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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Uber hit with French “deceptive practices” fine and UK tax complaint.

Uber keeps getting disrupted by European laws. 

On top of those recent >Dutch driver arrests<, the U.S. quasi-taxi outfit has now been >fined €100,000 ($128,000)< in France for falsely marketing its paid-for UberPop (a.k.a. UberX) offering as a carpooling service, and told by the Parisian court to warn its drivers that they face “criminal conviction.”

 Meanwhile, in the U.K. transport authorities have >referred Uber to the tax authorities< for, unlike other taxi firms, not paying any tax in the U.K. (Revenues go to a Dutch subsidiary that’s >owned by a Bermuda subsidiary<.) 

Indian authorities are >also on the firm’s case< over tax, so at least it’s not just Europe.

    Source: Gigaom

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Warning: KPM Rental Drivers Uninsured.

If you have a rental cab with KPM, you should be aware that the group insurance policy covering all KPM's rentals has been cancelled and you should not drive the vehicle. 

A letter sent out today, confirms that the company has gone into creditors voluntary liquidation.

If you have any queries, you are advised to contact 
David MacCormack at Close Bros on:

Assembly Member Darren Johnson Shows Support For Taxi Trades Concern Over Uber Advert.

After receiving TfL's reply from Vernon Everitt, Taxi Leaks editor Jim Thomas, in conjunction with the RMT London Taxi Branch Press Officer, contacted assembly member Darren Johnson over the Uber advert on TfL's website. 

Darren understands our concerns and has tabled a formal question to the mayor over the advert, in light of current outstanding legal matters.

We received this email earlier today.

Dear Xxxx
Many thanks for copying me in. I completely understand your concerns and have tabled a formal question for the Mayor of London as follows:
Given legal questions surrounding Uber’s operation in Greater London are still awaiting clarification, is it appropriate for the company to be advertising on the TfL website?
I will let you have a response as soon as it is received.
Darren Johnson AM 
Green Party Member 
London Assembly 

Darren also posted this on Twitter a short while ago


Things You Should Know About Uber...Who's Driving You?

What is it about Uber, that makes TfL bend over backwards to support them as a fit and proper company to hold a Private Hire Operators Licence in London?

This company has carried on operating in European cities where it has been ban, with no regard for being compliant with the rule of law in that country. 

How can TfL advertise this company on their website without it being a conflict of interest?

TfL say the Uber Advert meets their in-house guidelines!
It may fulfil in house 'guidelines', nonetheless it's completely inappropriate for a public authority that (in the case of Taxi and PH licensing) exercises a quasi judicial function, to carry material from a licensee.

No other UK regulator or licensing authority carries' any such advertising and an internet search has found none anywhere in the world that so do!

TfL not only have to be beyond reproach in these matters, but perhaps just as important, they need to be seen to be so.

Would the Civil Aviation Authority carry a link to Ryanair on their website, or the rail regulator carry one for the Heathrow Express?

Of course not, neither should TfL.

Watch the Video below and find out the truth about 4 Uber Myths.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

City of London Police carry out controlled explosion, on unattended Taxi left opposite Gherkin... By Jim Thomas.

The City of London police panicked when a silver TX2 was left on a Taxi Rank, outside the Gherkin building in St Mary's Axe. This seems to be the City of London Police way of informing Taxi drivers not to leave your cabs parked on City ranks overnight.

Taxi drivers have been leaving their cabs on Taxi ranks in the City for many years as drivers decide to take the train home to deepest Essex rather than driving through the rush hour traffic. 

But now, with the security status raised to a substantial threat of a terrorist attack, the City police will be keeping a more vigilance eye on vehicles they find abandoned on Taxi ranks. Instead of putting out a statement to the Taxi trade, informing drivers not to leave vehicles unattended on City ranks, they decided to blow one up, hoping the message will get to drivers quicker.

City of London Police said officers were called at about 7.45am on Monday morning after the vehicle was reported left there overnight. 

Police threw a cordon around the area amid the alert, with several key roads closed during the rush-hour, a controlled explosion was carried out on the Hackney carriage, which was parked near the skyscraper.

Witnesses reported seeing a small controlled explosion on the silver taxi in St Mary Axe. Pictures showed its rear window smashed and the back of the vehicle, which was covered in police tape, damaged.

The window of a nearby Slug and Lettuce pub also appeared to have been smashed. The taxi was removed by officers and the cordon lifted after around an hour.

A spokesman said: "We were called to a report of a suspect vehicle. Officers were sent to the scene and the vehicle has now been removed. It is no longer being treated as suspicious."

Perhaps the CoL police could now concentrate on the hundreds of cars that are left parked outside clubs, hotels, bars and restaurants touting every night. 
Or like RD2, have all minicabs got special dispensation from the police as well as TfL? 

      Minicabs parked outside old Billingsgate, apparently with the blessing if TfL.

If a terrorist wanted to leave a car bomb outside a building in the City or anywhere in Central London, they have only got to put a minicab roundel in the window and they can park it wherever they like. 

Editorial Comment From Semtex
I myself am only too aware of the dangers of the imminent threat of terrorism. I realise that with the National threat being escalated recently, Police Forces across our capital, have to justifiably be vigilant.

I would expect then, that the decision by the Area Commander in the City Force to blow the cab up, was made after intelligence suggested that the parked up TX2 had indeed appeared suspicious.

However, if the controlled explosion had been deployed as a result of the cab being left there overnight, then that is a different issue.

The cab was Licensed, plated and still bearing the driver's personal identifier numbers.

It would take a Police Commander minutes to ascertain who the driver was, and the origins for the authenticity of the vehicle.

I cannot for the life of me believe that the City Police would display a show of strength by going for the easy nick London Cab trap again? 
Surely not? 

As you say Jim, with mini cabs across London parking and waiting illegally every night of the week with apparently no official challenge, it makes you wonder where the priorities are.

Bearing in mind that mini cabs are driven predominantly by foreign nationals, most Police Forces simply cannot afford a counter claim from Human Rights Representation Barristers. They are terrified of them. 

To display their strength then, a hit on the easy nick London Taxi Trade manages to complete the target led paperwork back at the station, perfectly !

Statistics are met, time scales adhered to and a visible show of zero tolerance on clear view for all to see. Fundamentally though, and as we all know, it ain't any of us who are likely to blow London up, is it?

To anybody outside our ranks, the act of a controlled explosion on the TX2 opposite the Gherkin would portray a zero tolerance, razor sharp and steadfast approach to National Security by our City Police Force.

As I say,I assume that was indeed no doubt the case. There is no way the City Police would blow a cab up for parking on a rank on a Sunday night,unless they had some real concerns would they ? 
Would they?

8829 Semtex. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ex-Police Officer Turns Vigilantly To Arrest Uber Drivers Breaking The Law.

A former riot-police officer turned hire-car driver in Australia has taken it upon himself to crackdown on UberX drivers operating illegally.

Russell Howarth, founder of the group Arresting Uber, made his first citizen's arrests on a driver in Sydney last week and plans to carry out 10 more this week in an effort to raise awareness of unlicensed drivers transporting passengers illegally through the UberX service.

Uber currently operates in over 200 cities across 45 countries around the world and is continuing to expand internationally despite resistance from local taxi organisations and unions. UberX markets itself as the "low-cost Uber" in which drivers use their own vehicles without the need for a "vehicle for hire" license.

"Uber commits more offences and makes more money than any organised crime group in the world," Howarth told IBTimes UK. "The enormity of the illegal activity of Uber is incredible."

Howarth made his first arrest last week after ordering an UberX car to stop and demanding to see the driver's paperwork. When the UberX driver admitted that he was operating illegally, Howarth informed him that he was a private citizen and was affecting a citizen's arrest.

"It was an attempted publicity stunt," an Uber spokesperson said, after hearing of Howarth's first arrest. "I'm not sure we would have heard if any Uber partners had been arrested, but we have not."

No charges have been formally made against the driver in question but Howarth claims that they may still face ciminal charges that could lead to a fine of up to $110,000 AUS (£60,000) if the case is taken to the Supreme Court.

An online petition started by Howarth in support of his cause has already attracted over 1,000 signatures, and since word of the arrest has spread, Howarth claims to have noticed a small drop in UberX drivers operating in Sydney.

"Uber are going to realise soon that these arrests are the biggest threat it has ever faced," Howarth said. "They seem to have an aloof arrogance that they will get away with it.

"The taxi industry could potentially never recover from the damage incurred from Uber avoiding regulation and the government not stepping in."

    Follow @arrestinguber on Twitter