Saturday, January 31, 2015

e-petition : Homeless Soldiers - Make The Armed Forces Covenant Law.

Homeless Soldiers - Make The Armed Forces Covenant Law

Responsible department: Ministry of Defence

The government created the Armed Forces Covenant 4 years ago, to protect and help our ex service personnel, however it is still not Law. 

The covenant was set up to offer all ex Armed Services personnel across Navy, Air Force & Army, equal rights and benefits for such things as housing, health etc. 

It was estimated that last year the UK had some 11,000 homeless ex service personnel, and this is growing. 

This e-petition was set up to create enough signatures to enable a parliamentary debate, and ultimately make the Covenants pledge Law. 

Here is the Covenant: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/49469/the_armed_forces_covenant.pdf


>Sign the epetition<


Not received your confirmation email?

TfL's CabWise Biased App Still Not Updated, Still Not Fixed ... By Jim Thomas

Just over two years ago, Taxi Leaks received complaints from members of the public that the TfL CabWise phone app was impossible to use on the iPad or iPad mini. 

We had also received emails from concerned drivers about the way the app was bias in favour of booking a private hire vehicle. 

Surely not we thought, TfL would never put something out that would not be part of a level playing field....would they?

Below is our investigation which showed worrying aspects of the TfL app.

Since December 2012, Taxi Leaks has made numerous complaints about the way the App works.
Unfortunately, we have not had one reply and the app has never been updated or fixed in any way. 

Taxi Leaks believes this app should be removed and replace with one that would be fair to both Taxis and Private Hire drivers alike. 



           .   


Minicab driver raped drunk young woman after she was put into his car by well-meaning friend in Leicester Square.

An minicab driver has been jailed for 10 years for raping a young woman put in his car by her friend who wanted to make sure she got home safely. 

                      Sexual predator Baisar 

Abdel Baisar, 34, picked up his victim in the early hours of June 20 last year in Leicester Square, central London after she was on a night out with friends.

Baisar, who already had a conviction for taxi-touting, was hanging around the area, when he was approached by the victim's friend. 


He drove the woman to her address in south east London and then attacked her. The victim woke up to discover she had been raped.


Baisar was traced through a match on the National DNA database and arrested on July 16. He was charged the following day. 


Baisar of Tulse Hill, south London pleaded not guilty to the offence but the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict.

He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment at Woolwich Crown Court after being found guilty of rape on January 19.

He must also sign the sex offenders register for life.


The Judge made an unbelievable bad statement saying that in the unlikely event he is ever granted a minicab licence again, the court ruled he must declare himself a convicted rapist to any single female fares. 

The fact is, this rapist should have received an order banning him for life from ever receiving a Private Hire licence. 


Detective Constable Mark Azariah of the Metropolitan Police's Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: 'I would like to praise the bravery of the victim in coming forward to the police in this distressing case and supporting the investigation.


'I would urge anyone to come forward to the police in such cases and work with us to convict these predatory males who target women when they are at their most vulnerable.


'I hope that the sentence handed down by the Judge goes some way in helping the victim recover from this ordeal.' 


Editorial Comment... By Jim Thomas: 


DNA Solution:

This animal was caught using DNA taken when he was arrested for Touting. Surely a simple solution to the amount of minicab related sexual assaults (rapes) would be to take DNA samples from every private hire and Taxi driver, when they apply for a licence or with outstanding drivers, licence renewals. Within three years every drivers DNA would be on the nation Data base. 


This wouldn't stop rapes altogether, but would make detection and conviction much easier.


                    Zero Tolerance, my arse!

    Police allowing minicabs to tout from taxi rank.


In the summer of 2014, I approached two police officers to complain about a line of touts parked with two wheels on the pavement (covered by national blanket ban) outside The Trocadero in Coventry Street. I asked the officers to move the cars on and was totally shocked by reply. 


One of the officers informed me he was using professional discretion to allow the vehicles to sit there, as there have been reports of women being sexually assaulted in the area and the closer the cars get to the exit the safer for young ladies leaving the Trocadero. 


I was completely and utterly shocked.

I told him, if he was worried about the rapes and sexual assaults in the area, it would be advantageous to move all the touting cars on, as it was these minicabs and predators who were carrying out the attacks. 

I told him he did not have the power of discretion to let people break the laws he personally didn't fancy enforcing. I also told him if he did not move the vehicles, I would report him to his Sgt. up the road on the corner of Waldor Street. This seemed to do the trick and both he and his female colleague walked over to the touts and moved them on.


Is this the mets idea of zero tolerance?

Doing nothing.


This unfortunate young lady was raped as a direct result of Met Police and TfL Cab Enforcement inaction. 


Additional Comment: >acnedriver.blogspot.co.uk<


"When this sick pervert gets released, when he undoubtedly gets another PH License (do not want to jeopardise his Human rights) he must inform all single females getting into his car he is a convicted rapist.

"I am sure his future passengers will be reassured and have a comfortable ride home."


    Source : Daily Mail : Acnedriver.blogspot.co.uk



Friday, January 30, 2015

EXCLUSIVE: Undercover Uber Driver : Uber shift legal responsibility for using taximeter to driver.


Drivers are up in arms, claiming that the honeymoon period between Uber and its drivers is over, as the multinational billion dollar company seeks to maximise its profits by taking even more money from drivers by charging for data used....Or are they?

In an email sent to all its London drivers (see below), Uber announce they are to  start charging drivers £14 a month for data used on phones they provided drivers with at sign up (deposit of £150)

But drivers have been advised that if they do not wish to pay the new data charge, they can return the company phone, download an app (iOS or Android) and use their own smartphone. They are also advised that if they use their own phone, they can claim back monthly payments as a legitimate business expense. 

Drivers also informed the deposit is refundable. 
The estimated £1.5m pay back should not affect the company's in any way, as the money originates from and belongs to the drivers and was never part of company gross earnings.

Obviously, not many drivers are going to pay for something they can get free, plus be able to claim for their private phone against earnings, but is there more to this than first meets the eye. 

At present the company are supplying drivers with what could be described in a future lawsuit, as a Taxi meter. This makes the company responsible to any action taken by a third party, against the use of a Taxi meter in a Private Hire vehicle. Defence for the drivers would argue that they can not (at present) work for the company without the equipment supplied.

If the driver is using an app on their own phone, then surely that burden of guilt shifts from company to driver?

Now I'm not a lawyer, but I can see no other reason for Uber to want to buy back thousands of used iPhone 4s at a cost of £1.5m. 

Even if they've run out of stock, any future promotion in another country could make use of their new app.

 UBER EMAIL:


    Disclaimer: information contained in this article, is supplied by third party opinion and may not be that of Taxi Leak team.


Breaking News: Important Amendment To The Dereg bill, Clause 11.



We have been advised by the Nationsl Private Hire Association, that the amendment is not clear as to whether the “Operator” is a different company or the same company with more than one licence.

They went on to say: "UBER with 10 Operator licences in Greater Manchester could have total coverage of Greater Manchester, without need to advise customers.

"Also, if an Operator had a notice in his office and in the cars he ran and on his website stating that another licensed district car might be used does that not amount to "Contractual Acceptance" when the customer phones or Apps????

"Once again another piece of taxi legislation which will generate the DFT’s opt out phrase.....

“Ultimately it is for the Courts to decide.......mmmmm 
See you in Court then???!!!!"

Editorial Comment:
Deregulation Bill:
We have been reliably informed that the GMB union have asked Baroness Thornton for clarification on want is meant by the term "Second Operator". They say they are awaiting a reply.

Law Commision:
The legislation and case law which has been the basis of regulation for the Licensed Taxi trade in London for 379 years, is soon to be completely swept away by a totally new Taxi and Private Hire act.

The Law Commision have stated they have no intention of defining Plying For Hire in law.


For those who may have missed it;
Caroline Pidgeons fantastic interview with Radio Taxi Group Boss, Geoffrey Riesel. 

Well done Geoff, his really is a must watch.



    
 



Thursday, January 29, 2015

As Predicted, The Global Fightback Against Uber Begins.

A new Licensed Taxi-hailing app to rival Uber in SA


On 1st February a new cab-hailing app called Taxify is set to launch in South Africa and perhaps take on the country’s current big players Uber and SnappCab.

Taxify is an international service that launched in Europe in 2013 and currently operates in the US, Spain, Netherlands, Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Taxify partners with businesses in each country to run the service, with local ICT company Revnetek SA being the South African partner.

Taxify has a four different apps – a taxi and driver app for taxi ordering, and a fleet management and despatch app for taxi companies to manage their businesses efficiently.

What sets Taxify apart to other personal transport apps like Uber is that the taxis aren’t licensed to Revnetek SA – Taxify simply acts as a link between customers and taxi services.

“Taxify is not a taxi company, we connect taxi users with taxis. We only do business with legally registered taxi companies and drivers who have valid PDP licenses, taxi permits and paying passenger insurance,” said Trevor Joseph, CEO of Revnetek SA, to htxt.africa.

Taxify lets you choose between various options available according to the type of vehicle, fare, user feedback and the distance to the pick-up point. A request for a taxi is sent to the closest one that is not busy at that time. If the closest taxi is busy, the request automatically goes to the next closest vehicle.

By including details about the individual taxis and drivers, the app helps to wean out any poor quality or unsafe services that might otherwise cause concern to potential customers.

Taxi operators are allowed to run their own business and charge their own rates that are visible to clients requesting taxis before they order. Taxify invoices the taxi operator for the order fee per trip at the end of the month for all orders received by them via the app.

“As a paraplegic, I am a regular metered taxi user. Since I am in the technology business, I recognised the potential for a taxi ordering and management app. I approached my business associate in Europe who introduced me to Taxify. Taxify had all the features I required in the solution so Revnetek SA concluded an exclusive Agency agreement for South Africa,” Joseph explains.

Taxify will be officially launching in Johannesburg and Cape Town first although the app is already available for download on Google Play and iTunes. Over  250 vehicles have already been registered on the service and the Revnetek SA hopes to exceed 500 vehicles by 31st March.

Joseph says the company plans to launch in other cities soon and while South Africa is Taxify’s first entry into Africa, Revenetek SA has already received enquiries from some sub-Saharan African countries and is pursuing the leads.


     Source : HTxT

An open Letter To The Media : The Best Taxi Service, With The Worst Regulators....by Jim Thomas.

The London Taxi trade is currently engaged in a fight for its life on multiple fronts.

Under attack from a billion dollar multinational company, out to destroy the worlds Taxi trade. A technology company with no respect for Taxi regulations anywhere in the world, who also believes theirselves to be above the law.

Under attack from environmentalists who see our only manufactured, only authorised vehicle as the devils child. With a Mayor about to introduce (in 2018) conditions of fitness that no current produced vehicle can meet.

Worse of all, Under attack from our own licensing authority who have bent over backwards to make legitimacy easy for big money operators, who do not meet required conditions of fitness and operate in a grey area outside the Private Hire Act 1998.

Sir Peter Hendy's present directorate, refuses to accept responsibility for adequate on street enforcement, which has seen minicab related crimes, including serious sexual assaults, spiral out of control. 

To add insult to injury, they have manipulated statistic in an attempt to justify their lame actions. The Met Police have openly admitted that sexual attacks that go unrecorded have gone from 80% in 2010 to 90% at present. This gives a false reduction in recorded statistics.

TfL presently have a team of 68 cab enforcement officers. In a 12 month period last year, they were responsible for a pitiful 34 convictions for illegal touting. Other cities around the country realise this figure over a busy weekend. 

We have seen the line between Taxi and Private hire eroded in the media to such an extent that the BBC inside out London documentary, presented by Louise Hulland, found 90% of night revellers don't know the difference between licensed Taxis on a rank and a line of un-booked minicabs outside a night venue. 
(One of the major causes of minicab predator sexual attack).

After a mass of complaints, the GLA held a review of TfL's handling of the Taxi and Private Hire trades. The transport committee's report found TfL "Woefully inadequate" and has submitted 19 serious recommendations. 

If the situation continues as at present, we could see the complete demise of the worlds best taxi service (a title awarded to London's taxi trade for the last six years running). The London Taxi service is the gold standard that other Taxi services around the world aspire to.

Since TfL took over the responsibility of administering the Taxi trade from the Met, the trade has more or less suffered in silence. But the worm has finally turned. Their seems to be a new fire in the belly of the rank and file driver and 2015 is about to become the year the trade fought back. 

After five years of carrot and stick management where TfL, with the help of an unfair engagement policy, managed to keep the trade representative orgs and unions fragmented, their greatest fear is about to be realised as the Orgs and Unions finally strive to achieve unity. A historic meeting took place at the LTDA's Taxi House on Monday, where previously excluded groups were invited in for talks.

If TfL fail to respond to the GLA recommendations by March and the Mayor pushes the trade for a 5 year reduction in the present 15 year Taxi age limit, our drivers will have no option other than to use the only weapon left in their arsenal.

We have the ability to bring the working Capital to a complete full stop, on a regular basis. Obviously this is the very last thing we want to do, but we will if we have to. The next few months are critical to our survival. We will not go down without the fight of our lives.

Our trade is self-financing and drivers have gone through the arduous knowledge of London, a process that turns out Taxi drivers of the highest standard. The Knowledge is completed at the drivers own expense and carries no cost to the tax payer. The trade receives no government subsidy, unlike other modes of transport.

We do this to win the sole right to ply for hire and all we ask in return is for our right to ply be protected and policed by our licensing authority.



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Think You Can Do A Better a job? : TfL Seek New Head Of Compliance.

Job Description - Head of Compliance (013842)

Head of Compliance 013842
Organisation - CSEP
Job - Head of Department
Position Type - Full Time

circa £65,000

The closing date for applications is Friday 6 February 2015 @ 23:59 hours

Purpose

A key role leading the development and delivery of an efficient, modern and customer-focused taxi and private hire enforcement and compliance operation within TfL’s Enforcement and On Street Operations (EOS) Directorate working for safe, secure and reliable journeys in the capital.

You will be pivotal in fulfilling TfL’s responsibility to provide safe and reliable taxi and private hire services in London, ensuring all drivers, vehicles and private hire operators comply with all required regulations and legislation, and that the trade and public understand everything be done to make journeys safe and compliant. 

In addition, you will have overall strategic responsibility for tasking, deployment and driving performance improvement by TPH compliance and TfL funded police cab enforcement to create safe and reliable journeys. 

Accountabilities
Develop and implement an intelligence-led, risk based vehicle, driver and operator compliance strategy which is effective, efficient, proportionate and consistent with EOS key objectives and TfL’s enforcement policy

Execute TfL's responsibilities as a regulator of licensed taxi and private hire services in a manner that is fair, transparent and outcome focused and drives up the standards of licensed activity

Be responsible for the overall management and development of an effective team, delivering consistent compliance for the 150,000 licensees drivers, vehicles and operators in London within clearly defined, transparent and fair business rules and policies

Responsible for managing effective relationships with stakeholders from the taxi and private hire trade; TfL Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Authority; Greater London Authority and London Councils to further our objectives of providing safe, reliable taxi and private hire whilst also promoting the work of TfL
Be accountable for active engagement with the licensed trade as the primary funders and stakeholders for compliance activity, providing a channel for complaints and feedback on regulatory activity, consulting on policies, standards and rules and sharing details of performance
Working with the EOS Business Heads to identify and deliver, in collaboration with the MPS, CoLP and other enforcement staff, solutions to tackle the problems caused by bogus cabs, and licensed drivers, vehicles and operators involved in illegal activity
Play an active role within the Senior Management Team to deliver effective, dynamic, leadership and management of the Directorate, maximising the opportunity for collaboration between teams and focused on the delivering EOS and Surface objectives

Knowledge

Recognised Business Management formal qualification to degree standard or equivalent career experience
Detailed understanding of London’s taxi and private hire industries, legislation and regulations
Enforcement and prosecution including working with court services

Skills
Ability to manage teams of specialist operational personnel
Stakeholder management
Honed presentation skills and ability to deliver persuasive and influential messages to a wide variety of audience
Ability to motivate senior managers , teams and individuals to achieve stated objectives
Strong management skills to oversee business delivery in a complex organisational setting to a large number of customers and stakeholders

Experience

Enhancing organizational reputation in a complex political and legal environment.
Stakeholder management
Experience of working within legislative frameworks
Leadership in an regulatory environment
The post holder is required to pass an MPS security vetting at the appropriate level prior to appointment in order to obtain this post and hold valid clearance throughout employment.

Previous applications for 009622 need not apply


Application Process

We strongly recommend that you apply using your CV to speed up the application process. Please think carefully about the skills, knowledge and experience outlined in the job description and ensure your CV reflects the requirements of the role you are applying for. You may also use the ‘additional documents’ section in your online application to attach a more detailed profile that is specifically relevant to the role you are applying for. Short listing may be carried out on the basis of your answers to job-specific questions and other information that you submit.

Editorial Comment:

Delivering consistent compliance for the 150,000 licensees drivers, vehicles and operators in London

Take away the 25,000 Taxis....does that mean there are now 125,000 minicab drivers in London or is this just another case of statistics off the top of someone's head. The same someone Boris gets his statistics from. 


Breaking News: Delhi Transport Department rejects Uber's request for licence

New Delhi
Delhi Transport Department on Wednesday rejected Uber's request for licence in the city. The sources within the department said that incorporation of company does not include the mandated to provide public transport services.

US online taxi-hailing service Uber had applied for a radio taxi licence to restart operations in India's capital, after it was banned following allegations that one of its drivers raped a female passenger.

Uber had promised to improve passenger safety by introducing additional safety measures including more stringent driver checks, an in-app emergency button and a dedicated incident response team.

But even with all the so called improvements, Delhi Transport Department decided that Uber were not fit and proper to hold a Radio Taxi Licence.

      Source: IBN live




LTDA to seek judicial review of Cycle Superhighways

The Licensed Taxi Drivers Assocation (LTDA), which represents thousands of London’s black cab drivers, is reportedly seeking a judicial review of Mayor Boris Johnson’s decision, announced today, to approve two Cycle Superhighways running across the centre of London.


News of the LTDA’s potential legal challenge was broken in a post on Twitter by BBC London transport correspondent Tom Edwards, with his tweet retweeted by the LTDA’s own account shortly afterwards.

Danny Williams of the Cyclists in the City blog wrote: “My understanding is that a judicial review could hold things up for many months. Worst case, it could even kill the scheme.”

“The LTDA would be seeking a review of the process behind the consultation. Bear in mind that this is the largest consultation TfL has ever held and you'd have thought that the taxi association is on very very weak ground on this. But let's see,” he added.

It’s the second time in less than a week that the LTDA has threatened to seek a judicial review of a major highways project in London.

Last Friday, BBC London News reported that Camden Council’s plans for a £41 million overhaul of Tottenham Court Road had been described as “madness” by LTDA general secretary Steve McNamara.

The council wants most motor vehicles, including taxis, banned from the street from 8am to 7pm on every day other than Sunday.

The street will be restricted during those hours to buses, cyclists and vehicles requiring local access, with the plans approved following a public consultation, as happened with the Cycle Superhighways given the green light by Mr Johnson today.

Camden Council says the works will improve safety and help local businesses ahead of the opening of the Crossrail Station at the Oxford Street end of the street in 2018

But Mr McNamara insisted: "To consider banning taxis from Tottenham Court Road could be described at best as farcical.


"No thought has been given to the hundreds of thousands of people that get picked up and set down by taxis in the metropolis every day."

Camden councillor Phil Jones maintained that by using side streets, other vehicles including taxis would have access to 60 per cent of the thoroughfare.

"A detailed assessment of the impacts of allowing taxis to use the full length of Tottenham Court Road has been undertaken,” he said. “The assessment has highlighted that allowing taxis to use the street would lead to more traffic congestion, worse air quality and increased road traffic collisions," he said.

A London Cycling Campaign spokesman said the proposals were a chance "to show how even the busiest London streets can begin to be reclaimed from motor traffic dominance."

Meanwhile the Freight Transport Association (FTA) says it still has concerns over the impact on its members of the two routes approved today, although it adds that “it isn’t opposed to Cycle Superhighways in principle.”

Its head of urban logistics, Christopher Snelling, said: “The information published on delay times still does not reflect how industry and private motorists actually use these roads. And yet the first road-works to build these superhighways will start in just a few weeks’ time. 

“By this April we will see works underway on all the proposed routes, affecting some key routes into the centre of London. It seems that the target pushing this is the aim to finish the routes by May 2016 – when the Mayor leaves office.”

The FTA believes that the works may result in a knock-on effect not only in London but also as far out as the M25, and Mr Snelling said: “Given the tight constraints of drivers’ hours rules, this could result in significantly increased costs to the logistics industry. And that means increased costs for the businesses and residents in London who rely on them.”

However, he added: “The improvements that have been announced today show how careful work can improve the situation to better reflect the balance of London’s transport needs, and the revised plans issued are an improvement on those previously put out – traffic delays have been reduced somewhat and more loading capacity has been added than was planned before.”


What would happen if more app-makers worked with the licensed Taxi industry? ... By Jim Thomas

 We've seen how disruptive these innovations in transportation has been with Smartphone apps like Uber, it seems that the minicab market is flooded with apps to  match up people with cars in a seamless experience that cut out traditional taxis altogether.

Today's Taxi trade in London is suffering from shell-shock as drivers who thought they had a job for life, now start to realise they are going to have to fight for survival. 

It's devastating sitting on a rank with six other Taxis outside a popular venue, seeing one time regular Taxi users standing beside the entrance glaring at their phone. Then a Prius pulls up, double parks next to the rank and whisks them away.

Minicab apps have now become a craze, like texting, FaceBook, WhatsApp, it's the latest fad. People like to think they have all the answers and a couple of taps on a smart phone will get them a quick and easy no fuss cheap ride home. But reality is now beginning to kick in as they get taken for a ride. 

Surge pricing, sexual assaults, following ridiculous Sat Nav routs resulting in unbelievably inflated prices.

But we are set to see a complete reversal:
Small Tech teams have been busy beavering away and we will shortly be seeing the launch of a number of Licensed Taxi Black Cab only apps.


Cabb:App, MaaxiCab and TaxiCab, are soon to hit the street to join the like of TaxiToo and Get Taxi. 
But we must never compromise as was the case with Hailo. If a certain app can't supply a vehicle, the technology is there to share work with other apps. The backup service should be "if we can't get you a cab, we will send you one of our partners Taxis, but you will only ever be sent a black cab".


What would make our apps attractive, would be the ability to open an account using a credit/debit card. No one wants to give card details over the phone, card payment bookings should be automatic just by account/membership number.

Every Uber journey is a card payment and it's just that fact that really makes them look desirable to so many passengers, regardless of cost. Remember the old "User friendly" label that came with the first computers.

The uptake of Taxi app working needs to be substantial. Just think, with 20,000 Taxis on smartphone apps, our professionalism could run Uber out of town. Their drivers cannot compete with our knowledge, even with a Sat Nav.

Of course there will always be the tourist and dedicate Taxi rider who love to flag down a cab, but there is not enough to keep 25,000 Taxi drivers in the black. Even these casual riders are now starting to download apps, enticed by what is perceived to be a cheap rate.

Most modern passengers have been attracted by the easy use, easy payment flow, where they tap for a car, arrive at the destination, get out and walk away. Fare taken with no time lost processing a card payment, no money changing hands...to them this is the modern way. 

Parents are opening accounts which their kids can use to get home safe...but that's the key, how safe is an Uber Driver.

With the right advertising and promotional push we could take back a hefty chunk of this work. Look how successful Hailo was at first. Every passenger loved the free run ins, free waiting time plenty of availability. It was like walking out of your door and flagging down a cab.

There is also localised markets crying out for this type of service. I was recently introduced to a company Tap-Black-Taxi who have an app that works mainly in south west London.


Licensed Taxi smartphone apps are the way forward, even the radio circuits have some form of app but not enough is spent in promoting. Uber have flooded the market and we just don't have Uber's money. 

What we do have is 50,000 bill boards. Every tip up seat should carry an advert for a licensed Taxi app, every driver should give out promotion material. When I first worked for Dial a cab 35 years ago, I spent many hours carding up areas I liked working, mainly Maida Vale and St a Johns Wood. Every time I arrived at a pick up, I would slip cards through the letter box of adjacent properties. Most of the drivers back then were happy to do this and it worked.

Yes these people are already in a cab but they could soon be enticed away. If people want an easy book, easy ride, easy pay experience, then let's make sure it's in a licensed black cab.

It's 150 years since the knowledge was first introduced. Why is this not plastered all over the media. 

Last year was the year of the Bus!

2015 should've been the year of the Taxi.