Friday, September 14, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sean Farrell, WCHCD. 

Source Dial a Cab FaceBook Page.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source : Rueters


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

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

Driver opinion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Lucky


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

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 09, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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