Saturday, September 23, 2017

Crocodile Tears, Paper Tigers And Sleeping Lions.... By I'm Spartacus.

So Tfl no doubt reluctantly stepped up to defend the traveller, but with little choice after many transgressions and then the final stake through the heart written by the upright citizen and proper copper that is Inspector Billany who exposed the applicant for what they were 
unfit and improper.

Crocodile Tears
Cue the social media frenzy and parade of bought advertorials, no mark politicos and all those bleeding hearts about 40000 people being thrown on the scrap heap, yet if and when Driverless cars appear the very same people will say nowt when quadruple that number go west, 'its cheep though innit'.

We all know most will just sign up with another operator or possibly join the ranks of world renown by completing the KOL, if not their just holding a one way ticket to Loserville courtesy of the West Coast Bro's.

Paper Tigers
Well that's what the trade has been viewed as by all and sundry, we have been as Gilligan said Balkanised, so those in Unions, Trade Orgs ensure that YOU get involved, campaign for joined up thinking and accountability, defining PFH and ensuring TfL maintain the differential of the two tier system, after all that's what they say they want.

Sleeping Lions
Sorry again that's us, whatever happens after the Lawyers have had their feast, be sure things will never be the same, let's be sharp, smart and savvy. 
You can bet every PH firm will be looking to grab market share, let's do the same and whatever we do always remember this:

If you value it, defend it!

I'm Spartacus


Listen to Wes Streeting's Tweet.

Why TFL were right not to renew Uber's licence and why their business model should concern all of us.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Light At The End Of The Tunnel As TfL Refuse Uber Licence To Operate In London.

Uber will not be issued a new private operators licence, when their current licence expires, Transport for London (TfL) said today. 

Their current licence expires at the 30th of September and then they will have 21 days to appeal, during which time it can continue to operate.

TfL concluded the ride-hailing app firm was not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence after a number of contributory scandals hit the media earlier this year. 

Also FOI requests from members of the Taxi trade representative group The London Taxi Drivers Club (LCDC), exposed a mass of emails which showed an unsavoury relationship between Uber executives and senior TfL staff. Evidence was also given to the Sunday Times by the LCDC regarding the authenticity of 13,000 DBS certificates after TfL tried to sweep the problem under the carpet.

Uber's approach and conduct demonstrated a lack of corporate responsibility which could have potential public safety and security implications, it said. 

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said in a statement: "I fully support TfL's decision - it would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is anyway that this could pose a threat to Londoners' safety and security. This is not an anti Minicab app decision, this is a anti not playing by the rules decision."

Current statistics have shown that in London alone, Uber drivers were responsible for committing one serious sexual assaults including rape of vulnerable passengers every eleven days. Last year showed a 50% rise in passenger attacks from Uber drivers.

London Cabby Gerald Coba said:

"This decision from TfL will almost certainly make traveling on London streets much safer. Bus drivers will no longer be doing uber shifts before starting work driving buses. 

"It should also make driving along one way streets safer too. But this isn't the end. Uber will try to carry on using PHVs registered by other licensing authorities. Cross-boarder hiring needs to be dealt with ASAP, as its become a major problem across the UK.

"But now TfL have refused to relicense, I strongly believe other authorities around the country will now follow suit."

Good news, as bookmakers William Hill make Uber 4/6 on to lose their appeal. 
"This is a huge move by TfL and no doubt Uber will fight the decision. However we think it is likely the ruling will be upheld" said William Hill Spokesman Joe Crilly. 

Taxi Leaks Extra Comment:
Although this is a massive victory for the trade we mustn't forget that the original problems of eHailing (instant hiring via a smart phone) along with the cross boarder hiring is still in place. Until these problems are dealt with, we are in danger of another app based operator picking up the gauntlet.

A bitter George Osbourne hits back on behalf of his chums with Fake News.

It's what we've come to expect from the Standard since George became editor  

Thursday, September 21, 2017

More Congestion, More Pollution, More Cycle Lanes

Planners have purposely left out the horrendous traffic congestion caused by segregated cycle lanes 

Plans for the first cycle superhighway in west London were unveiled today.

More than half of the 5.6-mile CS9 route between Kensington Olympia and Brentford town centre will be on segregated lanes, protecting riders from other traffic.

Construction is due to start late next year and could add to demands for a superhighway on Kensington High Street to create a link with the flagship East-West superhighway at Hyde Park.

The route links with already announced plans to enable cyclists to bypass the Hammersmith gyratory. 

It diverts riders off Chiswick High Road at Turnham Green and onto residential streets, which will be closed to through traffic. Cyclists will also be able to bypass the busy Kew Bridge junction.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “This new cycle superhighway will bring a high-quality segregated cycle lane to west London for the very first time."

It will make a real difference in encouraging Londoners of all ages and abilities to get on their bikes and improve conditions for pedestrians across the area.”

The proposals, revealed as a consultation was launched today by Transport for London, also include five new traffic light junctions and improvements to 20 pedestrian crossings.

Simon Munk, infrastructure campaigner at London Cycling Campaign, said: “This route will tame several dangerous junctions, enable far more people of all ages and abilities to cycle to local shops, stations and into work and extend the cycle superhighway network to areas where cycling demand is high but cycling infrastructure is virtually non-existent.”

A single two-way superhighway will be built between Olympia and Turnham Green.

There will be no segregation as the route transfers onto Heathfield Terrace and Wellesley Road. Single lanes on either side of the road wil be built on the South Circular Road, Kew Bridge Road and Brentford High Street.

The intention is to eventually extend the route west into Hounslow, with a second consultation expected next year.

The CS9 proposals come after Mr Khan axed Boris Johnson’s plans to extend the East-West route into Acton via the A40 Westway flyover.

Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “Cycle Superhighway 9 will be hugely important in helping cyclists in the west travel safely and inspire many more Londoners to take up cycling for the first time.”

Wesley Harcourt, Hammersmith & Fulham council cabinet member for environment, said: “As part of our aim of becoming the greenest borough in the country, we want to double the number of journeys in the borough being taken by bike.

"Key to that aim is making people feel safe. This new route enables people to get right across the borough and into central London easily, and without the fear of sharing space with large motor vehicles."

The entire route, between Olympia and Hounslow, is projected to cost up to £70 million, making it the most expensive cycle superhighway in London. It would be opened in stages as construction progresses.

Legal Trouble On The Horizon For The Toxicity Charge

To try to reduce air pollution in London, the toxicity charge, or T-charge, will come into effect on the 23 October 2017. It aims to discourage the use of older cars on the road, as these produce the most dangerous fumes.

Now, however, FairFuelUK is seeking to raise a legal challenge against the T-charge, arguing that a full public enquiry should have preceded the decision to implement it. The challenge could have implications for every major UK town and city.

What is the T-charge?

The T-charge is expected to affect up to 10,000 vehicles every weekday, so plenty of people will find themselves needing to pay it. It targets nitrogen oxide and particulate matter, as these have a negative effect on human health. This is becoming more worrying as the population of London continues to grow.

Anyone driving through London in a car, van, minibus, bus, coach or heavy goods vehicle that does not meet the Euro emissions standards will be required to pay the T-charge. This is in addition to the congestion charge that is already in place.

What will you be paying?

The minimum emission standards are Euro 4 for petrol and diesel vehicles, and Euro 3 for motorised tricycles and quadricycles. Any vehicle that does not meet these standards will be subject to the T-charge.

The charge will apply to drivers using the capital’s roads between 7 am and 6 pm Monday to Friday. The cost to those drivers will be £10 per day. The T-charge does not apply on bank holidays, or from Christmas Day to New Year’s Day.

If you are unsure of whether you’ll need to pay the T-charge for your vehicle, you can check your vehicle registration certificate (V5C), which displays the emissions standard that the vehicle is classed as.

If your vehicle doesn’t meet the Euro emissions standards, and you fail to pay the T-charge, you will be sent a penalty charge notice for £130. This will be reduced to £65 if it is paid within 14 days.

Legal issues with the T-charge

The T-charge has recently come under fire from FairFuelUK. The organisation has described the Mayor of London’s decision to implement this charge as unlawful and unfair. This is because FairFuelUK doesn’t believe that drivers should be penalised for driving older petrol and diesel cars. The campaigning organisation feels that a full public enquiry should have been carried out before the decision to roll out the T-charge was made.

FairFuelUK has now launched a crowd funding campaign to raise money for a two-part legal challenge against the T-charge. This would firstly see it ask the Mayor of London to change his mind about introducing the T-charge. Secondly, it would ask the Prime Minister and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) to investigate how else London could reduce pollution.

Learning from other countries

The T-charge may seem like a harsh idea. However, examples from around the world show that Londoners could actually have it worse. Paris, for example, has banned all cars registered before 1997 from using city centre roads between 8 am and 8 pm on weekdays in a bid to reduce pollution.

Similarly, the Mayors of Mexico City, Madrid and Athens are currently looking at banning all diesel cars from their city centres by 2025.

If the T-charge is a success in London, it is thought that it will be rolled out to 25 other UK towns and cities. These include Birmingham, Nottingham, Southampton and Derby, which will start by charging older lorries, taxis and coaches by 2019.

With legal issues against the T-charge being raised before it has even been implemented, the future of the charge is far from certain. However, one thing is for sure – urgent thought needs to be put into how else pollution can be lowered in the UK’s major towns and cities, whether this has to do with penalising certain motorists or not.

What can we do to reduce pollution in our city centres without penalising motorists? Or is charging drivers based on their vehicle type the only viable solution? Leave a comment below. 

I'm Spartacus asks the question : "So when is a handgun not a handgun?"

Excerpt from Inspector Neil Billany's Letter to Helen Chapman 'Concerns on Uber not reporting serious crimes to Police' 
"On 4 March 2017 Uber have had contact from a passenger informing them of a serious incident involving Uber (and TfL licensed PHV) driver. The nature of the allegation was that during a booked journey, a road rage incident has developed between the driver and another road user. During the incident the driver has taken what the passenger believed to be a handgun from the glove box and left the vehicle to pursue the other driver on foot.
At this point the passenger has fled to vehicle in fear."

Following on from yesterday's FOI requests, I'm Spartacus asks the question :
"So when is a handgun not a handgun?"

It seems when Uber ascertains it isn’t, not the police!
That astounding & disturbing fact from the diligent & professional Inspector Billany alone warrants a revocation today let alone consideration of renewal.

Let’s put it another way:
I as a proprietor, investigates me as a driver, for ‘pulling a blade’ on a passenger... no question of a revocation as I (as a proprietor) had ascertained it was a cosh. Yeah right!

There’s a duty under the common law to assist in the apprehension of a felon.

All the rest to me just shows TfL’s obsession on how things appear... rather than doing anything about serious threats to public safety.

Any right minded citizen must be outraged.

I'm Spartacus. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Emails between Peter Blake, Helen Chapman And Neil Billany + 90 Pages Of Emails Between Uber And Chapman.

Can you please provide me with all email correspondence under an FOIA between the following dates and involving the following TfL staff: 1st January 2017 - 11th July 2017 (a) Peter Blake and Neil Billany (b) Helen Chapman and Neil Billany
We answered
TfL Ref: FOI-0866-1718

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 11 July 2017 asking for information about correspondence.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm we hold some of the information you require. 

Please see the information you have requested attached in relation to emails exchanged between Neil Billany and Helen Chapman. Please note that we do not hold any emails exchanged between Neil Billany and Peter Blake within the time period you have specified.

For clarify, the letter in the first pdf is an attachment to an email provided on page 10 of the second pdf.

Please note that in accordance with TfL’s obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) some personal data has been removed, as required by section 40(2) of the FOI Act. This is because disclosure of this personal data would be a breach of the DPA, specifically the first principle of the DPA which requires all processing of personal data to be fair and lawful. It would not be fair to disclose this personal information when the individuals have no expectation it would be disclosed and TfL has not satisfied one of the conditions of Schedule 2 of the Data Protection Act which would make the processing ‘fair’. 

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for some reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed. 

Yours sincerely 

Lee Hill

Senior FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London



Could I have a copy of the letter from Ms Chapman to Uber dated 25/10/16 and then could you narrow your search to only letters and emails sent by Ms chapman and replies received from Uber since 2012 working your way forward in time until the cost threshold is reached.