Free breakfast for cabbies: Letter to Editor.

I’m working with White Hat Bakery, who have a pop up café this summer at The Undercroft, Banqueting House on Whitehall. On the morning of 29th July White Hat will be giving away breakfast goody bags to all London cab drivers who pop in which will include homemade filled focaccia, sweet and savoury Chelsea buns, and a slice of cake.

I was wondering if you could help me get this information out to your loyal twitter followers? We are on twitter at @DTbanter, and will be sending out information on the event with the hashtag #breakfastforcabbies. Or please feel free to email me back if you would like any more information.

Flash Demo 25th July 2014



Just before midnight last night, a hundred of London Taxi drivers arrived in St James Square for a pre Flash Mob Demo meet up. The word had been put out via twitter’s @TaG_Hit_Squad and @Flash_Demo accounts over the past week, with the final destination of the hit kept a secret till the very last minute.

A forward command post was set up in Wardour Street, adjacent to the W Hotel. The target, the area around Wardour and Gerrard Street, normally infested and crawling with minicabs, a cesspit of illegal plying for hire and touting. As the barriers lowered into the Tarmac, with military precision, the signal was given and London’s finest made their way to the location en masse.

This operation has been our most ambitious so far, with many believing it would be impossible to make much of a mark at this location.

It didn’t take long for the area to grind to a halt. The knock on affect turned Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus into a virtual car park. Drivers stood outside their Taxis, engaging with the public, explaining why the action was taking place.

The format of the Twitter Action Group (TaG) Hit Squad has in the past proved highly effective and had substantial results. Drivers from every section of the trade stood together in true unity. No one caring which org, or what colour lanyard, no egotistic leaders bleating about the size of their membership. Just concerned drivers ready to stand up and be counted.

Places the trade through had been completely lost to the touts have been clawed back.

Successive hits on Swallow Street has seen a marked decline in the number if unbooked touts lining up in the Regent Street bus lane and has resulted in the placement of the Heddon Street rank and Marshals being present on Friday nights.

Other successes in Clapham a High Street (new marshalled rank) and Smiths in Charterhouse Street has won a great deal of our work back from the touts.

Most notable by their absence last night were the authorities. With minicab related serious sexual assaults running at an all time high, compliance from police and TfL is almost non-existent.

We must not rest on our laurels, we have to make the authorities sit up and take notice.

Please follow the; 

@TaG_Hit_Squad and @Flash_Demo

for information of the next Flash Mob Hit.

Taxi Leaks would like to take this opportunity to thank Andy Simco for all the hard work put in to make last nights hit a success. His dedication to making London a safer place is inspirational.

And a special thanks to ever driver who put themselves out to attend.

Hamburg breaks ranks and bans Uber app

The German city bans Uber because its drivers are not properly licensed but the company vows to continue services

The Uber app in use in Germany

Hamburg is the latest in a series of cities around the world to ban the Uber app because its drivers are not properly licensed Photo: Alamy

The German city of Hamburg has become the latest to break ranks and ban Uber, the popular taxi hailing app that has caused protests across Europe from taxi drivers who claim it threatens their livelihoods.

There was traffic chaos in London, Paris and Berlin in June, as taxis blocked the streets in protest at Uber, which lets users book a nearby cab from their smartphone, and uses GPS technology to calculate the fare.

The hugely successful app has been launched in 100 cities around the world, and the San Francisco-based company behind it has been valued at $18bn (£11bn).

But Hamburg is the latest in a series of cities around the world to ban Uber because its drivers are not properly licensed. Under the ruling, any driver found using the app to transport passengers faces a €1,000 (£790) fine.

Uber immediately appealed against the ruling and said it would continue to offer its service in the city in the meantime, despite the threat of fines.

The ban in Hamburg follows similar moves by the Belgian capital, Brussels, South Korea’s Seoul, and a handful of US cities including Las Vegas and Miami.

Taxi drivers around the world argue Uber amounts to unfair competition, because its drivers do not have to pay for full taxi licenses.

Drivers who sign up with Uber do not work for the company, but are self-employed. The app uses GPS technology to match passengers to nearby cars, and allows drivers to use their smartphones to calculate the fare based on distance travelled.

Moves to have the app banned in other European cities have so far failed. London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, said it would be “difficult” for him to ban Uber “without the risk of a judicial review”, and that it was a matter for the courts.

In Berlin, a taxi driver has already won a court injunction against Uber operating in the city, but has chosen not to enforce it for fear it could expose him to millions of euros in damages.

Berlin and the other cities where Uber is available in Germany are now expected to follow Hamburg with official bans.

Rulings are already being prepared in Berlin and Frankfurt, according to a report in Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, while the authorities in Munich are waiting to see if the Hamburg ban is successful.

Desoto Cabs Want To Scrap Their £5.4m Yearly Medallion Cost In Bid To Compete With Uber.

San Fransico cab company president Hansu Kim, says he’s ready to switch the way his business is regulated and thereby compete, and defeat, the likes of Uber and Lyft.
DeSoto Cab may soon enter the disruption business.
The taxi company, one of San Francisco’s largest, may exploit the same “loopholes in the regulatory process” that allow Uber and Lyft to exist and thrive, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
Hansu Kim, president of DeSoto, says that his 204-vehicle fleet, part of the 2,000 or so regulated and permitted taxis in San Francisco, is “bleeding money” — thanks to the “different” rules that apply to taxis and to Uber and Lyft.
For example: the transportation network companies — the fancy name for what the so-called “ride-share” companies do — don’t have “taxicab medallions” from the city, a requirement that costs DeSoto $5.4 million a year, the newspaper reported.
If DeSoto switched to a “charter-party carrier” license, or TCP, they’d be able to do the same thing as Uber and Lyft — and spend much less money in order to do it.
Kim is sanguine about his chances against the ride-share giants: ” Given the same rules, I’ll beat them all day long,” he told the newspaper.
That way, he could compete with the “ride-share” companies — and still provide a regulated product.
More Than 30 Maryland Cab Companies Suing Uber
More than 30 Maryland cab companies are suing Uber, saying the company is hampering their ability to do business.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Baltimore Circuit Court, reported the Baltimore Sun. The lawsuit claims Uber’s surge-pricing model is similar to price fixing, and the car service is creating an unfair marketplace.
Taxi companies have begun to fight Uber, a popular ride-sharing company that uses an app to summon rides.
In D.C., taxis affiliated with the D.C. Taxi Operators Association closed down Pennsylvania Avenue last month in a protest against Uber that gridlocked traffic.
Virginia has barred Uber from operating in the state, and in San Francisco, the head of one of the oldest cab companies in the city has said that:
“traditional taxis may not survive 18 months in the face of competition from Uber.”
Maryland has become a new battlefront for the dispute, with cab companies lobbying against proposals to regulate Uber differently than cab companies.
The cab companies claim that services like Uber aren’t regulated the same way that taxis are. Uber has countered that the ride-sharing model isn’t a taxi service, and pointed to the consumer demand for the product.
Two of the companies that sued in Maryland — Barwood Tax and Sun Cab — are based in Montgomery County.
An Uber spokesperson says it’s too early to comment on this lawsuit, but the company will defend itself if it has to.
    Source NBC: Bay Area.

Is the Mayor’s unlawfully Taxi Age Limit, responsible for rise in minicab related sexual attacks?…by Jim Thomas.

Literally thousands of perfectly good London Taxis, with many more years service left in them, with better emissions than current models are being taken off the road, under the Mayors unlawful 15 year age limit scheme.

The fact is, it’s a requirement of Public Law that the decisions of the Mayor and TFL are evidenced based.

The Mayor and TFL conducted no testing whatsoever to prove that scrapping older taxis was a valid strategy.

After singling out Taxis as responsible for almost 30% of the recorded air pollution levels on London’s roads (again without evidence) the Mayor and TfL announced that a fifteen year age limit on Taxis would be bought in to combat the ever increasing pollution levels

Since the Age Limit was introduced in 2012 many thousands of FX4s and TX1s have been unnecessarily removed from service as licensed Taxicabs.

There has, however been no improvement in pollution levels. In fact it’s got worse.

The Defra report, released in May 2013, showed that newer taxis are no cleaner than older taxis (as for f-NO2, they were actually creating more pollution).



But it gets a lot worse, as there is a more threatening problem:

The Mayor’s Taxi Age limit has thrown up a major new problem and that is a ready supply of cheap London Taxis. Under current legislation these vehicles can legal be sold on to anyone, complete with TfL licence plate.

A growing number of old vehicles, complete with TfL plate are being seeing plying for hire on London’s streets. Amazingly, the same regulations apply to licensed PHVs which also can be sold on complete with TfL roundel, to anyone with the cash including sexual predators, who may be using these vehicles to obtain fresh victims by touting outside clubs and night venues.

And it gets worse:

Currently both the Met and TfL do everything in their power to manipulate and suppress the true cab related, serious sexual assault figures.

It’s alleged, if a victim is raped or sexually assaulted in an unlicensed minicab, it’s not recorded as cab related. It has also been alleged that if penetration doesn’t take place, then in many cases the attack is recorded as common assault.

TfL’s record of non-enforcement of PHVs is a major contribution to the sexual assault statistics.

Solution is simple:

1. Scrap the Mayors age limit scheme and return to the requirement of requesting all TfL plates and roundels be surrendered when vehicles (Taxis and minicabs) are sold on.

2. Return to the requirement of change of ownership inspections at NSL centres.

3. It must be a requirement that licensed Taxi and PHV owners be fit and proper to enable them to hold a licence.

This would not cure the problem completely, but it would take many unlawfully plated vehicles out of the system and would make it harder for predators to blend in, within the ranks of licensed touts and clipboard Johnnies.

As the Rape and Sexual Assault figures continue to spiral out of control, both the Mayor and TfL’s transport commissioner ( I am not a moral compass) Sir Peter Hendy, should be held to account for there disgraceful non-action on this issue.


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