Thursday, March 23, 2017

London's Cabbies, London's Finest, London's 4th Emergency Service.

The 22 of March will be forever etched in our memory, as the day that saw a police officer and 3 members of the public killed in a terrorist attack on the streets of London.

We pray now for the speedy recovery of the reported 40 injured people on the bridge, mowed down by a terrorist bent in causing as much death and destruction as possible.

On this day, we also saw the NHS staff, paramedics, firefighters and our Police at there very best.

We must hope now that the MP's who are allowing the NHS  firefighters and police cuts think again..

Again on this day, we saw Londons  4th emergency service set up to the mark silently play their part by running people away from the horrors for scene to places of safety, without a second thought and without charge.

These drivers won't get thanks from TfL the GLA or the Mayor, but the 
people they helped today will always remember.

Each and everyone of you wonderful cabbies, Londons finest, should be proud you didn't run away, you turned and run to help.... it's what we do.

Below is a clip from the Ian Collins show in LBC, listen as Carly thanks the driver who got them away from the carnage. But listen what this driver did at the end of the journey. 

  With thanks to Marc Turner and Linda Morris

What they said on Twitter and Social Media :

Open Letter To Jackie Quinn, In Regards To Brighton's Uber Problem.... By Lee Ward

Hello Jackie

I listened with interest to your interview in regards to Uber and how it has saturated your beautiful City with drivers from TfL and I fully sympathise with your issues and concerns.

While you was interviewed you stated that your licensing authority were hand tied with regards to this issue (I paraphrase) and that it was a need of change in legislation to rectify this problem.

This is not actually true, but unfortunately it is repeated several times because of the knowledge of the law and what it intended.

In the same TV program Fred Jones from Uber made a comment that the Deregulation Act 2015 is responsible, or at least a factor towards vehicles working in other areas and I am afraid that his statement is very misleading for two reasons.

1, The 2015 Act stated that jobs can be sub-contracted from one area to another.

2, Uber use cross border hiring (the triple license rule)

Reason 2 stated above is where the grey area is and your officers can actually act on this, I am sure you will talk with legal to confirm. What your officers can in fact do is charge a driver from out of town for plying for hire when they are parked waiting for jobs when they are not licensed in that area, because the intention of the triple license rule is that they should be given the booking while in the area that they are licensed and then travel to that arranged pick up.

I am more than happy to give further information including Case Law should you require.

I look forward to your reply.

Many thanks

Lee Ward
ALPHA Chairman 

Daily Mail, First To Put A Price On Geely's New TX5 ... By Jim Thomas.

First indication of the price of the new zero emissions TX5 has been published in the Daily Mail today. 

The Mail puts the on the road price at a whopping £60,000. Added together with the new car vehicle excise duty of £1,500 puts this vehicle out of the reach of most London Taxi drivers who have seen their takings decimated over the last couple of years.

There is of course a government subsidy of £7,500 but this is finite and available on a first come first served basis. 
Much of the subsidy will be soaked up by garages who will be amongst the first purchasers. 

Taxi Leaks has failed to find any research by Geely, the government or TfL into the health affects on drivers from the radiation given out from the EMF surrounding the massive bank of batteries. 

Biggest issues seem to be with the early degrading of batteries causing the expected range of vehicle to drop rapidly in just a few months of regular fast charging. 

Drivers in Beijing have had to get used to more down time while vehicle recharges. 
In Osaka Electric Taxis drove without lights at night and as with passengers in Beijing, complained they are handed blankets in cold weather, because drivers removed heater fuses, in attempts to save power. 

We've been led to believe that these expensive batteries packs will have to be changed regularly, and so they will be available on leasing contracts to owners, but we are not sure if the price will include disposal -this won't be cheap. 

Lets hear what Grant Davis and Steve McNamara had to say about electric vehicles a couple of years ago!


Now see what Steve McNamara is saying in yesterday's Evening Standard:

"By the end of 2023, diesel black cabs will be a thing of the past. (So much for drivers who have just bought the late model TX4s Euro 6 and the new Mercedes Euro 6, hoping for 15 years usage)

McNamara, gerald secretary of the LTDA went on to say : "There will be a customer-driven switch to electric models and the public will be choosing them over diesel. It will be like the switch from horse-driven to motor cabs which took around seven years in the early 1900s.”

Let's not forget that there is a massive advertising budget available to any Taxi media willing to give the new TX5 space.

See below earlier posts about the Osaka experiment into electric vehicles and more recently the issues faced by Taxi drivers using these vehicles in Beijing. 


In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, electric vehicles are no longe seen in Osaka as a clean and safe alternative to fossil fuel.

While reliable, comfortable and smooth, drivers are finding degredation of the battery packs to be a real issue.

Where a 60-mile range was once common in regular use, some are now finding that's been cut to as low as 30 miles, and to save energy as much as possible, some drivers are shunning the car's heater in favor of chemical pocket warmers, and even blankets for themselves and passengers.

Degredation of the battery pack has also had an effect on the battery's ability to take a quick charge. The 15-minute charge has now turned into a 40-minute one for many drivers. 
Also, they can't travel as far, or spend as much time on the road. Taxi drivers say they are losing out big time and it's ruining their business. 
Customers requesting longer trips are even being turned down.


After the abject failure of electric Taxis in Osaka Japan, Ford (Hong Kong) have unveiled a new Transit Connect Taxi, based on a current model, running on petrol/LPG, (CNG) reducing NOx emissions by 80%. 

This vehicle can easily be unadapted for Taxi work and retails in the UK at a very respectable £15,700 for the basic van.

With the Taxi trade on the brink of financial ruing, why aren't our representative orgs, lobbing on our behalf for a more viable option, such as the Ford Transit Taxi?

Better still, why has no attempt been made to keep the iconic shell, together with a petrol gas engine?

Latest News From Rome, Regarding Today's Taxi Strike.

            Rome, yesterday March 22

Italy's transport industry ministries, unveiled a decree to taxi drivers, aimed at stopping  the "abuse" by private NCC cabbies and other chauffeur services to the detriment of taxi drivers. 

The five-article decree was drafted by the two ministries and presented at the transport ministry to try to avert another all out strike Today. 

Earlier yesterday, a Turin court rejected multinational Uber's appeal against Italian taxi drivers, over the UberPop ride-hailing app. They have banned its use in Italy because it constituted unfair competition. 

It was a Milan court which first banned the UberPop app in Italy two years ago. 

Uber said today, that its Italian business would not be unduly affected, because "the UberPop model has been amply superseded for two years now...they added that they only use fully authorised drivers now".

Italian taxi drivers have been fighting against Uber and have staged a series of strikes, one of which culminated in violent protests outside parliament.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Uber fares could go up by 20% if it loses a UK court battle

Your cheap Uber ride might cost 20% more if the company loses a legal battle over taxes in the UK.

Jolyon Maugham QC is a respected barrister who is suing Uber through his non-profit, the Good Law Project, for alleged unpaid VAT.

In a case update, the Good Law Project estimated that Uber will have to charge passengers more, cut drivers' fees, or reduce its own cut of fares if the company loses the case.

In a press statement, the Good Law Project said: "The consequences for Uber's business model are profound. Going forward, it may have to raise its prices by as much as 20%, reduce the wages it pays to drivers, or charge a smaller fee.

"It will also be forced to hand over a percentage of all UK fare income for the last four years to HMRC. Because VAT is an EU tax, Uber's businesses in other countries will also be affected."

       Jolyon Maugham QC is suing Uber. Jolyon Maugham

The thinking is that Uber can currently afford to undercut rivals and give you cheaper fares because it doesn't pay as much tax as it should. And since it claims drivers are all self-employed, it doesn't need to pay costs like national insurance. It also claims it it isn't a transportation service provider, and therefore isn't liable to pay VAT.

That might all change.

Maugham has just sent a letter before action to Uber, which is a precursor to formally recovering a debt through legal means.

The debt, in this case, is a VAT receipt for one of Maugham's Uber journeys.

If Uber is "compelled" to provide a VAT receipt, it is then liable to pay VAT to the UK's tax authority HMRC.

Maugham's argument hinges on Uber  losing an employment tribunal in the UK last year. The tribunal ruled that Uber's UK workers were entitled to minimum wage, among other benefits. It also held that Uber was a transportation service, saying: "It is unreal to deny Uber is in a business as a supplier of transportation services." And if Uber is a transportation service, then it's liable for VAT.

Maugham calculated that Uber owes at least £20 million in unpaid tax, and said he'll take Uber to the UK High Court in April.

An Uber spokesman said: "Drivers who use the Uber app are subject to the same VAT laws as any other transportation provider in the UK."

Let's help Jo get Uber into court, the Crowd funding Page is here

Inside Out Show's Uber Can't Be Trusted, As Brighton Gets Flooded With TfL Registered PHVs

Finally, the BBC have aired a program which has proved beyond any shadow of a doubt, that Uber can not be trusted under any circumstances. 

Uber were granted a one year licence to operate in Brighton and Hove in October after a council meeting in 2015. However, they only started to operate at the end of last year when the licence was renewed in full.

It was only renewed on condition that they only used drivers who were licensed in Brighton as a posed to drivers licensed by other authorities such as TfL. 

Chair of the licensing committee, Cllr Jackie O Quinn of the Labour and Co Op group was aware that Uber drivers don't have the local knowledge that local drivers have and TfL registered cars don't have the CCTV that local PH cars have and yet her committee still renewed Uber's licence. 

Needless to say once renewed it has opened up the flood gates and the Brighton and Hove have been inundated with TfL registered Uber's, plus some from as far away as south Cambridgeshire. 

Uber say the legislation from 1976 and from 2015 means they don't need the councils permission to operated in the city as long as all jobs go through the app. 

Cllr O'Quinn said they thought they had an agreement to work with Uber but turns out the council is in an impossible position. 

John Steeter of streamline Taxis said "All Brighton licensed vehicles must have CCTV but TfL said with their cars it's not necessary and that fact doesn't make them any less safe"

Last year alone there were 154 reported sex attacks on passengers by private hire drivers in London 32 by Uber drivers, a fact that TfL have constantly ignored.

There are now grave concerns that these TfL registered drivers will bring down the safety standards in Brighton.