Saturday, August 04, 2018

Private Hire Driver Prosecuted, After Being Caught Using His Suspended Private Hire Vehicle.

Junaid Yaqoob of Green Keepers Road, Great Denham, pleaded guilty to using an unlicensed vehicle and driving without insurance on three occasions in November 2017. 

He was fined £211 and £635 respectively. He was also given six DVLA penalty points and ordered to pay costs of £900 with a victim surcharge of £63.

At the time of the offences his vehicle was operated by taxi firm Speedline.

Milton Keynes Magistrates Court heard that an MK Council taxi patrol officer was on duty at the CMK train station on November 29 when he conducted a compliance check on Mr Yaqoob’s vehicle. 

He noted the brake light was not working and issued a written notice suspending the vehicle for use as a private hire vehicle. 

Mr Yaqoob was advised that the vehicle could no longer be used to provide private hire services until the defect was repaired and then presented to South Northants Council who would inspect the vehicle and lift the suspension.

Later that day the patrol officer saw Mr Yaqoob’s vehicle again at CMK train station and noted the defective brake light had not been repaired.

The patrol officer then obtained booking records from operator Speedline who confirmed that Mr Yaqoob’s vehicle had completed three private hire bookings after the patrol officer had suspended his vehicle.

A spokesman for MK Council, said: “I would like to commend our taxi patrol officer for his vigilant work and taking the appropriate action. 

"This result will hopefully send a strong message to all drivers who want to ignore council officers as they will be caught and prosecuted.”

Shame London PCO's aren't as vigilant and up to this standard and no longer patrol the WestEnd and City. Apparently they only respond to what they are calling intelligence led compliance. But this Intelligence led compliance is shrouded in secrecy. 

Another reason why all meeting with TfL need to be minuted, especially compliance!!!

Private hire cars parked every night on Hakassans, refusing to move....they say it's not marked out as a rank so they can park. They get very aggressive, with PCO's about as rare as a sola eclipse.

As complaints are made nightly about Private Hire vehicles parking on the busy working ranks at Shepherds Bush, Hakkasan and Nobu's....we can only assume they are not taking any notice of 'our' intelligence. 


Cabs kept off or blocked in by a constant stream of Uber cars using the Bush rank as a pick up point. 


Thursday, August 02, 2018

What Have Demos Ever Won Part Two : DDD The Straw That Broke The Camels Back ?


         

After seeing the Flash Demo outside the Spanish embassy in Belgravia, Spanish taxi authorities end Uber strike after licence limits agreed. 

Spanish taxi drivers ended a six-day strike late on Wednesday after the government agreed to set tough limits on licences for online ride-hailing companies including Uber, the latest setback for a company that has faced protests in many countries.

Thousands of taxi drivers across the country had blocked major city streets with their cabs in protest against competition they say works under less restrictive regulations that make it impossible for them to compete.

The government agreed to pass new regulations in September guaranteeing a cap on licences for Uber and similar services at a ratio of just one permit for every 30 taxi permits.

A representative of the ride-hailing services said some taxi drivers had attacked its members during the strike. Spain's taxi association said it condemned all violence.

Ride-hailing services, which offer rides that undercut taxi prices online rather than being hailed in the street, have become increasingly popular worldwide in recent years.

Backed by investors including Goldman Sachs and BlackRock and valued at more than $70 billion (£53.4 billion), Uber views Western Europe as an increasingly important market.

It has pulled out of China, Russia and Southeast Asia, and its future in India, where it is battling local rival Ola, is in question.

London cab drivers are considering bringing a class action suit against Uber after the mobile app was granted a temporary licence renewal to operate in the British capital.

The explosive growth of for-hire vehicles in New York and a rise in suicides by yellow taxi drivers struggling to compete has prompted the municipality to consider capping the services, the first such restriction in the country.

If the new regulation in Spain is not fully enforced by September, taxis would strike again, National Taxi Association president Julio Sanz said in a statement.

The legislation would prompt the layoff of thousands of drivers from Uber and ride-hailing rival Cabify as they currently have 9,000 permits compared with 70,000 for taxis, far from the 30:1 ratio agreed with unions.

The ride-hailing services reported a significant number of attacks against their members by taxi drivers during the strike.

There were "very serious incidents including cars being stoned, cars overturned, gun shots and a great number of drivers treated for stress and bruises," their representative Eduardo Martin said.

The taxi association said its representatives condemned all aggression and violence, and urged members to keep all protests peaceful.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :🤣


TAXI LEAKS AND FINALLY BIT : 👀👍🏻

And finally good news from Proximo 
The fantastic, well trialed range extended from Metrocab is apparently back on tracks.
The new MetroCab should be rolling off a production line by the end of 2018.  

Proximo should have its first of its electric MetroCab taxis available for hire shortly, so watch this space for further details!

Also see this earlier post :

But then don't take my word for it, this appeared on Twitter yesterday 


Statement From The Striking Barcelona taxi drivers

The assembly has decided to give back service

We have won an important battle but the war will continue in September if the agreement is not fulfilled

Thank you all for your support!!

Workers of the Unios world !!! 💪

See you on the street!!

            

What Have Demos Ever Won For Us.....Are You Kidding!!!

It's all getting a bit monotonous, with drivers saying demos have never won anything, or we've never got anything from protesting.

Is their memory really that bad, or have the victories been blotted out by the fake news put out by orgs who refuse to upset TfL and call any protesting Taxi Drivers 'Loonies'.

Let's just reflect on the list of victories that protests, demonstrations and Flash Mob hits have achieved. 


A massive demo and coordinated rest day in the seventies stopped us having to collect VAT for the government on Taxi fares!

Another mass protested at the old GLA HQ stopped speed bus being introduced across London in segregated bus lanes similar to the cycle lanes we see today, which would have created large no-go areas for Taxis across the capital!

We demonstrated at Westminster Council House to stop Westminster council introducing licensed Private Hire offices across the west end, it proved successful even though the LTDA told its members to stay away!

Jim Wells led many night time protests which saw:
• Mr Ali's illegal operation finally closed down
• Rank extension at the Victoria Sporting Casino
• The booking desk at the Hippodrome removed
• Cab rank outside Stringfellows
•The lines of touts moved from outside Hombre and The Sports Cafe 
• Ranks appointed in Coventry Street.


Under LCDC's chairman Jim Wells leadership, we also created a data base of the registration numbers of virtually every private hire vehicle in London. Ideas was to have an on line data base that people could check to see if secondhand cars had been used as Minicabs. 

All these victories where achieved by rank and file driver protest, flash mods and demonstration. 
 
When TfL sublet the bus stand in Whitcomb street to a private hire operator (WestOne Cars) with Marshals touting sending potential passengers to a booking office in Leicester Square, we had a massive demo and the cars were forced to moved into the car park on the courier of Panton Street. Once out of view, it finished them off and the Marshals (financed by Westminster) disappeared. 

Killer on the Knowledge fiasco : 
We then heard through in insider at TfL, there was a Private Hire driver, (who had murdered his wife and also seriously assaulted his daughter) on the knowledge, we held two mass demos outside Penton Street and not only was he slung off the KoL, but the Managing Director for TfLTPH (Ed Thomson), was moved on. 

The TaG hit squads Flash demos at Tiger Tiger, Charing Cross Road and Swallow street led to new ranks being appointed as did the driver led action from the Mayfair Mob at Nobu, Hakassan and Novikov in the WestEnd and the Forge rank in the City. 

Not forgetting the night time demos and flash mob protests at Smithfield to get ranks at Smiths and Fabrics.


 I had a conversation over the weekend with a driver sitting on the Shard taxi rank who said "demos don't work". I pointed out to him, that the only reason he was able to sit comfortably on the Shard rank, was the fact that the LCDC had organised a protest at Palestra over Peter Hendy saying it was impossible to have a rank in St Thomas street for the Shard.

If protesting for the salvation of the trade that gives you and your family a living makes you a Loonie in the eyes of the LTDA general Secretary, then sign me up to the asylum

In my eyes appeasement for an easy ride and a seat at the table, is treason towards your trade and your fellow drivers.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : by Lenny Etheridge. 

Let's not underestimate the great British right to protest.

If the police got lemon - it would show the world how undemocratic the United Kingdom  is (not via the BBC obviously).

The last #ITA 5 day demo got our message into the newspapers and onto TV, on all 5 consecutive days!

How do you think the rape stats got into the media and public consciousness?

Proper on foot #DDD marches with bespoke placards, banners and leaflets.


The public and TV cameras could not unsee our message.

The Christmas sticker campaign went smashingly.
I still see them around London, eighteen months later!

A demo without a message, is worthlessness.

TAXI LEAKS AND FINALLY BIT : by LTR

On merit, the LTDA COM should GO. The systematic erosion to our industry has culminated in over 100,000 minicabs plotting up all over the Capital. Evidence- if it were needed- of the LTDA’s utter failure to defend the best interests of the cab trade

Justice Must Be Seen To Be Done : Wendy's Wheels Loses Licence For Being Not Fit And Proper


In the recent case against Uber, chumoxcracy judge Emma Arbuthnot, tried Uber not on the evidence presented to her, which clearly and indisputably showed (on Uber's own admittance) them to be 'not fit and proper', but on what the company might aspire to become in the future. 

It's like the judge saying to John Reginald Christie "we know you killed these women and that child, but if you promise not to do it again, you can carry on walking the streets of Ladbroke Grove as a special constable". 

Justice must not only be done....it should be seen to be done! 

Below is a case reported in the Yorkshire post which shows how Uber should have been judged. Let's hope that in the upcoming case against Uber in York, the case is heard in front of an unbiased, impartial recorder such as Angus Whithington and not one of the Tory faithful such as Emma Arbuthnot. 

The Case Of Wendy's Wheels :

A private hire firm in Bridlington has ceased trading with immediate effect after a court decided one of the owners was “not a fit and proper person” to hold an operators or drivers licence.

In a final bid to continue operating, joint owners of Wendy’s Wheels, Wendy Jackson and Andrea Noble appealed to the crown court in a bid to overturn the decision of East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s licensing committee made in March 2017 to revoke their operator’s licence as well as Jackson’s driver’s licence.

The committee made the decision on the basis they showed a lack of compliance, poor standards and conduct as well as a lack of responsibility for promoting the aims of the licensing policy, which is there to protect the needs of residents and visitors to the East Riding.

Jackson and Noble appealed the revocation but in November 2017 magistrates agreed the committee had made the right decision and dismissed the appeal.

They took their final appeal to Hull Crown Court and after hearing the evidence Recorder Angus Withington, sitting alongside two magistrates, also agreed with the decision of the committee and magistrates and dismissed their claim.

Giving the judgement, Recorder Withington said the evidence that he had heard related to Jackson and there was no criticism of Noble.

He added that, despite a final written warning, Jackson had “consistently failed to comply” with requests from the council’s licensing officers and that after going through an amber traffic light three weeks after the appeal hearing at the magistrates’ court, “pushed the matter of legality to the absolute limit” and he was satisfied she did not meet the criteria of being a “fit and proper person”.

Recorder Withington said:

“We are perfectly satisfied there has not been the consistent and engrained compliance and approach towards all requirements placed on a driver and private hire operator. 

We are quite unable to say the decision of the licensing committee was wrong. It is our judgement and finding that the respective appeals made by Ms Jackson both in relation to the private hire operator’s licence and the drivers licence are dismissed. 

We therefore uphold the decision of the licensing committee in relation to both her and Ms Noble.”


Jackson and Noble must also pay council costs of £12,000. 

Paul Abbott, interim head of service for housing, transport and public protection at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said:

“This is the first time that the council has had a case which has gone through two appeal processes but we are pleased, after hearing the evidence, the courts agreed with the decision of the licensing committee and dismissed the appeal.

The council’s licensing team have been working closely with the drivers who were working under Wendy’s Wheels to ensure they have alternative work and this decision does not affect the number of drivers or vehicles available in the Bridlington area as bookings can be made with other licensed operators or Hackney carriages.

The council takes the conduct of its operators and drivers and the impact on the welfare and safety of the public very seriously.

We work very closely with private hire firms to ensure they have policies and procedures in place in order to protect their customers and we will take appropriate action where those standards fall short or an individual is no longer fit and proper to continue to hold a licence.

The council will deal with any breach of law, licensing policy or risks to safeguarding or public safety from licensed operators or drivers in a robust manner

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

More Complaints From Uber Drivers About Low Wages, In The Face Of Uber’s Anti Slavery Pledge

 

Uber drivers say their take-home pay is being cut as the taxi industry disruptor responds to pressure from new entrants in the increasingly crowded "ride-share" market.

The Silicon Valley giant introduced "upfront pricing", which gives passengers the exact cost of their ride ahead of the journey, and launched a service called UberPool, which allows passengers travelling in the same direction to share a ride for a discounted rate.

Uber says the two initiatives are intended to grow its user numbers, which will help its "driver partners" to be successful. 

But drivers said the result has been they take home less pay for doing the same amount of work and have announced a two hour strike on Monday morning as part of the push for better conditions.

"Rates are already too low and unsustainable, leaving drivers with very little profit and well below minimum wage take-home pay," said Max B, an Uber driver who runs the advocacy group RideShare Drivers United.

"Now they have this to boot, a system that exploits them even more."

The group is calling for drivers to log-off the Uber system en masse from 7am until 9.30am on Monday, August 6.

Max B, who would not reveal his last name for fear of being "deactivated" by Uber, told Fairfax Media the shift to "upfront fares" saw drivers’ pay rates drop between 10 to 30 per cent, while drivers were losing up to 40 per cent on UberPOOL trips.

Like a traditional taxi meter, Uber now calculates the fare based on the trip’s distance, and time taken, but with current traffic conditions it’s almost impossible to give an exact estimate especially with the uncertainty of the Sat-Nav rout taken. It also crunches data from past trips but rarely gives an estimate anywhere near the final cost. 

Source : shm.com


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 

The irony from this company is beyond belief 👀


Report Says Companies Like Uber Increase Traffic Congestion by 180 Percent In Major Cities


Bruce Schaller, a transit consultant who served as deputy commissioner for traffic and planning in New York City, released a new report (“Automobility”) Wednesday examining the effect of transit network companies (TNCs) like Lyft and Uber on city traffic.

While Schaller’s findings highlight some benefits of ride-hailing apps, including increased mobility for riders with disabilities and as a valuable supplement to public transit in areas where bus service is inadequate, “Automobility” draws unflattering conclusions for SF-based TNCs.


A few of Schaller’s findings:

  • Ride-hailing trips are concentrated mainly in a few large cities, including SF: “Seventy percent of Uber and Lyft trips are in nine large, densely populated metropolitan areas: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC.” These nine cities accounted for 1.2 billion rides in 2017.
  • Ride-hailing trips are by far more popular in SF than anywhere else: In 2017, Schaller estimates that San Franciscans took 75 million trips via hide-hailing apps. That’s not only more than almost any other city, it’s also the most in terms of rides per population density, some 86 rides per person. The only city with a higher TNC ride volume is New York, which clocked 159 million; however, New York is also the sole city that still prefers taxis, taking 167 million cab trips the same year.
  • Critically, Schaller alleges that TNCs compete with public transit, not private cars: “[Rider surveys indicate] about 60 percent of TNC users in large, dense cities would have taken public transportation, walked, biked, or not made the trip if TNCs had not been available for the trip.” 
  • The report alleges that Lyft and Uber generate more traffic congestion: “Private-ride TNC services (UberX, Lyft) put 2.8 new TNC vehicle miles on the road for each mile of personal driving removed, for an overall 180 percent increase in driving on city streets.” 
  • And TNC expansion won’t fix it: The companies often argue that in the long run, if ride-hailing apps become the norm instead of personal driving, it will lead to a net decline in miles. But Schaller estimates that “Lyft’s recently announced goal of 50 percent of rides being shared by 2022 would produce 2.2 TNC miles being added to city streets for each personal auto mile taken off the road.” 
  • Self-driving cars would be most useful in the form of shuttle-like group commutes: “A widely-cited travel model for Lisbon, Portugal, for example, found that traffic could increase by approximately 50 percent if travelers favored autonomous ‘regular taxis’ that are not shared. On the other hand, the model showed a 37 percent decline in vehicle kilometers, and total elimination of congestion, under a shared-taxi scenario.” Presently, TNC rides remain primarily single-passenger trips.

For Schaller’s full report, including his list of cited sources, check it out here.


In response, Zipcar CEO Robin Chase penned a CityLab op-ed pointing the finger over traffic woes at car culture, not ride-hailing apps:

Cities have been congested and transit has been poorly used for years before these companies set up shop. [...] Taxis plus ride-hailing plus carsharing account for just 1.7 percent of miles traveled by urban dwellers, while travel by personal cars account for 86 percent. [...] Streets are congested and too few people choose mass transit now, like last year and the year before that and the year before that.

Uber spokesperson Matthew Wing told Curbed SF, “We wholeheartedly agree with several of Mr. Schaller’s proposed public policies.” But he called the study “fundamentally flawed in several areas,” arguing that ride-hailing trips increase mobility to areas underserved by public transit like small towns. 

Wing also said, “2018 has already dramatically changed the nature of our service,” emphasizing the company’s expansion into bikes and scooters.

Via email, Lyft spokesperson Campbell Matthews dubbed Schaller a “taxi cab consultant” (citing a Curbed SF story as the company’s source) and touted other studies, noting, “According to Inrix, congestion declined five percent in the Bay Area last year, even as Lyft trips increased 49 percent.”


Source : sf.curbed.com 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Khan Hopes To Cut The Number Of Minicabs In Congestion Zone By 45% By Making Them Pay...Pause For Laughter !!!


In a bid to reduce the “rocketing” number of minicabs circulating within the congestion charge zone, Mayor Sadiq Khan said he may introduce tougher emission rules, limiting the type of private hire vehicles able to claim a 100 per cent discount on the £11.50 weekday charge next April. Not quite a promise.....more a threat!

Transport for London said if this were bought in, it could cut the number of minicabs in the zone by up to 45 per cent — from 18,000 to 10,000 — and raise about £115,000 a day. 

Black cabs will continue to be exempt from the C-charge as they can carry wheelchair users.


Taxi orgs must keep an eye on this issue as we don't want this to change suddenly in another "done deal".

The number of minicabs in central London, including Uber vehicles, has “rocketed” from 4,000 a day since the C-charge was introduced in 2003, TfL said. It blames the increasing popularity of Uber and the growth of home deliveries for causing congestion. 

Cutting the number of minicabs would reduce pollution and improve bus journey times, it added.

The new rules would require petrol and diesel minicabs to meet the EU’s “Euro 6” emission standards, emit no more than 75g/km of CO2 and be able to run for at least 20 miles in “zero emission” mode. TfL said about 10 per cent of minicabs that currently qualify for the discount would become ineligible. 

It is thought more modern versions of the Toyota Prius hybrid, used by many Uber drivers, already meet these standards and thus will continue to be exempt. Uber declined to comment.

However, the rules — which would be introduced alongside an ultra-low emission zone that will charge older polluting vehicles an extra £12.50 a day — would be tightened in 2021 so that only fully electric vehicles will get the discount.

TfL’s Alex Williams said: “It is only right we keep the discounts and exemptions for the scheme under review to make sure it continues to be effective.” 
Mr Khan wants 80 per cent of all trips to be made on foot, by bike or public transport by 2041.

Source : Standard 

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 
The most efficient and safest way of protecting the public and bringing down emmisuons, would be to introduce a cap on Private Hire Vehicle numbers....but then TfL would lose money in the form of licence fees. 
So Khan will (not may) introduce congestion charging of as many private hire vehicles as possible. 
In typical TfL style, they've already moved the goal posts in respect to the Prius and othe hydrid type vehicles. 

Although Khan has once again promised to exempt Taxis, as they are wheelchair accessible, I. Personally wouldn't trust him as far as I could through him. 

Solidarity : Striking Spanish Taxi Drivers Sleep Out As Blockade Reaches Seventh Day #HuelgaTaxis


While the London Taxi trade explore the possibility of bringing a class action law suit against Uber, Spanish Taxi drivers take to the street in a second week of blockades across the country. 
Ride-share companies Uber and Cabify have suspended services as the protests turned violent. 


Thousands of Licensed Taxi drivers across Spain have joined a strike against ride-hailing companies like Uber, demanding the government restrict their numbers.

The striking taxi drivers, some of whom have been camping out for many days, say the services threaten their livelihood and are putting thousands of jobs at risk.

As a result, they have blocked main roads in the capital, Madrid, and in Barcelona with their parked cars.


A meeting on Monday to attempt to end the strike failed to reach a deal.

Taxi unions want the government to enforce a law which requires just one ride-hailing licence for every 30 taxi licences.

According to Spanish newspaper El Pais, the government offered to give licensing powers to each of the regions during a four-hour meeting. This was rejected by taxi representatives, who say it would not fix the issue, but just pass it along.

The meeting is due to resume later on Monday in the hope of finding a resolution.

Union representatives said in a statement that "Uber and Cabify are putting the viability of the taxi sector and 130,000 jobs at risk", adding it "considers this unfair competition intolerable".


The strike began in Barcelona last Wednesday, after the Spanish government appealed against a ruling by the Barcelona authorities that limited the number of licences for taxi services booked by smartphone apps.

Madrid, Valencia, Bilbao and Seville are all following in Barcelona's footsteps and are calling their own stoppages, causing widespread disruption.

The strike is now trending on Twitter, with the hashtag "HuelgaTaxis" generating thousands of tweets, with people sharing pictures of the strikes in their areas


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

Action is set to continue as talks with the respective authorities broke done in deadlock earlier today 

They know what needs to happen 
We know what needs to happen 


Trouble is, our largest org General Secretary believes that drivers who protest are Loonies. 
So that's 11,000 member subscribers who won't be informed!!!



Monday, July 30, 2018

TfL Hydrogen Bus Leak Closes The Aldwych... By Gerald Coba

One of TfL’s Hydrogen Buses, on the RV1 rout, has today put thousands of people in danger. 

The bus was reported to be leaking Hydrogen gas, which is highly flammable and in certain cases can cause serious explosions. 

The Aldwych has had to be closed off to vehicles and pedestrians, adding greatly to London’s congestion, while engineers from the bus company try to deal with and clean up the problem. 

A few years ago, a Propaine Taxi Cab was hit by a bullet in a street in Las Vegas, both passenger and driver were killed in the explosion and subsequent fire. 

The authorities there later decided not to licence Hydrogen gas vehicles.

In London Hydrogen busses -first introduced under a leasing agreement by Mayor Ken Livingston- are currently band from routs using underpasses and tunnels because of the risks. 

Emergency services should be well practised in gas leaks in this area after the massive gas leak that closed Charing Cross station in January this year, followed by another major leak in Covent Garden in April. 

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

BBC's travel watch site on social media, played down the issue in a TfL friendly statement saying emergency services were dealing with a fuel leak from a bus.....


Turns Out Uber Had Yet Another Secret Program To Thwart Police Raids: Report


Uber is currently facing as many as five criminal probes over various schemes from the company’s earlier years under former-CEO Travis Kalanick, but could face more legal scrutiny thanks to yet another secret program unveiled Thursday by Bloomberg.

The ride-hailing company, well-known for its reputation to flout regulations, had a practice of stymying police raids by using a remote system it created called Ripley. From early 2015 until late 2016, Ripley was deployed as many as two dozen times to thwart police raids in foreign countries and thereby shield evidence from authorities, Bloomberg reports, citing three unnamed people familiar with the program:

The Uber HQ team overseeing Ripley could remotely change passwords and otherwise lock up data on company-owned smartphones, laptops, and desktops as well as shut down the devices. This routine was initially called the unexpected visitor protocol. Employees aware of its existence eventually took to calling it Ripley, after Sigourney Weaver’s flamethrower-wielding hero in the Alien movies. The nickname was inspired by a Ripley line in Aliens, after the acid-blooded extraterrestrials easily best a squad of ground troops. “Nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

Uber and other companies have reason to protect the kind of information it maintains, Bloomberg says, but the issue is that some employees “felt the program slowed investigations that were legally sound in the local offices’ jurisdictions.” And that could present yet another legal problem for the company.

Prosecutors may look at whether Uber obstructed law enforcement in a new light. “It’s a fine line,” says Albert Gidari, director of privacy at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet & Society. “What is going to determine which side of the line you’re on, between obstruction and properly protecting your business, is going to be things like your history, how the government has interacted with you.”

There’s been vague mentions of the program’s existence in the past—a former employee in 2016 detailed an episode from a Montreal police raid that showed how Ripley could work—but the massive scope of the program wasn’t known until Bloomberg’s story.

For its part, Uber told Bloomberg that, similar to “every company with offices around the world, we have security procedures in place to protect corporate and customer data,” Uber said in a statement. “When it comes to government investigations, it’s our policy to cooperate with all valid searches and requests for data.”

In a statement to Jalopnik, an Uber spokesperson described one use of this type of program: “For instance, if an employee loses their laptop, we have the ability to remotely log them out of Uber’s systems to prevent someone else from accessing private user data through that laptop.”

The existence of Ripley comes at a precarious moment for Uber. Later this month, a blockbuster trial between Google’s self-driving car unit, Waymo, and Uber kicks off. Waymo accused Uber in a lawsuit last year of using stolen tech files to advance its autonomous driving program. (Uber denies the claims.)

The FBI is also investigating Uber for spying on Lyft drivers, and the feds are also looking into Uber’s use of a secret program called Greyball that helped it undermine law enforcement officials investigating the company.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 
Open questions to Mike 'on side' Brown
How many hits are there going to be before you revoke Uber's provisional licence under the one hit and your out system???
How many more rapists are we going to see jailed?
How many more assaults?
How many more drug deals?
How many more terrorist attacks?
Before you act Mike???

No entry! Backlash at plans to shut off Judd Street to cars


Residents warn polluting traffic will be diverted into residential streets by King's Cross changes

COUNCIL chiefs have been warned that shutting off one of the best-known roads in King’s Cross to cars and lorries will backfire, increasing pollution in side streets and sending traffic to an accident blackspot.

Camden is preparing to block off Judd Street – the road the Town Hall is on – to all traffic apart from cyclists, opening up a new front in the see-saw conflict between frustrated drivers behind the wheel of a car and those travelling through the borough on two wheels.

Black cab drivers have already raised concerns about the changes, while in reply the London Living Streets campaigners say Camden is right to prioritise access to pedestrians and cyclists over polluting vehicles.

But residents in King’s Cross and Bloomsbury insist they will be the big losers in the row, predicting that heavy traffic serving King’s Cross will be diverted into their streets, and then towards Dukes Road – the scene of a litany of "near-misses" and the death of Mark Welsh, a 55-year-old who was hit by a lorry turning left last year.

More than 60 residents were at a public meeting at the Lumen Church in Tavistock Place, called by the Bloomsbury Residents Action Group (BRAG), on Tuesday evening, Most raised concerns about a spiralling route that car drivers – and ambulance services – may be left with to get through the area. They also complained about what they say is a lack of meaningful consultation by the council, but said they feared being unfairly branded as anti-cyclist.

The row has echoes of the CS11 row in Swiss Cottage, where residents say attempts to improve safety for cyclists will only turn their roads into rat-runs. That dispute saw a placard confrontation between supporters and opponents of the new cycle superhighway outside Hampstead Theatre as rival demonstrations met head on.

Council leader Georgia Gould approved the Judd Street changes last month, but objectors have now resolved to try and persuade her to think again and undertake a new consultation survey on the proposals.

John Hartley, from London Living Streets, said the changes would "open up the area" to people who cycled, improving air quality, and John Chamberlain, of the Camden Cycling Campaign, said the scheme would be the "final missing link on the route from Kentish Town to Elephant and Castle", adding: "It will reduce traffic levels and therefore improve air quality in the area south of the Euston Road."

But Debbie Radcliffe, chairwoman of BRAG, said: "There is a persistent argument that the removal of motor traffic improves air quality. But the pollution doesn’t go away, it just moves somewhere else. And the more you slow traffic down, the more pollution levels increase."

She added: "We applaud the council’s transport policy to prioritise pedestrians and cyclists in the hierarchy of movement. But these same pedestrians and cyclists will be exposed to the increased pollution that is displaced elsewhere."

Ray Allesson, an RMT trade union officer representing the black cab trade, said access to Judd Street was "vitally important" because taxi drivers often ferry people between Bloomsbury’s hospitals, and the Royal National Institute for the Blind.

A council spokesman said: "The new space at the top of Judd Street will make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists to cross Euston Road. There will also be a new pedestrian crossing outside the British Library."

He added: "Anybody who has tried to cross Euston Road at Midland Road/Judd Street junction will know how difficult this road is to get across – this is a key reason for deciding to make these changes. This will also improve cycle links between Euston Road and central Camden by introducing raised cycle lanes along Midland Road."

Source : Camden Journal

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : by @WalkbarLDN

Should Camden even be doing this with the Tavistock Place scheme discredited in its present form by Public Inquiry and awaiting Camden's proposals to resolve those issues?

The dynamic will no longer be the same.

This #EliteCapture by these articulate know-nothings is cult like.

Helen Chapman's Interview Faux Pas ... Could It Finally Unite The Trade!...by Jim Thomas.


In an interview with Steve Kenton published last Friday, Helen Chapman referred to the 13,000 Private Hire drivers with fake DBS as a 'Myth' and that the number was actually 2,640. 

Were we seeing Ms Chapman, deliberately playing down the situation in the same vein as the statements made to the GLA of...
'Yes they have a landline!' and 
'all their drivers have on/off insurance policies!'
made by ex Surface Transport Director Leon Daniels. 

So where did this 'Myth' come from?
Taxi leaks posted an article after we heard that Helen Chapman had bought the figure of 13,000 up, at a senior reps meeting last September. 
(We've since confirmed that this was the case with senior reps who were at that meeting).

So why did she bring up this statistic?  (You may well ask)

At the meeting, TfL allegedly* told our senior trade representatives, they (TfL) had known since January 2017, that 13,000 private hire drivers needed to reapply, after using a discredited, unauthorised company which supplied their DBS certificates. 
At that meeting, Helen Chapman allegedly* added that 2,600 out of the 13,000 drivers had already been identified, who would need to reapply. 
She also allegedly* said she envisaged no problem would arise and would personally vouch for these drivers. (Wonder how many of these Uber drivers amongst the ones recently jailed for rape, were vouched for by Helen Chapman?)

(*)Notice that we've said allegedly*....we only have the trade reps word on this, and although we believe what we're told by our senior reps, there were no recorded minutes taken at the time....so officially, the meeting didn't take place and no one was actually accountable for anything that may have been said !!!

This figure referred to in Steve Kenton's interview, was never a myth, it wasn't plucked out of thin air, it was the figure given to the senior trade reps at this meeting by Helen Chapman herself. (According to the senior trade rep we spoke to)

By December it had seemingly all gone quiet again.
Helen Chapman made this reply to Steve Garelick (GMB), who was inquiring 'what had happened about the 13,000 drivers who had used an unauthorised third party for their DBS enhanced checks?'
She wrote:
"All London PH drivers must do an enhanced DBS check. After reviewing the 13,000 records, we identified and contacted 2,600 drivers who needed to request a new enhanced DBS check with our approved provider."

Not quite what she had told the trade reps in September, but again the figure of 13,000 was actually mention (so, not a myth then).

It appears (in our opinion), Helen Chapman was using this interview to play down and finally sanitise the issue which keeps popping up in articles on Taxi and Private Hire media platforms and publications. 
Because this has appeared in print unchallenged, she will in future just keep referring to the issue as ‘fake news’.

It would now appear that we can no longer believe anything that Helen Chapman says or writes in future!!!

This is the reason why all trade orgs, in a 100% united voice must refuse to meet with TfL under any circumstance unless the meeting is fully minuted.

Just to put a finer edge on this issue, at last weeks meeting, the man who called Taxi drivers, protesting to save their jobs LOONIES...The man who insisted it was a done deal that all CC readers should be fitted in the rear passenger compartment....told other trade reps he was now telling all his members to get themselves a hand held unit to use in the front of the Taxi.
You couldn't make this up. 
One wonders if there's been a done deal to sell these units from the reception of Taxi House???

But again, we only have the other trade reps word on this as there are no minutes recorded.

We must never be put in this position again!!!

What Helen Chapman has actualy done by her alleged false statement, is to prove the absolute need for all future meetings with TfL to be minuted, because without formal minutes, no meeting has officially taken place. Without formal minutes, no one is accountable and there are people on both sides of the table that this has suited for far too long.

When we're told "we've threatened TfL with this"... how do we know this is factual if there's no minutes as proof?

Chapman knows that other than the statement she made to Steve Garelick, there is no record anywhere, so she can say whatever she likes! 

It would be nice to see drivers drop the tribalism and unite completely behind this issue. It's up to you the drivers, to put pressure on your respective trade orgs to insist all future meetings across the board with TfL, no matter how small, can no longer take place without full minutes of the meeting being recorded. 

We don't want Chairman, or General Secretaries coming out of a secret squirrel meeting with TfL, professing that 'It's all a done deal" in future!

What we do need is total transparency, not a word of mouth gentlemen's agreement.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :
Another Faux Pas was made this week by Uber when their legal team referred to... ‘the driver app Meter’. 
Funny that...didn't they go to court in London to prove it wasn't a meter?

* Still no landline!
* Still working outside their licensed area!
* Still many Uber drivers with no hire and reward insurance!
* Road traffic collisions escalating at record highs!
* UberRape alleged to be running at one a week!
* Another perverted, seedy driver jailed yesterday!
* Still drivers cancelling jobs for no reason other than racking up the pounds.
* Still charging for imaginary clean ups.

One hit and your out, fit and proper Emma...don't make my laugh.
But then, we said years ago that the meter case was a complete and utter waste of money. 

SEAN PAUL DAY, JUNE 2 2015: