Saturday, March 17, 2018

Companies Queuing Up To Relocate Away From The Capital, Over TfL And The Mayor's Crazy Traffic Schemes

A senior employee at Unilever has told a Taxi Leaks researcher, that owning to the difficulty in getting to meetings at their Blackfriars HQ, the company is relocating to Rotterdam. 

Paul, our researcher said, the conversation took place, while taking home the senior member of Unilever staff. 

The passenger said "owning to the nightmare of getting into work to attend meetings, it’s been decided to relocate the company’s HQ to Holland".

He went on to say how the changes to the area along the Embankment, Blackfriars Bridge and Farringdon Street, have made the area virtually inaccessible for most of the working day. 

Recent road works in Queen Victoria street and the Bank Junction have also added to the problem.

So much for Sadiq Khans catch phrase “London’s Open”.

Istanbul taxi drivers go to court to seek shutdown of Uber

(Reuters) - Istanbul's taxi drivers have taken Uber to court, accusing the U.S.-based ride-hailing app of endangering their livelihoods in a case that could crimp its business in Europe's largest city.

It is the latest instance of court action, restrictions, bans and protests around the world over Uber's high-tech, low-cost challenge to traditional taxi services. Uber was forced to shut down in Denmark and Hungary and has suspended operations in Morocco while it gets in line with local laws.

Hundreds of Istanbul taxi drivers rallied in front of a city courthouse holding the first hearing on the case on Monday, holding up signs reading "We do not want the global thief Uber".

In their court action, the cabbies accuse Uber of running an unlicensed taxi service in Turkey and want the app banned. The next hearing was scheduled for June.

Tensions have risen in Istanbul, home to over 15 million people, since Uber entered the Turkish market in 2014. Some Uber drivers say they have been threatened and beaten by yellow cab drivers, an accusations the taxi industry denies.

Public sentiment on social media appears to be overwhelmingly in favor of Uber, with "#idon'tusetaxis" and "#don'ttouchuber" becoming trending topics in Turkish.

Some users of Uber have said they are fed up with what they call the rough manners and reckless driving of conventional cabbies, the circuitous, fare-inflating routes they take and the stench of cigarettes inside their vehicles.

"Until today, taxi drivers chose passengers," one user, Sinem, tweeted, referring to taxi drivers who won't accept short trips, even for pregnant women. "Now we want to choose our means of transportation. #donttouchuber."

Another user, Orhan, said that Uber drivers were more courteous and did not overcharge passengers.

Private broadcaster Haberturk reported last week that a group of taxi drivers recently hailed an Uber car and then beat the driver and damaged his vehicle.


Such incidents are staged to sway public opinion and shape the outcome of the court case, according to Eyup Aksu, head of the Chamber of Istanbul Taxi Businesses, which represents around 50,000 taxi drivers with 18,000 licensed cabs.

"The reported incidents are plots and provocations done by Uber drivers in order to influence the case," Aksu said.

The issue has been escalated all the way to President Tayyip Erdogan, Aksu said, adding that the Interior Ministry was drafting regulations to foster a solution.

"If we do not get support politically, we will continue to repeat our stance to the politicians," he said.

No one was available for comment at the Interior Ministry.

Taxi drivers point to onerous costs they must pay but Uber does not. Number plates for taxis, required in Istanbul to drive a yellow cab cost around 1.5 million lira ($385,000), though in most cases a cabbie may "borrow" a plate from its owners for a monthly fee of 4,000-7,000 lira. 

Uber said that about 2,000 yellow cab drivers use the Uber app to find customers, while another 3,000 work for UberXL, using large vans to transport groups to parties, or run people with bulky luggage to Istanbul's main airport.

It declined to reveal the number of Uber users in Turkey, where it operates in Istanbul, and in the resort towns of Bodrum and Cesme in the summer months.

"We are appalled by the violence and are doing everything we can to support (our) drivers," Uber said in an emailed statement, adding that it could not elaborate on the court case while it was still ongoing.

One Uber XL driver, Irfan Er, said a taxi driver threatened him with a knife one night last week as he was carrying passengers. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Cyclist Known For Aggression Towards London Taxi Drivers, Launches Unwarranted Attack On Female Lenny Etheridge

Taxi drivers have to put up with all kinds of abuse from disgruntled cyclist. 

A cyclist known for his aggression towards London Taxi drivers, launched a horrendous attack on a lady Taxi driver, yesterday afternoon. The whole incident was recorded on a bus CCTV, behind the Taxi. 

The bus driver has said he is a willing to be a witness to the attack. Police were called to the incident, but the cyclist ran off before they arrived.

Observers said, the cyclist approached the Licensed Taxi at the lights. He got off his bike and proceeded to smash both of the lady's wing mirrors. He then threw three punches towards the female Taxi drivers face, through the open window, as she sat terrified in her cab.  

This is the face of the aggressor who is alleged to have launched the unwarranted attack on a female Cabby in Southwark Street by the lights with Great Suffolk Street.

The police have shown great interest in this unwarranted attack. They said "the cyclist is well known to us and will be easy to find".

The lady cabby was not far from her garage and after a phone call, a mechanic rushed to her assistance in his van.

The bus driver was very helpful telling her, the whole incident has been captured on the buses CCTV system. 
By the time the police arrived, the despicable, cowardly cyclist had shot off.

If you see this man, please alert the police. The job's dangerous enough without having to put up with lunatics like this!

What they said on Twitter!

Uber Accused Of Silencing Women Who Claim Sexual Assault By Drivers

Court records reveal company says women must settle through arbitration, a move critics say stops the public from learning of rapes

Uber is trying to force women who say they were sexually assaulted by drivers to resolve their claims behind closed doors rather than in the courts, a move that critics say silences victims and shields the company from public scrutiny.

Court records in a California class-action lawsuit revealed that the ride-sharing firm has argued that female passengers who speak up about being raped in an Uber must individually settle their cases through arbitration, a private process that often results in confidentiality agreements. 

Nine women from across the US have joined the case, seeking to represent all women who have been assaulted or experienced violence in Uber cars in hopes of pushing the corporation to reform and better protect passengers. Uber, however, has filed a motion arguing that the riders agreed to privately arbitrate all disputes when they signed up for the ride-share service and thus have no right to file a lawsuit. 

Uber’s lawyers are relying on a legal mechanism that has faced intense scrutiny in Silicon Valley over the last year as the #MeToo movement has shone a light on sexual misconduct in US workplaces and in Hollywood. Arbitration clauses have prevented victims of sexual harassment and discrimination from moving forward with lawsuits, allowing companies to avoid public trials, and critics say it makes it easier for serial offenders to keep their jobs and target new victims. 

Susan Fowler, the former Uber engineer whose viral account of sexual harassmentsparked a reckoning about abuse in the male-dominated tech industry, has pushed for an end to arbitration agreements. In December, Microsoft became the first high-profile tech company to announce it would eliminate forced arbitration, recognizing that the “silencing of people’s voices” can perpetuate sexual misconduct. 

“Our clients deserve a trial,” said Jeanne M Christensen, one of the class-action attorneys who filed a motion Thursday fighting Uber’s efforts to push the women into arbitration. “The goal is to force Uber to acknowledge that this is happening and to do something about it.” 

Christensen argued that arbitration prevents the public from learning about the frequency and severity of rapes and assaults by Uber drivers and inevitably results in non-disclosure agreements that silence the women, making it less likely that other victims will speak up. 

In the case of one plaintiff from Miami, an Uber driver carried the intoxicated passenger into her home when he dropped her off and raped her, according to the complaint. A Los Angeles driver allegedly assaulted another plaintiff who fell asleep in his car. A 26-year-old plaintiff from San Francisco said an Uber driver pushed his way into her apartment building and groped her. 

The women are “horrified and shocked that this is what happened to them, and they are also horrified that people aren’t talking about it, and that Uber has been fairly successful at keeping it out of the news”, said Christensen. 

An Uber spokesperson said in an email: “The allegations brought forth in this case are important to us and we take them very seriously. Arbitration is the appropriate venue for this case because it allows the plaintiffs to publicly speak out as much as they want and have control over their individual privacy at the same time.”

The spokesperson did not, however, respond to questions about whether Uber’s arbitration settlement agreements allow the women to speak out or if they include standard confidentiality clauses. Christensen also noted that the women already have control over their privacy – they are listed as “Jane Does” in the suit. 

Veena Dubal, an associate law professor at the University of California, Hastings, who has advocated for Uber drivers’ rights, said she has interviewed drivers who have filed claims against the company and were subsequently unable to speak to her due to settlement agreements. 

People involved in class-action suits against Uber “want the public and the state and Uber to recognize that their experiences are not random”, said Dubal. “They are the result of a structural problem. … They want Uber to make changes.” 

Uber has an interest in removing these cases from the public eye,” said Bryant Greening, an attorney with LegalRideshare, which represents Uber riders and drivers. “It’s despicable … It’s a public safety issue and it’s an issue that’s relevant to our community.

Source : The Gaudian 


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A Game of Cat and Mouse, or Uber keeping out of the Courts... by Lee Ward.

Well, my hangover has finally dissipated from the session I went on after the hearing in Sheffield on Tuesday, I think.
Let me take this time to reflect on what was said, what decision was made and what has happened since.

Uber came to the hearing fully armed, the local manager, the head of Cities in the North of England, an inhouse legal representative and Phillip Kolvin QC, all suited and booted and a brief case I wouldn’t fill if I used it for a weekend away at Skeg Vegas.

I sat and listened to Mr Kolvin explain somewhere in the region of 14 points that Uber are going to implement through thiscoming year, all to make the journey safer for the public….. SAFER for the PUBLIC, now I don’t know about you people out there, but isn’t that exactly what an operator should ensure anyway?

Geo Fencing the UK to appease local authorities regardingCross Border Hiring, ‘local’ authorities that are still 50 to 70 miles apart. However, they were adamant that each City or Town will not have its own Geo Fence.

Showing the customer where the driver is licensed when they are shown what driver and vehicle are coming to collect them. Giving the customer a chance to cancel if they don’t want someone from Out of Town to pick them up, provided it isn’t surging of course.

A landline for customers to call someone if they are feeling threatened, that same landline that they said was not needed because of the safety aspect of their App.

If a driver receives too many complaints, they will inform licensing of them when they deactivate his account.

If licensing require the GPS trail of a driver who may have been plying for hire then they will supply that information when asked, just like all operators already do, its called a Section 73 but I am sure Mr Kolvin knew this.

A couple of Air Quality tick boxes were also thrown in for good measure, because every council is on a mission for emissions.
Making all UberX vehicles to be Hybrid by 2020 and all electric by 2024, at the customers expense which they failed to mention, but it made them look good.

Installing a charge point infrastructure for the electric vehicles that they will consider the public to be allowed to use also, why not, they did pay for them after all.

So, from this speech, and a great speech it was too, the Licensing Sub Committee (for those that are not familiar, the sub committee is 3 councilors and a legal advisor) got to ask some questions of Uber.

Now, I have to say that at this point I knew what the outcome was going to be, I have represented drivers for minor issues who were asked more questions than Uber were asked in that meeting.
One of the questions that was asked however was who accepts the booking and Mr Kolvin stated that it is Uber that accept the booking and not the driver and that what is happening in London is not relevant to Sheffield because the 98 Act and the 76 Act are different, of course there was no mention of the App being the same though.

I had submitted a 52 page document to Sheffield in objection to this license being granted and went to great detail in who invited and accepted the booking, I can only assume that it was not read, or if it was then was not understood.
We were all then asked to leave the room for the Sub Committee to make a decision on the license, no one was allowed to talk from the trade (from both sides of the argument)

While we waited, Mr Kolvin told me that I had spoilt his weekend with my objection paper (guess someone read it then) and that I made a great argument or words to that effect, I was pulling the knives from my back at the time.
Anyway, we all get called by in to be told the verdict...
Granted a five year license as applied for.

Should the court cases that are under way prove to not go in Ubers favor, we will have no other option than to bring you before the committee to decide on what implications those decisions may have.

95% of the room had smiles from ear to ear, I had resignation throughout my whole body and waited for the fun and games to begin from the Uber Defense League that to be fair to them was nothing as bad as I expected, I had already reached for my bull shit deflectors and had them at the ready, so fair play to them.

This is myself after the decision with Nadeem Najib and Mick Swift who drive for Uber in Sheffield
Now, lets look at what happens next, it gets a little interesting.
The following day, Uber drop their appeal against the decision in York, why?

Was it because the last thing Uber wanted is for the court to go against Uber and Sheffield have them back in?

This is no disrespect to the Associations in York who put up a grand fight, but do Uber consider Sheffield more important than York?

Perhaps, they have according to Mr Kolvin 400 drivers licensed by Sheffield on the Uber platform that I beg to differ, because they include part time drivers who also work on other companies too. 

Full time drivers, I would estimate to be around 200 but 400 always sounds better when the mindset is that a decision may put 400 drivers out of work, or more importantly deciding that 400 drivers work for more traditional and legal taxi companies but that never gets mentioned.

Then comes the news of Uber stating that they have updated their App so that customers know that a booking is now accepted by Uber London Limited, however, they have not updated their terms and Conditions, so even if a miracle of code writing has occurred, Uber are still not held accountable by the customer should anything happen.

I wonder what’s next, will Mr Kolvin advise Uber to ‘assist’ the drivers who pleaded not guilty for Plying for Hire in Reading so that Uber once again keep the process of their platform out of court, perhaps, they are after all spending £160,000 on drivers who worked in Sheffield while licensed in such as Wolverhampton (that’s another story), London and Rossendale.

The fact is, as time goes by, Uber can recode what they want, toshow what they want while the system still in effect works as it always has, again both here and abroad.

I will keep this one shorter than usual, but I am going to put a request out to (in no particular order) Steve Wright (UPHD), Trevor Merrills (UCG), Grant Davies (LCDC), Steve McNamara (LTDA) Steve Garelick (GMB).

Please, stop the infighting, stop the bigotry and work together for the TfL case coming up in June, just 13 or so weeks away.

The trade look to you for guidance, help and support. They don’t want to hear all the negative arguments between the Organisations. The trade’s subs go towards fighting for them not towards fighting between each other, if you want a pissing contest then do it on your own time and not at the expense of the drivers.

I have done all I can on shirt buttons lads, do what you can with what you have in those chests, share the cost. The drivers will respect you more for a hard fight and spending every penny than no fight and having a chest full of dusty fivers.

It’s down to London now, I can’t afford a Judicial Revue, unless there is a benefactor out there that believes in my fight and what I fight for….
3 month, that’s all we have left, the government is not going to help, the councils can’t afford to help and the trade doesn’t seem to want to help themselves.

In a society filled with the best lawyers and state of the art technology it's obscene to just let this trade wither away and die.

Every driver is covered by an insurance policy that they paid good money for, not a lot of money but good honest money, their licenses and their subs.

I am alone in this fight, seriously outgunned and I am scared…but I am right and I swear revenge…
Be lucky out there and stay safe.


A Message To Lee Ward From Mike Palmer (MatteBlackTaxi) York.

Lee, we appreciated your help in York in December, so hope you know you can have any help from us you want. 

We understand that this is a national battle where every Taxi, PH and HC driver can do their bit.

I know there are a lot of people wanting to do whatever they can in this struggle for safety and transparency up and down the country.

Mike Palmer & the trade in York

Thursday, March 15, 2018

News, Road, Events Consultations Updates....from TfL

News Updates
Cross border hiring
We've published a proposal for legislative change relating to cross border hiring. 

The latest issue of OnRoute magazine includes articles about managing stress and anxiety, checking your rented private hire vehicle, test driving the new TX eCity, and useful advice on where you can and cannot park in the Capital.

Results of Oxford Street transformation consultation
With more than 22,000 consultation responses received, plans to transform Oxford Street and the surrounding area into an unrivalled place to live, work and visit have received widespread support. Read the full report here 

New electric vehicle charging points
Source London has announced a partnership with LEVC that means black cab drivers can benefit from discounted charging rates and a limited-time welcome offer of a free one-year membership. 

Roads update
Waterloo Station
From 20:00 on Friday 16 until 20:00 on Sunday 18 March, Station Approach Road will be closed to all vehicles. This is for a crane operation. Taxis to use Spur Road for access and egress to the taxi rank. 

Central London
Until 23:59 tonight, Thursday 15 March, Constitution Hill between Hyde Park Corner and The Mall is closed in both directions to facilitate works. In addition, there will be temporary traffic signals at the junction of Constitution Hill and Hyde Park Corner. 

Central London
There will be road closures on the weekends of 17 and 31 March on Albert Embankment between Lambeth Bridge and Tinworth Street, from 06:00 on Saturday until 22:00 on Sunday. This is for a crane operation. 

Rotherhithe Tunnel
Vehicles more than two metres (six foot six inches) wide - excluding wing mirrors - are not permitted through the tunnel. This is to ensure safety and reduce the risk of collisions. All London licensed taxis (black cabs) can use the tunnel. Visit 

Borough High Street
From 21:00 on Sunday 18 until 05:00 on Monday 19 March A3 Borough High Street and London Bridge will be closed northbound between St Thomas Street and Cannon Street. This is due to carriageway resurfacing works.

From 11:00 until 19:00 on Saturday 17 March, there will be road closures on Portland Place, Parliament Square via Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Haymarket, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall. This is for a demonstration. In addition, there will also be road closures on Paddington Green, Richmond Terrace via Edgware Road, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Haymarket, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall. This is also for a demonstration. 

Six Nations Rugby 
From 12:00 until 19:00 on Saturday 17 March, roads around Twickenham Stadium will be busier than usual, including A316 Chertsey Road and all roads leading to Twickenham Station. 

The Barbican Centre will be hosting a public event in Beech Tunnel. To facilitate this, Beech Street and Chiswell Street will be closed for the duration of the event until 18:00 on Monday 19 March 2018.  

Fulham 10k 
Between 06:00 and 12:30 on Sunday 18 March the following roads will be closed to facilitate the event: New King’s Road, Parsons Green Road, Munster Road, Dawes Road and Fulham Road. 

St Patrick’s Day parade
On Sunday 18 March, Piccadilly will be closed eastbound between Hyde Park Corner and Half Moon Street from 09:30 until 15:00. In addition the following roads will be closed from 11:30: Piccadilly Circus, Shaftesbury Avenue westbound from Cambridge Circus, Haymarket, Regent Street St James's, Waterloo Place, Pall Mall, Cockspur Street, Trafalgar Square and approaches, Whitehall and Whitehall Place. Roads are expected to have re-opened by 16:00.
Alexandra Palace
  Saturday 17 March between 18:30 and 22:45 for All Time Low (capacity 8,000)
Wembley Arena
  Friday 16 March between 19:00 and 22:30 for 40 Years of Disco (capacity 10,000)
  Saturday 17 March between 19:00 and 22:30 for Jason Derulo (capacity 12,000)

Rank Suspensions
The following ranks will be out of service:
  5605, High Street (Uxbridge Station) from 00:30 on Friday 16 until 05:00 on Saturday 17 March and again between 22:30 on Sunday 18 and 05:00 on Monday 19 March. This is for unloading
  5489, Hampstead Road (Greater London House) from 08:00 until 18:00 on Saturday 17 March. This is for a crane operation
  5455, Grays Inn Road from 08:00 on Saturday 17 until 18:00 on Sunday 18 March. This is for a crane operation
  5666, Harrington Road (South Kensington Station) from 08:00 until 16:30 on Sunday 18 March. This is for a crane operation. The feeder rank will be available at all times
  5715, Piccadilly (Fortnum and Masons) from 11:00 until 16:00 on Sunday 18 March. This is for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  4978, Regent Street (Lillywhites) from 11:00 until 16:00 on Sunday 18 March. This is for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  4761, Hamilton Place (Intercontinental Hotel from 11:00 until 13:00 on Sunday 18 March. This is for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  5996, Holland Street (Tate) from 08:00 on Monday 19 until 17:00 on Friday 30 March. This is due to carriageway works
  5324, Half Moon Street from 07:00 on Monday 19 until 18:00 on Monday 9 April. This is due to carriageway works
  5487 & 5488, North Wharf Road from 08:00 on Monday 19 until 18:00 on Tuesday 27 March. This is due to gas works

St. Thomas Street, London Bridge proposals
We’re consulting on proposals to make St. Thomas Street one-way only. The consultation closes on 10 April and details of the proposals can be found here 

Walking and cycling proposals – Farringdon area
Camden is consulting on proposed changes in the Farringdon area. The consultation closes on 23 Marchand details of the proposals can be found here 

Electric vehicle charging points
Tower Hamlets is consulting on locations for electric vehicle charging points. The consultation closes on 31 December and more information can be found here

Taxi driver survey
As part of the wider review of taxi fares and tariffs we’re conducting a survey amongst taxi (black cab) drivers on fixed/capped fares to and from Heathrow Airport. If you would like to complete the survey then this can be found here  

Glasshouse Street
Westminster is consulting on changes to Glasshouse Street. The consultation closes on 16 March and details of the proposals can be found here

Old Kent Road Area Action Plan
Southwark is consulting on their Old Kent Road Area Action Plan. The consultation closes on 21 Marchand details of the plan can be found here 

Kentish Town Road/Fortess Road/Highgate Road junction improvement 
Camden is consulting on changes in Kentish Town Road/Fortess Road/Highgate Road. The consultation closes on 16 March and details of the proposals can be found here 

Heathrow expansion
Heathrow Airport is carrying out a consultation on proposals to expand Heathrow and the principles to redesign their airspace. The consultation closes on 28 March and details of the proposals and consultation events can be found here 

For the latest updates please follow us on Twitter @TfLTPH

TfL To Change Legislation In Order To Suit Private Hire Ride Share Apps.

After the recent exposes from Tim Fenton, which shows us that not only have Uber been operating illegally all along, but that TfL knew about this, most of the time, did and said nothing in a massive cover up. 

We now find that TfL are actively changing the regulations to suit Ride Sharing App companies. 

Can't conform to existing problem we'll just change it to suit you !

TfL has published a new policy statement setting out how private hire and ride-sharing services can operate in the Capital :-

This is in response to changes in the private hire industry and the many new services being offered. 

It has been designed to ensure London remains the world leader in regulating taxi and private hire services while maintaining the safety of passengers.

The private hire and ride-sharing market has been transformed in recent years as new technology has made it easier and cheaper to book rides through apps, resulting in a significant increase in the number of people opting to use private hire services. An increasing number of services are also emerging in London that include ride-sharing, in which passengers share vehicles and pay separate fares.

Current legislation was introduced before these technologies were developed and TfL recognises the need for clarity on what is now required to ensure the highest possible standards are maintained.

Helen Chapman, 'Interim' Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging, said: ‘The private hire market is unrecognisable from when current legislation was introduced. The growth of ride-sharing and other advances mean that regulation has to be fit for the next decade and not the last. 

Our vision sets out clearly how we will manage these new developments that improve convenience for customers, while ensuring safety remains our top priority. The document also makes clear that any new developments in the sector have to fit with the objectives of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy.’

With companies illegally licensed, passenger sexual attacks including rapes from PH drivers up by 50%, data hacking, tracking passengers after they've left the vehicle, the GreyBall program, customer credit card fraud and massive increases in road traffic accidents, TFL's record to date is shockingly poor!

TfL is already progressing new regulations to assess private hire drivers and applicants on safeguarding, disability, equality and knowledge of private hire legislation as part of an enhanced driver assessment package.

It is also already considering proposals
for consultation in relation to an advanced driving test, private hire operator fleet insurance and private hire vehicle signage, and the impact of removing the Congestion Charge exemption for private hire vehicles.

To ensure regulation keeps up with the rapidly evolving private hire sector, licences may be issued for shorter periods during the programme of regulatory reform. Any advances in convenience for the customer have to be accompanied by the appropriate protections for passengers. 

Taxi Leaks Extra Bit : 

There have been calls for motorbikes to be able to use the capitals new system of segregated cycle lanes in order to bring down the shocking number of fatalities to riders and passengers. 

Can't wait to see the reaction from the cycle lobby when they find out they may have to share their cycle super highways with scooters, mopeds and motorbikes.