Thursday, May 24, 2018

TP Icap Staff Told They Can No Longer Claim Cab Fares On Expenses Over Black Taxi Ban At Bank Junction

Expenses crackdown at interdealer broker TP Icap: 

This time it’s black cabs in the sights of the beancounters.

Because of the Bank Junction Taxi ban, resulting in higher fares as drivers take Junction avoidance routs, the edict has gone out across the whole company that staff aren’t allowed to take traditional London taxis any more — despite the firm occasionally slapping its livery on them — and they’ll have to rely on Uber to get around town instead.

The TP Icap is happy to advertise on London cabs, but staff may not enter them. Expenses department will also be bouncing back any claims for client entertaining including wine costing more than £80 a bottle: cue much chuntering at boss John Phizackerley, who’s apparently known on the trading floor as Ronnie Barker because of his resemblance to the departed comedy genius.

There’s not much laughing among the rank and file, however.

TfL Bottle It And Rethink On Basic English Language Tests For Minicab Drivers. How Will They Read The Highway Code???

New rules forcing private-hire drivers in London to prove their English language skills are set for a rethink.

The rules would have forced them to pay £180 for a written essay and speaking test by July 16 this year, unless they could produce GCSE certificates proving their command of English.

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Private-hire drivers unable to pass the test or produce certificates would have been banned from working as minicab drivers in the capital.

Today Transport for London said the deadline for drivers to prove their grasp of English had been extended until April 30 next year.

TfL said it would also now review the regulations, to “make satisfying the requirement as simple as possible”.

The announcement came after a crunch meeting between the Licensed Private Hire Car Association and Mayor Sadiq Khan yesterday.  

TfL officials also met representatives of the British Dyslexia Association, which had warned that some private-hire drivers would find it “impossible” to pass the new test.

Steve Wright, the hire car association’s  chairman, said that “tens of thousands” of drivers, including those with reading and writing difficulties and from ethnic backgrounds, had feared they would lose their jobs.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Public At Risk Part 2 : Taxi And PH Scandal, Riddle Of Firms All Based In Single Office

Above a diner and accessible only via a back door off a dingy alley stands a small and unremarkable office.

To the untrained eye, it is the home of a local minicab firm, Wednesfield Cars, whose manager is adamant that his is the only business operating there.

Wolverhampton council knows better. It has licensed 13 competing Minicab companies to run their operations from the very same office.

In the past three years, Wolverhampton has become the go-to local authority for thousands of drivers from all corners of England in search of a minicab licence. In 2015, it issued 852; this year, 9,388. The same period saw the number of minicab companies licensed to operate in the city climb from 12 to 100.

In total, 58 of those companies are listed as operating from one of four Wolverhampton addresses. When The Times visited, there was no trace of 52 of them.

The council has not merely licensed dozens of hard-to-spot firms at those locations. It has also issued licences to thousands of drivers who work in other English towns for companies with exactly the same business names as the Wolverhampton operators. 
Those firms run visible minicab operations in places including Birmingham, Manchester, Stockport, Stoke-on-Trent, Derby, Mansfield, Nottingham, Cambridge, Windsor & Maidenhead and Swale, in Kent.

One of the four addresses has for the past few years been the operations hub for a genuine local company called ABC Cars and its sister ABC Countdown Cars. According to the council, an additional 17 minicab firms operate at the same place. Not so, says Richard Halsall, ABC’s manager, who said he had never heard of any of them.

Licensing experts have suggested an explanation. Under the Deregulation Act 2015, minicab companies operating anywhere are entitled to subcontract work to other firms, with one proviso.

If a minicab firm in Manchester wants to use drivers and vehicles licensed by Wolverhampton, the pre-booked work they are given must be sub-contracted to the firm by a Wolverhampton minicab operator. So it would be convenient for the Manchester firm to be able to show that all the jobs it gives its Wolverhampton drivers were sub-contracted by its sister firm, of the same name, in the West Midlands city.

If that sister operator has no employees and runs no vehicles, the law does not seem to care. This loophole has been embraced by Wolverhampton council, whose “efficient” approach to licensing has proved highly lucrative. Its income from taxi and minicab licences rose from £263,000 in 2014-15 to £2.2 million in 2017-18.

Last night the council defended its conduct, insisting that it applied stringent standards to drivers it licenses and claiming that its popularity was due to swift and efficient online applications.

The authority’s licensing committee chairman, Alan Bolshaw, said its approach complied with relevant legislation and, by embracing digitalisation, was far more advanced that the “very traditional and rigid licensing practices” used by other local authorities.

To suggest that a minicab operator needed to have employees, drivers and vehicles in the area where it was based was a concept that belonged, he said, to the days of “long-winded and outdated processes”.

The 52 minicab operators that did not appear to exist at the four addresses were entirely legitimate. Each was, he said, represented at its registered operating base by a digital recording system, in the form of a box. “Why are there so many vehicles and drivers on the roads licensed by Wolverhampton council? Because we have the best licensing system in the UK,” he boasted.

Other councils would beg to disagree, particularly those hit by a recent influx of Wolverhampton-licensed minicab drivers and cars. Many, as was the case with the earlier surge in Rossendale-plated vehicles, have voiced safeguarding concerns.

Licensing officers in Southampton were contacted by Hampshire police investigating the alleged rape of a female passenger by a local driver. The council did not have him on its books and it turned out that he had been licensed by Wolverhampton.

In Rotherham, the town hit by a mass sex-grooming scandal in which minicab drivers were implicated, more than a dozen men, including five refused licences by the council for reasons including safeguarding concerns, have applied for Wolverhampton licences.

Birmingham councillors claim that Wolverhampton is “more lenient” than its neighbours. A Coventry licensing committee member complained that “treating taxi licensing as a cash cow undermines public safety”. The West Midlands authority was handing out minicab licences “like sweeties”.

Nottingham’s chief licensing officer, Richard Antcliff, accused Wolverhampton of exploiting a “farcical loophole” in the regulations. “Somewhere along the line, Wolverhampton has lost its moral compass,” he said.

The driver arrested in Southampton had no convictions and lost his licence immediately, Mr Bolshaw said. Wolverhampton had “worked extensively” with Rotherham council and the National Crime Agency “to ensure any drivers implicated in child exploitation do not gain Wolverhampton licences”.

Public At Risk As Thousands Of Minicabs Exploit Loophole In Law...Part One.

Public is 'at risk' as local councils hand licences to thousands of PH Minicab drivers from across Britain while failing to check their criminal records

Rapists and other convicted sex offenders have been given licences to operate as Minicab drivers by councils that have failed continuously to check criminal records, it has been claimed.

Some local authorities have also taken hundreds of thousands of pounds in Taxi licensing fees from applicants, knowing they did not have the cab ranks to accommodate them.

An investigation found serious failings at Rossendale, Lancashire, and a legal loophole allegedly exploited by Wolverhampton.

Rapists and other convicted sex offenders have been given minicab licences by councils that have failed to check criminal records, it has been claimed.

British Asian singer, Dhanraj Singh was jailed for nine months after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a young woman in the back of his Minicab .

The chart-topping musician, who was a Minicab driver by day in his hometown of Nottingham, assaulted the intoxicated woman while dropping her home in 2014.
The 24-year-old father-of-two was granted a licence in 2012, but was not licensed by the city council, according to The Times.
He instead applied for a licence from Gedling council, despite not living in the area.  According to the Times, Gedling council granted some 492 licences in 2011 and 1,047 in 2015.

The court heard Singh, who went by the stage name San2, kissed and touched her inappropriately, against her will.
The council revoked his licence as soon as it was notified of the offence. 
Rossendale licenced over 3,700 Minicab drivers last year, despite having rank space for just 75 vehicles, while in Wolverhampton, dozens of minicab firms across Britain have been licensed as local operators, despite having no employees or vehicles in the city.

The vast majority of the drivers licensed by Rossendale did not live in the borough.

Many lived in northern England and the Midlands, but they applied to Rossendale for licences because the council was seen as a ‘soft touch’, it was claimed. 

Northern cities are understood to impose stricter tests and requirements for licences, with some charging higher fees, so drivers flocked to the small Lancashire town.

The investigation by The Times also found that councils issued thousands of licences to drivers, even when it was known some had convictions. 

More than 330 alleged sex assaults by minicab drivers suspects were reported to police in 2016-17.

Councils are losing track of drivers’ criminal records or hiring drivers knowing of their criminal pasts, The Times reported.

In the past decade, 131 drivers have been found guilty of sex offences against passengers.  

One council in Nottinghamshire issued hundreds of Minicab licences to men outside its area, one of whom later carried out a sex attack on a passenger.

Drivers with Rossendale licences have been convicted of offences in York, Milton Keynes and Manchester, the paper said. 

An investigation found serious failings at Rossendale, Lancashire, and a legal loophole allegedly exploited by Wolverhampton (file image)

Assaults by Uber and private hire workers soared nationally 20 per cent in three years, but in London the figure rose by over 50%.

The concerning figures from 23 of England and Wales' 43 police forces show that 337 attacks were reported between April 2016 and March 2017.

Most of the reports were in London, rising from 142 to 156, a freedom of information request found.
After a whistleblower raised concerns, Rossendale’s licensing manager was suspended and left the authority, it was reported. They take the money and while victims lives are shattered, these people are allowed to just walk away.

In a change of policy, staff were told no licences could be renewed unless the applicant presented a recent DBS (disclosure and barring service) certificate.

[But in London, 13,000 Uber drivers have been licensed with fake DBS certificates, which TfL knew about and swept under the carpet under the watch of General Manager Helen Chapman].

There were calls for an independent inquiry into the whistleblower’s allegations last night. But the council said they had been investigated and were unfounded.

It said it was confident that it had not issued any licences ‘to anyone who should not have received one’.

Since 2016, Rossendale has introduced measures to cut the licences it issues. Wolverhampton council said it operated ‘robust and rigorous’ vetting and offered ‘the best taxi licensing system in the UK’. 

This claim is highly dubious as recently Winchester Taxi drivers have been complaining that their area has been swamped by drivers obtaining licenses from the more lenient Wolverhampton regulator with the vehicles using cross border hiring regulations to work outside their licensing area.

More In Part Two

Why Have TfLTPH Given A PH Operators Licence To A Company That Doesn't Dispatch PH Work ?

A few weeks ago I contacted TfLTPH on Twitter, reporting a Toyota Prius which had a small advert on the rear, promoting the car rental company Otto Cars. This is something I've done frequently and have always in the past been met with the same reply "thank you for reporting this, we will pass on to compliance. 

The last time I reported this I got a different reply, "Otto cars is now a licensed private hire operator, and as such can have his name on his vehicles.... 

I do believe the TfLTPH is not playing by the rules!

Although, we regularly see the likes of Addison Lee, displaying their name on the rear window (which is allowed).... Private hire cannot have adverts on the body work. This has been explained in grant detail by TfL notice on more than one occasion. 

Having said on earth have Otto cars been granted a private hire licence???

As far as we know, Otto cars do not advertise a passenger service under the name Otto Cars Ltd, and do not dispatch work. Virtually all their cars are rented out to work on the Uber app as they are an Uber preferred partner!

However, they do advertise the fact they have teamed up with a company called FarePillot. This is an free app that informs Uber drivers which areas are busiest, and also keeps a record of their Uber takings.

So if they do not dispatch work, and only rent cars to Uber drivers, why have they applied for and received a private hire operators licence?
What is TfLTPH up to in granting such licence?

I was under the impression that before any PH company was granted an operators licence, their operation was inspected and scrutinised by TfLTPH compliance, to make sure that everything was above board and legal. 

Perhaps Helen Chapman's replacement Graham Robinson would care to answer the question, "How have TfLTPH granted an operators licence to a company that doesn't dispatch private hire jobs, but rents vehicles to drivers to use on the illegal Uber platform???"

We know that TfLTPH have been bending over backwards to support any form of operation in competition with black cabs and it's obvious they are heavily into our demise. 
They knew back in 2013 that Uber were operating illegally and said nothing. They have allowed 13,000 Uber drivers to carry on working even though they know and have known for over a year that these drivers have fake DBS certificates. 

It has also been bought to our attention that NWCars of Cricklewood London NW2, have started to put door and boot adds on their vehicles contra to the Private Hire vehicles act 1998. There vehicles have been seen all round central London. 

One of NWCars vehicles carrying luminous adverts on the boot and both driver doors. This is not a new company, established ove ten years and should be well aware of the laws governing advertising on vehicles.

Perhaps they need a visit from TfLTPH compliance team. 


Taxi Leaks editor has recently written to Graham Robison asking for an explain action as to why TfL took no compliance action over the fact that a black Taxi only app was dispatching private hire work to Private hire drivers without being in possession of a private hire operators license?

So far Mr Robinson has failed to reply!
We will post the letter sent later this week. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

With Morale At An All Time Low, Has The Fight Gone Out Of London's Taxi Trade ? Jim Thomas

RWhen we've had problems in the past with minicabs touts forming their own ranks outside clubs and bars, and because of TfL’s lack of enforcement, drivers took it upon themselves to do something about it. 

Tiger Tiger and the OnAnon bars were surrounded every night by Minicabs claiming that had the right to rank outside because Dismond Cars held a satilite office licence. Disgruntaled Cabbies felt enough was enough, and so reformed hit squads -groups of vigilante Taxi drivers-  which proved to be very effective. 

As the illegal minicab ranks started to appear outside clubs and bars, hit squads blocked in the touts and took back the work. The militant groups of drivers stopped the work being stolen.

Back in 2014, troubles re-emerges and so black cab drivers again took the law into their own hands by targeting illegal minicabs in London's West End. The problem was highlighted in the BBC  Inside Out programme. (See video below) 'How Safe Are Your Taxis' produced for the BBC by Manami Szymko.

"London's Taxis rated the safest in the world"... Says BBC's Louise Hulland.

Cabbies again formed squads, the most militant being ‘The TaG (Twitter Action Group) Hit Squad. track down illegal drivers and roadblock them, as they seek to preserve their night-time trade. 

By the end of 2015, we saw the rise of the more organised hit squad (The Mayfair Mob) Their action in itself, saw many more ranks appear. Drivers showed a black cab presence was required outside restaurants and bars such as Hakassan, Nobu, Novikovs, The Arts Club and Forge in the City Of London. 

But now we have a serious problem that could split the trade in half. A problem that could hasten the demise of our right to ply for hire. 

Sitting on Taxi ranks at stations, hotels, bars and restaurants, Cabbies are seeing black cabs (most with livery from Gett or MyTaxi) pull up and spirit away jobs that should be going in the waiting Cabs plying for hire on the rank. 

We’ve even seen Minicabs working on the same app (Gett) as Taxis!

One Taxi garage owner has recently removed Gett livery from all his rental Cabs and the London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC) have refused to carry Gett’s adverts in their Badge publication. 

Things are starting to come to a head with reports of violent arguments outside bars and restaurants, not between Taxi drivers and touting Minicabs, but between ranking drivers and Gett and MyTaxi drivers.

The silence from our largest orgs is deafening !

I find it increasingly difficult to believe anyone, especially Org leaders and reps, cannot grasp the genocidal ramifications of unregulated apps.

Trade reps who accept unregulated apps, are willing coconspirators of this trade's demise.


It has now been bought to our attention that HEATHROW airport is about to introduce a turn up and go service later this summer, to facilitate the increase in app pick ups. Drivers on prebookings from Gett, MyTaxi, Addison Lee and Uber, will be allowed to go straight to terminals to pick up. 

Again, we will be seeing drivers on these Taxi apps jumping the queue and taking work away from drivers already doing five hours in the feeder park.
Will Jaguars be added to the Gett app, to replace the Porsche promotion....driven by Minicab drivers recruited from One Transport ? 
A sort of one tier service heralding things to come?

   Image curtesy of Andrew Peters. 

Lawmakers Seek Answers From Uber, Lyft On Sexual Assault After CNN Report

After years of outcry from riders and advocates, members of Congress have sent a letter of concern over sexual assaults to ride-hail leaders Uber and Lyft, likely thanks to a recent CNN report on the subject.

CNN reported Monday that nine members of Congress have sent a letter to the CEOs of ride-hail companies Uber, Lyft, Juno, Curb, and Via asking for details on how they train drivers, report sexual assaults and harassment, and maintain records on such instances, among other issues.

The letter, which was first reviewed by CNN, reportedly follows a recent investigation by the news company that found that at least 103 Uber drivers have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing U.S. passengers in the past four years.

Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley of New York, who drafted the letter with Congresswoman Lois Frankel of Florida, commented to the network, "The questions we're asking are, in many senses, common sense questions that we'd hope the ridesharing companies would already be doing, like maintaining records of driver who've been accused of sexual violence."

Placards from Dads Defending Daughters Demo 2017
Regarding Congress' letter, a spokesperson for Lyft commented by email, "This is an incredibly important issue, and we look forward to responding to the letter sent to us this morning. Since Lyft’s founding, we have developed safety features for ridesharing ... [including] professionally administered background checks, in-app photos of drivers and their vehicles, real-time ride tracking, 24/7 support, the ability to share your ETA, and more."

A spokeswoman for Uber said the company plans to respond to the letter, and cited "recent improvements including an emergency button, measures to strengthen its background check process, and a commitment to do a safety transparency report including the number of sexual assaults occurring on the platform."

Indian Uber Cabs General Manager for Delhi Gagan Bhatia (R) meets with the Chairperson of the Delhi Woman Commission Barkha Shukla Singh in New Delhi on December 9, 2014. That year, Delhi's government banned Uber from operating in the Indian capital after a young executive accused one of its drivers, who had previously been accused of assault, of raping her. 

Among other things, the letter asks companies if they maintain records on drivers who have been accused of sexual violence (they do, at least to some degree), and if companies make that information public (broadly, they don't).

Given that the apps' freelance, frequently underpaid drivers often drive for multiple platforms, the letter also asks whether companies have protocols sorted out for alerting other companies if one of their drivers is reported for harassment or discrimination.

According to CNN, its analysis was based on "an in-depth review of police reports, federal court records, and county court databases for 20 major U.S. cities."

It found that at least 31 Uber drivers have been convicted for crimes "ranging from forcible touching and false imprisonment to rape" among the 103 accused drivers it counted, while "dozens" of criminal and civil cases are still pending. CNN also reported that drivers for Lyft had been accused of sexual assault or abuse 18 times in the past four years.

 Placard from Dads Defending Daughters demo 2017

For those who follow the areas of sexual assault and/or ride-hail companies, the fact that Uber and its siblings have failed to protect riders in the U.S. and abroad was already well known. In general, the industry has often operated along the lines of "act first, think later," including when it's come to protecting riders and drivers. As I wrote earlier this year,

Regulators have questioned whether it's a public nuisance, or clogging our streets, or has mishandled breaches of user data, or failed to protect and perform sufficient background checks on its drivers, a (proportionately tiny) number of whom later committed rape or murder. Last year, Uber [also] repeatedly "trended" in the U.S. for its reported mistreatment of women, ranging from ignoring and trying to undermine sexual assault victims to creating a widespread, toxic corporate culture. 

Placard from Dads Defending Daughters demo 2017

As Uber and others continue trying to control the damage from earlier missteps while also fiercely expanding their operations around the globe, hopefully, lawmakers and company leaders will decide together that the time is right for these assaults -- whether on riders or drivers -- to finally end.

Source Forbes 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Calls To Close 'Loophole' Allowing Minicab Drivers From Outside Winchester To Operate In City

TAXI drivers in Winchester are calling for an end to a loophole allowing Minicabs from other parts of the country to operate in the city.

Colin Smith, a registered Hackney taxi driver, says private hire drivers from Wolverhampton in the Midlands, are operating in Winchester, despite being licensed miles away in their home city.

Now Winchester City Council has revealed it is lobbying the government to change the law. 

In a letter to the council, Mr Smith said: “At the moment there are 15 or more Wolverhampton plated minicabs working in Winchester... Instead of applying to Winchester City Council (as they don’t think they can pass the relatively easy knowledge test), they bypass this and get a licence very easily at Wolverhampton, or even TfL where PH licenses are given out like sweets, they then can work (cross border) as a private hire worker.”

Mr Smith also raised concerns that these drivers don’t pay fees to the council, are not subject to safety spot checks and are taking work from struggling local cabbies.

A spokesman for the council (WCC) responded to the letter, saying: “The Deregulation Act 2015 enables private hire taxi operators to sub-contract their work to a driver licensed by another local authority subject to certain requirements. 

It's the private hire operators in Winchester that are taking advantage of this, actually sending drivers to become licensed by Wolverhampton City Council, and the drivers can then return to Winchester and work for these operators.

“WCC is writing to the government and to Wolverhampton City Council to explain that this current practice is detrimentally affecting our controls over the private hire fleet operating in the district.

“WCC is asking TFL (Transport for London) to join with them and lobby the Government to change the law but until this is done then our controls over the practice are limited.” (Good luck with that one)

However, a spokesman for Minicab firm Wintax, the oldest in the city, says that the real problem is the council’s “extremely hard” tests.

The spokesman told the Chronicle: “I myself currently do not have any of those [Wolverhampton licensed] drivers working with us. I still say if the likes of Uber are going to exploit the market then why not the take the same advantage as they did. It is all legal.

“The main issue in Winchester is the test has always been extremely hard for some unknown reason. All drivers from any council that has a legit PH plate and badge have paid for this and have had an enhanced DBS check at the least.”

He added: “I can not fault [Wolverhampton drivers] because they have just taken advantage of a loop hole that gives them more control. I agree there should be a balance but there has always been an imbalance in Winchester.”

Both Winchester and Wolverhampton city councils have been approached for comment but had not responded at the time of going to press.

In the past the city council has decided to let the market decide how many licensed PH vehicles should operate across the Winchester district. This has seen the number of Minicabs  greatly increase since the early 1990s.

Friday, May 18, 2018

PayPal agree to buy Swedish payments company iZettle for $2.2bn

As of yesterday morning, the Swedish payments company iZettle was all ready for an initial public offering that was expected to value it at more than $1bn. That went out the window last night, when the US giant PayPal announced it had agreed to buy the company for more than double that.

The $2.2bn deal is PayPal’s biggest acquisition to date, and will strengthen the Silicon Valley giant’s business in Europe, especially in the physical realm: iZettle deals in handheld card readers that connect to smartphones, allowing merchants to take transactions.

While both sides seem happy with the deal, in some quarters it could be seen as another example of a European start-up not having the stomach to compete with a US rival.

Despite the rise of ecommerce, the vast majority of transactions still occur offline, and iZettle’s star has risen as we move to a cashless and contactless economy: its revenues increased by 51% last year. Anecdotally, its card readers are much more visible at the burger vans and market stalls and can also be found in many of London 's Black Cabs.

To PayPal, however, the business will give it much more of a foothold outside of the US: iZettle is mainly big in Europe and South America. The deal also comes at a time when rival payments group Square is moving outside of America.

There is another angle to this deal, however: the potential feeling that, once again, a Silicon Valley giant has absorbed one of Europe’s top technology start-ups - and one that could one day be a competitor. Sales of many British tech companies have been seen as surrenders, rather than victories. 

Critics, however, could pay heed to PayPal’s own story. The company was sold to eBay for $1.5bn in 2002, and was since spun off and is now worth more than $90bn. What’s more, the original investors in the company became the “PayPal mafia”, a group including Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman that funded many of today’s most successful tech companies. 

Perhaps what Europe needs rather than protecting its start-ups, is more investors willing to back them to the end. Maybe in a few years, the iZettle mafia will become a force in European tech

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Uber Talk About It All Going Wrong At Brighton Conference

A top Uber executive is to talk about “what happens when it goes really, really wrong” at a Brighton conference – just weeks after the multinational taxi hailing app company was refused a renewal of its licence here.

Uber’s head of cities, south and east of England Eugenie Teasley is giving the keynote speech at Wired Sussex’s Talent 2018 festival next month.

It’s not known what exactly she’ll be talking about – but Uber’s recent history will give her plenty of PR disasters to choose from.

The loss of its Brighton and Hove licence (pending appeal) followed the loss of its licence in London and York. Brighton and Hove City Council said they did not consider Uber “fit and proper”, flagging a 2017 data breach, the use of drivers from outside the city and accusing the company of misleading councillors.

Transport for London raised concerns about Uber’s corporate responsibility, in particular over safety checks and failure to report serious criminal offences. An appeal hearing is due next month.

Uber is also battling an employment tribunal ruling that its drivers should be considered employees, rather than independent contractors, which means the company would need to pay them minimum wage, holiday and sickness pay – and has also just lost a test case in the EU which makes it more likely it will be liable for VAT in the UK.

It is currently embroiled in a scandal over scores of US drivers being accused of sex attacks – and has only just dropped a requirement for victims to enter into mandatory arbitration and sign confidentiality agreements. A class-action suit from women who were sexually assaulted by drivers is pending in court.

After hundreds of rapes and sexual assaults over the last six years, Uber expect to just say sorry and move on as if they never happened ???

Last year, 20 Uber employees were fired over claims of sexual harassment following an expose by a former female software engineer, a scandal which claimed the scalp of chief executive and co-founder Travis Kalanick, who was accused of not doing enough to address the issue.

The same month, an Uber executive in India was fired after improperly obtaining the medical records of a woman who was raped by one of the company’s drivers. This week, the executive announced he was suing the company for wrongful dismissal, accusing a number of executives – all women – of targeting him.

Ms Teasley is due to speak on Wednesday, 6 June at the Sallis Benney Theatre. Other speakers due to join her include Claire Hopkins of Ideal Networks, Tom Chute from Pragmatic, Caroline Walmsley of Further my Future, Ed Hickey of DabApps, Chris Ricketts of Turn10 Consulting, Rob Verheul of Graphite Digital, Mariam Crichton of Every1 Mobile and Helen W. Kennedy from the University of Brighton

The previous day, a jobs fair is being held at the Brighton Dome from 11am to 4pm, featuring dozens of local employers, with talks from Clearleft, Legal & General, Propellernet, Think Nation, Brightwave, Ocasta, Dabapps, Wired Sussex and Hare Digital

And on Thursday, a portfolio clinic will be held at the Sallis Benney Theatre.

Phil Jones, managing director of Wired Sussex said: “As a regional digital cluster our goal should be nothing less than being the best place in the UK to attract and nurture the talent we need to grow and thrive. Talent2018 demonstrates how we can make that a reality when we work together.”

Richard Dixon, head of digital development, Legal & General said: “We are excited to sponsor Talent2018 and show off L&G’s Brighton digital delivery team! If you care about technology, agile, web security and accessibility, and enjoying what you do, we have a home for you.”

Ed Hickey, commercial director, DabApps said: “Brighton’s digital sector and community continues to thrive. Attracting and retaining the best people is key to all of our future success.

“As a local employer and an active member of this community we are proud to be involved in an event that engages, and focuses on, the next generation.”

Comment:  It's about time  that everyone wakes up and realises that there is a massive difference between 'Technology' and actually delivering a compliant public transport service that hasn't had its goal to change legislation and local control of the taxi/ph trade the better.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Minicab Driver Yaseen Aslam Takes Uber On In Court An Wins....Twice

Isn’t it amazing, that a humble PH driver can take Uber to court and win not once but twice 

Yet our largest org, with allegedly half the trade as members and an advertised  £1m war chest, wants to wait till Uber are relicensed before they even think about taking action of any sort !!!

LONDON: A British-Pakistani private hire driver who took the taxi giant Uber to court and won has said he is “humbled” and thankful that he was able to take on the world’s largest minicab firm.

Yaseen Aslam, from High Wycombe, was one of the two drivers who brought an employment case against Uber on behalf of a group of 19 of its workers, who argued they were employed as limb workers by the firm rather than being self-employed.

In an interview with this correspondent, Yaseen Aslam, whose parents migrated from Azad Kashmir’s District Mirpur to Britain as a labourer from Pakistan, said he took up the case against Uber with the help from his trade union -- IWGB trade union which represents the precarious low paid workers who had faith in him and provided him offer of legal team against the multi-billion dollars taxi giant, which employed over a dozen team of most expensive lawyers.

Aslam said he was glad that a landmark case against the taxi giant has been won twice and although Uber has appealed against the original decision yet he is “confident” that judges will rule in favour of Uber drivers.

Yaseen and James Farrar, who are the founders of the United Private Hire Drivers which is the UK’s largest trade union for drivers, first brought the case against Uber to the employment tribunal in 2015 and won where the judge ruled that Uber drivers, part of the so-called gig economy, are not self-employed and should be granted basic employment rights such as being paid the national minimum wage and getting holiday pay. The first tribunal trial was in July 2016 and the verdict was announced in October 2016. Uber appealed to EAT and trial was conducted in September 2017 and got in verdict Nov 2017. Uber then appealed to the Supreme Court in December 2017 which was rejected in January 2018. Now a date has been set at the Court of Appeal in October 2018.

Uber appealed the tribunal decision and took the case to Employment Appeal Tribunal decision where Yaseen Aslam and his colleague meaning the case could end up in the Supreme Court next year but Yaseen Aslam and his colleagues are confident that it’s too late for the Uber.

Following the verdict Uber appealed to the Supreme Court to hear this case but the Supreme Court rejected Uber’s request, and sent it back to court of appeal. Court of appeal has issued a date for 30 October 2018 for the trial.

Uber has told the court that it could deprive riders of the “personal flexibility they value”. It claims that the majority of its drivers prefer their existing employment status but the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which backed the appeal, said drivers will still be able to enjoy the freedoms of self-employment – such as flexibility in choosing shifts – even if they have worker status.

The union said the decision showed companies in the gig economy – which involves people on flexible working patterns with irregular shifts and minimal employment rights – have been choosing to “deprive workers of their rights”.

Yaseen Aslam said it is time for the Mayor of London, Transport for London and the government to step up and use their leverage to defend worker rights rather than turn a blind eye to sweatshop conditions.

He said: “If Uber are successful in having this business model, obliterating industrial relations as we know them in the UK, then I can guarantee you on every high street, in retail, fast food, any industry you like, the same thing will go on.”

Yaseen Aslam said he was willing to fight the case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. He said the two legal victories are good for workers and the judge has confirmed twice that Uber is unlawfully denying our rights.

He said: “It’s about making sure workers across the UK are protected. Companies are hiding behind technology, bogusly classifying people as self-employed so they can get away from paying minimum wage. That can’t be allowed to happen.”

Yaseen Aslam got so entangled in his legal fight with Uber that he was hounded by the giant and he had to even approach the police. Fed up with the Uber, he quit his job and now works as an IT consultant for the Ministry of Defence. He divides his week between working for the Defence Ministry and dedicating himself to the union activities, leading private hire drivers in activism against the Transport for London and Uber, demanding rights for private hire drivers. “We have won because of union and unity and I will continue to be a unionist for myself and others. We have a duty towards others,” said a resolute Yaseen Aslam.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Sunday Report :"Only license Taxis can rank up", Said EdThompson. They Lied Back Then...They're Still Lying Now.

1976 and 1998 legislation, the Thomas The Taxi. Posted on the Anderson Shelter Blog 14/05/2009.

     They lied back then, they're still lying today...

It has been bought to our attention that a reply to driver’s complaints from then spokesperson Luke Howard included a number of incorrect statements.

Mr Howard says;
“It is perhaps worthwhile letting you know something about the current legislation covering 'immediate hirings'. There were a number of court case rulings before 1976 that stated that minicabs should not be available 'for immediate hire'. This changed however, when legislation was passed in that year (for areas outside London) and in 1998 when legislation introduced private hire licensing in London for the first time.

The act of 1976 as Mr Howard quite rightly points out does not apply to London and therefore is irrelevant full stop.
The 1976 and 1998 legislation does not have this 'not for immediate hire' restriction.

Even though the 1998 act makes no reference to ranking or parking of mini-cabs, doesn't make it legal for them to do so. 

Just going back to the year 2002, a judge made a decision on the definition of “plying for hire” and found two mini-cabs cabs guilty of such an offence based upon case law...

The PCO/TfL have never sort to overturn the judgement laid down by the court and we believe, in this instance, they may be acting outside their remit and role by interpreting what they believe the “right to ply for hire” actually is, even though they and their lawyers know of recent court decisions like the judgement in Eastbourne......!

The requirement now is that the booking must be recorded before the journey commences, so it is legitimate for the vehicles to be waiting as describe.

In the complaints made to TfL/PCO the private hire vehicles in question were describe as being parked on red routs, double yellow lines, zig zag lines and 24 hour bus lanes. Legitimate?

This was a very misleading statement from Mr Howard and we asked why it was made?
At that time, TfLTPH did not reply!

Just because the legislation of 1998 did not include the phrase "minicabs should not be available for immediate hire" does not mean that it is now legal for them to do so. 
This part of the original act has never been repealed, replace or challenged and still stands in common law.

This is again more proof of the lenient attitude shown towards private hire’s illegal activities and proof also of TfL/PCO reluctance to enforce current legislation.