PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ITA LEGITIMATE PROTEST: LICENSED TAXI DRIVERS AGAINST TfL


The week commencing 15th January the licensed taxi trade will stage a series of peaceful protests against Transport for London (TFL). The protest is due to TfL’s passivity in dealing with illegal activity and the disregard they have for the safety of the travelling public. 

Unless affirmative action is taken by TfL to address the issue forthwith, the protests will continue til Friday 19th January, and intermittently thereafter.

TfL has published a 21-page letter stating that it found the company’s central computer accepted a booking only after a driver had done so. 

The process fundamentally changes the way a Private Hire Driver can be accessed, stating, “the point is determinative and that Uber’s current operating model is accordingly unlawful”.

The ITA – an umbrella pressure group made up of 5000+ individual black cabs drivers who have been effected directly by the illegal activity- firmly believe the judgement should be overturned and proceedings brought against senior Uber managers for perjury.
Even though Uber is deemed ‘Not Fit and Proper’ to operate in the Capital they continue to do so pending an appeal. As far as we’re concerned, nothing has changed except Uber can now operate and is exempt from paying the Operator Licence fee.

This is inaction by TfL is unacceptable. No other company would be granted diplomatic immunity in the same way as Uber has. Playing lip-service does nothing to address the illegality of their operation or ensure public safety. A strong message needs to be sent by TfL so other companies who might consider entering the market need to abide by the prevailing legislation. 

Evidently, not doing so has grave consequences.
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Further allegations involve Uber not reporting to the authorities a series of sex attacks by its drivers where at least one case resulted in the attacker striking again. In the year to February 2017, Scotland Yard recorded 48 alleged sexual assaults by Uber drivers, most of which were reported by passengers. Others allegations were made through Transport for London (TfL), the capital's regulator.

Why did TfL not follow these allegations up sooner? Why did they wait until a senior Met Police Office expressed his concern? Failure to report public order cases meant it was too late to prosecute by the time word reached police. 

Surely, to not follow up these allegations, or trusting a corporation -whose T&C state that they are not responsible for the behaviour of the driver- to do what is ‘fit and proper’ is abdicating their regulatory duties to maintain standard based practices.

ITA insist on questions being answered regarding the initial licensing of Uber. Jo Bertram (previous Vice President for the UK & Nordics), is quoted at the time of saying, “Uber passed TfL’s most stringent and comprehensive audit of a Private Hire Operator to date passing with flying colours. We cannot however, find any documentation of this in-depth audit or who conducted it?

Further concerns are that TfL allowed Uber to conduct medical examinations of new drivers over the internet, and fast track criminal checks on its own drivers, a process that was supposed to be carried out independently. Meanwhile, due to the vast number of PH licenses having to be processed

Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) were struggling to renew taxi driver licenses on time. Sometimes seeing delays of up to 4 months

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Although the emphasis focuses on TfL’s relationship with Uber, the consequences of that relationship have been severely shouldered by the taxi trade for nearly six years, much of which has gone unreported by the mainstream press.

Therefore, under Sect. 26 (2) of the PHV ACT, the licensed taxi trade, via The ITA, call for the immediate, and unconditional revocation of Uber’s licence.
ITA Liaison Correspondent


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