Sunday, February 07, 2016
Saturday, February 06, 2016
London Taxi Drivers are once again taking to the streets on Wednesday, the 10th of February - Whitehall 14:30Hrs to 16:00Hrs
London Taxi Drivers are once again taking to the streets on Wednesday, the 10th of February, to voice their grievance over the Government’s interference in the industry’s regulatory affairs while actively supporting a tax avoiding global corporation, Uber, that presents itself as an “IT company”.
Some very sensible proposals were put forward by the regulator, yet they have been quashed by the Government. Naturally, this has angered decent, hard-working London Taxi Drivers who pay their taxes and conform to the strict rules and regulations.
So the question is: why would the Government actively support a global tax avoider, a virtual company with no assets and no experience in operating the taxi trade, while providing it with a competitive advantage over its own domestic workforce?
The answer is not one that makes our politicians look competent or above board.
But let us look at some of the statistics that paint a very gloomy picture of the way Uber operates.
Last year it paid less tax than any four randomly selected London Taxi Drivers! Even though the company takes 25% to 35% of every journey undertaken by vehicles operating under its umbrella. In real terms, they paid just £22,134 last year.
The most amazing thing of all is that Uber is still not making a profit, as it is involved in undermining the competition by operating with lower fares, in the hope of establishing full control over the taxi trade.
Which brings us to the next point about the danger that Uber poses for consumers as the future monopoly that doesn’t play by the rules.
Once the competitors would be eliminated, prices, as it happens with all monopolies, will go up dramatically. That is how it works in the world of big business that builds its success at the expense of smaller competitors.
And then there is the issue of sacrificing safety and quality to cut costs. Does anyone actually believe that a company that has no experience in running a taxi service and cuts costs by avoiding rules and regulations can provide safety and high quality of transportation?
Of course not!
Which means that customers are taking a gamble when they travel with Uber. Unlike the reliable and tested traditional purpose built London Cabs that are subject to three tests per year and with their drivers going through a very rigorous testing process over four to five years.
And it gets worse when it comes to the attack on the interests of the London Taxi Drivers.
This means that TfL can now “feed the system” with 600+ new drivers every week while London Taxi Drivers are often unable to work, waiting for months for license renewals pending the mandatory requirement of a valid DBS check.
As a result, passengers find themselves driven by people with practically no experience and of a dubious character. There are over 100 reported sexual assaults in minicabs in London every year and we know that less than 10% of rapes and sexual assaults are reported.
Make no mistake, once Uber takes over the taxi trade in the UK it will move against other forms of transport and hundreds of thousands of jobs on the London Underground, on the railroads and in long haul deliveries will be in danger. In effect, the London Taxi Drivers are defending not only their own livelihoods but the interests of people involved in many other industries.
As the elections of the London Mayor approach, it is time for candidates to make their views clear whose side of the argument they are on when it comes to London Taxi Drivers and Uber. We are talking about the livelihoods of tens of thousands of drivers and their families. Londoners who value their traditional taxi service should rally round it and send a signal to the candidates in the London Mayor Election that they will support those of them who give a clear pledge to put an end to the unfair practises of Uber and protect the iconic heritage of London that London Taxis represent.
Give this your full support, London
Further reading here:-
All Press Enquiries to:
United Cabbies Group
0207 100 5206
Rivals of traditional taxi drivers protested in Paris on Friday in the latest episode of a turf-war that has come to symbolise France's quest for compromise between free-for-all competition and heavy-handed regulation of economic activity.
On the heels of angry protests against them by traditional hail-down taxis, drivers relying on smartphone applications of the kind made famous by California-based Uber blocked airport access roads and a Paris roundabout to state their case.
Police had intervened overnight to halt a stone-throwing standoff between drivers of both types, police officials said, but Friday's protests were broadly peaceful.
Drivers who use smartphone applications complained that their livelihoods are being endangered by excessive regulation by the public authorities in the wake of the protests by traditional licensed taxi drivers earlier in the week.
Licensed taxi drivers accuse the government of failing to ensure application of 2014 legislation that obliges users of Uber-style online booking systems to return to base after each trip and refrain from seeking hail-down business on the streets.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls has appointed a mediator to devise a solution that answers the demands of both sides - taxi drivers who have paid a high price for a licence and alternative car ride providers who say they, too, have to earn a living.
New rules to allow people to hail all taxis in Belfast are set to come into place later this year.
Current laws only allow public hire taxis, commonly known as black taxis, to be hailed on streets in the city.
All other taxis must be booked.
But from 31 May, that will change between midnight on Friday and Saturday nights until 06:00 the next morning.
All taxis will be able to stop for passengers who have waved them down.
The rule will apply within a two-mile radius of the city centre.
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said he was "modernising and improving" taxi regulations by making the change.
"In effect, these changes will mean that people in the north will get a much better taxi service."
A spokesman for the Department of the Environment (DoE) said that the change was being made "because often demand outstrips supply".
But public hire taxi drivers are unhappy with the change.
Sean Beckett, of the Public Hire Coalition, said: "If this is just to clear the streets [of people], it's wrong.
"You must know that the clientele and the general public are getting into a legitimate taxi and not some renegade that doesn't have insurance, so on and so forth."
Alliance Party MLA Anna Lo said the move was long overdue, but added that the two-mile Belfast zone "could be confusing" for the public, and tourists in particular.
"In any big cities where taxis are an essential means of transport, people take it for granted they can hail them anywhere without having to book in advance or walk to a taxi rank," Ms Lo said.
"I hope this move will see such practice become the norm in Belfast."
The DoE is also introducing new roof signage that some taxis will be required to display, as well as a new test for taxi drivers.
Source U TV, BBC News :
Friday, February 05, 2016
Transport for London's plan to make all Black Cabs accept card payments is great news - but the details tilts the playing field against them
By Derek Stewart co-founder of CabApp, a mobile booking and payment app for Black Cabs in the UK and licensed Taxis in Ireland.
We all love simplicity and speed.
Last weekend I popped into my local Apple Store at Bluewater to get a new charging cable. Instead of queuing, one of the staff came over to me and I purchased the cable via her handheld mobile payment device. The VAT business receipt was automatically emailed to me. What a fantastic customer service experience.
So, I welcome TfL's decision that all black cabs by October 2016 must accept card payments, making life easier for all of us by offering a similar seamless experience.
But, although supported by the London Taxi Drivers' Association, not all in the industry are happy about the decision. As always, the devil is in the detail and there are some issues in TfL's proposals as they stand.
Chief among them is the fact that Black Cab taxi drivers will have to absorb the costs charged by their banks and card processing companies. But this is not the case for private hire licenced operators who can pass on the cost to the consumer as a surcharge.
This is in common practice in the travel sector, where companies such as EasyJet and Trainline.com can legally pass on to the consumer the payment processing costs of card payments in the form of a surcharge.
TfL's insistence that Black Cab drivers absorb the cost further tilts the playing field against them. Already, cabbies have to bear the additional costs to uphold the high standards required to obtain their licenced status.
Another problem is the prescription by TfL that mobile chip and pin devices are mounted at the back of the cab at the cost of their operators.
Most taxi drivers already accept card payments, with 58 per cent of London's 25,200 Black Cab drivers accepting card payments, according to a TfL survey in 2014.
Far from being luddites, Black Cab drivers want to embrace technology to provide the best customer experience. From medical checks to purpose-built and disability adapted vehicles, licenced Black Cabs already absorb the costs of measures to ensure higher standards of customer safety. But imposing this payments initiative, is in effect, forcing us into terms which aren't in place for other industries.
Ultimately, we don't want to compromise customer service provided by the iconic Black Cab industry, but we also don't want to see our drivers' margins squeezed in favour of the private hire sector.