Saturday, March 10, 2018

Toyota gets into the smart taxi game, hopes to crush Uber

In its continued bid for global dominati… I mean, transition into a mobility company, Toyota has added a ride-hailing-like aspect to its business in Japan with the help of Japan Taxi and others.

This is great news if you're in Japan and need to go somewhere, because Toyota has joined forces with one of Japan's largest taxi companies and a telecommunications company, KDDI. This smart taxi/ride-hailing venture is being billed by the company as a way of collecting a great deal of data for future self-driving efforts.

Toyota has been working with Japan Taxi for sometime now, designing a new taxi for them which is now being fitted with the TransLog device.

The heart of Toyota's plan is its TransLog device, which connects to an artificial intelligence-based dispatch system for Japan Taxi's fleet. This will allow the taxis to more accurately place cars to maximize efficiency in busy areas. At the same time, TransLog will collect GPS data, video and other vehicle data.

TransLog also uses smartphone data and weather forecasts to help refine its algorithms. It's an incredibly advanced system and has helped Toyota and Japan Taxi achieve an accuracy rating of around 94 percent.

The company will be up against tough competition in the Japanese market with Uber, Lyft, Grab and all vying for market share and China's Didi set to debut later this year. Toyota's big advantages come in the form of cars, capital and a leg up on research and development.

Update on Harrow Taxi Driver Stabbing, Police Looking For Two Attackers.

Last Sunday morning, a Harrow Suburban driver sat on point of the rank at Harrow on the Hill Station in Collage Road.  

At approximately 5:30am a white van pulled up behind the taxi and two men got out and approach the Taxi. Both men were of Eastern European appearance. 

Most TX4 type taxis have a bad design fault that when you pull on to a rank and switch off the engine, the drivers safety is compromised by fact that the automatic front door locking mechanism disengages and subsequently unlocks both front doors. 

The first attacker opened the luggage door and attempted to take property from inside the vehicle, threatening the Taxi driver with a long bladed knife. The driver turned to away and tried to escape but the second assailant who also had a large knife stabbed the driver multiple times. 
The men took a number of items from the Taxi and returned to their van leaving the driver laying, bleeding on the floor beside his Cab. 

The whole incident was captured on CCTV and Harrow Met police are appealing for any witnesses to come forward. 

This was a callous, violent, attack... and a stark reminder that when you turn off the engine of a TX4 type Taxi, due to poor design of the vehicle, you compromise your personal safety. You must remember to manually re-lock the front doors.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Judge says Uber breached contract with drivers involving ‘Safe Rides’ fee

A U.S. District Court judge has just handed some Uber drivers a win by concluding the ride-hailing company breached a contract pertaining to “Safe Rides” fees. In U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers’ opinion on damages, she wrote “there is no question that drivers were financially harmed by Uber’s breach of contract.”

The lead plaintiffs, Matthew Clark, Ryan Cowden, Dominicus Rooijackers and Jason Rosenberg, sued Uber for $5 million in 2016 on behalf of 9,602 drivers who opted out of arbitration. However, the exact extent of the damages has not yet been determined.

The plaintiffs alleged Uber, despite saying it wouldn’t, took the “Safe Rides Fees” from the fares drivers charged riders on minimum fare rides between April 2014 and November 2015. The plaintiffs specifically alleged Uber breached its contract with drivers.

In her order yesterday, Rogers granted the drivers’ motion for summary judgment, saying, “Nothing in the Agreement provides a formula for Uber to deduct $1.00 from the Minimum Fare and then deduct another 20% from the balance. The fact that Uber chose not to follow the precise terms of the Agreement for the 19 months of the class period and is now attempting to rationalize its conduct is not relevant to the instant claim.”

She added, by Uber taking out the $1 Safe Ride fee from the minimum fair before paying drivers, the company “breached the plain terms of the Agreement.”

Judge Rogers also ruled all Uber drivers who signed a 2013, June 2014 or November 2014 agreement — or some combination of three — opted out of arbitration, and completed at least one minimum fare ride for UberX when the Safe Rides Fee applied before Nov. 16, 2015 are eligible to be part of the class.

Uber first added the $1 safe ride fee in April 2014 to help pay for its safety program, which includes driver training, background checks and vehicle inspections. But it wasn’t until November 16, 2015, the lawsuit alleges, that Uber updated its terms to notify drivers the fee would be taken from their minimum fares.

Here’s a key nugget from the original complaint:

After instituting the Safe Rides program, Uber’s Service Fee Schedules and published local fare webpages continued to show the fares that riders would pay, including a minimum fare, for each area. Consistent with its contract and its emails to drivers, those schedules and fare webpages also showed the new Safe Rides Fee as a separate surcharge for riders. Until approximately November 2015, nothing in Uber’s contract, schedules, emails, or fare webpages suggested that drivers would pay Uber’s Safe Rides Fee out of the driver’s own fares.

Despite the clear terms of its written contracts including Uber’s incorporated emailed promises that it would not do so — Uber took its Safe Rides Fee charges out of the drivers’ fares when drivers charged riders minimum fares. In other words, when a driver provided a minimum fare ride, Uber did not charge the Safe Rides Fees to the riders (as a separate surcharge), but, instead, charged that fee to the drivers by taking it from their fare.

This win for drivers comes a couple of years after Uber settled with riders over the Safe Rides fee. In 2016, Uber made a $28.5 million settlement with riders, who alleged in a class-action lawsuit that they should not have had to pay the fee because the company’s background checks were misleading and not “industry leading,” as Uber had previously claimed. The lawsuits also cited “unfortunate incidents” that had happened to passengers during Uber rides.

I’ve reached out to Uber and will update this story if I hear back.

Bad Motoring News From TfL, For Marylebone Road Eastbound And Surrounding Area.

Latest update from the BBC London Travel Twitter Account!

From 22:00 this evening, Friday 9 March (see latest from BBC travel above), for approximately three days, Marylebone Road will be closed eastbound between Marylebone High Street and Park Crescent while Thames Water carry out emergency works on a burst main. 

While this closure is in place, surrounding roads will be extremely busy with significant delays to your journey expected. Eastbound motorists are advised to seek alternative routes. 

Please plan ahead and allow more time for journeys. For live traffic updates, visit or @TfLTrafficNews 

We are sorry for the disruption this may cause to your journey and will contact you again once Thames Water has completed the work and the road has reopened.

Tim Fenton Blows The Lid Off TfL Part 2: Why Downing Street Panicked!

The pressing of the panic button by driver and rider matching service Uber, representatives of the Foreign Office, and those within Downing Street when Transport for London looked likely to take enforcement action on the basis that Uber’s operation in the capital was illegal, was detailed on Zelo Street yesterday. Now it can be revealed exactly what caused the panic - and the brazen attempt to side with Uber.

On December 10, 2013, TfL officials Helen Chapman and Garrett Emmerson were in receipt of communication from lawyers Clifford, Chance. The action had been prompted not by the taxi trade, but the Licensed Private Hire Car Association. Clifford, Chance had, at the end of the previous month, made the concerns of the LPHCA clear to TfL. So Ms Chapman and Emmerson should have known what was coming down the track.

The letter goes through the Uber model, booking process, fare calculation and much more, and in some detail, but the conclusions made can be put directly. These asserted that the law was being broken on a number of counts - nine, in fact, in all. 


For full Zelo Street Article, Click Below:-

London transport chiefs in call for minicab cross border hiring reform with legislation "no longer fit for purpose"

London's transport bosses have called for new legislation to address safety concerns spanning the taxi and private hire industries after the rise in technological advances has led to a surge in cross border hiring.

A new report out today from Transport for London (TfL) says the transport body thinks it is common practice for drivers to apply for a licence in the capital, with no intention of working there. Over 700 London-licensed drivers live in Birmingham and 200 in Manchester.

Mick Rix, GMB Union National Officer for Taxi & Private Hire Drivers, said: 

"TfL has correctly identified that cross-border working of Taxi and Private Hire Drivers predominantly working in areas where their license is not issued, is now at such epidemic levels, that a real threat to passenger safety exists. 

When existing legislation was written the intentions were never to have a free for all with Taxis and Minicabs working anywhere in the country. 

There are now obvious increased safeguarding problems for vulnerable persons. Local authorities and enforcement agencies are powerless to enforce taxis and PHV not from their jurisdiction. 

The Police believe this is also a major threat too. TFL have produced a welcome report, where we hope Government will listen, and bring forward proposals to update legislation".

Helen Chapman, TfL's interim director of licensing, regulation and charging, said the legislation governing taxi and private hire services is "no longer fit for purpose".
(Bit like he directors of TfLTPH after yesterday's news from Tim Fenton!)

She said:
The reforms we are proposing such as national minimum standards, national enforcement capabilities and the need for journeys to start or finish where the driver is licensed, are urgently needed to ensure passenger safety nationwide.

Currently, drivers of taxis or private hire vehicles can work anywhere in England once they have secured a licence with a licensing authority. Drivers can apply to get their licences in an area where they perceive standards are lower, though they may not intend to work there. 

City Hall has said this has led to a number of issues across the country such as one authority licensing 1,000 drivers from their area, but more than 6,000 from other areas. 

TfL's report says there is a pressing need to drive up national standards across the taxi and private hire industries, after transport secretary Chris Grayling asked the mayor to provide more detail on proposals to address cross border hiring. 

TfL has been looking to lift standards, with the high-profile example of Uber's licence not being renewed last September, after the transport body said it wasn't "fit and proper".

Last month, TfL said current rules are failing to keep up with tech developments, and it was planning to make changes to get tougher on the likes of Uber and other ride-hailing firms. Rules being considered include clearer reporting methods for complaints and emergencies, and potentially women-only rides.

Today, London's deputy mayor for transport, Val Shawcross said cross-border hiring was "a serious national safety issue". She said:

It cannot be right that drivers can obtain a licence in an area where they believe standards are lower, and then go to work elsewhere in the country where they feel they can ignore enforcement officers. It’s potentially dangerous and must be stopped.

What Val should have said:

It cannot be right that a company TfL knew was illegal, has been allowed to operate illegally without a licence, and is being allowed to carry on operating illegally, by TfLTPH since 2013.

The Directors and managers who said nothing and allowed this operation to carry on operating illegally, should now be in court, facing charges of misconduct in a public office (malfeasance).

This is what Shawcross should be saying this morning, as evidence has been made available to the Mayor's office as well as TfL. 

In his campaign manifesto, Sadiq Khan said, if Uber step out of line just once, I will be the Mayor who runs Uber out of town......?

What are you going to do now SADIQ???

Source : CityAM

Istanbul Taxi Drivers Hunt Down And Beat Up Uber Drivers As TensionsRise.

Tensions between regular taxi drivers and Uber drivers have been brewing for some time in Istanbul, but have recently reached a new high as reports emerge of a group of taxi drivers who allegedly hunt down and beat up Uber drivers at night in the country’s most populous city.
It is claimed that some taxi drivers, pretending to be customers, call Uber vehicles and rough up their drivers in the city’s isolated, quiet quarters, Habertürk newspaper reported on March 7.
Such incidents are not rare occurrences but happen almost every day, according to the newspaper.
Uber driver Oğuz Usta, who alleged that he was the victim of one such attack, has brought the issue to court. Prosecutors are now investigating his claims.
Another Uber driver told Habertürk that they are constantly harassed and insulted by taxi drivers.
“One taxi driver blocked my way and attacked my vehicle. That person produced a knife and tried to force me out my car,” the Uber chauffeur said.
The driver also claimed that in another incident they approached a client and told this person that he could not stand and wait for an Uber vehicle there.

Taxi drivers unhappy over Uber operations
Taxi drivers frequently complain that they are losing customers to Uber.
Their accounts appear to confirm allegations made by Uber drivers.
“They take our customers. We park our vehicles to pick up a customer. But we see a tourist with a cell phone calling an Uber vehicle,” one taxi driver told the newspaper. He also complained that they were unable to make enough money because of Uber.
“If the government does not defend our rights, such incidents [physical confrontations,] will continue to occur,” said another one.
Taxis serve 1.5 million passengers a day, according to the newspaper.
Taxi drivers say that Uber drivers do not pay tax, a claim Uber drivers deny.
Uber drivers say they invoice their customers and pay their tax
Uber has been operating in İstanbul since 2014 and has more than 3,000 drivers, according to Habertürk.
Source : Hurriyet Daily News

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Taxi driver consoled by family of motorbike passenger killed in crash

A 72-year-old Taxi driver who crashed into an oncoming motorbike sending the pillion passenger “somersaulting” through the air before she died was consoled by her family as he was spared jail.

Jerome Lee had picked up a family and was dropping them to their home on Farringdon Road, London, at around 8.45pm on February 21, last year.

As he made a u-turn near the junction with Clerkenwell Road, Lee swung into the path of an oncoming, speeding Ducati motorcycle, the Old Bailey was told on Monday.

Rider Shaun Hoffman was thrown to the ground and survived. But his passenger, Claire Berretti, was thrown a “considerable distance” and suffered catastrophic head injuries.

She was pronounced dead at the scene, jurors heard.

Lee was found guilty on Thursday by a majority of 10-2 of causing death by careless driving and sentenced to a 12-month community order with an unpaid work requirement of 60 hours.

He was also ordered to pay £200 in costs, carry out 10 hours of rehabilitation and was disqualified from driving for 12 months.

Ms Berretti’s family hugged and consoled Lee as he sobbed after being sentenced.

The trial heard mother-of-two Jessenia Gonzalez was in the back of Lee’s silver taxi with her children and husband at the time of the crash.

In a statement read to the court she said that before starting the turn, Lee moved his head as if checking for traffic.

Describing the collision, she added: “There was a screeching of brakes and a loud crunch, and I knew right away that we had hit something.

“[I remember] seeing the girl somersaulting through the air like a gymnast.

“She flew so high through the air, turning and then landing.”

Opening the case prosecutor Joel Smith told jurors: “At the time that the defendant decided to turn around and perform a u-turn, a red Ducati motorcycle was travelling in the other direction nearby, up the Farringdon Road.

“The traffic lights at the junction were staggered. At the time that the defendant performed the manoeuvre the traffic lights at the junction were showing red to him – southbound traffic, but green to northbound traffic.

“Given what was said by the defendant at the scene, it appears he erroneously assumed that they were showing red in both directions, and that he would be able to conduct a u-turn without running into oncoming traffic.

“He was wrong – the prosecution say he was careless.”

Jurors heard Mr Hoffman was riding at 40mph, twice the speed limit, and that he was prosecuted and pleaded guilty to speeding.

Lee, from Edgware, north west London, had denied one count of causing death by careless driving.

Source : Daily Echo 

TfL Licence Information, Re Drivers, Vehicles And Operators.

Licences issued:
Information about the number and type of licence issued will be updated regularly. The following figures cover the week ending Monday 4 March 2018:

• Private hire driver licences - 114,218: a decrease 129 on the previous week, 181 licences are new.

• Private hire vehicle licences - 88,278: a decrease of 17 on the previous week, 444 licences are new.

• Private hire operator licences - 2,386: an increase of 0 on the previous week.

• Taxi driver licences - 23,883: a decrease of 26 on the previous week, 15 licences are new. Of those taxi drivers, 20,846 hold All London licences, and 3,037 hold Suburban licences.

• Taxi vehicle licences - 21,179: a decrease of 67 on the previous week, 5 are new.

Disappearing fast!
67 came off the road for good last week , with only 5 new registrations to take their place. 

After Management Buyout, VeriFone Rebrands As Curb....Cabvision Raise Their Threshold to £900 Per Month.

The past couple of years have seen significant change in the UK taxi industry. In the minefield of electronic payments, some have applied general retail principles to the taxi trade, whilst those driving the VeriFone business forward knew that Taxis needed a total commitment and unique solutions to compete.

Accordingly, the arm are very phone that was dedicated to the taxi trade (VTS), Has undergone the management buyout and will now be operating under the Curb brand name.

Curb has no involvement in the general retail markets and will work exclusively with the professional hard-working drivers and operators who keep our cities moving. Over 18,000 of them across to UK currently use very phone card payment system, and will now be looked after by Curb

Jon Wheeler, Curb VPN UK general manager, is excited about the future. 
“With our dedicated staff and well established card processing systems, we are now looking forward with a renewed sense of purpose and optimism.

“We have very exciting plans to introduce cutting-edge products and services to help our drivers in the future. With newfound freedom to develop these initiatives, there is a real buzz about the place.”

Will and his team are working hard from the Kensington operations centre to ensure a seamless transition for existing drivers across the country, including over 8000 in London alone.

Cabvision to raise threshold to £900, if not met, drivers will have to pay a fee.

Tim Fenton Blows The Lid Off TFL's Complicity . Plus Tonight At The Astral Cafe, Join The Trades Most Proactive Group

Tim Fenton blows the lid off TfLs complicity in licensing Uber as an illegal app. In his blog he accuses TfL of ignoring the regulatory framework and granting Uber licence regardless. 

Tim's Blog post on Zelow Street finishes with the words:
"So there you have it: TfL knew, and spelt out in some detail, that Uber was an illegal operation in December 2013. Then, after lots of high level meetings, and the intervention of Travis Kalanick, along with representatives from Downing Street, it wasn’t.

I hate to use words like corruption, illegality and rule breaking, but there we are. As the fictional US cop once said, what we have here is a total lack of respect for the law"

This is a massive must read. 

Also see this periscope video from Steve Garelick 

Lenny Etheridge on Twitter:

We always knew what was going on. 
Thanks to principled journalists like Tim Fenton, we can get the truth out there without being accused of protectionism. 
It never was a level playing field. 

Uber had the referee, the linesmen, and the fourth official bought off.

Everyone in the mainstream media knows about @10DowningStreet's involvement. They knew about #Cameron#Osborne#Whetstone#Korski#Johnson#Javid#Hendy#Daniels#Emmerson#Chapman#Blake#Bertram#Mason#UberRape#UberPerjury
but the News Proprietors silenced it. 

This proud trade of professional, career Taxi drivers, have been demanding a full public enquiry for many years! 

We have had to take on the Establishment, with only a handful of incorruptible journalists and MPs. 

We fought this corrupt, infected behemoth alone.

Tonight At The Astral Cafe, Join The Trades Most Proactive Driver Group.

After the success of the last two evening events, Grant Davis will again be making a personal appearance at the Astral Cafe in Regency Street, corner of Horseferry Road (8:00-10:00pm) to sign up drivers to the trades most proactive driver group, the London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC).

The clubs members recently voted to ban Gett from advertising in its in house paper the Badge, when it emerged that Gett were advertising and offering a minicab service through their Gett Taxi smart phone app. 

Many drivers are upset about what's happened at Gett and we've heard reports that drivers are asking garages to remove liveries and refusing to take out vehicles carrying Gett's adverts. 

Well done to the club for being at the front line in this matter. 

The Badge -which hits the ranks this Friday- promises to be an explosive edition and will definitely put the cat amongst the pigeons, so make sure you get your copy.

If you have any questions about the clubs direction, please come along and speak to Chairman Grant Davis. 

The London Taxi Drivers Club...Proactive, Not Reactive.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Sorry Driver, I've Got No Cash And Your Terminal's Not Working...Im Not Paying.

Over the past few months, it's become apparent that there is a new trend in bilking a Taxi driver, utilising a credit card equipment as an excuse.

The passenger fumbles with the machine (if you just pullout the card slightly and reinsert the transaction won't go through on most rear fitted machines). They then say, they have no other form of payment. 

A couple of times I've managed to beat them at their own game by setting a price on a backup iZettle unit and asking if I can examine the card....them quickly tapping contactless. But most of the time the bilkers have a cancelled or non-contactless card. 

You must remember, you may compromise your safety and put yourself at risk, by getting out and entering/leaning into the passenger compartment. 
So you need to be extremely aware of the type of passenger you are dealing with. 
Personally, I always turn the dash cam round to record what's happening (for my own safety).

Unfortunately, a problem has now emerged in connection to this type of fraud, in the form of non-attendance by police. Yet if you were to lock a passenger in the Taxi and take to a police station (assuming you can find one open at night), you are at risk of being charged with false imprisonment. 

Last night a friend came into Camley Street saying he had just suffered an expensive bilk (£32). He'd taken a lady to Colbrook Row in N1, where her card had not been accepted by his rear fitted CC reader. She insisted there was nothing wrong with her card and that it must be his terminal at fault. She added she had no cash.

The driver said "in that case I'll take you round to the cash machine", which she agreed to. 
But once there, she got out and said "I've tried to pay you, it's your fault not mine". Refusing to use the ATM, she just walked away. 

The driver called the police saying he had been bilked but was following the passenger who had now become aggressive. 

To his surprise, after taking 'all' his details -including his birthdate, home address, registration and badge number- the emergency operator gave him a case number and said they would call him back within 48 hours and that they wouldn't be attending the scene in person.

This is the price we are paying for Khans toilet facilities for bus drivers....£6m spent on super-loos for bus drivers, while closing down London police stations and reducing the amount of officers to raise the cash.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Harrow Taxi Driver Stabbed 8 Times In Attempted Robbery Deemed Not Newsworthy

We’ve received news that a Harrow licensed Taxi driver has been stabbed 8 times, in an attempted robbery. 
The driver was taken to a nearby hospital, but his injuries have been confirmed as not life threatening. 

The incedent took place on the Taxi rank outside Harrow On The Hill Station, on Collage Road Harrow Town centre, at approx 5:30am on Sunday morning. 

So far, the attack hasn’t been mention in any form of main news media...except for the local paper online page and a tweet put out this afternoon by Harrow Met Police.

The Tweet form Harrow Met Police reads:
Yesterday morning at 05:30 a Taxi driver was stabbed multiple times in Harrow Town Centre during an attempted robbery. 

His injuries have been confirmed as non-life threatening. Any witnesses to the incident are urged to contact #Harrow Police on 101.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Will Uber Crash At Buckingham Palace Be Covered Up Like Exhibition Road Incident?

An Uber car has crashed into the gate of Buckingham Palace in the early hours of Sunday Morning.

The incident took place a little before 12:30 a.m. local time, Sunday (7:30 p.m. EST, Saturday). Images of the aftermath of the incident show Police at the scene standing in front of anyone filming or taking photos.

According to initial reports, the car in question appeared to be an Uber and the crash is being treated as an isolated vehicular accident. It is not being looked at as a deliberate act of violence or a terrorist attack (there's a surprise)

"So scary. Loads of police here. Being told to move back by the police,” said Mathew Vincent, who witnessed the scene. "Police were stopping anyone trying to video the scene". 

It's not immediately known how many members of the royal family were present at the palace at the time of the attack. Also, it is yet to be determined if the police have apprehended the driver of the car.


Looks like we could see another cover up of TfL stakeholder Uber. It's already gone from most all UK news channels.

It's been alleged by our insider, that top TfL staff were called in early this morning, to discuss the incident. 

Last October, we saw an Uber driver mow down pedestrians on Exhibition Road. 

Although eleven members of the public were taken to hospital, the story was killed in the press within hours.


This is the second time a car has driven into gates at Buckingham Palace. Back in January 1995, a Volkswagen Sirocco smash through the gates. 

Taxi Leaks Late Night Extra :
As we said earlier this story has now been buried. No mention on UK news channels since breakfast this morning . 

And yet a friend has just had a call from family members on holiday in Mexico who said its all over the news there. 

Not often they handcuff someone at the scene of an "accident" 😏, no mention of the driver being drunk either...