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Maaxi The ‘Black Cab Only’ Sharing App Launches In London

15/09/2014

Maaxi press release.!cid_ii_14861a8dcdf75df0

Maaxi, the next generation taxi app for black cabs only forever, will start pre-registration of taxi drivers, Monday 15th September, toward formal sign up and download in just a few weeks.

The passenger App, conceived 24 months ago, is a journey planner much like Google Maps or Citymapper but unlike Google Maps’  Uber option and Citymappers’ Hailo option, the App offers black cabs only in shared and normal fare format. This means that passengers can choose to upgrade from a train to a black cab door-to-door, something that they cannot do with other Apps (the price of an Uber or a Hailo is 5 to 10 times higher than public transport versus 1.5 times higher with a fully shared taxi on Maaxi). In addition, unlike in Google or Citymapper, in Maaxi the taxi booking is done within the App.

Nat Rothschild, representing Maaxi, said: “This weekend saw articles highlighting new congestion charge plans along with a the lack of available funds for transport investment. Hackney carriage drivers’ are critical to resolving London’s transport problems and I am betting with Maaxi on the increasingly important role they must play in TfL’s plans to address the future of transport in London.”

 

Cabbies Welcome German App Ban

03/09/2014

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By Conrad Landin in Britain Wednesday 3rd SEP 2014

London cabbies welcomed a German court injunction yesterday banning the controversial taxi mobile phone app Uber as they prepared for two more road blockades in protest at casualisation in Britain.

Click here to read on the Morning Star website

Uber allows smartphone users to summon amateur drivers via a booking system based in the Netherlands and over which British regulators have no control.

It has come under fire for calculating fares via a meter, as minicab firms are required to give punters a quote in advance.

Berlin authorities had already banned Uber over safety concerns, but it retains the support of Tory London Mayor Boris Johnson.

“It’s welcome that someone has taken a stand over a company like Uber, which seems to be riding roughshod over regulations across the world,” said black cab driver and Unite trade union rep Peter Rose.

“Fundamentally I don’t care whether Uber is there or not — all we want is for everything to be above board.

“Regulation laws are there to protect the travelling public. We’re now seeing the erosion of that legislation.”

“By allowing Uber to do the initial hiring from Holland, we could end up with someone doing it in their bedroom in the Bahamas.”

Cabbies have planned two demonstrations for September 24 and October 8, which they insist are not protests against Uber, but calls for consistent regulation.

RMT, which also organises taxi drivers, acting general secretary Mick Cash of transport union said: “The news from Germany should serve as a wake-up call to London Mayor Boris Johnson and others who seem to be beholden to Uber’s financial and corporate power.”

Transport Uber

Taxi Sharing App Bandwagon Announces Itself As The Anti-Uber

29/08/2014

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Amidst the war between Uber and Lyft, ride-sharing app Bandwagon partners with Hailo to create a sharing platform for New York City cab passengers.

BY THORNTON MCENERY AUGUST 28, 2014 1:45 P.M.

Updated: August 28, 2014 5:31 p.m.

While Uber and Lyft continue their car wars, one Silicon Alley-based transportation startup is asking, "Can’t we all just get along?"

Hudson Square-based Bandwagon, an app that allows people going the same way to share a cab, announced Thursday that it is partnering with e-hail app Hailo in order to allow users to legally hail yellow taxis. According to a statement, the alliance between Bandwagon and Hailo will give riders the chance to save up to 65% per ride by sharing the cost of the fare, while providing drivers with the increased revenue of having more than one rider on a longer fare.

"If we can make better use of all those existing empty seats in vehicles that are designed for transportation, we can build a new instant kind of social transit network," Bandwagon CEO David Mahfouda said in the statement.

The social aspect of the partnership will be handled on Bandwagon’s platform. On the app, users will drop a pin of their location and enter their destination. Bandwagon will match them with nearby users headed the same way, provide the mechanism to split the fare digitally and dispatch a cab using Hailo’s platform.

Bandwagon is hoping to benefit from the ongoing, high-profile conflict between Uber and Lyft. Language in the company’s statement makes clear and pointed reference to the two West Coast companies and their public quarrel over the New York cab market.

"While Uber and Lyft fight over taxi customers and drivers, eroding each others’ services," the statement reads, "Bandwagon and Hailo are embracing the spirit of the collaborative economy and sharing resources to improve how we get around."

Correction: Bandwagon is partnering with e-hail app Hailo in order to allow users to legally hail only yellow taxis. That fact was misstated in an earlier version of this article published online Aug. 28, 2014.

Berlin bans Uber app citing passenger safety

14/08/2014

From BBC News: http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28788142

The mobile taxi app Uber has been banned in Berlin by the city’s State Department of Civil and Regulatory Affairs.

In a statement, the authority said it had banned the app on passenger safety grounds and threatened the firm with a 25,000 euro (£20,000) fine for ignoring the order.

Uber said it would challenge the ban.

It is the latest setback for Uber, which has faced bans and protests in cities across Europe.

The Berlin authority said passengers may not be covered by insurance because they aren’t traditional cabs.

Uber set up in Berlin in February last year.

Fabien Nestmann, general manager at Uber in Germany, said the company would challenge the ban.

“The decision from the Berlin authorities is not progressive and it’s seeking to limit consumer choice for all the wrong reasons,” he said. “As a new entrant we’re bringing much-needed competition to a market that hasn’t changed in years.”

‘Competing unfairly ‘
In June, a protest by thousands of drivers of black cabs in London brought part of the city to a halt. London cabbies say Uber drivers don’t have to follow the same strict rules.

Uber lets smartphone users hail cabs through its software. The company takes a cut of the fare.

Earlier this month, senior Labour MP Margaret Hodge said the app was “competing unfairly” with London’s black cabs.

She has written to Boris Johnson asking why Transport for London allows cars to take bookings through the app without a licence to operate in the capital.

Mrs Hodge claims the firm is “opting out of the UK tax regime” but Uber said it complied with “all applicable tax laws”.

London taxi starts Melbourne trial

13/08/2014

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  • KIRSTAN ROSS
  • AUGUST 13, 2014 10:09AM

THE first London cab has arrived in Melbourne on a trial set to shake up the industry.

The London Taxi Company Australia will be assessing customer feedback before deciding how many iconic taxis – which seat five passengers plus a driver – it will bring to our city on a permanent basis.

“We’d like to trial at least 100 here in Victoria as a sample patch and then work from that,” Evan Simeon, CEO of the London Taxi Company Australia, told radio 3AW.image

“We have just landed a London taxi in Melbourne for evaluation for use in Melbourne. The Taxi Services Commission has just approved the London taxi for use as a conventional taxi in Victoria,” he added.

The trial taxi – which can be spotted driving around Melbourne baring “evaluation” stickers.

“We’ve got a vehicle we need to evaluate and it is very exciting,” he said.

Mr Simeon said the introduction to the purpose built fleet follows a “very encouraging” trial in Perth.

“They fit one driver plus five passengers in the rear in a separate compartment that is separated from the driver with a security barrier,” he said.

Even more encouraging, the cost is “the same price as a normal taxi but a limousine service.”

During the Perth trial the company put nearly 100 cars on the road.

“We’ve already done, quite interestingly, three and a half million kilometres in the trial in Perth and carried over 60,000 passengers,” Mr Simeon said.

Of all the passengers in WA, he said 95 per cent claim they would book a London taxi again.

“Seventy-five per cent are saying the will wait longer for a London taxi over a conventional sedan because it is a purpose built taxi,” he added.

Prudential RideLondon – Saturday 9 August and Sunday 10 August

08/08/2014

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On Saturday 9 August and Sunday 10 August 2014 the Prudential RideLondon event takes place in London and there will be road closures and changes to the road layout to accommodate the events. 

Once again there are four separate events and these are:

- Freecycle – Saturday 9 August 2014 – this is a 10 mile route in central London

- Grand Prix – Saturday 9 August 2014 – this is a series of races in St James’s Park

- London – Surrey 100 – Sunday 10 August 2014 – this is the race for the general public that starts in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, goes out to Surrey and then ends on The Mall

- London – Surrey Classic – Sunday 10 August 2014 – this is the same as the 100 race but for 150 top cyclists only

Routes

Maps showing the routes for the different events can be found here:

- Freecycle route

- Grandprix route

- London – Surrey 100

- London – Surrey Classic

Road closures

To allow the different events to take place some roads will be closed and details of where these will be, the closure times and when the roads are expected to reopen can be found in the leaflets available on our website here. Road closures for the events on Sunday will be in place from 05:00 and roads will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so. Roads in east London are expected to reopen from 13:30 whilst in central London all roads, apart from The Mall, are expected to reopen by 20:00.

The Mall will be closed from 07:00 on Friday 8 August until 06:00 Monday 11 August.

Bridges 

Southwark Bridge and Westminster Bridge will be closed on Saturday from 05:00 until around 18:00. A number of bridges in central London will be closed until the evening on Sunday 10 August but Waterloo Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge and London Bridge will remain open all day.

Taxi ranks

There will be some changes to taxi ranks for the duration of the event and this includes suspensions or access restrictions, however these have been kept to a minimum.

The table below provides details of special arrangements in place for specific ranks. The times when rank suspensions finish are dependent upon roads being reopened and this will happen as soon as it is safe to do so.

Location

Arrangements Sunday 10 August 2014

Westfield Avenue (The Cow pub)

- Rank suspended between 05:00 and 10:30 and between  12:30 and 13:30

- The taxi ranks in the Broadway, Meridian Square and Montfichet Road will be operational 

East Smithfield

Rank suspended between 05:00 and 09:30 and between 12:30 and 13:30

Whitehall Place

Rank suspended between 05:00 and 20:00

Whitehall Court

Rank suspended between 05:00 and 20:00

Pall Mall

Rank suspended between 05:00 and 15:00

St James’s Street

Rank suspended between 05:00 and 15:00

Knightsbridge (Mandarin Oriental Hotel)

Rank suspended between 05:00 and 15:00 

Harrods

- Brompton Road

- Hans Road

- Ranks suspended between 05:00 and 15:00

- The taxi rank in Basil Street/Hans Crescent will be operational and the direction of traffic in Hans Road will be reversed

Cromwell Road (V&A Museum)

Rank suspended between 05:00 and 15:00

Thurloe Place

Rank suspended between 05:00 and 15:00

Cromwell Road (Bratts)

- Rank suspended between 05:00 and 06:00 (this rank is only operational between 00:00 and 06:00)

Cromwell Road (Queensbury Place)

Rank suspended between 05:00 and 06:00 (this rank is only operational between 00:00 and 06:00)

Wood Street (Station forecourt)

- Rank suspended between 05:00 and 19:00

- The marshalled taxi rank will operate as normal on Saturday night

- The rank in Eden Street (Primark) will remain operational throughout the day

Clarence Street (John Lewis)

Rank suspended between 07:30 and 19:00

High Street (Putney Station)

- Rank suspended between 07:30 and 19:00

- The hours of the taxi rank in Upper Richmond Road will be extended and this will operate all day on the Sunday

Coombe Lane (Raynes Park Station)

Rank suspended between 07:30 and 19:00

Worple Road

Rank suspended between 07:30 and 19:00

Transport for London – London Taxi and Private Hire 

Heathrow police officer convicted of assaulting suspected taxi tout

06/08/2014

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The court heard that PC Eliot, who was on routine patrol, stopped a vehicle within the grounds of Heathrow Airport on suspicion of taxi touting.   

Aug 05, 2014 17:23 By Alan Hayes

PC William Eliot, 45, a police officer with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) based at Heathrow has been convicted of assault at Westminster Magistrates’ Court during an appearance on Monday, August 4.

He had previously been summonsed to appear following an investigation by the Directorate of Professional Standards.

The court heard that during the course of his shift on August 25, 2013, PC Eliot, who was on routine patrol, stopped a vehicle within the grounds of Heathrow Airport on suspicion of taxi touting.

During the vehicle stop PC Eliot grabbed the driver of the vehicle round the neck . PC Eliot alleged that the victim spat at him when he was questioning him about his vehicle.

The victim later made a complaint and the incident was also reported by a colleague. 
Following the stop, the vehicle was seized under lawful powers as it was not roadworthy. 
Following an investigation by the MPS Directorate of Professional Standards, PC Eliot was issued with a summons to appear before the court. 

Detective Chief Superintendent Alaric Bonthron, said: "The evidence put before the court included that of a colleague who reported the incident, this demonstrates that officers are prepared to report wrong doing. Now that the criminal proceedings are complete we will be able to proceed with the misconduct process."

He has been released on bail to appear on Monday, August 18 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for sentencing.

TfL successfully prosecute three bogus minicab drivers

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5 August 2014 TfL Press release

Three more successful TfL prosecutions of bogus minicab drivers

Transport for London’s (TfL) Enforcement and on-street operations Compliance Team, alongside their policing partners, have successfully prosecuted three re-offending minicab touts in an ongoing commitment to crackdown on bogus and unsafe minicab drivers in London.

These latest prosecutions now bring TfL’s total to 25 successful convictions for illegal plying for hire and other related offences in the last 12 months, with many more cases currently awaiting court dates. The three convictions were for a number of offences including; touting, illegal plying for hire, driving without insurance and operating without a valid private hire driver licence.

Olaide Tijani, 50, from north west London, was sentenced at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 23 July. He was stopped during a routine check by City of London Police and TfL Compliance Officers on 14 December 2013. Mr Tijani had a passenger onboard when his details were checked by Officers and it showed that his private hire driver licence had been revoked in 2011 after a touting conviction.

He later pleaded guilty to all four offences of no private hire driver licence, no operator licence, no insurance and plying for hire. He was ordered to pay £410 in fines and court costs. His driving licence was endorsed with six penalty points for having no insurance and as a result, he was disqualified from driving for six months.

Tahir Zaheer Baig, 46, from east London, was sentenced at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 16 July. He was first seen on 26 October 2013 by TfL Compliance Officers in east London, touting for business but drove off before he could be questioned. TfL were in the process of addressing this first incident when he was stopped again on 9 November in South Woodford, and found to be working without a private hire vehicle operator’s licence. He was interviewed under caution and charged with breaching the Private Hire Vehicles Act. Mr Baig was later found guilty of touting, having no operator licence and plying for hire. He was ordered to pay £900 in fines and court costs and disqualified from driving for four months.

Rajalingham Paheerathan, 35, from Bromley, was sentenced at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 16 July. He was seen by TfL Compliance Officers on 24 October 2013 on Uxbridge High Road, having a conversation with a woman before letting her and a friend into his car. Officers approached the vehicle and established the journey was not pre-booked.

Mr Paheerathan was interviewed under caution and charged. He pleaded guilty to plying for hire and having no operator licence and was ordered to pay £370 in fines and court costs. He was also disqualified from driving for three months.

Steve Burton, Director of Enforcement and On Street Operations at TfL, said: "These convictions demonstrate that we take illegal touting and other illegal private hire activities extremely seriously. Thanks to the great work of our Compliance Officers and policing partners, these offenders have been successfully prosecuted.

“An unbooked minicab is just a stranger’s car and these three men posed a real threat to public safety. We will continue to crack down on bogus and unsafe minicabs and encourage people to report illegal activity to us as we do act on this intelligence. Always use a licensed taxi or pre-book a minicab through a licensed operator. Download our Cabwise app to get details of licensed operators.”

TfL’s Enforcement and on-street Compliance Team carry out vehicle and driver licensing checks across London to keep the public safe and stamp out illegal activity. They work closely with the police, delivering over six hundred joint operations every year. They also carry out evening patrols in hotspot locations, plain clothes anti-touting operations and high visibility enforcement activities to detect and deter bogus cab drivers.

For more information about the work being carried out to keep the transport network safe, please visit: http://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/safety-and-security/

To report touting and illegal cabs please visit: https://tfl.gov.uk/forms/12368.aspx

Ends

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