Monday, February 20, 2017

#BrothersInArms Update On Italian Cabby Strike. By Rosaria Tavernese

Hi Mates, another day of strike !! it will be again tomorrow and then leave from Milan, Turin, Genoa, Bologna, Naples to Rome! 

Tuesday will be the first meeting with the Minister of Transport, and we want everyone to understand whether the change of the infamous law will be removed.

 UBER wants to be able to invade the big cities and have a monopoly. Our strike is going well, in the two big cities of Milan and Rome. 

UBER of course these days is doing a roaring trade, but we are also seeing that without the towns taxis other trades are being affected badly. Last Saturday night customers from restaurants pubs and clubs were having trouble getting home ! Uber surging X12

Also problems have been reported at stations and airports. 

We have guaranteed a free service to the sick, the elderly and women with children. 

Tomorrow New Updates! thanks for your support


Is My Enemy's Enemy My Friend ? : Is It Time To Fight Dirty ?... By Harry Wall.

I knew that week would be tough but it was a killer and apparently record worthy by half term standards, it's behind us now so onwards and upwards. I'd like you to picture the scene, you're nearly home from work and dreaming of pulling on your drive. When you get there you're met with the sight of a Prius parked on it, pissed off you park behind it. You walk through your street door and see Mr Uber in your kitchen making himself a sandwich with food you've bought, from your fridge. 

You walk into your front room, cuddle up with the wife on the sofa watching your tele when Mr Uber walks in, snatches the remote out your hand and changes channel, sits in your armchair with he's feet on your coffee table. 

There's a knock at the door, your daughter answers it and in walks four strangers, who proceed to empty your house of every thing you've worked your whole life for. They load up a lorry with the lot, everything. They leave you with nothing, the kids have nothing, they even take your cab.
They even strip you of every ounce of self respect you had.

My question is this:
At what point during this scenario do you, would you have grabbed hold of these thieving slags and gutted them like the pigs they are?

If for no other reason than to have protected your family, no man would allow this to happen without a fight.

So why have we allowed imported thieving rats like these to take away everything we've all worked so hard for?
It's such a no brainer, I just don't get it. The reason I ask is because Friday night whilst driving south on Regent Street I noticed three cabs ranked up at Heddon Street. Nothing strange about that I know but what enraged me was second car on the rank was a PH and none of the cab drivers were doing anything about it. I tooted up and shouted across but it fell on deaf ears, they wasn't interested because it's obviously somehow acceptable now. 

When I think of the sacrifices I made on the Knowledge, going out on that moped in all weathers, sometimes soaked to the skin inspite of wearing wets, the numb fingers due to extreme cold in winter, the 17 punctures!! Not to mention being permanently skint but dreaming of passing out and suddenly being flush with fluid cash flow. I could never have imagined 23 years down the line I'd be praying for a miracle to save us, never in my wildest dreams. I remember that day in March when I earned the right to call myself a London Cab Driver.

I told my wife we'd never have money worries again, I'd always be in work. As it turned out my eldest was born with health problems which caused enormous financial struggles on top of the dreadful strain of worrying about him so life hasn't been that straight forward but the jobs been kind to me and I haven't finished with it yet.

People held us in high regard even though they were convinced we were millionaires, but no more. Why?, because we're nothing to fear for the authorities. We're predictable, fragmented, we have no joint leadership or strategy and nor are we likely to have one willing and able to form the structural base from which we can launch the defense spirited enough to fight against this tyranny that is TFL and Uber.

Over this weekend a planned national day of action, to be held on 28th February, was announced by associations across the country calling for an urgent public inquiry into TFL's fanatical licensing of all and sundry without proper procedures being adhered to, resulting in Uber drivers working wherever they like without any fear. 

Local authorities are apparently powerless to act it seems and Taxi and PH across the country are suffering just like us. 
After much thought and a change of mind, I think we should take part in this action.
The idea of going in with PH, given our history of mutual dislike, doesn't sit well with me but we're in desperate times and desperate measures must prevail. Before I'm called a sell out or any other choice name let me explain my reasoning.

All 3 main orgs have decided to go the legal challenge route which is understandable, but that's it, nothing else. I've been waiting, we've all been waiting for all our orgs to join forces, form a coalition and arrange a national day of protest for months, if not years. We've been waiting 5 years for them to sort it out on our behalf but nothing's happened, nor will it ever happen. 

All of a sudden drivers up and down the country, associations including genuine PH drivers have decided to take the matter into their own hands and instead of waiting for the local authorities to deal with it, they're dealing with it themselves and I have to say, fair play to them. Perhaps they had inspiration from our own ITA, who knows, it doesn't matter. 

What does matter is it's up and running and in spite of some people wanting nothing to do with it, I think we've nothing to lose. Our own orgs either won't or can't organise a national even though our fight and the majority of the mobilised members of our trade are crying out for one, so if someone else makes it happen, I'm all for it.
We badly need a public inquiry and I'm now at the stage where I think after exhausting so many avenues of our own with fruitless results, I see no reason why we should dismiss an attempt from elsewhere.

Face it people, we need as much help as we can muster.
We need firm, decisive action on a scale this country has never seen, it has to be unprecedented on a scale the media cannot afford to ignore and if handled properly, who knows what could happen?

French and Italian protests might be linked in with their Uber fight. Even if this first one isn't as successful as is hope it could light the touch paper for bigger and better action in the near future. Uber has destroyed trades throughout the country and the anger's beginning to reach fever pitch which can only be a good thing, fueling the level of future protests.

It's not ideal going in with PH but what choice do we have?

We're all fighting a common enemy here and we need each other, we need to be adults and admit that the common sense thing to do is fight together on this one. Once the battle is won, draw up the boundary lines and carry on as before but for now I think we need to travel the same road.

We can't rely on a legal challenge alone in my opinion, even though the advice comes from well respected law folk. That would be irresponsible in my view which might piss a few people off but I've a right to my opinion, so to run a campaign for a public inquiry along side the legal route, I would suggest is sensible.

Please think it through and make a rational decision with your brain in gear, try and understand we need a public inquiry and it will come easier with help from around the country.

We have to compromise in life sometimes and this is one of those times.

All that having been said, half terms over, it's London Fashion week and for some it's payday on Friday so start the week with optimism and a smile, especially with a Caribbean blast on the way.

It's going to be a good week chaps and chapesses.
Be lucky.

Smoke And Mirrors, PR Spin, Or Just Old Fashion Corruption From TfL Gerald Coba.

 Fixed address in London or elsewhere inside or outside the United Kingdom

A few days ago, TfL slipped a caveat under the radar, laying out its proposed new rules for the requirement of a land Lind for private hire operators, which it had previously dropped to accommodate the Uber Platform.

They say:
"TfL has today changed where operators can fulfil the telephone requirement".
"Whereas previously a passenger had to be able to speak to a person at the operating centre in London, operators will now be required to ensure that passengers can speak to a person at the operating centre, or other premises with 
a fixed address in London or elsewhere
whether inside or outside the United Kingdom".
(TfLTPH speak for anywhere they like)

But they then go on to say this new regulation has in fact been suspended because of an ongoing legal challenge, until the proceedings are concluded or the court orders otherwise.

We all know who is challenging this amendment, it's Uber who have never had a land line for this purpose and should never have been licensed under the directorship of John Mason in the first place. 
Leon Daniels subsequently lied to a GLA transport committee swearing that Uber had a public accessible land line when truth was they didn't.

At that time not one of our representative orgs took up this point with TfL.
When The requirement was dropped, none of our representative orgs took this up.

This new TfLTPH notice 05/17, is proof that TfL have and still do bend over to accommodate Uber and yet again, not one of our orgs have mentioned or will be taking this up with TfL. 

TfLTPH notice 05/17:
Telephone Requirement

TfL introduced a licence condition requiring private hire operators to ensure that customers can speak to a person acting on behalf of the operator in ‘real time’, in the event of a problem with their journey or if the passenger wishes to discuss the booking.

Enabling a passenger to speak to the private hire operator makes an important contribution to public safety and, in particular, the interests of disabled or vulnerable passengers. The provision of contact facilities also produces safety benefits for drivers and gives rise to real customer convenience benefits.

TfL has today changed where operators can fulfil the telephone requirement.

Whereas previously a passenger had to be able to speak to a person at the operating centre in London, operators will now be required to ensure that passengers can speak to a person at the operating centre, or other premises with a fixed address in London or elsewhere (whether inside or outside the United Kingdom). Passengers will still be able to make a complaint or discuss any other matter about the carrying out of the booking with the operator and the obligation will still apply at all times during a operator’s hours of business and at all times during a journey

The Telephone Requirement is also the subject of an ongoing legal challenge, and enforcement of the requirement is currently suspended until the proceedings are concluded or the court orders otherwise.

TfL will remain in contact with operators and ensure that they have sufficient time to make arrangements to meet the requirement, once the legal position becomes clear. We will shortly be publishing guidance to assist licensees, including the standards expected for taking calls. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Italian Cabbies On Strike, Until The Senate Reverses Rule Change...By Rosaria Tavernese

The situation is very serious, the Democratic Party here has allegedly been corrupted by UBER funding the campaign of Prime Minister Renzi.

In Italy there is no more UberX,  but there is only Uberblack.
We sued UBER once (UberX) and we won.
Next month there would be another case, this time against Uberblack.

Three days ago, the government brought into parliament a new law that allows Ubetblack to be able Tooley for hire and take clients off the street (now banned but tolerated).

This new rule has been brought in by parliament, who said it was an extension of the old law, which it was now changing. 

Some MPs were warned by us drivers. When they realised what the Democratic Party was doing to the law, they got angry. Unfortunately the amendment was approved in the Senate. 

All Taxi drivers in Milan and Rome have begun an indefinite strike. 

There has been no taxi service since February 16 and the strike continued today. The government has promised that it will convene on Tuesday, February 21st and meet trade unions. We will not give up and the strike will be indefinite until they are guaranteed our rights. 

Allegedly, the press has been paid by UBER to continue to write articles against us, but we have had much support from the public telling us that they are with us and not with Uber.

Tuesday all taxi drivers in Italy will be in Rome, for a mass protest and we will not go away until the law is changed back.

United we win #deleteuber
Meanwhile uber are activating surge pricing and a trip for €50 recently coming to €600.

Greed Is Good ???
The surge pricing is doing their case a disservice, as the public will soon realise what will happen if our tradition Taxi services are gone for good .
Everyone will understand that without official rates, UBER is just scam!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Repairing Broken Boundaries : by Lee Ward.

Since my post on Taxi Leaks, and also printed in PHTM named Uber Boundaries, Bent or Broken? (Link found here) I have now evolved this issue to repair the boundaries that have been bent or broken, and the repair comes with Case Law to support it, so why are we doing, once again, what the Licensing Authorities are paid to do from our fees? 
Is it because we actually care and are the ones being hurt on a daily basis from it? 
... Probably.
Is it because the Licensing Authorities have the same apathy that some of our colleagues have? …Possibly.
Let’s look at the scenario that effects many areas within the UK, and that’s vehicles and drivers licensed in another area ranking up on the roads awaiting a job to come to them from the public through the platform that the driver is working on, that would be an accurate occurrence of events, wouldn’t you agree?
Problem is, this is actually illegal, and both the driver and the Operator are equally guilty of the offence of Plying for Hire. Yes, I know, Plying For Hire does not have a statutory definition, however the description written in the article on Taxi Leaks by Alan Flemming, which I think is possibly the most definitive explanation and reference for this offence (article found here) has the most accurate definition and one point I wish to extract from that well of information is from a case way back in 1946 from the case of Gilbert v McKay where the presiding Lord Chief Justice Lord Goddard(ironically the first ever Lord Chief Justice to hold a Law degree, go figure…) stated.
Lord Chief Justice stated;
“In my opinion even if the cars had been standing in a private yard and could not be seen by the public, there could still have been a plying for hire if they had been appropriated for immediate hiring”.  
The important thing here is the reference to a private yard and not on view to the public at the time of hiring. Even more important is his reference to an immediate hiring.
So, a vehicle parked on private land and out of sight, let alone on a main road near popular public places, is in fact sat waiting for the immediate hire as would a Hackney.
Now let’s remind ourselves of what these vehicles that commute from their own licensing area do, they sit at the side of the road waiting for a member of the public to make an immediate booking through an App and they set off to pick up that person, a member of the public who, as far as they are concerned opened an App in a City and expect a Licensed Vehicle and Driver with that Cities Authorities to come and fulfil their request.
Probably the same as they would not expect a curry ordered on an App to be supplied by a curry house some 200 mile away, they expect it to be local, don’t they? … Of course they do…
But I hear drivers who work in the area that they are licensed already screaming out “WTF we have to park up like this, don’t tell me I have to hide in a side street” actually, no you don’t, so calm down and carry on reading.
A driver who is working outside the area that he is licensed must as Mr Justice Hickinbottom stated in the case between Blueline Taxis v Newcastle;
The operation is geographically fixed in the operator's licensing area: that area must be where the operator's premises are located, bookings made and from which vehicles are. It is an offence for operators to operate outside that licensing area; nor can they subcontract work to operators outside that area. It is therefore clear that Parliament has determined that the licensing regime for private hire vehicles is inherently local in nature – presumably on the basis that "devolved decision making in relation to the application of the legislation is beneficial in that local authorities are in the best position to determine what is needed most in their area and what the main problems and issues are" and it is a "central principle of this legislation" that "the authorities responsible for granting licences should have the ability to exercise full control over the operation of private hire vehicles within their area.

Case references removed for ease of reading, full report can be read >here<
So as you can see, Mr Justice Hickinbottom acknowledged that a local council knows best in its area, and therefore can see that locally licensed Private Hire Vehicles will park in certain areas, but should these areas be outside popular places? Of course not or they are equally sat Plying for Hire, however, the locally licensed driver is well within his right to sit in the area that he is licensed to work to provide a service for a member of the public who wishes a Private Hire as soon as possible. Sorry Hackney drivers, but this is a fact of the Private Hire trade also, it is not your given right to be the only service that works on a complete ad hoc basis.

Now I hear the drivers who are working out of area screaming “If I am not parked in a popular place waiting for a job, then what’s the difference”… oh, that one is both simple and very clear and in the same court case of Blueline v Newcastle where Mr Justice Hickinbottom also stated that;
However, although the operator must be based and "operate" exclusively in the relevant licensing authority's area, that does not prevent a pre-booked journey, in whole or part, being made outside that authority's area. So long as the relevant operator's licence, vehicle licence and driver's licence are all issued by the same local authority, then it is irrelevant that any particular journey undertaken by a private hire vehicle neither begins, nor ends, nor passes through the area for which that authority is responsible although it may be that, if an operation engages in journeys none or few of which pass through the geographical area of the licensing authority, then a licence may not be forthcoming from that authority.
Again, edited from case references for ease of reading, same link as above.
So, if you missed it, it’s in two parts, the first says “that does not prevent a pre-booked journey” well sorry guys, but when you are sat in another area waiting for someone to open the App and request a vehicle, then that’s not a pre booked job, its ad hoc.
And the other bit is where he says “if an operation engages in journeys none or few of which pass through the geographical area of the licensing authority, then a licence may not be forthcoming from that authority” and what that means is that you and your vehicle may be licensed by the same authority, but the person or company who is licensed by that very authority is not allowed to continually take bookings in another authorities jurisdiction…
Therefore, to summarise, any Private Hire Vehicle that is using the ‘Triple Licensing Rule’ to predominately work outside its Licensing Area is in fact working illegally, it’s as simple as that.
Any Operator who is encouraging a driver to break the law in regards to Plying for hire is equally guilty of the same offence, under Section 72 of the LGMPA 1976 which is;
Offences due to fault of other person etc.
(1) Where an offence by any person under this Part of this Act is due to the act or default of another person, then, whether proceedings are taken against the first-mentioned person or not, that other person may be charged with and convicted of that offence, and shall be liable on conviction to the same punishment as might have been imposed on the first-mentioned person if he had been convicted of the offence.
So basically, even if the driver is charged or convicted of the offence of Plying for Hire, the company that he represents is guilty regardless by allowing him to sit in an area that he is not licensed in. And before these companies cry wolf and state that they are not in control of what the driver does, sorry, but you are. You can prevent the driver from signing onto the platform and be available to accept bookings in an area that he is not licensed in, as you do in London and Birmingham for drivers who are not licensed there, yes Uber if you have not realised yet, I am talking about you and your platform. Or at the worst case scenario put the driver not available when vacant and not in the area he is licensed in, let’s be honest here, we would not want a driver who has dropped out of his area being punished simply because he stopped for a rest break or food, would we?
You see, there is always an answer to every problem, it’s just whether you want to look for the answer and then work at the problem, or do you want to put your head in the sand and pretend that the problem will go away…

With thanks to Mark Jennings from Southend with assisting me in this. Full respect to Mark and his commitment to this nationwide issue.

Extra Comment 
If this is how TfL licensed vehicles can be sold, who monitors them for Hire and Reward Insurance and PH Drivers Licenses...

If no Insurance on those vehicles then the roundels should be handed back, surely !!!!!


A National Day of Protest by Taxi and Private Hire Drivers is being organised for Tuesday 28th February calling for an urgent Public Inquiry into Transport For London  who have issued thousands of Private Hire Licenses to Uber drivers without proper background checks, with fake insurance or medical certificates, who then operate unlawfully throughout the UK.

Many drivers in towns and cities across the country are frustrated that their Local Authorities seem to be powerless to take action to stop illegal Uber Drivers improperly licensed by Transport for London.

It is thought that local protests in many areas will be organised independently and these will  be set up to happen on one day, Tuesday 28th February to maximise impact and media coverage.

Throughout the UK thousands of unregulated  Uber drivers have been improperly licensed by Transport for London and are operating illegally, putting the Public at risk. 
Customers personal security is compromised and road users are exposed to dangerous driving and accidents causing serious injuries and deaths.

Towns and Cities are gridlocked with congestion which is causing toxic air pollution (putting drivers, cyclists and pedestrians at risk) which has increased because Transport for London have issued thousands of Private Hire Licenses to Uber drivers without proper background, medical or insurance, checks who then operate illegally throughout the UK, ignoring traffic regulations and road signs causing accidents and traffic chaos.

TFL have made many improper decisions in relation to Taxis and Private Hire including the issuance of 2500 Private Hire Licenses each month without proper checks and the London Taxi Age limit and previous failed emissions strategies which have not complied with Public Law.

TFL is  a Public body who receive £11 billion a year in taxpayers money yet are accountable to no one;

There is an urgent need for a Public Inquiry to expose the improper decisions which do not comply with Public Law and have resulted in injuries and deaths. There should be an immediate suspension of TFL Private Hire License Applications and the Uber Operators License pending that Public Inquiry.

This petition will be delivered to:

Prime minister Theresa May 

 Chris Grayling MP





The worst part is that we are no longer shocked, just amazed that people still use them to save a few pounds.

Alan Fisher, Editor Call Sign Taxi Magazine.