Thursday, November 26, 2015

All London Taxis To Have Contactless Payment Facilities By Next Year.

By now, you will have heard the news that from next year, every Taxi will have to have a TfL approved Contactless Credit Card payment system, fitted to the vehicle under the terms of the conditions of fitness. This will not be free to the driver as they will have to pay a rental fee. The driver will also have to pay the card surcharge which (at present) we believe has been set at 5%.

To compensate the driver, there will be a small increase in the metered fare. This means that passengers who pay cash, will be subsidising those wanting credit. (Can't wait to see the headlines in the papers when that comes in)

But it doesn't end there. This new measure will not put bums on seats as drivers will still be able to refuse. 

Drivers on point of a terminal at Heathrow will still refuse unattractive jobs wanting to pay by card, the passenger wanting the Old Vic from Waterloo in the rain on a card will still be passed along the line. In fact the sight of thousands of Taxis with old socks and plastic bags over the contactless payment system in the back could be detrimental to the image of the trade. 

Contra to what many people believe, there has never really been a shortage of drivers able to take Card payments.....12,000 drivers on Hailo, 7,000 drivers on Gett, plus thousands of Cab App and iZettle users all with the facility to clear payments from street hails. Then you have even more drivers on radio circuits that clear street hailed CCs. 

And now an assault on in app card payments has begun with a certain competitor complaining to Visa about CabApp's clearance of Visa payments by the driver. It's going to get nasty.

In my opinion, the only people who will be laughing all the way to the bank, are the third party suppliers who will be renting out the equipment. If TfL projections are correct, this business is worth somewhere in the region of £24m a year, all of which will be taken out of our pockets. 

Here's would the GLA Transport Committee had to say about the new measures:

The Transport Committee welcomes Transport for London’s (TfL) announcement that taxis will have to accept card and contactless payments from next year.  (Actually, the GLA have been misinformed, acceptance hasn't been mandated just having the facility has, as part of the CoF) 

Making the acceptance of card payments more attractive to cabbies was one of the important recommendations made in our ‘Future Proof’ report into the taxi and private hire industries - and it is clearly common sense. (How is paying a rental and paying the card surcharge, making card acceptance more attractive to driver?) 

Passengers will no longer have to worry about carrying cash and it is very positive news for drivers.  

We heard evidence from New York during our investigation, where the introduction of card payments boosted business (not so! The Yellow Cab industry in New York has been decimated by Uber who have now stepped up its assault on the trade by slashing fares by 20%. The industries medallions which were once worth billions are now virtually worthless and unsaleable) - so this gives licensed taxi drivers a golden opportunity, in a hugely competitive market.

The elimination of customer surcharges for card payments and the reduction in transaction fees paid by drivers should all add up to a better, more efficient service for customers. (The way they have phrased this passage is as if drivers have been paying transaction fees which are now going to be reduced...again the GLA research seems to be years behind the reality of the situation).

Remember all the hyped up stories of little old ladies with suitcases going to Maida Avenue not being able to find a card payment cab at Paddington. They were splashed all over social media by the perfect "look at me" drivers saying that everyone should be made to take cards.

We tried to warn back then, they couldn't force the trade to give credit and that you should be careful what you wish for with TfL, as it will always be the drivers who lose out and have to pay, but we were accused of being dinosaurs. 

TfL have shown they have no regard for public safety. Just look at the way they dish out new PH licenses which this week will top a record 93,000, that's £43.8 million in licence fees from PH

The public are being subjected to a PH service who's drivers have no clue where they are going, have to take their eyes off the road to follow a sat Nav regardless of where it tells them to go. Plus none of their drivers have any advanced driver qualifications, resulting in numerous collisions. 

London arteries have been clogged to the state where the capital is libel for a heart attack. London's  congestion is causing illegal pollution levels which is killing over 9,000 people every year.

TfL's legion should be changed from 

Every journey


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Former MP Tim Yeo loses Sunday Times cash claim libel bid

Former Conservative MP Tim Yeo has lost his libel case against The Sunday Times over a "cash for advocacy" claim. 

Tim Yeo, South Suffolk MP from 1983 to 2015, claimed his reputation had been "trashed" by three articles in 2013. 

The newspaper alleged he breached parliamentary codes of conduct by telling reporters he could promote business concerns in return for cash, the High Court heard.

It suggested Mr Yeo, 70, would approach ministers for a daily fee of £7,000.

Representing Mr Yeo at a week-long trial, Desmond Browne QC said his client was quite unjustifiably tarred with the same brush as another MP who had been exposed a week before.

But in Wednesday's High Court ruling, Judge Mr Justice Warby said he found some of Mr Yeo's evidence "utterly implausible" and, overall, he did not present "convincingly".

Martin Ivens, editor of The Sunday Times, said the decision was "a victory for investigative journalism". 

He added: "It vindicates the role of the press in exposing the clandestine advocacy by MPs for undisclosed interests."

Undercover journalists

The articles had stemmed from a lunch Mr Yeo had had with two undercover journalists who posed as representatives of a solar energy concern in the Far East.

They alleged that Mr Yeo - then chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee - was prepared to, and had offered to, act as a paid parliamentary advocate who would push for new laws to benefit the business of a client.

They also contained comment to the effect that he had shown willing to abuse his position to further his own financial and business interests.

Mr Browne said the Sunday Times acted in numerous respects "with a singular lack of responsibility both at the journalistic and the editorial level".

He added: "Mr Yeo was the unfortunate victim of that irresponsibility. 

"He says that in his last years of service as an MP, his reputation was trashed."

'Evidence was untrue'

Dismissing the case, Mr Justice Warby said he was unable to accept Mr Yeo's evidence that he was unable to remember an email which mentioned a "generous remuneration package".

"I can think of none who convincingly claim to have no interest in money, yet end up with an annual income in excess of £200,000," the judge said.

"I do not consider that Mr Yeo is such a person. In my judgment this evidence was untrue. 

"I am not persuaded that it was honest either."

Times Newspapers Ltd said the articles were true, fair comment and responsible journalism on matters of public interest.

Gavin Millar QC, for Times Newspapers, said: "The day after the lunch the claimant, a very experienced parliamentarian, admitted that he had been aware at the meeting that it was being proposed that he undertake lobbying activities which were incompatible with his public office."

According to the newspaper, Mr Yeo has agreed to pay its legal fees of £411,000.

Source: BBC News 

Press Release : Cap:App Public Launch Tomorrow.

Jobs – as we build up our PR campaign and promote to passengers you will start to see jobs appear. The ‘boxing bell’ lets you know there’s a Hail Now nearby. For Pre-bookings tap on the icon to see all pre-book jobs.

Driver Ownership – cab:app has created a trade owned app and we already have 3,870 drivers who’ve earned free cashback, which can be redeemed for cash or converted to shares in cab:app. In early December we will launch our ‘cabbie crowdfunding’ to enable drivers and the taxi trade to own more of cab:app as we continue to invest in technology and PR to expand.

Charity Partners – in addition to helping drivers and passengers, cab:app aims to help charities. We’re delighted to announce our launch partners in the UK are Action for Children, Barnardo’s, Target Ovarian Cancer and Penny for London. In Ireland, we’re working with the children’s hospice LauraLynn and the Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association.

Update your app – from end of day Wed 25th November, please download the latest iOS and Android driver apps from the link to accept jobs and the new features for passengers e.g. PayPal payment option, loyalty vouchers on longer journeys.

How it works - to help drivers get started Peter has created some short videos to explain the key features. Click to view

Cab:pay changes - in addition to pre-registering cards for jobs we have just added PayPal as a payment option to give passengers more choice. Combined with our new chip and pin device (which goes contactless from January) cab:app provides drivers with the cheapest, fastest payment solution on the market.

One of our competitors has directly contacted Visa to stop drivers using the manual option for processing Visa cards, which delayed our launch.Going forward we have agreed with Visa that drivers will only use the ‘Send Link’ feature to email or SMS the payment page to the passenger’s mobile device to enter their Visa card details. 

Please view the ‘Send Link’ video if easier you can always order a chip and pin from the ‘Promotions’ section of the driver app. For drivers taking payments from corporate accounts ‘not present’ in the cab you can also login to the website payment page to take all card payments

Thank you to everyone in advance for your support and patience, as the long term success of cab:app will ultimately be determined by drivers. 

cab:app Team 

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Uber labelled 'seedy backstreet minicab firm' by senior MP Ian Wright.

Private hire firm Uber was today accused of being “a seedy backstreet minicab firm” by a senior MP.

Business Committee chair Iain Wright said a promotion in France offering passengers the chance to book a “hot chick” driver meant Uber was running a “carry on cabbie” service.

The firm has already apologised for the promotion from its Lyon office’s website which began with the question “who said women don’t know how to drive?”

Uber’s UK head of policy Andrew Byrne told MPs today the promotion had been “ill judged” and unrelated to the British operation.

The Uber executive had been called before a hearing of the Business Committee investigating the digital economy.

Mr Wright said to him: “Uber were offering to set up passengers with ‘hot chick’ drivers. You’re just a seedy backstreet minicab firm, aren’t you?

“This is not disruptive technology, this is ‘carry on cabbie’.” 

He went on: “In terms of the worst excesses of minicab principles. This is not something we want on the streets of Britain is it.”

Mr Byrne responded: “Certainly what happened in Lyon was a completely ill judged marketing stunt, and is nothing to do with the operations in the UK.”

He explained that the company had over a million customers in London and had created some 20,000 jobs for drivers.

He went on: “That’s something that is really genuinely positive and that is a contribution we’ve made to the city London and we hope to bring to other cities around the UK.”

Yesterday in parliament, watch whole debate.


09:13:53 Subject: The Digital Economy

09:13:54 Witnesses: 
Andrew Byrne, Head of Public Policy in the UK and Ireland, Uber, Alex Depledge, Chief Executive Officer, Hassle, and Ben Williams, Head of Operations, AdBlockPlus

10:19:42, Witnesses: 
Richard Massett, Chairman, Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, Charlotte Holloway, Head of Policy and Associate Director, techUK, and Steve Chester, Director of Data and Industry Programmes, Inernet Advertising Bureau

LTR Parody Song

Cab Life (in the style of Park Life)

Sung by: Joe @TheHolbornCab

Produced & Mixed by: @SuperCabby

- See more at:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Questions in Parliament yesterday: Numbers of PHVs in London and defining plying for hire

       Jim Fitzpatrick (Lab)........Andrew Jones (Con)

In Parliament yesterday, Jim Fitzpatrick Labour, Poplar and Limehouse, asked the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of private hire vehicles illegally plying for hire.

The question was answered by Andrew Jones, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport).
He said "the Government is responsible for the legislative structure within which local licensing authorities deliver the licensing regime for taxis and private hire vehicles. Enforcement of the licensing regime, including ensuring that private hire vehicles do not illegally ply for hire, is therefore a matter for local licensing authorities and the police"

Jim Fitzpatrick Then asked the Under Secretary, "what discussions he has had with his ministerial colleagues on introducing a statutory definition of plying for hire in the taxi and private hire vehicle industry".

Andrew Jones replied:
"As part of the process of considering all the recommendations in the Law Commission’s report on reforming taxi and private hire vehicle legislation, my Department is continuing to discuss the proposals with colleagues in other Government departments.

The Government will formally respond to the Law Commission and announce its intentions in due course."

Monday, November 23, 2015

Going By TfLs Record On Security, How Safe Do You Feel, Driving YourTaxi Round The Capital?

In 2012 Taxi Leaks exposed a story of a Mr M Hakizimana, 41, alleged by the UK Border Agency's War Crimes Unit, to have helped Hutu soldiers kill civilian members of the Tutsi ethnic group during a million person genocide in 1994.

Home office were aware of this man for a number of years and his past would have been flagged up on any CRB check. 
Yet under Sir Peter Hendy's and LTPH's Director John Mason's watch, this man was judged a fit and proper person to hold a Private Hire Licence.

A national newspaper, reported he was working for a private hire operator in East London. 
As far as we know he is still wanted for war crimesaliban Fighter Judged Fit To Be Minicab Driver By 
Also in 2012, a Taliban fighter in Dhani-Ghorri in northern Afghanistan, renounced for their improvised explosive devices (car Bombs), told the Guardian newspaper he lived most of the time in east London, but came back to Afghanistan for three months every year for combat.
"I work as a minicab driver," said the man, who has the rank of a mid-level Taliban commander. "I make good money there (in the UK), you know.

These are just two of the worse cases, we believe there are many more.

Statement From Helen Chapman :

But, how do you carry out an enhanced DBS check on someone who has only been in the country for a matter of months? The simple answer can't.

We are informed that applicants who have lived in another country for longer than 12 months in the last 3 years have to provide a letter of good conduct from that country. 
It's also been alleged that these letters can be purchased by anyone in police stations in India for as little as $300

Freedom Of Information :
 Our researcher recently carried out a freedom of information request on the number of applicants, needing this type of letter, who have applied for a PH drivers licence in a six mouth period.
These are the details:
In the six months April to September 2015, there were 564 applicants who were licensed after providing such a letter.

Every day, every night, thousands of PHVs are left unabated outside mainline termini, government buildings, concert halls, hotels and restaurants. 

Unbelievably laxed security at St Pancras where minicabs are allowed to park, double park, for hours at a time.

With the countries security level currently on SEVERE, do you believe TfL are doing enough to safeguard the citizens of our capital from terrorist attack ? 

                   BECOMES A REALITY