NTA Conference

The Annual General Meeting and Conference in 2017 will take place at the Sunderland Marriott Hotel, Queens Parade, Sunderland SR6 8DB

Conference Partners

The format will be as follows;
Monday 23rd October 2017
09:00 to 12:30; NTA Directors Meeting
14:00 to 17:00; Annual General Meeting
19:30hrs; NTA Chairman’s Dinner
Tuesday 24th October 2017
10:00 to 15:30 Conference

 

 

 

 

Booking form: Conf booking form 2017

Uber deserved to lose its licence – Londoners’ safety must come first

Our city is a hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurship. That’s because it’s renowned as a place where everyone has to play by the same rules

From the steam engine to the web, Britain has a long history of inventing and embracing brilliant new technology, often with London leading the way with the very latest developments.

In recent years, we have seen great leaps forward in areas such as green technology, medical innovations and contactless payments on the underground, but also with mobile phone applications that can make the lives of Londoners easier – whether it’s ordering food, renting a flat or doing financial transactions.

As we move through the next stage of 21st century innovation, I want London to continue to be at the forefront of these developments and to be a natural home for exciting new companies that help Londoners by providing a better and more affordable service.

I welcome and embrace these innovations – not only because they can improve the everyday lives of Londoners, but because they can spark new ideas for business, new possibilities for jobs in our city and new opportunities to cement London as a global capital of digital technology.

However, as with every other sector doing business in this city, from the financial services to manufacturing, all companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – above all when it comes to the safety of customers.

Providing an innovative service is not an excuse for it being unsafe.

Today, Transport for London has made the formal decision not to renew Uber’s operating licence. This was made independently by TfL as the regulator. I know this decision will be controversial in some quarters. Uber has become a popular service for many Londoners. But I fully understand the decision that has been taken.

It would be simply wrong for TfL to continue to license Uber if there was any way this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety or security. TfL has said it believes Uber’s conduct demonstrates a lack of corporate responsibility around a number of issues that have potential public safety and security implications. These include Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences, and the way it obtains medical certificates and security checks (Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service) for their drivers.

All private-hire operators in London need to play by the rules. The safety and security of customers must be paramount.

Uber’s current licence does not expire until the end of September so the service will continue, for now. The company will also be able to continue to operate until the appeals process has been exhausted.

Around the world, new private-hire vehicle companies and other disruptive technology businesses are springing up all the time, with new and different ways of working. We know it is possible to combine innovative technology within these fields while also ensuring the necessary safety standards are met. It would not be right for exceptions to be made.

I have repeatedly said the regulatory environment is critical in protecting Londoners’ safety, maintaining workplace standards for drivers and sustaining a vibrant taxi and private hire market with space for a range of providers to flourish. It is not simply regulation for regulation’s sake.

One of the reasons why London has become such a success with international business over centuries is because of our professionalism and sense of British fair play, with transparent rules, laws and regulations. This ensures that all companies are treated equally – something we would never want to lose.

I suspect it will take some time before this situation with Uber fully plays out. In the meantime, I will continue my work to help support innovative businesses in London and to create a vibrant and safe taxi and private hire market.

During the mayoral election, I promised I would be the most pro-business mayor London has ever had. That promise is reflected in the work we are doing from City Hall to support companies and entrepreneurs who are reinventing and reviving many of our traditional business sectors.

As we go forward in the months and years ahead, I know London will continue to be an incredible hotbed of innovation and new technology, as well as a city where businesses understand that they have no choice but to adhere to the rules like everyone else – especially when it comes to the safety of Londoners.

• Sadiq Khan is the mayor of London

source: https://www.theguardian.com/

Tough new rules say all Scunthorpe Hackney Carriages must be white and female drivers can’t wear short skirts

The new rules have been laid down by North Lincolnshire Council, with all cabs to be white by December 2023

Tough new rules for cabbies including a ban on female drivers wearing short skirts are to be introduced by North Lincolnshire Council.

Under a new policy agreed by the authority’s licensing committee today (Thursday, September 21) all Hackney Carriage vehicles will have to be white by December 2023.

Committee members were told a standard livery was required to ensure the cabs were easily recognisable to members of the public.

All new and replacement vehicles will have have to conform to the new livery requirement before the deadline in six years’ time.

But Councillor Carl Sherwood was concerned passengers might have problems with the new livery as there were lots of white vehicles around.
Licensing manager Nick Bramhill pointed out the cars carried plenty of signage.

Female taxi drivers will be banned from wearing short skirts under new rules.

Councillor Steve Swift felt the new livery requirement did not go far enough and suggested extra markings on the vehicles.

Mr Bramhill said the trade bodies were quite happy with the rule as white vehicles were easier to source.

Under the new policy, applicants for licences will also have to demonstrate they are able to read and write in English.

Cabbies who have other driving jobs will be required to keep a record of the hours they drive – even on private land.

Operators of cabs fitted with CCTV systems will have to ensure they are registered with the Information Commissioner.

Cabs will also have to be fitted with child seats and drivers will be held responsible for the safety of children.

Drivers will be required to disclose all their previous convictions, regardless of whether or not they would be regarded as spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

And for the first time, smoking electronic cigarettes in taxis will see drivers have points docked off their licence.

The licensing watchdogs also agreed to amend the dress code for cabbies.

Ear-muffs and scarves covering the face are banned, while headwear except for religious headwear including skull caps and turbans will also not be allowed.

Football shirts, flip-flops and skirts shorter than knee-length have also been banned, while offensive tattoos have to be covered up.

In a further change, operators will be able for the first time to buy and display private registration plates from the council for a £150 fee renewable at the rate of £50 every year.

The number plate must not be offensive and contain between three and five digits with at least one number at the end.

source: http://www.scunthorpetelegraph.co.uk/

Councillors meet today to decide whether to push ahead with implementing the drive, first agreed in 1994, to make all Granite City cabs wheelchair accessible.

But the ruling has long provoked anger, with taxi drivers arguing they have to shell out thousands on the new vehicles – despite many disabled customers being unable to use them.

New legal advice from the UK government has also revealed that there is “no mandatory requirement” for the rule from a legal standpoint.

The opposition SNP group have indicated they will try to throw out the rule today.

But council officers have recommended the authority push ahead, with fears raised that disabled groups and drivers who have bought new cars could pursue legal action if there is a u-turn now.

A council spokeswoman said:”Currently 54% of Aberdeen’s taxi fleet are accessible vehicles.

“In 2012 Aberdeen City Council’s Licencing Committee set out a policy of a gradual progression towards a 100% accessible vehicle taxi fleet and settled on a date of June 2017 by which the exemption would no longer apply and all vehicles required to be wheelchair accessible. This date was amended to June 2018 by Full Council in May 2016. Operators have been given considerable advance notice.

“It is the view of officers that the policy remains the best method of ensuring the council complies with its obligations. It is important to note that the policy refers to the taxi fleet only, and not to private hire vehicles.

“The intention behind the policy however is that any person should be able to access any vehicle in a taxi queue or hailed on the street.”

Stephen Flynn, SNP leader, said: “As someone with mobility issues, I know that a lot of people struggle to access these supposedly accessible vehicles.

“Equality means we need to meet the needs of everyone and we will seek to get the council to look again at this policy.”

Tommy Campbell, north-east regional representative for the Unite union which represents many drivers, called the councillors to develop a “common sense approach” to the ruling.

He said: “The councillors should apply a healthy dose of common sense, I would call on them to finally abandon this policy for good.”

‘Terrorist’ Uber driver, 26, ‘left a note to his sister telling her to “be strong” before attacking police outside Buckingham Palace with a 4ft samurai sword’

An Uber driver accused of attacking police outside Buckingham Palace with a four foot long samurai sword had left a note to his sister, a court heard today. Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, 26, allegedly drove his blue Toyota Prius in the direction of a police van on Constitution Hill on Friday night.

He stopped just a few feet away from the police van when he is then alleged to have reached for the sword in the foot well of the car while shouting ‘Allahu Akhbar’ He was then wrestled to the ground by police who sprayed him with CS gas and the note was found inside the car, a court heard.

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court today facing one count of preparation of terrorist acts. Wearing a grey prison tracksuit the softly spoken Chowdhury spoke only to confirm his name, age and address.

Prosecutor Mark Carol said: ‘On Friday the 25th of August at around 8:30pm in the evening when uniformed officers were traveling in a marked vehicle at the Queen Victoria Memorial, Constitution Hill, when a blue Toyota Prius motor vehicle, drove towards them stopping two feet away.

‘Officers approached the vehicle and the male driver reached for a large sword from inside and shouted ‘Allahu Akhbar’ several times. ‘The officer struggled with the individual and sprayed him with CS spray.’

The court was told Chowdhury was arrested and taken to a police station and the court heard the samurai sword was just under four foot in length. Part of the note was read out in court and it said: ‘To my dearest sister… Do not cry and be strong. ‘Tell everyone that I love them.’ Chowdhury, of Luton, Bedfordshire, was remanded in custody to appear at the Central Criminal Court.

Jul 28

Taxi driver who grabbed woman between legs faces jail

A TAXI driver from Leamington who grabbed a woman between her legs when she got out of his cab following a row about the fare has been warned to expect an immediate prison sentence. Balvinder Singh had denied sexually assaulting the woman after driving her home, claiming ‘it just did not happen’ a jury was told. But the jury at Warwick Crown Court took just two hours to find the 56 year-old of Tachbrook Road, guilty by a unanimous verdict.

Adjourning for a pre-sentence report, Judge Barry Berlin warned that a taxi driver convicted of breach of trust by a sexual offence against a passenger ‘ought to go immediately to custody.’ Prosecutor Tariq Shakoor said that in the early hours of Sunday January 17 last year a woman in her 50s made a complaint to the police that she had been sexually assaulted by a taxi driver. “The defendant’s case is that he was the taxi driver during this incident, but that no sexual assault took place.”

Mr Shakoor said the woman had been out for the night, socialising with friends in Coventry city centre, and had visited a number of pubs, ‘having a normal Saturday night out.’ At about 2.30 in the morning a friend she was with, but who lived in a different part of the city to her, left to go home. “She stays on, and eventually she too decides it’s time to go home. She leaves a public house and flags down a black cab close-by. There is no dispute the defendant is the driver.”

The woman shared the cab with a male friend who was dropped off first before continuing to her home. But when they arrived there was a dispute over the fare, which was higher than she thought it should be, which Singh said was because of waiting time while they dropped off her friend. The woman became abusive, and called the police to complain about being overcharged – but although the operator told her it was a civil matter, the line remained open and recorded the exchange, which ended with her paying Singh £10.

She complained she could not get out, so Singh got out to open the door, and when she got out he then grabbed hold of her. “He put his hand between her legs, over her clothing, in the area of her private parts. She couldn’t believe what he’d done,” said Mr Shakoor. “If you are sure that is what he did, that is a sexual assault. His case is that it just did not happen,” he explained.

He said during the incident the woman heard someone shout out, which caused Singh to let go, and he got back into the taxi and drove off – and she went inside and, ‘quite distraught,’ called the police again. The jury heard a woman who lived in the same street happened to be awake and could hear the argument over the fare, so got out of bed and looked out of the window. “She describes seeing the driver grabbing the female around the area of her waist and holding her in what she described as a bear hug, pulling her towards him. “It appeared as if he was trying to kiss her. She alerts her partner who gets out of bed and shouts out of the window.”

Following the incident, Singh was traced and arrested, but denied the offence, added Mr Shakoor. In court, Singh said he had kept his foot on the brake during the argument over the fare to keep the door locked so the woman could not make off without paying.

But he said it was then she who hugged him, apologising for the argument over the fare, so he had hugged her back. “She said she liked me. I said ‘no, I’m married, and I moved her with two hands, pushing outwards to her shoulders, and then got back into the taxi and drove away.” He denied touching her between the legs, and accused her of making it all up to get him into trouble.

After the jury returned its verdict, at the request of his barrister Jonathan Veasey-Pugh, Judge Berlin agreed to adjourn for a pre-sentence report to be prepared on Singh. But he commented: “He must realise this is a serious matter for which an immediate custodial sentence is highly likely, particularly in view of what is a breach of trust.” Singh was granted bail, but Judge Berlin warned him: “That must not in your mind mean that there is not going to be an immediate custodial sentence. “I take the view that a taxi driver who is convicted of breach of trust by a sexual offence committed against a passenger ought to go immediately to custody.”

Jul 28

Private Hire driver loses licence for ‘intimidating’ women

A private hire driver has been stripped of his licence for intimidating women.

In one incident he confronted an elderly passenger at her home at night after her daughter had complained about his attitude towards her mother.

The complaint centred on his refusal to help the elderly woman when dropping her off after a journey. He was also accused of requesting a tip from her.

In a separate incident, he used his vehicle to block access to another woman in her own car.

She was trapped for ten minutes and subsequently complained to the firm he worked for, saying she had felt “intimidated” by his behaviour.

All three incidents happened in April this year.

The driver, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had previously been issued with a final written warning by East Riding Council over his conduct towards passengers.

That had been triggered by two complaints in the space of five months about his behaviour.

The first, in December last year, involved claims of “abusive conduct” towards a young female passenger who he followed down a cul-de-sac after dropping her off.

In March, a male passenger alleged the driver had asked him to sell him some drugs although this was subsequently denied.

He was issued with a final written warning on April 7 – the same day as he was alleged to have asked for a tip after refusing to help the elderly passenger who he later confronted at her home.

The decision by the council’s licensing committee to revoke his licence with immediate effect has been revealed in newly published minutes.

The minutes say: “At a meeting with officers on April 28, the appellant failed to see the importance of these complaints and how his actions were not appropriate and how they may have impacted on vulnerable customers and caused them alarm.

“The appellant is not promoting the aims of the licensing policy and his conduct is not that which is expected of a licensed driver, particularly relating to his unacceptable conduct towards a vulnerable adult by visiting her uninvited at her home address.”

The committee was told the man, who had been a licensed driver for over 11 years, was not currently working as a taxi driver having had his licence suspended on April 27.

The minutes reveal some councillors favoured a three-month suspension of his licence but they were out-voted by a majority who supported an immediate revocation.

Jul 25

Taxi driver accused of ‘sitting outside swimming pool in pants’ loses licence appeal

A Labour councillor was accused of ‘sitting outside a swimming pool in his pants’ as he lost an appeal after being refused of a taxi licence.

Oadby and Wigston Borough Council denied an application made by Gurpal Atwal in late 2016 and this decision was backed by magistrates in Loughborough yesterday.

This was after a committee in January 2017 decided he was “not fit and proper” to undertake the position of a cab driver.

The body rejected the private hire and Hackney carriage licence application despite Mr Atwal passing a DBS check and other relevant driving checks.

Outlining the council’s position, its legal representative Dave Gill said: “In essence there were a number of allegations.

“From 2015 there were a consistent number of complaints. No charges, but alleged offences and contact with police.

“The council’s single sole duty is to protect the public.”

Following his statement the officer from the council who led the committee’s enquiries took to the stand.

Licensing Enforcement Officer for Oadby and Wigston Borough Council, Tracey Aldwinckle, 49, explained the statements she had gathered – from which varying accusations emerged.

While being questioned by Mr Atwal’s defence, she said: “I was told your client is using unlicensed drivers on school runs and then he sat in his pants outside a swimming pool because he believes that’s acceptable.”

As well as this a raft of further alleged misdemeanours were stated to the court – most of which had stemmed from 2015 up until now.

There were also claims of racism and an allegation Mr Atwal “swore at” a man.

However he said that when this was followed up officers chose to take no further action.

Mr Atwal’s defence solicitor Anthony Schiller said there was “no indication” from any member of the travelling public of aggressive or racist behaviour.

He also described how his client has worked for over 20 years as a taxi driver in Leicester.

He stated that the majority of witnesses spoken to by Ms Aldwinckle had connections to Mr Atwal’s former business partner.

Mr Atwal owned a fifty-per-cent stake in Handsome Cars in Leicester and is taking his former business partner to high court in regards to a sum of around £300,000.

Mr Atwal still has a taxi licence in Leicester

Addressing magistrates Mr Schiller said: “We know there are links to people you have not seen today.

“It’s often said a business dispute can be worse than a divorce.

“You have to use the mythical scales of justice to make the decision.”

Mr Atwal also denied the accusations in court – stating they were “all fabricated”.

When questioned in front of magistrates Mr Atwal said: “I am not a racist person. I treat everybody fairly.
“They [the statements] were all fabricated to discredit my character.”

In regards to the business dispute Mr Gill commented that it was believed Mr Atwal had involved “heavies” when things did not go his way.

Mr Atwal did not comment following the hearing.

As well as not being granted a licence Mr Atwal was also charged £1,250 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing Bill Boulter, 70, who chaired the Oadby and Wigston Borough Council licensing panel which made the original decision said he was “very pleased”.

Mr Atwal currently holds a licence allowing him to drive cabs in Leicester until 2018.

 

source: http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/local-news/taxi-driver-accused-sitting-outside-218270

Jul 07

Cabbies ‘would be forced off the road’ as Hull council says they may ban diesel taxis from 2018

Councillor Martin Mancey has said the council may ban giving new taxi licences to diesel drivers

Taxi drivers would be ‘forced off the road’ if the city council stopped issuing licences to those with diesel vehicles, it is claimed.

Councillor Martin Mancey, portfolio holder for strategic transport, has suggested the Guildhall may consider following London, where mayor Sadiq Khan has said no new taxi licence should granted to drivers with diesel vehicles from January 2018.

But Peter Nilsson, chairman of the Hull Hackney Carriage Association, has warned that would undoubtedly result in fewer taxis because of the extra costs drivers would incur.

He said: “Would our fares go up? Probably not. But I do believe people would not taxi driving, and so there would be fewer taxis on the road. Each taxi represents a business.

Cllr Mancey was speaking ahead of the publication of the Government’s air action plan, which is expected later this month.

He said: “In London, the mayor is saying that no new taxi licence will be issued for diesel vehicles from January. As a council, we have to look at all measures and I would not rule that out.

“If we were to go down a similar path, and it’s a big if, it would certainly not be in January 2018. We would want to hear the views of both Hackney carriage and private hire drivers. We would have have a discussion with them. There would be extensive consultation.”

Cllr Mancey accepted the measure would be met with concern among Hull’s cabbies, many of whom claim they are struggling to scratch a living even without any incoming extra costs.

However, he said this needed to be seen in the context of an estimated 29,000 deaths each year caused by emmisions.

Cllr Mancey said: “From the point of view of taxi drivers, I imagine there will be some concerns because petrol vehicles do less miles to the gallon, potentially increasing overall costs. That may put pressure on fares. But we have to look at the bigger picture – public health.”

He added the council is working hard to encourage people to use public transport.

Despite this, Mr Nilsson has predicted a number of problems should Hull follow a similar path to London, and said the association’s lawyers would invariably be involved.

He said: “Trying to get a petrol taxi is very difficult, because they’re a lot dearer to run than diesel taxis.

“Electric cars? I personally have not seen any that are fit for purpose. You can only go 100 miles on a charge. What do you do if a fare wants to go to Manchester Airport? It just can’t work.

“Hybrid vehicles are very expensive, compared to say a diesel taxi.”

According to Mr Nilsson’s reckoning, there are 170 black cabs in Hull. He believes there are in the region of 1,300 private hire vehicles.

He feels the driving factor behind Hull’s congestion, linked to poor air quality, is “poor road layout” as opposed to traffic volume.

“The roads are not coping with the number of vehicles,” he said. “No-one one knows the roads like taxi drivers. We know how the city works.

“Look at Spring Bank West, Cottingham Road and Bricknell Avenue. There used to be two lanes in each direction. Now there’s one. That’s the reason why our roads are becoming clogged. We’re losing roads.”

source: http://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/

Jul 07

Taxi drivers ‘are being fined £200 for picking up passengers at Cheltenham Railway Station’

They say they keep being caught out by the automatic numberplate recognition system

Taxi drivers Pete Ballinger and Neil Harvey outside Cheltenham Railway Station.

Taxi drivers allegedly face hundreds of pounds in fines because they keep being charged for dropping off and picking up people at Cheltenham Railway Station.

Three drivers from Andy Cars in Cheltenham are facing fines which could top £600 between them.

They say they keep being caught out by the automatic numberplate recognition system which is in place at the station which charges motorists who stay there longer than 20 minutes.

Each of them have received fines of £100, which would rise to £200 if they were not promptly paid.

But the cabbies say they are only staying in the car park for a few minutes while they pick up and collect customers – and their on-board computers can prove it.

He said: “If that’s the case that means we can’t pick up and drop off at the station, and that can’t be right. If you want to pick up a disabled person you want to stop as near to the station as you can.

“It’s our livelihoods, it’s our jobs. We go there every single day. I can go there five times a day myself.

“It’s very frustrating. Now they’re reluctant to do drop offs just in case they get fined.”

ANPR systems use cameras to capture images of the vehicle and the licence plate on their arrival and when they leave the car park to calculate whether a motorist is liable for a fine.

A spokesman for APCOA said: “The ANPR system provides 20 minutes of free parking for dropping off and picking up passengers. We cannot comment on individual cases without further details.”

APCOA have been contacted for further comment.

source: http://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/

Jul 03

Glasgow private-hire driver sacked after ‘locking terrified female passenger in car and demanding extra cash’

The private-hire was dismissed from City Cars after footage of the frightening ordeal was posted on Facebook

A GLASGOW private-hire driver has been sacked following reports he locked a female passenger in his car and demanded extra cash.

The private-hire driver was dismissed from City Cars after footage of the terrifying ordeal was posted on Facebook.

In the clip, the young female, who does not wish to be named, booked a private-hire car in advance from Clydebank to Neilston on Saturday night, agreeing a charge of £20.

She can heard getting more impatient with the driver who she is trying to give directions to and is heard saying to him: “Yeah, you’re back that way.”

Trying to justify the increased fare, the driver replies to her: “My friend, 17 miles I drive.”

At this point the operator, who is also heard becoming increasingly impatient states: “It is not 17 miles, that’s what I’m saying to you, it is 14 miles.

“So if you take her a long way you can’t charge the lady for that.”

Throughout the video, all that can be seen are the passenger’s legs and the back seat of private-hire car in the darkness.

The driver can be heard stopping the car and demanding she pay him upfront as she pleads with him to “go”.

The pair can be heard shouting at each other to the point where the operator tells the driver to stop arguing and take the passenger home.

Even then, the driver threatens to call the police.

Thankfully, the driver eventually took the passenger home and charged £20.

The young female posted the mobile phone video of the frightening exchange as a warning to other passengers.

City Cars today confirmed the incident had happened and said the driver had been dismissed.

A spokesperson said: “City Cars Management were shocked at hearing of the driver’s actions on Saturday night.

“We dealt with the incident immediately upon hearing the complaint and the driver no longer works for the company.

“We have reported him to Glasgow City Council and have advised the customer to do so also.

“At the time of the incident the driver was reminded by our Operator of City Cars’ zero tolerance policy of never allowing over charging but took it upon himself to attempt to violate this.

“City Cars do not in any way condone the actions of the driver in this isolated incident.

“We have spoken to the customer and extended our apologies and assurances that this will never happen again.”

Jul 01

TfL English Test Introduction delayed until 2018

The chauffeur reports that the Court of Appeal is to begin discussing the controversial Transport for London English Tests for Private Hire drivers.

A campaign by the Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) and the GMB Union has been successful in its early stages as TfL announces it has delayed the introduction of the tests until April 2018.

A spokesperson from the LPHCA commented; “Like many other interested groups, including representatives of disabled drivers, we wholly reject the current test levels set by Transport for London as arbitrary and excessive. The test itself, we maintain, is simply not fit for purpose.

“It imposes unnecessary costs and time consuming burdens. This is potentially, in our opinion, discriminatory, unreasonable and disproportionate. Comparatively, we note, other Transport for London regulated modes of transport are not subject to undertaking such obligations.”

President of the GMB Professional Drivers’ arm, Simon Rush commented; “There’s an uneasy feeling of uncertainty of where we stand as private hire drivers, and at the moment we need more support than ever to make sure we keep our jobs. This plan needs to be abandoned and started again with a new proposal to include grandfather rights for current drivers and an oral test for new drivers.

He added; “The Mayor needs to come back with a more straightforward and less expensive test and plan that will be acceptable to our members.

“It’s time for the London Mayor to get involved and deal with this increasing mess.”

A protest outside City Hall in December 2016 saw members of the trade displaying placards, banners and flags outlining the issues and then entering the building to fill up the Assembly Chamber to protest against the tests.

The English Test would require those applying for a Private Hire license to undergo an English language test to prove their abilities and submit the qualification to TfL. Drivers would be allowed to provide a copy of previously obtained exam certificate demonstrating English language proficiency.

If they can’t locate one, a driver would need to contact their exam board to obtain a copy or, if their exam board no longer exists, they would need to commence a likely minimum eight-week process to try and get hold of a copy from the AQA.

source: http://www.thechauffeur.com/

Jul 01

Committee rules CCTV in Adur taxis is not compulsory

An Adur taxi driver has praised the council’s ‘common sense approach’ for advising that CCTV in taxis should be discretionary, not compulsory.

The issue was considered by Adur District Council’s Licensing committee on Monday, June 19.

We thank the committee for taking a common sense approach and considering representations from the trade

Sean Ridley, an Adur hackney carriage proprietor of 39 years and Unite the Union representative for the area, said the decision was appropriate for Adur – ‘a low crime area’ with an ‘absence of incidences’ to justify the mandatory use of CCTV.

While CCTV can record evidence of incidents and deter crime, there are risks of intrusion into privacy, the council’s Privacy Impact Assessment found.

Mr Ridley said after the meeting: “We applaud the decision.

“We thank the committee for taking a common sense approach and considering representations from the trade.”

He said the council had noted guidance from the Department of Transport, which states that ‘unduly stringent’ licensing requirements tend to restrict the supply of taxis, which can ‘work against the public interest’ and have ‘safety implications’.

He said he did not believe many private hire or hackney carriage vehicles in Adur would decide to install CCTV, which costs around £474.

Councillor James Butcher, licensing committee chairman, said: “Taxis are an integral part of the district’s night-time economy.

“As the licensing authority, we have a duty to do what we can to improve public safety.

“But we also know that some drivers have concerns over data protection and the cost of installing these cameras.

“After listening to operators across the district, the committee decided to give drivers the option of installing CCTV cameras.

“The committee will also work with drivers and those that use taxis to regularly review the issue.”

source: http://www.shorehamherald.co.uk/

Jun 21

Uber chief executive Kalanick resigns

Uber boss Travis Kalanick has resigned as chief executive after pressure from shareholders.

Mr Kalanick will remain on the board of the firm, however.

His resignation comes after a review of practices at the firm and scandals including complaints of sexual harassment.

Last week he said he was taking an indefinite leave of absence following the sudden death of his mother in a boating accident.

‘Bold decision’

Five major Uber investors demanded Mr Kalanick’s immediate resignation in a letter on Tuesday, the New York Times said.

Mr. Kalanick reportedly said: “I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight.”

Uber’s board said in a statement: “Travis has always put Uber first. This is a bold decision and a sign of his devotion and love for Uber.

“By stepping away, he’s taking the time to heal from his personal tragedy while giving the company room to fully embrace this new chapter in Uber’s history. We look forward to continuing to serve with him on the board.”

‘Uphill climb’

Dan Primack, business editor of the Axios news service, was one of the first to report the investor demands for Mr Kalanick to go.

Mr Primack said a group of investors, but particularly Bill Gurley of venture capitalist firm Benchmark, had put pressure on Mr Kalanick to resign.

“It’s important to note: Travis controlled the board in terms of votes, so really, it was a vey big uphill climb for [Mr] Gurley and the other investors to get this done,” Mr Primack said.

Uber’s future prospects were now “pretty bright”, Mr Primack added.

The firm has been searching for a chief operating officer, but now can seek out Fortune 500 chief executives to take over the top spot, he said.

Scandals

The ride-hailing company has had a series of recent controversies, including the departure of other high-level executives.

Eric Alexander, the former head of Uber’s Asia-Pacific business, left after a report that he had obtained the medical records of a woman who was raped by an Uber driver in 2014.

Mr Alexander reportedly shared them with Mr Kalanick, senior vice-president Emil Michael and others.

Mr Alexander was fired earlier this month, and Mr Michael later left Uber.

Board member David Bonderman made a sexist remark at a meeting about workplace practice recommendations last week and then resigned as a director.

This month Uber said it had fired more than 20 staff and had taken action against others following a review of more than 200 HR complaints that included harassment and bullying.

There has also been a lawsuit from Google’s parent company, Alphabet, over alleged theft of trade secrets related to driverless cars.

In February Uber said it was investigating “abhorrent” sexual harassment claims made by former Uber engineer Susan Fowler.

source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40351859

Jun 21

Cambridge City Council is ignoring government advice on wheelchair-accessible taxis

Cambridge City Council is leaving wheelchair users taking taxis open to higher charges, no assistance getting on and off and even being refused a trip, it is claimed.

The authority does not have a list of accessible taxis under section 167 of the Equality Act 2010, despite it being strongly recommended by the government in preventing discrimination against disabled people.

The Department for Transport’s statutory guidance states that: “Whilst local authorities are under no specific legal obligation to maintain a list under section 167, the Government recommends strongly that they do so.

“Without such a list the requirements of section 165 of the Act do not apply, and drivers may continue to refuse the carriage of wheelchair users, fail to provide them with assistance, or to charge them extra.”

Doug Paulley, who discovered in a freedom of information request to Cambridge City Council that they did not keep a list, says the lack of one is “utterly astonishing”.

He said: “Cambridge City Council put in their newsletter to all their taxi drivers that drivers would be subject to the new anti-discrimination law preventing them from refusing wheelchair users, charging wheelchair users extra and the like.”

Despite not following government advice, the council says it has it own in-house measures to prevent discrimination.

Councillor Gerri Bird, chair of licensing at the city council, who is also the disability lead and a wheelchair user, said: “Wheelchair users should never face an additional charge for calling a taxi.

“I am sorry that our response to Mr Paulley’s Freedom of Information request, whilst it correctly dealt with the questions asked regarding the Equality Act, did not also explain why the City Council does not currently keep a list of wheelchair accessible vehicles under the legislation.

“In fact our own Hackney Carriage and Licensing Hire Policy already requires that no additional charge can be made and that all new hackney carriages must be wheelchair accessible.

“Currently around two-thirds of the taxi fleet is wheelchair accessible. Provisions on our policy also allow for enforcement action to be taken if a driver refuses to transport a wheelchair user, fails to provide them with appropriate assistance or charges them more than a non-wheelchair user.”

Councillor Bird said the city council has taken the view that their own strong policies provided sufficient safeguards, but she said they would be reviewing the Accessibility Policy later this year.

She continued: “As part of that we will be considering not only if we should further strengthen the safeguards for wheelchair users by including a list of designated wheelchair accessible taxis, but also how to meet the needs of those with other mobility impairments, for whom lower, saloon type vehicles may be preferable.

“In the meantime, I’d like to assure Mr Paulley and any wheelchair user that we will be ensuring all taxi drivers are fully aware of their responsibilities under our policy in the July newsletter and that they can travel with confidence in taxis in Cambridge.”

source: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/cambridge-city-council-taxi-licensing-13206504

Older posts «

» Newer posts

Social Widgets powered by AB-WebLog.com.