Showing posts with label ifttt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ifttt. Show all posts

23 May 2018

Plush 4* hotel stay in Manchester from £35pppn - city centre location & on site spa


Manchester - the home of the Madchester movement, the City vs United battle and YOU for one or two nights this summer/autumn. We have found this SUPER cheap hotel stay slap bang in the city centre. Situated within walking distance of the famous Northern Quarter with it's vintage boutiques, quirky cafes and excellent record shops,… GemUK

Adults Only 5* Crete luxury break 3nts from £364pp - incl. suite w/ pool, breakfast & flights


Ahoy mateys! We've been eyeing up the super swanky 5* Domes Noruz Chania Autograph Collection resort in Crete for some time now (voted Europe's Leading New Hotel 2017 by the Travel Awards), and have found some reasonable late autumn rates. With this holiday you'll get your own luxurious suite with private plunge pool, breakfast, one… Cee

5* family beachfront Ritz Carlton in Dubai: 5nts half board from £599pp incl. flights & hotel


If you still find yourself looking for that illusive summer holiday but are wanting something a little different? Then why not set your sights on Dubai? Our friends at Value Added Travel are offing this incredible 5* getaway to the UAE for you and the family. Indulge yourself in the half board basis for 5… GemUK

Public At Risk Part 2 : Taxi Scandal, Riddle Of Firms All Based In Single Office



Above a diner and accessible only via a back door off a dingy alley stands a small and unremarkable office.

To the untrained eye, it is the home of a local minicab firm, Wednesfield Cars, whose manager is adamant that his is the only business operating there.

Wolverhampton council knows better. It has licensed 13 competing Minicab companies to run their operations from the very same office.

In the past three years, Wolverhampton has become the go-to local authority for thousands of drivers from all corners of England in search of a minicab licence. In 2015, it issued 852; this year, 9,388. The same period saw the number of minicab companies licensed to operate in the city climb from 12 to 100.

In total, 58 of those companies are listed as operating from one of four Wolverhampton addresses. When The Times visited, there was no trace of 52 of them.

The council has not merely licensed dozens of hard-to-spot firms at those locations. It has also issued licences to thousands of drivers who work in other English towns for companies with exactly the same business names as the Wolverhampton operators. 
Those firms run visible minicab operations in places including Birmingham, Manchester, Stockport, Stoke-on-Trent, Derby, Mansfield, Nottingham, Cambridge, Windsor & Maidenhead and Swale, in Kent.

One of the four addresses has for the past few years been the operations hub for a genuine local company called ABC Cars and its sister ABC Countdown Cars. According to the council, an additional 17 minicab firms operate at the same place. Not so, says Richard Halsall, ABC’s manager, who said he had never heard of any of them.

Licensing experts have suggested an explanation. Under the Deregulation Act 2015, minicab companies operating anywhere are entitled to subcontract work to other firms, with one proviso.

If a minicab firm in Manchester wants to use drivers and vehicles licensed by Wolverhampton, the pre-booked work they are given must be sub-contracted to the firm by a Wolverhampton minicab operator. So it would be convenient for the Manchester firm to be able to show that all the jobs it gives its Wolverhampton drivers were sub-contracted by its sister firm, of the same name, in the West Midlands city.

If that sister operator has no employees and runs no vehicles, the law does not seem to care. This loophole has been embraced by Wolverhampton council, whose “efficient” approach to licensing has proved highly lucrative. Its income from taxi and minicab licences rose from £263,000 in 2014-15 to £2.2 million in 2017-18.

Last night the council defended its conduct, insisting that it applied stringent standards to drivers it licenses and claiming that its popularity was due to swift and efficient online applications.

The authority’s licensing committee chairman, Alan Bolshaw, said its approach complied with relevant legislation and, by embracing digitalisation, was far more advanced that the “very traditional and rigid licensing practices” used by other local authorities.

To suggest that a minicab operator needed to have employees, drivers and vehicles in the area where it was based was a concept that belonged, he said, to the days of “long-winded and outdated processes”.

The 52 minicab operators that did not appear to exist at the four addresses were entirely legitimate. Each was, he said, represented at its registered operating base by a digital recording system, in the form of a box. “Why are there so many vehicles and drivers on the roads licensed by Wolverhampton council? Because we have the best licensing system in the UK,” he boasted.

Other councils would beg to disagree, particularly those hit by a recent influx of Wolverhampton-licensed minicab drivers and cars. Many, as was the case with the earlier surge in Rossendale-plated vehicles, have voiced safeguarding concerns.

Licensing officers in Southampton were contacted by Hampshire police investigating the alleged rape of a female passenger by a local driver. The council did not have him on its books and it turned out that he had been licensed by Wolverhampton.

In Rotherham, the town hit by a mass sex-grooming scandal in which minicab drivers were implicated, more than a dozen men, including five refused licences by the council for reasons including safeguarding concerns, have applied for Wolverhampton licences.

Birmingham councillors claim that Wolverhampton is “more lenient” than its neighbours. A Coventry licensing committee member complained that “treating taxi licensing as a cash cow undermines public safety”. The West Midlands authority was handing out minicab licences “like sweeties”.

Nottingham’s chief licensing officer, Richard Antcliff, accused Wolverhampton of exploiting a “farcical loophole” in the regulations. “Somewhere along the line, Wolverhampton has lost its moral compass,” he said.

The driver arrested in Southampton had no convictions and lost his licence immediately, Mr Bolshaw said. Wolverhampton had “worked extensively” with Rotherham council and the National Crime Agency “to ensure any drivers implicated in child exploitation do not gain Wolverhampton licences”.


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Tunisia 7nts all inclusive from £377pp w/ flights, transfers & unlimited waterpark (2-4 share)


Mateys, Tunisia is back and it seems travellers just can't get enough. Prices this year have skyrocketed so we were pleased as punch to find this 7-night holiday in late summer with UNLIMITED waterpark access priced from £377 per person, for a family of 4 sharing. Couples start from just £410 per person. As a… Niamh_UK

Public At Risk As Thousands Of Minicabs Exploit Loophole In Law...Part One.


Public is 'at risk' as local councils hand licences to thousands of PH Minicab drivers from across Britain while failing to check their criminal records

Rapists and other convicted sex offenders have been given licences to operate as Minicab drivers by councils that have failed continuously to check criminal records, it has been claimed.

Some local authorities have also taken hundreds of thousands of pounds in Taxi licensing fees from applicants, knowing they did not have the cab ranks to accommodate them.

An investigation found serious failings at Rossendale, Lancashire, and a legal loophole allegedly exploited by Wolverhampton.

Rapists and other convicted sex offenders have been given minicab licences by councils that have failed to check criminal records, it has been claimed.

British Asian singer, Dhanraj Singh was jailed for nine months after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a young woman in the back of his Minicab .


The chart-topping musician, who was a Minicab driver by day in his hometown of Nottingham, assaulted the intoxicated woman while dropping her home in 2014.
The 24-year-old father-of-two was granted a licence in 2012, but was not licensed by the city council, according to The Times.
 
He instead applied for a licence from Gedling council, despite not living in the area.  According to the Times, Gedling council granted some 492 licences in 2011 and 1,047 in 2015.

The court heard Singh, who went by the stage name San2, kissed and touched her inappropriately, against her will.
The council revoked his licence as soon as it was notified of the offence. 
Rossendale licenced over 3,700 Minicab drivers last year, despite having rank space for just 75 vehicles, while in Wolverhampton, dozens of minicab firms across Britain have been licensed as local operators, despite having no employees or vehicles in the city.

The vast majority of the drivers licensed by Rossendale did not live in the borough.

Many lived in northern England and the Midlands, but they applied to Rossendale for licences because the council was seen as a ‘soft touch’, it was claimed. 

Northern cities are understood to impose stricter tests and requirements for licences, with some charging higher fees, so drivers flocked to the small Lancashire town.

The investigation by The Times also found that councils issued thousands of licences to drivers, even when it was known some had convictions. 

More than 330 alleged sex assaults by minicab drivers suspects were reported to police in 2016-17.

Councils are losing track of drivers’ criminal records or hiring drivers knowing of their criminal pasts, The Times reported.

In the past decade, 131 drivers have been found guilty of sex offences against passengers.  

One council in Nottinghamshire issued hundreds of Minicab licences to men outside its area, one of whom later carried out a sex attack on a passenger.

Drivers with Rossendale licences have been convicted of offences in York, Milton Keynes and Manchester, the paper said. 

An investigation found serious failings at Rossendale, Lancashire, and a legal loophole allegedly exploited by Wolverhampton (file image)

Assaults by Uber and private hire workers soared nationally 20 per cent in three years, but in London the figure rose by over 50%.

The concerning figures from 23 of England and Wales' 43 police forces show that 337 attacks were reported between April 2016 and March 2017.

Most of the reports were in London, rising from 142 to 156, a freedom of information request found.
 
After a whistleblower raised concerns, Rossendale’s licensing manager was suspended and left the authority, it was reported. They take the money and while victims lives are shattered, these people are allowed to just walk away.

In a change of policy, staff were told no licences could be renewed unless the applicant presented a recent DBS (disclosure and barring service) certificate.

[But in London, 13,000 Uber drivers have been licensed with fake DBS certificates, which TfL knew about and swept under the carpet under the watch of General Manager Helen Chapman].

There were calls for an independent inquiry into the whistleblower’s allegations last night. But the council said they had been investigated and were unfounded.

It said it was confident that it had not issued any licences ‘to anyone who should not have received one’.

Since 2016, Rossendale has introduced measures to cut the licences it issues. Wolverhampton council said it operated ‘robust and rigorous’ vetting and offered ‘the best taxi licensing system in the UK’. 

This claim is highly dubious as recently Winchester Taxi drivers have been complaining that their area has been swamped by drivers obtaining licenses from the more lenient Wolverhampton regulator with the vehicles using cross border hiring regulations to work outside their licensing area.

More In Part Two


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100,000 different users visit TaxiPoint in year one! What next?


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The sun is out and all those right armed cab tans are flourishing!TaxiPoint heads into that summer season less than a month short of our first birthday. The platform, just like the cab tan, continues to go from strength to strength.Today we pass a significant milestone; TaxiPoint has had its 100,000th different visitor through the doors! Not bad for a site in its first year! Currently our returning regular readership stands at over 29,000 and we’ve had over half a million page views to date. So what next for TaxiPoint? After such a strong year we could sit back and rest on our laurels. However that was never the plan! We will continue to invest thousands of pounds into TaxiPoint to help create the best possible independent platform for the whole of the UK taxi community to use. We plan to double our readership in our second 12 months.
TaxiPoint will also try to build stronger links with the mainstream media. PR is vital for any business and we feel we are in a strong position to help both with the distribution of positive promotion of the taxi trade and also educating both the public and journalists as to how the trade works. Due to our growing reputation we also have confirmed several high profile interviews (one absolutely massive!) and will be conducting the most in-depth driver review of the new LEVC TX taxi soon.We ask and thank you for your continued support. Please download the TaxiPoint app or subscribe to our email publication now.
May 23, 2018 at 05:17PM https://ift.tt/2ufVjKI

Sardinia 5* luxury autumn escape 3nts from £266pp - incl. spa resort, flights & breakfast


Arrr mateys! We've just spotted this great offer on one of our favourite Italian abodes, namely the gorgeous 5* Grand Hotel Resort Ma&Ma on La Maddalena island, (just 15 minutes ferry ride off the coast of Sardinia in Italy). Here you will be surrounded by natural beauty with scenic views of the turquoise sea in… Cee

Uganda Forever: Return Flights to Entebbe from £299 - incl. bags & meals


Intrepid pirates who want something a little different this year should visit Uganda. The African country, nestled beside Tanzania and Kenya, is best known for gorilla spotting and houses a renowned gorilla sanctuary. Flight prices have just dropped below £300 return on select dates from Manchester, with dates from London and Birmingham available for just… Niamh_UK

Last minute 5* Mexico package from £634pp - incl. 7nts spa hotel, flights, bags & transfers


It's time to get the 5* treatment you really deserve with a stay close to the beach in marvellous Mexico! The 5* Grand Sirenis has a lush infinity pool that looks out over Banderas Bay, and spa facilities that include a plunge pool and steam room. You'll be staying on an all inclusive basis, so… Samcana

Luxury spa hotel stay in Hampshire from £112.50pp - 1-2nts full board, spa gift & leisure access


Ahoy, check out this great deal Groupon are offering, a stay in Champneys at Forest Mere including a buffet-style breakfast, hot and cold buffet-style lunch and three-course dinner. You can choose to stay 1 or 2 nights (2 night stays include a 25 minute spa treatment) and enjoy full use of the leisure facilities and… Lola

Uber announce “Partner Protection Insurance” with AXA for free UK driver health insurance


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Starting this June, Uber is launching Partner Protection, protecting eligible partner-drivers and delivery partners from the financial cost of life-changing events with insurance from AXA.
Uber claim that events like injury, sickness or having a baby don’t have to come with all of the additional financial stress.This insurance is provided at no cost to the driver as Uber use the strap line “You’re independent, but you’re not on your own” to it’s drivers. So what’s covered? Here’s what Uber say via a blog to their driversInsured for major costsIf you’re one of the many eligible independent contractors who use an Uber App for flexible earnings opportunities in United Kingdom, you are now automatically insured by AXA to protect you when you’re On-Trip. Cover includes medical expenses, death, permanent disability, hospitalisation and injuries (see coverage details).Protected against lost incomeWe want to help you protect yourself from the risk of lost income due to accidents or injuries that could occur while On-Trip and Off-Trip. The program also provides insurance protection to eligible partners for some life events that happen while you’re not working, but still impact your ability to make money. Cover includes inconvenience compensation for injuries and severe sickness, and one-off payments for maternity/paternity and jury service (see coverage details).It doesn’t cost you a thingAs part of our global commitment to safety we have partnered with AXA, the world’s leading insurance brand, to provide you with this protection. There’s no need to sign up — all eligible independent partners are automatically protected by the insurance, at no cost to you.
May 23, 2018 at 01:14PM https://ift.tt/2ufVjKI

Ice Ice baby: 3nt Iceland trip in Northern Lights season from £197pp - incl. flights


November to February is now well-known as Northern Lights season in Iceland, meaning tourists flock to the area during these months and prices undoubtedly rise. Which is why we were pleasantly surprised to still find bargains can be had; like this 3-night trip from as little as £197 per person, based on 2 sharing, including… Niamh_UK

Why Have TfLTPH Given A PH Operators Licence To A Company That Doesn't Dispatch PH Work ?


A few weeks ago I contacted TfLTPH on Twitter, reporting a Toyota Prius which had a small advert on the rear, promoting the car rental company Otto Cars. This is something I've done frequently and have always in the past been met with the same reply "thank you for reporting this, we will pass on to compliance. 

The last time I reported this I got a different reply, "Otto cars is now a licensed private hire operator, and as such can have his name on his vehicles.... 

I do believe the TfLTPH is not playing by the rules!

Although, we regularly see the likes of Addison Lee, displaying their name on the rear window (which is allowed).... Private hire cannot have adverts on the body work. This has been explained in grant detail by TfL notice on more than one occasion. 

Having said this....how on earth have Otto cars been granted a private hire licence???


As far as we know, Otto cars do not advertise a passenger service under the name Otto Cars Ltd, and do not dispatch work. Virtually all their cars are rented out to work on the Uber app as they are an Uber preferred partner!

However, they do advertise the fact they have teamed up with a company called FarePillot. This is an free app that informs Uber drivers which areas are busiest, and also keeps a record of their Uber takings.

So if they do not dispatch work, and only rent cars to Uber drivers, why have they applied for and received a private hire operators licence?
What is TfLTPH up to in granting such licence?

I was under the impression that before any PH company was granted an operators licence, their operation was inspected and scrutinised by TfLTPH compliance, to make sure that everything was above board and legal. 

Perhaps Helen Chapman's replacement Graham Robinson would care to answer the question, "How have TfLTPH granted an operators licence to a company that doesn't dispatch private hire jobs, but rents vehicles to drivers to use on the illegal Uber platform???"


We know that TfLTPH have been bending over backwards to support any form of operation in competition with black cabs and it's obvious they are heavily into our demise. 
They knew back in 2013 that Uber were operating illegally and said nothing. They have allowed 13,000 Uber drivers to carry on working even though they know and have known for over a year that these drivers have fake DBS certificates. 

It has also been bought to our attention that NWCars of Cricklewood London NW2, have started to put door and boot adds on their vehicles contra to the Private Hire vehicles act 1998. There vehicles have been seen all round central London. 


Taxi Leaks editor has recently written to Graham Robison asking for an explain action as to why TfL took no compliance action over the fact that a black Taxi only app was dispatching private hire work to Private hire drivers without being in possession of a private hire operators license?

So far Mr Robinson has failed to reply!
We will post the letter sent later this week. 


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Last minute group getaway in Menorca from £175pp - 14nts hotel, flights, luggage & transfers


If you are still looking for a last minute getaway we may have the holiday for you, this Menorca getaway is based on 4 sharing and even includes luggage and transfers in the price. This holiday is coming in at a mega cheap price and even better there is a code BEACH50 saving you £50… Lola

Thrice as nice: 10nt Thailand, Malaysia & Bali adventure from £649pp incl. flights & 4* hotels


South east Asia is such a magical corner of the world that it can seem quite overwhelming when deciding where to go first. That's why our friends at TourCenter are offering this 10 night multi stop adventure. Discover the delights of Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Bali in this epic exploration. Everything you'll need comes included… GemUK

Direct to Dubai: Flights from £270rtn with Virgin Atlantic


Get yourselves out to glittering Dubai in double quick time with these direct flights we spotted in our Flights Finder. These great fares are with Virgin Atlantic, a fine choice for a long haul flight! We've seen availability in May and June, as well as between September and December. Add more high quality accommodation using… Samcana

5* Cyprus family escape 7nts from £328pp - incl. half board, Protaras beach hotel & flights


Ahoy mateys! We've spotted some good rates over at the elegant 5* Constantinos the Great Beach Hotel in Protaras, Cyprus situated right by the sandy beach! There are in total 4 restaurants and 3 bars here along with a spa and a lush lagoon pool. Half board is included in this holiday along with flights,… Cee

Rickshaws must be regulated, says MP


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In London, at least 1,400 rickshaws seek to attract tourists with their brightly coloured covers and music playing. Many cabbies, residents and businesses want them banned or controlled. Either way, they remain the only form of public transport in London to be unregulated. As a result, there is no requirement for insurance, fares are not fixed or consistent, and neither vehicle condition nor driver quality is assessed. The behaviour of some pedicab operators causes problems for businesses, as they block highways, harass customers and cause serious risk to visitors and workers.
There have been a few pedicab-related accidents in London. One man told the Evening Standard in 2016 how he had been knocked out and left with a broken cheekbone after being hit by a rickshaw, whose driver allegedly spat in the face of a member of staff in Covent Garden before pedalling away in a midnight hit and run.
Fortunately, there have been no deaths in the capital so far, though the fact that an off- duty soldier died after falling out of a pedicab in Edinburgh back in 2010 shows that it is very possible. Of course, accidents can happen whatever regime exists, but even the most basic checks will reduce the likelihood.
The other main concern with unregulated pedicabs is the lack of protection for passengers when it comes to fares. In 2016, an undercover filmmaker revealed examples of rickshaw drivers boasting about charging three Chinese tourists £350 each for a 35-minute ride, and charging £200-£300 to go the half mile from Oxford Circus to Piccadilly Circus.
Through a 10-minute rule motion in Parliament, I have proposed the primary legislation required to allow the mayor to introduce sensible regulations, a move supported by many businesses and residents’ groups who have come together to form the Regulate Pedicabs Coalition. These are: London MPs from all parties, Westminster council, Transport for London and the Department for Transport. With this support, I hope that I am pushing against an open door, but legislating is never straightforward.
The fact that London is the only part of the country where pedicabs are not regulated demonstrates the complication.
Pedicabs are considered to be hackney carriages under section 4 of the Metropolitan Public Carriage Act 1869, in every part of England and Wales, apart from London. In the capital, a legal anomaly means that they are treated as stage carriages, which are not subject to the same arrangement.
The leading court case about pedicabs in London reached the opposite conclusion to case law relating to the rest of England and Wales when looking at clarifying the position of this mode of transport.
Many cities across the world have looked to regulate pedicabs. Despite different contexts, several themes recur, such as pedicabs’ legal status as bicycles, passenger safety concerns and fare transparency. New York and Rome failed in their attempts to introduce a blanket ban, but San Diego successfully introduced comprehensive regulation.
San Diego City Council voted to strengthen regulations on pedicab operators following the death of a tourist in an accident. Pedicab operators there are required by law to display fares openly, and numbers are capped in high-traffic areas. They are banned from using metered parking spaces and drivers are required to carry proof of insurance and ensure that seatbelts are worn. Operators with criminal convictions are banned.
London is a global city with a positive international reputation. Some 20 million people come to our capital every year. It vies with Bangkok each year to be the most visited city on the planet. Although London has so much to offer visitors, we should not take our tourism industry for granted. Making sure that visitors have a wonderful experience, feel safe, get value for money and have a great time is vital to keeping those figures up and ensuring that people share positive stories about their trips with their friends and keep coming back.
My bill would enable TfL to develop a regulation system but does not prescribe what that system should be. However, there is every indication that TfL will conduct a background check of the driver and a safety inspection of vehicles, which are usually bought or rented from a few providers. There is also indication of placing a cap on fares or rates charged and set out sensible rules as to where and how drivers can park and tout for business.
This will allow Transport for London to give consumers, whether they are Londoners or visitors, protection against excessive fares and safety protection through driver and vehicle checks, and to give others, including pedestrians, local businesses and nearby residents, some peace through reasonable and proportionate regulation. Londoners are pressing for this small but significant change. Parliament needs to listen and respond.
The Pedicabs (London) Bill 2017-19 is being considered by Parliament.
May 23, 2018 at 09:32AM https://ift.tt/2ufVjKI

Late season Costa Brava bargain from £173pp - incl. 7nts hotel & flights


Summer doesn't have to end when you find great deals on our Holiday Finder! We spotted 7 nights at the rather lovely Hotel La Palmera & Spa for this great price, with flights also included. The beach is just a 5-minute walk away, and spa facilities at the property include a Turkish bath, sauna, outdoor… Samcana
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One Taxi company For Milton Keynes you will Like

One Taxi company For Milton Keynes you will Like
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