver licensed for London and Brighton living in Worthing, West Sussex 
Member NMRA British Region sharing know-how

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Who Are The Legal Team From 6 Pump Court Chambers Behind The UTAG Action?


Robert Griffiths QC and Stuart Jessop have been instructed through Chiltern Law LLP on behalf of a trade association representing Hackney Carriage drivers in London to commence Judicial Review proceedings against the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in respect of a decision by the Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot on 26th June 2018 to grant Uber London Limited a 15 month licence.

On 18th August 2018 The Guardian published an article claiming that the Senior District Judge has recused herself from hearing any future cases involving Uber after it was discovered by an Observer investigation that her husband had links to the Private Hire Vehicle Operator.



The claim, issued today, has been brought on the grounds that the decision made by the Senior District Judge to grant a 15 month licence to Uber LL is tainted with bias. It will also be argued that the judge made no finding that at the time of the decision on 26th June 2018 Uber was a fit and proper person according to the legislation.


The claim is the start of a series of legal claims which will challenge Uber’s working model and commercial practices as well as the failure of TFL to effectively regulate them.

Uber Among Gig Economy Firms To Face Parliamentary Investigations.


Frank Field MP launches inquiry examining law and enforcement as firms still ‘evade justice’ on worker rights

Uber and courier firms including CitySprint are to be called to give evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into gig economy companies that have continued to deny workers employment rights despite tribunal rulings.

Frank Field MP, chair of the work and pensions committee, is to see if changes to legislation and enforcement are needed to ensure workers have their legal employment rights.

The new inquiry comes after a string of tribunal rulings against companies, including Uber, eCourier and CitySprint, which ruled that couriers and taxi drivers should be classified as workers and be entitled to holiday pay and the minimum wage. The companies failed to deliver those rights across their workforce, and argued that their drivers and riders were self-employed contractors.

“The inquiry will, I hope, shine a bright light on the extent to which justice is being evaded in the gig economy,” said Field, who resigned the Labour whip late August. “We will be looking to suggest any immediate changes that are required, both to the law itself as well as its enforcement, to ensure no company is able to evade justice.”

The inquiry launches as Uber continues to fight a 2016 tribunal ruling that said its drivers were workers and not self employed. The latest round is expected to be heard at the court of appeal late in October. Since the tribunal ruling Uber has offered some improved conditions for UK drivers, including limited insurance, limits on working hours and a 24-hour phone line for support.

Uber has repeatedly insisted that most of its drivers wanted to retain the flexibility to choose their own hours. However, the firm continues to face criticism over conditions. Couriers working for its Uber Eats takeaway delivery service this week protested outside the company’s London head office over a change in pay structure, which they said left them out of pocket.

In November 2017 CitySprint was accused of making a mockery of Britain’s employment rights system after changing couriers’ contracts rather than giving them the minimum wage and holiday pay, despite losing an employment tribunal case on the issue.

In May 2017, eCourier, a subsidiary of Royal Mail specialising in same-day deliveries, admitted it had incorrectly classified a London-based bicycle courier as an independent contractor and had wrongly denied him standard employment benefits. The company immediately announced a review into how it could implement the same worker status “for colleagues where it reflects their actual working arrangements with us”.

Ian Oliver, chief executive of eCourier, said: “We did carry out a review of our fleet of drivers and identified a group who we felt could be ‘workers’. Accordingly we changed their contracts to provide benefits such as holiday pay. They were also offered a workplace pension.”

But the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain said it was frustrated that there had been no sign of significant change. Jason Moyer-Lee, general secretary of the union, which has been involved in a number of tribunal actions on workers’ status, said: “For a couple of years now we have been winning tribunal claims against courier and private hire companies. Yet despite this somehow these workers are still not getting the rights they’re entitled to. The enforcement system is clearly broken and this inquiry will shine a welcome spotlight on its abject failure.”

Field will be gathering evidence from individual workers, legal experts, enforcement specialists, trade unions and companies, with a view to publishing his findings alongside a series of recommendations before Christmas. The government’s director of labour market enforcement, Sir David Metcalf, will also be invited to contribute to the inquiry.

Source : The Guardian 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Press Release : United Taxi Action Group Launch Judicial Review Of Uber Decision


London taxi drivers have commenced a JR of a court decision to allow Uber a licence. 

The High Court action is based on a conflict, bias, apparent bias and flawed reasoning. 

It seeks to quash the judgement which allowed Uber to operate for a further 15 months. 

The action seeks a re-hearing with a newly constituted court. 

It is the first part of a three-phase legal action which will include TfL and Uber.

Papers have been filed for a judicial review of the decision by Westminster Magistrate Court to give Uber permission to continue to operate despite the company admitting that it had repeatedly failed to conform to the law. The action is being bought by the United Cabbies Group (UCG) on behalf of the United Trade Action Group (UTAG).

It’s solicitors, Darren Roger of Chiltern Law, has instructed Robert Griffiths and Stuart Jessie if 6 Pump Court Chambers. 

The claim which was filed Yesterday is based on the admission by the courts Chief Magistrate, Emma Arbuthnot, that she was conflicted in the case. Last month The Guardian reported that her husband worked for one of Uber’s biggest investors. The revelation printed Ms Arbuthnot to rule herself out from future cases involving Uber. 

“By admitting it was big enough to stop her hearing future cases, it shows that she had no right to sit in the case in which she gave Uber a green light” said Angie Clarkson of the United Trade Action Group. 

The High Court action will challenge Ms Arbuthnot’s decision on the basis of actual and apparent bias. The claim will also look at the reasoning behind her decision to renew Uber’s licence for 15 months. It will argue that the extension resulted from unreasonable implausible and illogical reasoning. 

It will also highlight how the judge made no finding that Uber was a “fit and proper person” according to the legislation. Despite this, she still granted the licence. 

The claim is the start of a series of legal actions which will challenge Uber’s business model and commercial practices as well as the failure of TfL to effectively regulate them. 

“The legal storm clouds are gathering over Uber. It’s reckless approach to the law is finally catching up with it” said Trevor Merralls of the United Cabbies Group. 

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : by Lenny Etheridge. 

A dozen or so tried and trusted proactive Taxi drivers attended a United trade meeting yesterday, all came away with big smiles and a positive spring in their step.

This is the big one, the one Taxi drivers on social media, around tea stalls, in greasy spoons and sat in cab shelters have been calling for and dreaming about.

  

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA COMMENT : from Jim Thomas.

We know this isn't going to be easy, because there are far too many drivers out there who are totally disinterested with trade matters. They don't do social media, they rarely read taxi trade printed media and don't mix much with other drivers. These are the ones we have to reach!

There will soon be leaflets available which volunteers will be distributing at most ranks. Don't just read them, pass them on. Tell the next driver to read and pass on.

You can also help by spreading the word.
While you sit on a rank, talk to and discuss UTAG's action and try to get as many if your trade friends interested as possible. 

As Trevor Merralls  said in his interview on LTR, the more drivers who sign up to this action, the cheaper it becomes individually.

A Touch Of The Dunkirk Spirit...
Last night a line was drawn in the sand, every moan, every criticism, all past baggage was left behind as the most proactive drivers and stakeholders stepped over the line, came together and formed the Untied Taxi Action Group. 


This isn't about if....this has already begun, the papers have been served.....And now it's your turn, to become proactive, support your trade, your livelihood, after all... it's what puts the food on your table for your family.

Or, are you going to sit back and watch everything you worked for on the knowledge of London disappear before your very eyes? 

TAXI LEAKS LAST WORD : by UTAG
We are thrilled to announce that as a result of the meeting with stakeholders yesterday, a total of £100,000 has been pledged toward UTAG Legal action by four of them. 

Three more have confirmed they will be donating even though they could not make the meeting. Wonderful generosity.

Naturally we cannot name them for confidentiality reasons.

We hope eventually we can name them as they have been absolutely superb and deserve our total support toward their businesses.

A founder stakeholder and true UTAG supporter has already put his head above the parapet 
 

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.