July 23, 2016
The new Mayor is going to be tainted by what has happened before he took Office.
There is only one way to get to the truth: a Public inquiry into the running of TfL!
It’s not just Taxis; its several things such as a failed Air Quality strategy-we can all see that with the Mayor’s announcement with the need for a ‘Toxic’ charge; a desire to reduce subsidised empty buses in Oxford Street; a Cable Car no one uses; the planning of the Cycle Super Highway; the Garden Bridge folly…the waste of public money chasing projects that have changed the face of London and ground it to a standstill.
There is no need for 110,000 PHV’s. The evidence given by Über shows that Drivers reject most of the trips; that the system is inefficient and bloated in order to boast that a car is available within 2 minutes. The Taxi trade knows that this system can only work if there is an over-supply of vehicles or passengers have to stand gawping at a mobile phone for 15 minutes! Über sold TPH Management a lie and they bought it; lock, stock and barrel!
It was, supposedly, according to Über, inherently unsafe for vulnerable people to be standing in the street waiting to be picked up. Yet look around the streets of the West End as people stand beside Taxi ranks that overflow with available 100% wheelchair accessible vehicles, subsidised by the Taxi Driver, gawping at their phone, waiting for much longer than 5 minutes for a lost car stuck in the congestion caused by empty buses, Über cars and even London a Taxis that have lost more than 50% of their work!
The effect of Über has now hit both the bus network and tube. Who wants to sit on a bus that goes nowhere?
Who wants to sit in a Taxi with the meter running stuck in traffic?
And now ÜberPool wants untrained drivers to hop from one stop to another like a bus, whilst people wait in line on a corner, for a cheap ride to turn up, contrary to the mantra that it’s unsafe to do so!
CrossRail is coming. A 24 hour tube and thousands of willing ‘fit and proper’ people who have had bone-fide criminal record checks are sitting on the Knowledge waiting to become Taxi Drivers. But because a ‘Toxic’ company, being sued globally over illegal practices, uses predatory pricing to capture the market, using venture capital and threatens to sue authorities or blackmail politicians or journalists, no one does anything!
We now have a Labour administration running TfL. Yet when an old-Etonian, Oxford educated, MP, like Jacob Rees-Mogg, comes out in sympathy with London’s working-class Cabbies regarding Traffic Congestion, then you know that something is wrong!
My MP, John McDonnell, said this was a ‘National Scandal’.
It’s time someone took responsibility and did the right thing!
Patience has run out.
Our jobs have been given away; our businesses ruined!
Matt Daus, who gave evidence to City Hall in July 2014, saying the regulator had 18-24 months to get a grip or see the Gold standard lost, was right.
Time is up
23 Jul 2016
Without doubt there is a very strong case for at least an independent review of the way PH apps operate, I believe that all orgs should get behind this call, it’s clear you have highlighted serious regulatory issues. However, more broadly over all app bookings there are very serious public safety issues that are not being addressed.
I think you’ll find that the ‘genie is out of the bottle’ the police know, as too TfL and beyond what you’re highlighting and what I have highlighted goes beyond reasonable doubt that regulation is being breached and public safety is being compromised.
However, the problem that you have is that the people who ‘call the shots’ are the people that are on 6 figure salaries – they would also ‘know’ there are breaches in regulation and public safety, however they choose to sit on their hands and maintain their comfortable lives.
As I have stated in previous emails the chap at the top is ultimately responsible – I have asked endlessly how a driver accepts a booking in a red route or urban clearway area and does this legally and more importantly safely.
People have been seriously injured or worse as you know, without a risk analysis, police clearance (even though Neil Hasset suggests otherwise, without providing proof) or checks to understand if the process impacts public health or breaches regulation as you highlight.
The HSE has directives regarding driving at work and road safety – that has been overlooked and clearly sets out the penalties for negligence.
23 Jul 2016
Thank you, Chris.
What this also proves is that the PH Driver has had absolutely no time whatsoever to prepare a route as the long-standing interpretation of the legislation says should happen. It is best practice guidance from the DfT and the rationale behind pre-bookings, as Leon Daniels quite clearly told Jo Bertram in his nonsensical email about short-term and long-term bookings. We still await clarification on what that meant.
The PH Driver has had no training and is not qualified to operate like this-they are responding instantly, which is the whole crux of the matter. It shows that Über drivers, contrary to TfL TPH’s protestations and twisted lingo about ‘straight away’ or ‘more instant bookings’ are actually plying for hire!
TPH should, on all this evidence, revoke Über’s licence!
If they wish to re-apply with a pre-booked in advance model, then and only then, can TPH reassess their model.
It is incredulous that we have Über calling themselves ‘Taxis’ or a ‘Taxi Service’; using a non-calibrated device as a meter; having been accused of 32 sexual assaults in a year; causing accidents all over the Capital and yet, still retaining a PH licence.
What do they have to do to lose their licence?
For God’s sake, Helen, do your job, or resign and let someone else do it!
Anything else is unacceptable and you will be consigning the London Taxi Trade to the Transport Museum!
It’s as simple as that!
No more excuses! You are driving us out of business!
23 Jul 2016
There are areas here that would need legal definition – I don’t think it’s adequate that an unqualified person can ever answer this question, although I may be wrong. Therefore, I would suggest you seek an answer from TfL legals and request a referral.
Once the driver has picked up the customer, the customer, if he has not already done so, provides the driver with details of the desired destination. The driver puts this on to his Smartphone and clicks the “begin trip” icon on his Driver App screen.”
If the driver needs to input end location data (to become compliant) once the passenger enters the vehicle this means that :-
a) the driver is in contravention of red route laws (should it be a red route area)
as this would fall outside the remit of passenger activity that is permitted in said areas and would enter into distraction phone use.
b) should the driver input the destination once the passenger is in the vehicle, the phase of passenger activity is complete, therefore inputting data on a phone at this point then becomes a distraction motoring offence and potentially puts the general public at risk from distracted driving.
Hope this helps.
22 July 2016
How did Über get a PH Licence if the evidence of the 19 Drivers at the Employment Tribunal is that they were not told where the customers needed to be dropped off? Please see report attached below.
For the past two years I have argued with TPH staff, particularly the Deputy Director of Enforcement On-Street, Siwan Hayward, that PH, especially Über and Addison Lee, were not operating according to the PH Act of 1998 (London).
“The 19 drivers are arguing that they were “subject to rating and were not told where the customers needed to be dropped off,” according to The Guardian.”
Earlier this year, I raised my concerns to the LCDC Chairman, Grant Davis, and received a reply from Peter Blake:
01 March 2016
We have meetings with Siwan and Helen, even Peter Blake. None of them have given a proper answer nor can find any notice supplied to the Taxi/PH Industry. The FOI request made in September 2015 is well overdue, which to my mind, means they cannot find it. Peter Blake said as much at the meeting.
Siwan’s opinion isn’t qualified.
Best Practice Guidance is not legislation, it’s what businesses or Gov’t’s think is good practice (or the best thing to do) when an area of the legislation is unclear. A judge might ask what is ‘custom and practice’ should a case be brought before him/her-it doesn’t make it legal.
However, in most cases, a Judge would find that best practice was the sensible thing to do.
What Siwan cannot understand, or does not want to see, is that she is negating the need for the topographical knowledge test we and our colleagues who become taxi drivers have to undertake to be hired immediately and work in the on-demand market. Is it any wonder enforcement is woefully inadequate when the person at the top does not understand the legislation.
Siwan actually uses the the phrase ‘straight away’!
I believe that we are wasting our time engaging with Siwan Hayward now, and Peter Blake and Garrett Emmerson need to replace her.
We also need to get away from PH using the phrase ‘Taxi’. At the last Compliance meeting, Siwan made a flippant comment, after Richard Massett and myself objected to the phrase ‘Cab-related’ sexual assaults. According to Siwan, ‘Taxi’ is a generic term used up and down the country to describe PH and Taxis even though it’s illegal to use the word ‘Cab’ or ‘Taxi’ to describe PH. CabWise and TaxiCard are two examples of this ‘wishy-washy’ thinking that breaks the law, yet it’s the regulator doing it!
TFL hide behind the define “plying for hire’ argument when there is an adequate long-standing interpretation that been used to explain the need for the Knowledge and why PH cannot be hired immediately or ‘straight away’!
It only needs defining because some try to interpret legislation differently, with no justification, other than to satisfy another agenda. It’s clear that Siwan Hayward’s judgement can no longer be trusted. How she has managed to survive the ‘Future Proof’ report and then use phrases like ‘straight away’ is beyond me.
In my honest opinion, I see no value in the LCDC or the rest of the Taxi trade attending meetings involving Siwan Hayward after her comments.
RE: Immediate Hirings, the Knowledge and Taxi & PH Strategy
4th March 2016:
Thank you for your recent correspondence. As the Director of Service Operations, I feel it is appropriate for me to respond on this occasion due to your continued and often unacceptable comments about my colleague Siwan Hayward.
You asked to see a policy regarding alleged changes to Transport for London’s (TfL’s) interpretation of pre-booked hirings. We have answered this question in our FOI response sent to you on 16 October (attached) which is that TfL has not changed its interpretation of pre-booked hiring. As such, the TPH notice or policy you have been requesting on this matter does not exist. I can assure you that the legal requirement remains that a private hire journey must be booked in advance through a licenced private hire operator, and then despatched to a licensed driver and vehicle. I am aware Siwan has made this clear through discussion and previous correspondence that this is the case.
Clearly, the introduction of smartphone technology has changed aspects of both the private hire and taxi industries. Private hire operators who offer their customers the option to book via app have significantly reduced the time it takes between booking a private hire vehicle and the journey starting. In effect, this means that in some cases private hire journeys are starting almost straight away after the booking has been made – as Siwan set out in her previous email. This is much the same as bookings made in person at minicab offices, where customers have always been able to request an immediate journey if an operator has a driver and vehicle available.
While I appreciate you disagree, it is our interpretation that this is entirely legal; the time between a booking being made and a journey starting is not currently subject to any statutory control in primary legislation, the Department of Transport’s Best Practice Guidance, or in our regulations. You will be aware that we included a proposal for a five minute period between the booking confirmation being sent to the passenger and the journey commencing in our Regulations Review consultation but it proved unpopular with many respondents (in particular customers) and is not being taken forward as a proposal to the TfL Board meeting on 17 March.
We understand the point you make about having time to plan a route, which I know was something mentioned in emails from 2008/09; however this is not laid down in primary legislation and as such, while it may be Best Practice Guidance, it is not a legal requirement.
You mentioned our provisional taxi and private hire strategy which was published alongside the Private Hire Regulations Review consultation on 30 September. The final strategy will be informed by the decisions made by the TfL Board on 17 March, but I can assure you that we continue to support the concept of statutory definitions for pre-booked and plying for hire, which we believe will enhance public safety and ensure the longevity of the two-tier system in London.
I would like you to understand that Siwan, when engaging with you or other members of the LCDC or taxi trade, is speaking with the full support of TfL. Note also that, as no law is being broken, the compliance team is not in a position to take any action.
If you would like to discuss this, or the other emails you have sent in, further please let us know and we will arrange a further discussion.
Director of Service Operations
It is quite clear that TPH have allowed PH to operate outside the legislation and regulations and have now emphasised new rules in an attempt to cover up the fact that you were not enforcing the proper booking procedure.
I remember challenging TPH at a Licensing meeting in which the Deputy Director picked up the Club’s copy of ‘Button on Licensing’ and pointed out where I was going wrong, only to be embarrassed when I read out the correct procedure.
On page 953 of Button, it quite clearly says: Private Hire Vehicles (London) (Operator’s Licences) Regulations 2000, Part IV Records.
11 Particulars of private hire bookings. Before the commencement of each journey booked at an operating centre specified in his licence an operator shall enter the following particulars of the booking in the record referred to in regulation 10-
(a) the date on which the booking is made and, if different, the dates of the proposed journey;
(b) the name of the person to whom the booking is made or other identification of him, or, if more than one person, the name or other identification of one of them;
(c) the agreed time and place of collection, or, if more than one, the agreed time and place of the first;
(d) the main destination specified at the time of the booking;
(e) any fare or estimated fare quoted;
(f) the name of the driver carrying out the booking or other identification of him;
(g) if applicable the name of the other operator to whom the booking has been subcontracted, and
(h) the registered number of the vehicle to be used or such other means of identifying it as may be adopted.
It is quite clear, given the reported evidence of the Private Hire Drivers working on the Über platform that this has not been taking place.
TPH staff, particularly those on your Twitter feed, continually state that Compliance Officers routinely check the details of bookings. Taxi trade representative have continually insisted that PH Companies such as Über and Addison Lee are not complying with the regulations prescribed under the legislation. Why have Compliance Officers not noted that virtually every destination on the Über platform has been entered at the end of the journey and not the start contrary to rule 11 (d):
the main destination specified at the time of the booking?
Peter Blake, in his email, insisted: “Note also that, as no law is being broken, the compliance team is not in a position to take any action.”
I would suggest that there has and there is action necessary.
Über are not operating legally according to the regulations.
I look forward to your explanation and the actions you intend to take against this Operator.