Friday, September 30, 2016

A Quickie Knowledge, Or A Two Tiered Knowledge System?....by Jim Thomas.


Over the last few months, while the trade has again been decided over the intended CC mandate, transaction charges and siting of the machine, TfL seem to have used the oppotunity to slip in the frame a new form of Knowledge of London. 

It's recently been reported all over social media, new drivers at Heathrow have been asking for post codes of well established points around central London, such as the Ritz Hotel, Kings Cross and Euston stations. 

There have always been allegations that certain suburban drivers have been sharing friends or relations badges and bills to work the airport. 
Most of these claims were felt by the majority of the trade to be exaggerated. 

But when TfL compliance recently made checks out west, there was a noticed absence of so called 'new drivers' from the feeder park. 

However, drivers sharing documents such as badge and bill, is not the only problem that's currently surfaced out west. Many drives are refusing what they feel are unprofitable journeys by refusing to take card payments, or asking for exorbitant cash fares.

At a recent meeting between trade reps, HAL and TfL compliance, it's been revealed that knowledge students are no longer going out on the bike -a system proved over many years to be the most effective way of learning the Knowledge. 

TfL told the meeting that learning the knowledge from a computer screen in a classroom is now quite acceptable. 

HADTU have released a statement saying that in their opinion, this is not just a quickie knowledge, but a two tiered knowledge system. 
They say they will now be consulting with other trade groups regarding this issue. 

The ongoing credit card saga...Letters from Tom Scullion and Dads Defending Daughters



Tfl in its infinite wisdom made a very hasty decision to make it compulsory to have fixed terminals in the back of London Taxis without consultation with the working Taxi drivers. 

Many of us have highlighted the dangers and the risk to helpful Cab drivers being lured into the back of our Taxis when the customer cannot process a card payment. 

Whilst we all agree that every Taxi should have means to take cards and the majority of us have a handheld devices, why would Tfl think that we should go to the expense of installing fixed units which are prone to 'Bugs" and system failures and if the unit doesn't work the driver is off the road until the equipment is functioning again.

Here are some other reasons why drivers should use hand held units:

In order to process an Amex card for example the driver is prompted to check the customers signature against the card, pretty difficult to do as the customers will process the transaction themselves in the back of the Cab, if the customer contacts their card company and say that's not my signature and request a refund the driver will loose the money.

Cards being left in the machines in the back of Cabs when the next passenger gets in and nicks the card they will have a field day with contactless transactions with purchases, goods or services below the £30 ceiling and guess who will get the blame for stealing the cards ? 
You guessed it the Cab driver.

Did you know you can use a stolen card for up to 5 months on contactless transactions even if the card has been reported as lost or stolen.

When a driver is trained on how to use their machine or device they are asked to check the name on the card so imagine the scenario, a Lady presents you with a card you check the name and its MR G Smith if the driver takes the payment and ignores this again there will be a charge back and once again the driver will be out of pocket and or accused of deliberately processing payments without the customer being present or taking fraudulent payments.

All of the above can not happen if the driver processes the payment with the customers card in the front of the Cab.

Be Lucky 

Tom Scullion

Comment From Dads Defending Daughters.

When Helen Chapman said there is no evidence of attacks on cabbies helping with CC machines, I answered that there isn't that many machines in the back of cabs yet, and half of them are not used (socks and bags covering them).

I pointed to the fire escape and said, no child has ever fallen from that fire escape, but would you allow a four year old out there unsupervised to play on it?
Not the greatest analogy, but it was off the cuff.
Do we have to wait for a rape or murder, before TfL deem it unsafe to get into the back of the cab with a stranger?

Uber waited until murder hit the headlines before they stopped Uberpool (although you can still put yourself in danger, if you're jumping in with strangers from the airport).
Khan said "One is one too many." when referring to TfL's PH rape record.
Obviously one is quite acceptable when it's Taxi drivers.
I have to get into the back with an unchecked stranger - sound familiar?


Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Request, To All Licensed Taxi And Private Hire Orgs... From Lee Ward-ALPHA.


I am formally requesting that a committee of Associations be set up from across the country.

This committee will be a steering group for the whole industry, therefore representatives from both tiers are to be included.

This committee will not be for kudos or anything along the lines of 'we did this' 'we got that' it will be purely and simply a group of knowledgeable people who already run Associations, I am sorry but Unions need not apply, you are as bad as the politicians for kudos and no results.

This group will be from across the land, with no borders involved, its purely for the benefit of the trade and the recognition that it requires with the hierarchy.

Together, as a combined and knowledgeable unit we can work to put to bed the growing and desecrating industry issues that are before and upon us.

Please email me at ward.lee1969@gmail.com to show your interest in joining forces nation wide.

Time is now to unify and act, time tomorrow to reflect on what could have been achieved.

Thank you

Lee Ward

Greenbadge John's View On The Eventuality Of CC Rental Charges

TFL cannot prevent business owners (Taxi Drivers) from using equipment they already own so the equipment they are forcing into vehicles will eventually become redundant.

All the suppliers of this equipment know this very well, and it will be seen as a duplication of process and go down the same route as the mandated issues of emission abatement fittings and receipt printers..... straight into the dustbin of TFL ineptitude.

The costly route of 'free' fitting this equipment is bound to be clawed back eventually by the complicit companies creating a monthly levy charge which will be introduced as soon large enough numbers have been fitted and as projected profit costing and failings becomes patently clear to them and this will allow the drivers the complete opportunity to bring this un-welcomed TFL intervention to an unceremonious end.

If your Card processing company issues minimum "low usage fees" which may be linked to their own projected monthly fees AFTER you sign for free fitting and non usage quota linked usage basis you will undoubtedly have an immediate cost free contractual exit and cancellation due to a serious financial material fact alteration, so read your contract carefully before signing or ask what will happen if they suddenly introduce monthly fees to cover low usage cost because it will happen.

What will that mean to the TFL mandate who will try to coerce you to pay up by threatening to remove your plate because you no longer have rear card processing usage facilities?

TFL could never win that argument legally without examining the suppliers contract so the mandate would die just as the previous ones have.


Be Lucky

greenbadgejohn (on twitter) 

Carry On, Follow That Camel ! ... By Im Spartacus.


So folks in another travel bulletin, here's how the cab trade works in Dubai.

ALL cabs are owned by the Dubai version of TfL, they maintain the fleet, insure, put the fuel in etc etc bit like the old London General.

Drivers just drive, they sign up as a double team for 7x12 shifts and keep 25% of the clock which is GPS monitored and they all accept cards.

Dubai seemed a safe, clean and law abiding place.

Cabs are usually newish Toyotas or Mitsubishi and the occasional FX4R (joking!) one I rode in had 600,000km on the clock but was clean and well maintained. Fares are about par with ours, drivers pleasant but not that great with any knowledge of Dubai.

Any signs of the U mob you ask? not likely as I say cabs are owned by the transportation authority, why would they give anyone a look in?

The only comparison with U is some of the driving, car drivers will think nothing of reversing a mile or more down the hard shoulder if they miss a motorway turnoff, very relaxing!

The cab drivers respect and regard us as the standard by which all others are judged, they are amazed (as we are) that the authorities in London even allowed PH let alone the bin end Umob!

Interesting place and well worth a visit and by the way I never saw a camel which has given me the right 'ump.

Next reports from Bratislava and Prague soon.

I'm Spartacus 


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

#SaveTaxi Wheelchair fundraiser success for Canonbury cycle crash victim.


Cycle crash victim Alex Doodle will no longer have to “crawl” to and from the taxis they rely on get to hospital appointments after a #SaveTaxi crowdfunder hit its target of £3,000 within a week.

As reported in the Islington Gazette last week, Alex, who is gender neutral, was put on a lengthy waiting list for a wheelchair earlier this year.

The architecture graduate has relied on black cabs to get around since a crash in Essex Road seven years ago and was “lost for words” when told the news.

“I’m still in shock and so grateful,” she said. “Black cab drivers continue to be my lifeline while government policies and funding cuts hinder my ability to live independently and have my basic needs met. A group of people in a trade also threatened took the time and effort to help me. 

“They have given me more than a wheelchair – they have given me independence.”

Alex, who says she has been living off full fat milk because she spends all her money on cabs and mental health services, is looking forward to getting out and about again.

“I will be able to go to a hospital appointment, look around the shops or even go to an art gallery,” she said. “It’s been over seven years.”

The next target is wheelchair-accessible accommodation. Alex is currently in a first-floor flat in Englefield Road, Canonbury, waiting for an adapted home to become available – but just 28 have been let in the last two years. The council says it is doing all it can.

Alex, 44, continued: “When I eventually move, I will live with more dignity and feel less degraded as one of my conditions makes it look like I’m having a stroke so I’m basically on the floor for hours or days or trying to drag myself on one side to the bathroom.”

Cabbie Terry Vaus started the fundraiser. He said: “It’s fantastic news. I never thought when it started it would go so well.”


Editorial comment :

A big thank you to all contributors who have made Alex's dream come true and a very big thank you to all at Sherbet Taxis for their generous contribution. 


It's what Cabbies do 



Update from the ITA : THE BELLY IS A RASCAL..... ITA HAVE POSTPONED MONDAY'S DEMO.


The ITA have advised me that their decision is based upon the current state of trade reticence.
The trade seems to take comfort in the fact that the Mayor of London is trying his utmost to combat Uber and its powerful friends, to save our three hundred and fifty year old iconic trade.
That may or may not be true - only time will tell.

He is also trying his best to placate a huge number of dissatisfied Taxi drivers, who feel they have been thrown overboard in favour of a rich American conglomerate who pays nothing into our economy, but relies upon UK government subsidies to pay their impoverished 'employees'.
The Mayor's promises have allowed the more apathetic amongst us to plead for a respite while we wait ... wait for what exactly?
Wait until May comes and goes, and Uber renew their license?

The majority of the Taxi trade never Demo.
The majority of the Taxi trade are only too willing to let the minority speak up for them, while they carry on regardless.
The majority of the Taxi trade like to moan about work or the lack of it, or about the roads, or Uber, or TfL, or official statistics that other proactive drivers have uncovered for them - but moaning is about as far as they are prepared to go.
The majority of the trade will not fight, and are not worth fighting for.


Think of the drivers with huge housing costs, children to keep and an overpriced taxi to maintain, who cannot make ends meet; who are pulling their hair out in sheer frustration, caused not by their incompetence, but by TfL's criminality.

Our fight is not against the Mayor.
Our fight is not against the ineffective GLA.
Our fight is against injustice. It is against the deregulation and destruction of our trade.
Our fight is against Cameron, Osborne, Johnson, Anderson, Kramer, Javid and all the other corrupt officials with a vested interest in overseeing our demise.
Our fight is against Daniels, Bertram, Hendy, Mason, Emmerson and all those who seek to destroy our trade for their own personal gain.

SO WHAT HAS THE MAYOR PROMISED?

Hire and reward insurance.
This is already the law.
The fact that it has not been enforced, says more about Transport for London (TfL), than it does the Mayor.

Extra ranks.
For who? Minicabs to sit on, whilst Compliance Officers lounge in some burger bar, out of sight?
What good are extra ranks if they are not policed?
I bet the fog-lit minicabs are jumping for joy though.

Access to more bus lanes.
Why are we not allowed into all bus lanes anyway?
Cycles use them - and they slow buses up far more than Taxis ever could.
And what about Tottenham Court Road?
We know all about the 'Great Bus Scam', but how many buses need the whole of Tottenham Court Road to themselves?

Agreed fare in advance for Private Hire customers.
Another rule that TfL have not enforced.
Private Hire (minicabs) have always been required to quote a fare in advance of the journey.

Phone contact with Customer Service.
TfL are rewriting the rules to accommodate Uber.
Landlines may become a requirement of the past.
What is the point of having any rules or regulations, if they are changed to accommodate the highest bidder?

More Compliance Officers.
Are any of these new officers going to come out after dark?
The lot we have at the moment seem anything but nocturnal.
They drive around during the day, jumping out of vans to nick Taxi drivers fouling ranks, but once the sun goes down they are nowhere to be seen, except a handful huddled in McDonald's, whilst minicabs rank up outside clubs and restaurants with impunity.

Private Hire paying their way on compliance costs.
This is a common sense piece of husbandry.
And a good reason to lower the extortionate price of the Taxi license. I say extortionate, because the trade gets nothing back in return.

Minimum 3 year UK DBS.
A huge step in the right direction.
Dads Defending Daughters called for five years minimum citizenship - but at least three years citizenship is better than a letter of good conduct from an embassy who has little to no knowledge of the applicant.
These new measures might save a person from being raped or murdered.
As our Mayor stated, "Even one is one too many."
Unfortunately, this decision is not in the hands of Sadiq Khan.
This is new legislation we are seeking.
Do not underestimate the bought and paid for MPs and journalists, who will oppose this legislation in favour of thirty pieces of silver. For them, rape is merely collateral damage.
This legislation must be implemented in every workplace, where any applicant is left in charge of children and the vulnerable.
Dads Defending Daughters would like to see DNA tests brought in for all applicants.

The Mayor's intention for minicab proprietors to have Fleet Insurance.
How will this affect Uber? Uber claim they do not have a fleet. They are an IT company.
Finance for fleet insurance will be levied upon the individual driver by the employer.
This is just political rhetoric.

Reviewing ride-sharing with DfT.
Another rule change that our Mayor has no jurisdiction over.
Except those who directly benefit financially, who on God's green earth thinks sharing a minicab with strangers is a good thing?
It is bad enough that the minicab driver may be an unchecked stranger. Now the greedy bastards want our daughters and sons to get into a minicab with strange passengers too!

Topographical tests.
Who cares about Mickey Mouse topographical tests?
It is not the Knowledge of London.
The public will be led to believe minicab drivers actually know what they are doing.
Great public relations for the likes of Uber.

Driving tests.
This is something that is not feasible, and leads me to question the Mayor's motivation.
There are not enough examination centres available to take on an extra hundred thousand advanced driving tests over three years.
Nor is there enough time to allocate and carry out all these tests. Let alone the driving lessons needed to achieve a high enough level of competence.
The Mayor is anything but stupid. He knows this cannot be achieved. Yet he promises it. Why?
It is simpler for TfL to insist that every minicab applicant must have a DVLA pass certificate before applying for a minicab license. And has not merely exchanged their foreign license for a UK one.

Transparency and demarcation for cab related criminal offences and KSI statistics.
Already we are seeing that these are nothing more than meaningless words printed in a quaint little pamphlet, to appease a few worried Taxi drivers.
Where are the Freedom of Information statistics, which were due to be published on 20th September 2016?
Our trade organisations cannot get an acknowledgement, let alone any answers.

Reviewing in-venue minicab operators.
Reviewing what exactly?
Do you believe this dangerous practice will be rectified?
On what grounds?
TfL gave an Operators License to an IT company, for crying out loud!
They sell roundels to absolutely anyone!
They allow unchecked drivers to ferry the vunerable around!
They are never going to change this lucrative activity because of public safety issues.

WHAT ARE OUR DEMANDS?

A full Public Enquiry into Transport for London's corrupt relationship with Uber.
Are we just going to get on with our lives, like this never happened?
Are we supposed to forget those innocent victims of rape and sexual assault?
Are we supposed to forget those drivers who lost their homes?
Forget those drivers who suffered divorce?
Forget those drivers who suffered bankruptcy?
Forget those drivers who are so behind with mortgage payments it will be five or even ten years before they are back on track?
Forget those drivers who had to seek employment elsewhere?
Forget those drivers who suffered a nervous breakdown?
Are we supposed to forget the people who instigated this misery, and let them ride off into the sunset with a golden handshake and a brand new promotion?
Not bloody likely!

No more ineffectual enforcement.
We demand that Compliance Officers do the job they are paid to do.
Are we supposed to sit idly by while minicabs shit all over compliance loopholes, basking on our Taxi ranks, plying for hire in Mayfair and the City?
Is our 'right to work' not worth fighting for?

Capping of minicab licenses.
The government's own transport committee has spoken out against the complete and utter chaos caused by TfL's chaotic road strategy.
The transport committee are fed up with TfL issuing six hundred minicabs every week onto our roads, condoned by the Secretary of State for Business (BIS) and Department for Transport (DfT), and exacerbated by TfL's disastrous Cycle Superhighway.
Day-long congestion and rising levels of pollution is literally choking the life out of 9,500 Londoners every year.
BIS's solution to finding jobs for the unemployable, via mini-cabbing, is ruining Londoners lives.
Big and small businesses are moving away from this purpose built madness, every month.
London is not open - London is locked shut!
This is another problem that is outside the remit of Mayor Khan.
We demand that DfT and BIS curtail this ludicrous situation, promoted by Uber-loving Sajid Javid before he was banished to the political underworld by Theresa May PM.

Greed got us into this mess, and greed will keep us there.
The greed of an uncaring government, who would see us go the same way as the miners, printers and shipbuilders, so they could line their own pockets.
The greed of TfL management under orders from Cameron and Osborne, who in turn were under orders from 'Government' Sachs and other unctuous investors.
These obscene gluttons see rape and sexual assault as acceptable collateral damage, in their grubby quest for a bigger return on their investment.
These gannets are prepared to destroy the lives of good men and women, so they can gorge themselves on the profit of our misery.
Greedy self interested Taxi drivers would rather work on, than fight to stop this unprecedented rise of rape and sexual abuse in minicabs.
Greedy blinkered Taxi drivers with their heads buried in their lolly-bags, would rather let someone else take the time and effort to fight for their jobs.

We will not Demo for the sake of Demoing.
We will not Demo simply because we are angry.
We will not Demo against a fair and proper Mayor.
We will Demo against an unfit and improper regulator.
We will Demo against an unjust government.
We will Demo when they refuse to listen.
We will Demo when they refuse to answer.
We will Demo when they refuse to be accountable.
We will Demo to reverse unfair decisions made by unjust officials.
We will Demo to be heard!


"The belly is a rascal, it doesn't remember how well you treated it yesterday, it'll cry out for more tomorrow." — Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The UTG Done Deal Credit Card Mandate Omni Shambles Rolls On....by Jim Thomas.


Last Thursday night, CMT's complete system shut down and driver's could not sign in, or clear a payment for hours.

In just over four weeks time, under the proposed Unite Taxi group(UTG) done deal regulations, this would mean many thousands of Taxi drivers having to stop work and go home... until the system's restored back up and running properly. 

Currently many CMT machines have a software bug, which appears to stop the PEDs logging on for long periods of time. This could also result in many drivers having an early bath. I personally contacted CMT UK on their Twitter feed one evening when I couldn't sign in, hoping for a help line phone number and was given an email address -not quite what I was hoping for.

But CMT are not the only equipment with problems.


The iZettle Muria MO10 units are currently printing out receipts containing the drivers full name, home address and telephone number. Many drivers are giving these receipts to customers, completely unaware their personal details are emblazoned on them.  

To be fair, this whole issue has been a complete shambles from the start. Badly planned, badly thought out, with almost no import sort from drivers, or driver's groups.
The start date for the Card Mandate has been put back by 4 weeks, while the requirement for rear fitting has had to be been postponed till 1st January. 

Speaking to a compliance officers over the weekend, they informed me that interdepartmental memos are flying around like confetti. Apparently the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing (their words not mine).

Driver Safety:


Driver safety issues with the rear fitment of Card readers still haven't been addressed by LTPH. General Manager Helen Chapman said at the LCDC AGM, 'we have no data to show this may be a problem'. 

As yet, the main body of trade drivers....the 80% not on social media, haven't received a word of notification from TfLTPH so far.

What's your experience of problems concerning these new rear PEDs?

Use the comments section below to air your fears about issues relating to the CC equipment. 

NEWS JUST IN. 



UBER POOL IS TO SHUT DOWN, after numerous incidents of assault, sexual and violent, culminating in the murder of a Uber Pool passenger in Farringdon.
Incredibly, this scheme was given TfL's blessing as their was no data available to show Helen Chapman there might be a problem. 

Will we have to wait for a first murder to get these CC machine put back in the front of the cab where they belong?



Tuesday, September 27, 2016

TfL's Ministry Of Misinformation... Keep Calm And Tell Them Nothing. by......Jim Thomas.


Over the last few years, TfL have continued to drag their feet when asked to publish the Private Hire related serious sexual assault and rape statistics. 

Their webpage- where these figures should be found -has been cleansed of actual numbers and replaced by manipulated percentages, giving a false perception to the travelling public, that the attacks are on the wain. 

This is not the case seen in statistics released by the Met Police, acquired by freedom of information requests. 

Their webpage announces that TfL publish the official Met Police statistics for sexual offences on an annual basis...BUT WHERE?

Their webpage has been systematically cleansed of actual numbers. 

After an official FOI request, TfL stated they would release the figures for 2015-2016 by the 20th of September. That deadline has come and gone. 

After multiple requests from multiple drivers on social media, TfL say they are still finalising the figures. 

Taxi Leaks made 65 requests on Twitter before we got this non answer. 

After more requests from drivers over the last week, TfLTPH have posted this announcement. 


But going to the page on the TfL website shows no figures have been released. In fact, they haven't released the statistics for 2014-15. 


Notice that every other category on this page gives actual numbers of arrests, stops, checks etc, except sexual offences which just gives percentages. 

Below, is the actual wording in respect of the rape statistics, on the webpage the link above sends you to 

Sexual offences 

We publish the official Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) figure of the total number of confirmed taxi and private hire related sexual offences on an annual basis. The MPS is unable to provide a definitive breakdown by type of vehicle for reporting purposes. It is not always possible to determine whether these offences were committed by unlicensed or licensed taxi and private hire drivers or any details of how the victims were approached. The specific details regarding the offender's characteristic in each case are often not clarified until the investigation of each allegation is complete, and in a significant number of offences, the profile of the suspect is never confirmed and remains unknown.

The following are official crime figures from the MPS:

2012/13 - Taxi and private hire related sexual offences were over 30% lower than in 2002/03. The number of rape offences almost halved over the same period.

WHERE ARE THE NUMBERS ?

2013/14 - Taxi and private hire related sexual offences fell by 15% compared to 2012/13, with rape offences down 30%.

AGAIN WHERE ARE THE NUMBERS ?
2014/15 - This data will be available later this year.


New York's Yellow Cabs Have A New Weapon In Their War Against Uber: Gadgets


Riding in a yellow taxi used to be a miserable experience, which helps explain why Uber and Lyft were able to swoop in and so thoroughly disrupt the industry. Fed up with unreliable and dirty taxi rides, passengers migrated en masse to ride-hail apps that promised cleaner rides, friendlier drivers, and seamless payments. Taxi operators tried to stave off the bleeding by rolling out their own apps — but most were just pale copies of Uber. Now, the traditional taxi industry is launching a new counter-offensive against the ride-hail menace: gadgets. 


Starting this year and ramping up in 2017, Verifone Systems — one of the largest payment processing companies in the world — will install new technology in tens of thousands of cabs nationwide, in a massive effort to improve the cab-riding experience for not only riders, but drivers as well. Verifone owns taxi meters, credit card machines, and entertainment systems in dozens of markets in the US, including New York City, where it controls around half of the city’s fleet of yellow and green cabs.


   


The experience of riding in a yellow taxi is about to get high-tech. Gone are the bulky touchscreen TVs blaring clips from Good Morning America and the analog meters with their retro-red numerical displays. (Regulators in New York City announced last year its plan to phase out the annoying Taxi TVs.) By next year, many of TVs will be replaced with sleek, 10-inch touchscreen tablets with third-party app support. That means riders will soon have the option of streaming Spotify or booking a reservation with Open Table during their cab rides. 

There will be a USB charger, because we live in an era when our smartphones always need charging, and Wi-Fi, because data plans are expensive. Credit card readers will also accept mobile payment options like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. (Four years ago, Verifone tried its hand at mobile payments with its Square-like Sail card reader, only to pull out of the market months later.)

And there will be new toys for the drivers, too. Verifone will be installing 7-inch tablets on the dash that will serve as an all-in-one meter, dispatch, and navigation device. It will use GPS to communicate with satellites to calculate the most accurate fare, but will also include back up software for those times the cab is out of range (i.e., tunnels). The company will install biometric readers next to the ignition for drivers to scan their thumb prints at the start of their shifts. And security cameras and panic buttons will help improve security for both drivers and passengers. 

Verifone is calling the new front-of-the-cab experience “Dash” and the back-of-the-cab gadgets “Ryde” — because everything needs a hip, weirdly spelled moniker these days. Dash is currently being tested in Verifone’s cabs in Chicago, Boston, and New Orleans, while Ryde is only being rolled out in New York City for now.

“I like to say that we provide what Uber says it provides,” said Jason Gross, global head of product and marketing at Verifone. “We are a technology platform for the owners and operators of taxis to be connected with passengers who want transportation.” 

Gross declined to comment on the total cost for all these new gadgets, but Verifone is a public company that does around $2 billion in annual revenue, so he said the expenditure “would probably be considered non-material.” 

Verifone will be rolling out these new gadgets at the same time as competition for space inside most yellow cabs is heating up. Flywheel, an e-hail app based in San Francisco, recently launched its smartphone-based meter-and-dispatch solution in New York City. Flywheel hailed the achievement as the first time a new provider has been allowed to install its technology inside a New York City taxi in 12 years, while crowing about breaking up the “duopoly” of Verifone and its main competitor, Creative Mobile Technologies.

Yellow taxis are placing huge bets on e-hail apps like Flywheel to help lift their fortunes against Uber and Lyft. Verifone has two apps, Curb and Way2Ride, while CMT operates one called Arro. But the success of these apps compared to their better known, more widely used rivals is hard to quantify. (Uber and Lyft use for-hire vehicles like black cars rather than taxis.)

Moreover, yellow taxis across the country are still reeling from the disruption of Uber and Lyft. The value of medallions in New York City have fallen sharply, while fleet owners from coast-to-coast are filing Chapter 11. But Gross sees a silver lining amid all this app-inspired chaos. 

“I think the regulatory pendulum is swinging back,” he said. “They’re loosening up some on taxis and they’re cracking down some on the [transportation network companies].”

Waiting for regulators to crack down on Uber is not a real strategy to save the industry. Uber and Lyft have raised expectations among riders, and the yellow taxi industry will need to rise to the challenge if they’re going to survive. 

“When you think about the technology before, it was never part of the business to design the user experience,” Gross said. “It was a box with a bunch of buttons on it. This gives us an opportunity to make it beautiful

Monday, September 26, 2016

One Set Of Regulations For Us....And No Regulations For A Chosen Few.

Just when you thought you'd seen it all before...
Just when you thought they couldn't get any more biased...



A driver complains to TfL that a car, shown on the TfL licence checker page as a PHV, is working with no roundels. 



Unbelievably, TfLTPH replied, they had given this vehicle special dispensation to work without roundels. 


And, what ever happened with the #Rugbylee signage contravention issue???


And another one spotted 


The list just goes on and on:
15 years old, left hand drive, being used as a PHV.










Lee Ward Comments On The Deregulation By Stealth Article.


How many more times are we going to see reports like this that show exactly how the old laws and the Deregulation Act are flawed in this new age ?

To not have a knowledge test because we have the use of Sat Nav's is plain stupid, would they let me go and repair their central heating boiler because I have the information on YouTube ? 
Like hell they would... 
So why allow a driver to drive them or their family around while concentrating on a Sat Nav instead of on the road ?

I believe that a steering committee should be made to attack this issues "Nation Wide" and get the MP's to sit up and listen to this trade, the usual Unions only dilute the issue while attempting to get the kudos for what they try to achieve.


Editorial Comment. 
There are many trade unions in the UK. What do they do when face with problems that could wipe them out....they go to the TUC - The Trade Union Congress.

It time we had a National Trade Congress.

Deregulation by stealth : Nearly half of Derby's private hire drivers are registered elsewhere


How far has your private hire driver gone to get their licence?

Shocking statistics reveal almost half of the 2,800 private hire taxi drivers operating in Derby have not been cleared to work by Derby City Council.

Figures obtained from other authorities show more than 1,300 cabbies have gained licences elsewhere, meaning they have not passed Derby City Council's knowledge test. The council is powerless to check drivers or vehicles in the area if they have qualified with other authorities.

The Derby Telegraph revealed last week that 254 licensed drivers had travelled as far as Rossendale in Lancashire, which has no such test, to gain their qualification but further investigation showed this was just part of the problem.

Gedling Borough Council, in Nottinghamshire, showed a total of 765 drivers with a Derby home address had obtained licences from the authority.

About 1,500 private hire drivers in the city have taken and passed the Derby test.

Derby councillor Baggy Shanker, who responsible for taxi licensing in Derby, said this was "worrying". He said: "It gives us a lack of control to assess these guys who are licensed elsewhere. We can't, by law, stop and inspect them. We simply do not know who is getting a licence to work in Derby."

A loophole in the law allows drivers with a hackney carriage licence, who can pick up fares on the street, to operate as private hire drivers anywhere in the country. Private hire drivers are only permitted to pick up passenger who have made a prior booking.

Drivers have registered as far away as Rossendale in Lancashire.

The Derby Telegraph asked a number of councils how many licences they had handed out since the start of 2013 to drivers from Derby.

Gedling said a total of 765 had been issued since 2013 - 154 were handed out in 2013, 323 in 2014, 171 in 2015 and 117 so far in 2016.

A Gedling council spokesman said: "In May 2014, the council introduced the knowledge test as part of the fit and proper test, with the aim of improving and driving up the standards of the drivers driving Gedling licensed vehicles. There is anecdotal evidence that suggests the introduction of the knowledge test may have reduced the number of hackney carriage licences issued to people outside the Nottingham area."


The spokesman said the Gedling knowledge quiz included 25 questions on directions and local landmarks, five on conditions of licences and legislation, five on mental arithmetic and five based on knowledge of the Highway Code. Applicants must answer 75% of the questions correctly to pass.

Erewash Borough Council revealed it had issued 299 licences to Derby drivers in that time – 68 of those in 2013, 72 in 2014, 86 in 2015 and 73 so far this year. A spokeswoman for the authority said: "Local knowledge was removed from the knowledge test in 2007/08 when it was considered an unnecessary requirement with the increased use of sat navs. However, with the increase in inquiries from persons living outside the borough and those having plans not to work in Erewash, the council reintroduced local knowledge and also disability and safeguarding elements to the existing knowledge test in June 2016."

Erewash said its knowledge test addressed hackney carriage and private hire vehicle laws, disability and safeguarding issues, area knowledge and the Highway Code.

Mark Keenan, of Western Cars, which only uses drivers with Derby City Council badges.

East Staffordshire Borough Council said it currently had five people licensed with a Derby address and Derbyshire Dales District Council said it had four.

Mr Shanker said the law needed to be changed nationally to put a stop to the problem. He said: "If you are a Derby driver and a Derby resident then you should qualify in Derby. I think you should be licensed by the local authority in the area you are working in, it's as simple as that."


Mark Keenan, managing director of Derby-based taxi firm Western Cars, said the numbers were "remarkable". He said: "It makes me wonder why these drivers are going there, what have they got to hide? Is there something in their personal or driving records that would prevent them from passing in Derby or can they not pass the Derby test?"

Mr Keenan said his policy was to only hire drivers with Derby City Council badges.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

#SaveTaxi's wheelchair fundraiser for Canonbury cycle crash victim who is forced to crawl.


Black cabbies are raising money to buy an electric wheelchair for a disabled customer who currently has to “crawl” to and from their taxis.

Alex Doodle, 44, has been on the lengthy waiting list for three months. The architecture graduate, has relied on black cabs to get around since losing the ability to walk in a cycling collision in Essex Road seven years ago.

But the costs, coupled with the mental healthcare bill, means he has had to survive on full fat milk since November.

And after sharing his story with driver Terry Vaus, who watched them “crawl” from his cab last month, the cabbie called on the close-knit community to raise £3,000 for a chair.

“I feel like a prisoner in my own home,” Alex told the Gazette. “To have the freedom to go out when I want would be life-changing.”

To make matters worse, Alex lives in a first floor flat in Englefield Road, Canonbury, because wheelchair-accessible homes are so scarce (making up just 28 of the 2,000 council properties let in the last two years).

The council has helped Alex get crutches and undergo physiotherapy to use them, but he still has to stumble up and down the stairs, causing up to 15 falls a week. “My neighbour has found me unconscious a number of times,” Alex added.

“I spend most of my money on taxis and mental health services, so I haven’t been able to eat properly since November, but some of these wonderful Taxi drivers have been bringing me baby food. I get full from just half a jar – I’ve also been living off full fat milk.”

Terry said: “I’ve picked up Alex a couple of times and we got chatting about his life.

“When I dropped him off I offered to help, but he really didn’t want me to. I watched him crawling along the wall. He's been pushed from pillar to post. So I posted about him on our Save Our Black Taxis Facebook group and it just went from there.”

Islington’s health boss Cllr Janet Burgess said she was sorry to hear of Alex’s situation and was doing what she could to help, including offering in-home adaptations and mental healthcare.

She said: “I would urge Alex to engage with our services so we can ensure he has all the support he needs.

“While we are building new homes for disabled tenants, demand for properties vastly outweighs supply.”

Donate to Alex’s appeal > Click Here. <


Comment From # SaveTaxi 's Shelly Hartnett

It is a great honour to have been asked to help support a very special #SaveTaxi member and trade supporter! 

Together, let's get him the wheelchair he so desperately needs and with it, a new lease of life.

Thank you to everybody that has already shown support.

Please donate whatever you can and share share share.

Thank you! 

Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th September 2016.

Jo StevensShadow Minister (Justice), Shadow Solicitor General 12:00 am, 15th September 2016 
What recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of existing legislation for the taxi and private hire vehicle industries. 

Louise Haigh Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)
What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the provisions of the Deregulation Act 2015 relating to taxi licensing on the ability of licensing authorities to regulate taxi trade. 

Andrew JonesParliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
Local councils have the powers to provide effective licensing arrangements in their area, but legislation is in the House to strengthen the current framework. We will consult on new statutory guidance for local licensing authorities once the parliamentary process is complete.

Jo StevensShadow Minister (Justice), Shadow Solicitor General
I thank the Minister for his reply. Internet and smartphone use has revolutionised private hirevehicle services. Does he believe that current legislation, which is now several decades old, is adequately regulating this technology?

Andrew JonesParliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
The legislation that governs this sector goes back many, many more decades, to the age of the horse and carriage. That is why the Government asked the Law Commission to take a comprehensive review of taxi and private hireregulation in England and Wales. Obviously, it is a devolved matter in Scotland and Northern Ireland. We will be responding to the Law Commission’s report in due course.

Louise Haigh Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)
Sheffield City Council believes that its tough policy on child sexual exploitation is basically useless because other taxi operators can license themselves outside Sheffield and then operate in Sheffield. Will the Minister meet me and other colleagues from Sheffield city region to discuss taxi licensing in relation to CSE?

Andrew JonesParliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
I will be happy to meet the hon. Lady. I just point out that whatever licensing area a company is operating in, it has to ensure that a fit and proper person test is carried out, but I will be very happy to meet her.

Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Transport)
May I also welcome the Secretary of State. He knows my city of Cambridge very well. We look forward to him coming to open the new railway station, which is long overdue. He also knows that Cambridge is full of people who think that prisoners should read books and that Britain should be in the European Union. I suggest that he brings a very hard hat with him when he comes.

We heard in an Adjournment debate raised by my hon. Friend Andrew Gwynne about the problems in the taxi trade and the procrastination and inaction over two years since the Law Commissionreport. Some months ago, the Minister told us that he was about to act, and yet in a written question to me a few days ago, he said that the Government have no plans to bring forward legislation in the current Session. How much longer will we have to wait?

Andrew JonesParliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
That is a complex matter and we are working on it and through it, but we are already taking action on the key issue of child sexual exploitation in the taxi and private car sector by putting the guidance onto a statutory basis. We hope to be consulting on that as soon as the Policing and Crime Bill has reached Royal Assent.

Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Transport)
What a striking contrast with the new Mayor of London, who has done more in a few weeks than his predecessor did in eight years, and more than that lot have done in six years. Does the Ministerrecognise the problem with cross-border licensing? As we have heard, there are councils in this country handing out licences like confetti. These vehicles are clogging up the streets of London and adding to congestion. How much longer will we have to wait until he takes the problem seriously?

Andrew JonesParliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
The Government are clearly taking the issue seriously. I am aware of the actions taken by the new Mayor of London, but it is worth making sure that one gets those actions right; I understand that one of the operators has already won the right to a judicial review.

John BercowSpeaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Order. We started late because of the preliminary announcements, so we can run on slightly, but we must have much shorter questions from now on. To be honest, questions today have been simply far too long.