Showing posts with label taxi-point. Show all posts
Showing posts with label taxi-point. Show all posts

18 July 2018

London Taxi Knowledge Examiners Scale New Peaks

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Knowledge examiners are normally associated with giving prospective cabbies a hard time have completed a gruelling challenge of their own. The hardy group, which included six examiners and a dozen Taxi and Private Hire staff members from TfL, successfully scaled four punishing peaks in Wales. The hike included taking on Pen y Fan – the highest peak in south Wales – and has raised thousands of pounds for some of the trade’s best loved charities. It was organised by Knowledge of London examiner Jonathan Harvey, who had the idea to raise money for the taxi charities while doing something which would help different departments within TPH collaborate. Jonathan said: “We’ve raised around £4,000 so far, which is going towards the Children’s Magical Taxi Tour, Albany Taxi Charity, London Taxi Drivers’ Fund for Underprivileged Children, Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, and East London Cabbies’ Outing, but there’s still time to donate and it would be great if we can raise even more money for these wonderful charities.” SAS soldiers are known to train at Pen y Fan, which is situated in the Brecon Beacons National Park. At 886 metres above sea-level, it is also the highest British peak south of Cadair Idris n Snowdonia. The other three peaks were Corn du, Cribin & Fan Y Big. The taxi team’s training included eight training weekends at Box Hill in Surrey.
July 18, 2018 at 12:19PM LTDA

17 July 2018

Millionaire cleared of threatening to kill Taxi driver with shotgun following fare dispute

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A millionaire company director who was accused of threatening to shoot dead a taxi driver with one of his hunting shotguns has been cleared of all charges. TaxiPointreported yesterday that James Willmott was facing a charge of possession of a shotgun with intent to cause fear of violence. Taxi driver Hanifur Rehman told a court that a dispute over a fare had broken out between himself and Willmott, whom he had picked up from Cardiff city centre along with five other men. According to the accusations, Willmott refused to pay the fare of £40 because he felt Rehman had attempted to raise the price to £60 due to them requesting a detour to pick up some late night McDonalds. When Rehman refused to leave Willmott's property, a large country home in Pendoylan, South Wales, Willmott threatened to go inside a get his shotgun and kill Rehman for trespassing. Rehman said Willmott then returned carrying a hunting shotgun which he then loaded and cocked in his direction. Armed police were called to the millionaires home and arrested Willmott who denied the accusations. Although during a search of the property the police found the gun described to them by Rehman, along with other weapons, Willmott was cleared of the charges by a jury of eight men and four women who took less than an hour to deliberate at Cardiff Crown Court. Mr Willmott admitted owning a 4ft-long shotgun but claims to never of brought it outside to threaten Mr Rehman with. Mr Willmott told the court: "I never took the gun outside. I never pointed the gun at him. The driver left. I went to bed".
July 17, 2018 at 11:39PM

BMW to take on Uber as battle of the ride-sharing companies hots up

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It's been revealed that BMW are about to take on Uber and launch a ride-share service in Seattle.
As of July 17th, BMWs ride-sharing arm, ReachNow, will be able to "e-hail" or prebook a vehicle, running at a cost of $2.40 per mile plus $0.40 a minute. The minimum fare will be set at $3.24.
Riders will be able to specify certain criteria to each and every ride , such as choice of music or particular temperature.
The drivers will be supplied by a company called Ecoserve, with drivers working a set shift pattern.
Drivers will be paid a set figure of $14.25 per hour and receive a host of benefits. Drivers will be supplied vehicles at no cost to themselves.
BMW haven't, as yet, indicated if they plan to offer this service outside of Seattle. SK
July 17, 2018 at 10:57PM

Uber agree $19.8 million dollar settlement with FTC

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Uber have agreed to a settlement, totalling just over $19.8 million, after the Federal Trade Commission sued the minicab giant.The case, which was brought by the FTC in the U.S, centred around misleading claims by Uber as to how much Uber drivers could earn as well as misleading lease term agreements.Uber had allegedly claimed, according to the FTC, that the average annual income for UberX drivers in New York was $90,000, whilst in San Fransisco it was $74,000.The FTC argued that these claims were inflated quite significantly, by as much as $20,000 to $30,000 per annum. Therefore, the average income was in fact around $61,000 in New York and $53,000 in San Francisco, furthermore under Less 10% of UberX drivers were able to earn the amounts Uber claimed as its average.Uber's vehicle solutions program also came under scrutiny. The scheme which assists drivers buying and leasing vehicles, had claimed it could get drivers into purchase agreements for as little as $560 per month and could arrange a vehicle lease for $476 per month. The reality was somewhat different, drivers had to pay $640 monthly for a leased vehicle and $800 monthly to purchase a car through the scheme, according to the FTC.A settlement was agreed between the FTC and Uber, whereby Uber agreed to stop making unsubstantiated claims surrounding a drivers earning potential as well as the cost of its finance deals.It was also agreed that Uber would compensate just under 89,000 drivers with a share of almost $20 million, amounting to around $223 per driver.There are concerns from some quarters that the $223 figure will be nowhere near enough to compensate drivers, who have been struggling to cope with the debt attributed to the cost of the vehicles.The refunds will start to be issued this week and will cover drivers working in 2014 and 2015, in cities where Uber recruited heavily.
July 17, 2018 at 12:38PM

Millionaire company director pulls shotgun on Taxi driver and threatens to kill him over fare dispute

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A millionaire who took a taxi journey home to his large country home pointed a shotgun at his driver and threatened to kill him during a row over a £40 fare. Company director James Willmott, 37, in alleged to of loaded and cocked the black hunting shotgun in the direction of taxi driver Hanifur Rehman after a disagreement erupted over the cost of the taxi journey. A court heard Mr Rehman feared for his life and thought he was about to be executed on the accused driveway. Willmott and his five friends were picked up by Rehman in Cardiff's city centre and headed to the millionaires home. On route, the six men decided to detour to a McDonalds drive-thru to pick up a late night feast. Because of the detour, the cost of the journey went from £40 to £60 which Willmott was not happy about. A court heard that Willmott refused to pay the inflated fare of £60 and warned Rehman that if he doesn't leave his premises he will go inside a get one of his guns. Rehman was not sure if it was an empty threat but soon realised the reality of the situation when Willmott returned carrying the gun. Rehman told the court that at this moment he thought he was "finished". Mr Rehman also told the court that Willmott lifted the gun and loaded it three times, making a clicking sound. One of Willmott's friends managed to pull him back before he eventually paid the £40 fare. Rehman called 999 and informed them of the situation, stating that there was a gun at the location. Armed police moved in on the millionaires countryside home at Warren Farm in Pendoylan, South Wales and arrested Willmott, handcuffing him and escorting him from the premises.
According to a report in the Sun, police found "several" different weapons at the property, with some stored in a safe gun cabinet. Willmott denied possession of a shotgun with intent to cause fear of violence. The trial continues.
July 17, 2018 at 12:34PM

Plastic fantastic! London taxis embrace rise in cashless payments

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With the rise of contactless credit cards and alternative payment methods such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, we are increasingly moving towards a cashless society.
According to banking trade body UK Finance, debit card payments have now overtaken cash use for the first time. A total of 13.2 billion debit card payments were made last year, a rise of 14 per cent on the previous year. Meanwhile, the frequency of contactless payments almost doubled in a year to 5.6 billion last year. This was most commonly in supermarkets, but card suppliers say that public transport and car parking have also become regular places for people to use contactless – in London more than half of all pay as you go travel on the TfL network is now made using contactless.
This growth in card use is why the TfL Board agreed that taxi passengers should be able to pay by card, including contactless, back in 2016. From 31 October 2016, all licensed taxi drivers have been required to accept credit and debit card payments.
The easy way to pay
Lee Sheppard is the director of London Taxi PR, set up to promote the trade in the Capital, and states: ‘The advent and move to a more cashless society can only be good for the licensed trade. Paying by card allows us to be a more efficient and appealing service, whether it is for the frequent business user, the short hop journeyer or the user in an emergency when no cash is available. Being able to hail, tap and pay by card provides our customers with peace of mind and an ease-of-use service.
‘The London taxi trade has always been seen as innovators of technology and by continuing to evolve and provide our customers with the fullest of payment options, we are demonstrating we recognise that without these alternatives, we as a service and trade will not survive.’
Every taxi driver must accept card and contactless payments and provide printed receipts for those payments if asked to by the customer. All taxis must have a fully working TfL-approved fixed card payment device fitted in the passenger compartment. Taxis not meeting this requirement are issued with an unfit notice, which remains in place until the credit card reader has been fitted or repaired and the vehicle is presented for inspection.
July 17, 2018 at 11:31AM OnRoute TfL

Task force needed to prepare British cities for autonomous vehicles, says consortium

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A new City Mobility Task Force including local and national government as well as industry representatives should be convened to develop strategic policy, set goals and provide roadmaps for a new generation of transport services, according to the MERGE Greenwich consortium. The remit of the proposed task force would include recommending changes to street infrastructure and taking steps to build public confidence in both autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing, and seek to gain the maximum social benefits for cities and their citizens. This is one of the key recommendations in a report published today by the MERGE Greenwich project, led by Addison Lee Group, on the outcome of a year-long simulation on the introduction of autonomous vehicle ride-sharing services which would make it quicker and simpler for people to travel between their homes and public transport hubs. AV ride-sharing would allow people to summon and share on-demand vehicles to take them short distances for a set fare. The concept is one of many ways in which new mobility technology could be exploited to address congestion, air quality and convenience in Britain’s cities. Using the Royal Borough of Greenwich as a modelling ground, the consortium finds that by 2025, ride-sharing could account for more than one in four trips. It concludes that AV ride-sharing can cut average journey times to public transport hubs by up to 43%, saving an average commuter as much as 3.5 days in travel time per year. For areas with particularly poor connectivity, the simulated time saving was as high as 74%. Andy Boland, Chief Executive Officer of Addison Lee Group, said: “The MERGE Greenwich consortium report shows all manner of positive changes that autonomous vehicle ride-sharing could bring – reduced journey times, better access to transport and less need for parking spaces. To make this a reality, it needs a task force, harnessing the expertise of the public and private sectors, to facilitate the planning and co-ordination essential to its implementation.” He added: “Government has shown leadership through the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge and we urge them to convene decision makers to ensure that Autonomous Vehicle ride-sharing plays a part in the urban transport mix to give customers choice and to help build the greener, cleaner and more efficient cities of the future.” The report shows that AV ride-sharing would free up parking space, with the number of car journeys requiring parking dropping by up to 38%. This could free up space equivalent to 61 tennis courts in Greenwich alone, allowing many car parks and street parking spaces to be repurposed. However, the research also highlights the complexities in introducing a new AV ride-share service at scale. Whilst overall the service can deliver benefits, during the period in which the introduction of the service takes place alongside all of today’s existing traffic, the service could have some short term unintended consequences. For example, significant preparatory work needs to be done to lay the ground for successful introduction of AV ride-sharing services. Challenges facing the adoption of AV ride-sharing include nervousness among the public about sharing a vehicle, with 45% saying they are willing to do so. Some services – particularly those helping passengers with accessibility challenges – would need to be staffed by a steward, meaning a person is always onboard the vehicle. The cost of first-generation vehicles could also be a barrier to commercial viability initially. Current cost estimates for autonomous electric vehicles are significantly higher than today’s conventional fleet vehicle. The consortium also recommends that pricing and incentives are pitched in such a way as to encourage travelers to switch to AV ride-sharing from private vehicles, rather than from buses, to ensure that the introduction of new services reduces traffic congestion. Recommended pricing would be pitched significantly above the cost of a bus ticket. The MERGE Greenwich consortium was setup and led by Addison Lee Group and involves mobility experts Ford, TRL, Transport Systems Catapult, DG Cities and Immense Simulations. It is backed by funding from Innovate UK – an agency sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
July 17, 2018 at 09:35AM Perry Richardson

12 June 2018

The key points worrying Uber before the London court case

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It is less than two weeks to go before Uber clashes with regulator Transport for London in a bid to win back it’s operators licence in the capital.
How confident should the taxi and private hire industry be that Uber won’t overturn the regulators decision made back in September 2017?
In an ongoing poll run by TaxiPoint on Twitter the industry is split in regards to which way they think the ruling will go. As it stands 55% of those who took part think Uber will win in court.
We ask what will Uber be concerned about going into Westminster magistrates court on 25th June?
A spokesperson from the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association told TaxiPoint that drivers should be highlighting the following to the media and public when asked:
1. The data hack and cover up of 2.7 million UK Uber users
2. Workers rights
3. Brighton & Hove City Council decision to not renew Uber’s licence.
4. £20 million VAT Tax avoidance
5. Greyball sotware which blocks regulators
6. Uber’s various aggressive court battles and appeals against rulings like Uber drivers being ruled employees7. $500 million PR & spin budget to let people know they are sorry8. Involved in the Evening Standard’s controversial £500,000 for positive editorial coverage
Going into the court case evidence obtained after last years TfL ruling can only be used to explain why Uber still remain an unfit and improper operator.
Expect the global data hacking cover-up to feature highly as too Uber’s ongoing fight against drivers working rights and its VAT set up in the Netherlands.
So do I personally think Uber will win in court?
No I don’t. This is a high-profile global appeal which I think will be fairly conducted. The changes made on the Uber platform since September 2017 have only been for PR purposes and forced upon them. If you look past the marketing language used have Uber really change anything? I think the Judge will see past the sound bites.
June 12, 2018 at 11:28AM

Sadiq Khan talks Uber to news network CNN

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The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan spoke to American news giants CNN about London embracing new technology and what to expect after Brexit. Khan also addresses the ongoing battle with controversial ride-hailing app Uber, saying; "They must play by the rules"Uber's London appeal against Transport for London's decision to not issue a new licence after a number of major concerns were highlighted gets underway onJune 25.Click the link below to watch the short interview on CNN. London Mayor: Uber has to play by the rules.
June 12, 2018 at 11:16AM

11 June 2018

Court hears how cabbie out-punched four attackers

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Liverpool Crown Court today heard how a cabbie fought back after he was attacked by three men and one woman in his vehicle.
The court heard how defendants Joanne Moore, Anthony Catharell, Thomas Gillon and Saeed Ali had choked 37 year old Eze Chukwuemba with his seat belt as well as threatening him with knives, scissors and even a palr of crutches. He was also repeatedly hit in the attack.
The group were picked up from Scargreen Avenue in Norris Green at 1.45 am on Friday, 26th May, 2017 and asked the driver to take them to an ATM in Muirhead Avenue East in West Derby.
It was upon their return from the ATM when the cabbie was assaulted, sustaining minor injuries.
The court heard how it was not all one way traffic as the brave cabbie not only out-punched the gang, but also managed to knock one of his attackers unconscious, thwarting an attempt to steal his vehicle.
Catharell, 41, was jailed for four years and 10 months; Saeed Ali, 41, was jailed for four years and Gillon, 47, jailed for three and a half years, 40 year old Moore received a four year sentence after all being found guilty of various offences.
June 11, 2018 at 05:58PM

LTDA: “What have minicabs got against safety?”

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It seems that every time TfL wants to improve the safety of passengers, the minicab industry opposition reaches fever pitch.

Some people reading this might think it’s a bit rich for a taxi driver to moan about whingers, and in another situation they could have a point. But we have never complained about safety, only the unfairness of the current situation and the fact that while we are the most thoroughly trained and tested taxi industry in the world, minicabs and their operators are effectively allowed to operate like modern day cowboys, playing fast and loose with the rules. Safety is paramount, but not if you work in the minicab trade it seems. Instead, it’s look after number one. As I’m sure you know, TfL is consulting on plans to tighten up the rules for private hire. Proposals include advanced driving tests, improved safety signage and much more.
But “yah, boo, sucks” has been the predictable response from the minicab trade and Simon Rush, PHV driver and president of the GMB Pro Drivers’ branch, in particular, who recently posted a “call to arms” online. He asks if TfL is “using a sledgehammer to crack a nut?” Well, no, it is using legislation to crackdown on nutcases, who tout, drive without insurance and endanger the public. "Our trade has yet more potential rules and regulations to contend with,” he writes. He claims to “understand the mayor’s main priority within his transport strategy is safety for the public and other road users,” which he says is a good thing, yet continues to pull it to pieces. He continues, “it would also be nice if some of his vision was about driver safety and rights. His vision has very little of this and you have to ask yourself why?” Well, the reason might be that drivers should be the responsibility of their operator, their employer; but then these people probably don’t want employees, just low-wage slaves? He mentions attacks on drivers but fails to offer up any suggestions as to why this is anything but a police matter. With regard to the gig economy, there is much being done – or at least discussed – but this is a government level issue and not something for TfL. He also complains about plans for an advance driving test, vehicle signage and hire and reward insurance, as well as enhanced background checks. And he fears “further consultations later this year focusing on ride-share rules” and the current congestion charge exemption for PHVs. He trashes the idea of vehicle signage, such as “wear your safety belt,” and “look, out for cyclists” as too obvious. Well, if it was, there wouldn’t be any accidents would there? And no, the public isn’t up on the law, and even if they were, people aren’t always concentrating as they should be in a city with a million distractions and dangers. Other possible signage includes, “who to complain to,” but surely that’s obvious too, he says. Well no, it isn’t always obvious, especially in the case of Uber. But then Mr Rush probably assumes that they, private hire drivers, aren’t Uber and Uber isn’t them, but he would be wrong. He says the GMB suggested a sign like those on buses saying “if you verbally abuse or attack a driver you will be prosecuted. Unfortunately, TfL doesnot seem to think PHV drivers count for much.” Err, well how about making your own or getting your operator to make some? That would be too much responsibility to take on I suppose.Hire and Reward Insurance

Hire and reward insurance has also been returned to the consultation agenda, including fleet insurance. The GMB thinks that while it is fair for Addison Lee to have it, it will drive non-rental operators to the wall, and the survivors will pass the cost on to their drivers. Heaven forbid drivers should have to pay insurance like the rest of us eh? In fact, it should be down to London’s blanket of cameras to scan minicabs and check that they are licensed. This seems tantamount to admitting that the minicab trade cannot police itself and needs to be under the watchful eye of big brother. He does at least admit that some form of advanced driving test is in order, but seems to think it should only be for new entrants, thus letting all the other misfits who have managed to slip through the net to carry on causing mayhem on our roads. Pointing the finger at buses, he claims that there were (only?) 503 casualties between January to September 2017, ignoring the daily reports of minicabs crashing and causing ludicrous incidents. The burden of cost for these things is too much, Mr Rush claims, because most
PHV drivers are now earning less than 15 years ago. Has he read the news lately? Virtually everybody is earning less than 15 years ago; you want to try driving a taxi mate! At this point, I can imagine that his bottom lip began to quiver, as he suggested that the rise in costs may be just another way to cull minicab numbers and force many of them out of the trade; now, at least there’s a thought we can all live with.
June 11, 2018 at 04:41PM

Turkish Prime Minister tells Taxi driver's; Uber nightmare is over

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In a brief statement on June 11, Turkish Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim, addressed controversial ride-hailing app Uber's dismissal from operating "illegally" in Turkey by saying;
“Something called Uber has emerged. The president has made a clear instruction on the matter. No one can earn undeserved money in this country. Their technology doesn’t count,”
Yildirim is also calling on traditional Taxi drivers to improve standards to assure there is never any need for companies like Uber to operate in Turkey in the future.
June 11, 2018 at 01:46PM

Uber has filed a patent for an A.I. system that will detect if a potential passenger is drunk

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Uber Technologies Inc has filed a patent for an artificial intelligence system which will be able to detect the behaviour patterns of passengers before deciding whether or not they will be sent a driver. The technology is designed to monitor how someone is interacting with the app, i.e. Speed of typing, number of typos, how the buttons are tapped and the way the phone is being held. Uber claim the artificial intelligence could then detect if your behaviour is irregular and if you're likely to be drunk. The passengers location and the time of day will also be taken into consideration. If someone is trying to hail a car in the early hours of the morning from an area where there are bars or night-spots, it would suggest that the person is more likely toe drunk, and then the driver can decide whether to pick them up or not.
The patent, which has been highlighted in the Mirror, says:
"The system receives the trip request from a user and generates a prediction about the current state of the user using the computer model.“To predict user state, the system compares data associated with the trip request to data about past trip requests submitted by the user.“Past trip information may be parameterized to a profile of the user and identify how the user activity of the current trip request deviates from previous (or "normal") behavior for that user.”
June 11, 2018 at 10:01AM

Grant Davis; Lawless London

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After yet another week of violence and mayhem on the streets of the capital, one wonders what is happening to this once great city of ours.
It is hard to imagine that attacks in broad daylight on high class retailers in the West End of London is not now a ‘one–off’ but has become a regular occurrence.
Attacks are taking place predominantly by heavily armed moped riders right across our city. No area is deemed a safe haven, there have been reports that up to 60 incidents a day are taking place.
How has this situation been allowed to fester? We know under the present PM whilst Home Secretary, she cut the police funding by some 40% and the chickens are now coming home to roost. With all this mayhem and lawlessness on the streets daily, we would like to ask the question, where is the Mayor?
It’s all very well and good welcoming Major League Baseball to the London stadium or turning up at the next AJ mega fight at the 02, but we were under the impression that the Office of Mayor of London was more than a ceremonial post and one that represented the rank and file Londoners who are now afraid to walk down their streets!
Surely he should be seen taking a much more high-profile position in combating what has now become a security crisis on our streets?
Present day London no longer resembles the city we all grew up in and loved - in fact it is slowly becoming a third world city, a rail system run by ex-TfL Commissioner Peter Hendy not fit for purpose, constant dithering over whether to build a third runway at Heathrow and our Emergency Services are continually under threat.
Mind you, when one thinks about the lawlessness, no regulation, no law and order, the Uber “free for all” model fits perfectly. It is all very well and good
Grant Davis
LCDC Chairman
June 11, 2018 at 09:43AM

Card payments in all black cabs in Reading from next year

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All black cabs in Reading will be required to take card payments from passengers by next year, following a licensing committee decision made this week.A limited number of hackney carriages in Reading currently provide facilities for passengers to pay for their trips by credit or debit card. Following recent requests by members of the public for card payment to be made available in all black cabs however, members last night approved the installation of electronic payment devices as part of revised carriage licence conditions.Hackney Carriage drivers will also be asked to prominently display signage in their vehicles, making it clear that card payment is available.The revised conditions come into effect on January 2nd 2019.
Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:“A growing number of people no longer carry cash and only use card payments on a day to day basis. It makes sense therefore to require all licensed black cabs in Reading to offer their passengers this choice of payment going forward. Cash payment will of course still be taken, but from January next year I’m pleased to say card payments will be an additional option in every hackney carriage in Reading.”Electronic payment devices approved by the Council will be used as part of the change, the cost of which will be covered by the hackney carriage owner as part of their licensing agreement with the Council.
June 11, 2018 at 08:17AM

10 June 2018

ABD: Mayor’s Environment Strategy Misses the Point

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The Mayor of London, Sadiq Kham, has published his Environment Strategy. The executive summary talks about the “greening” of London with more trees, green roofs and walls to reduce energy demand, the encouragement of more walking and cycling to improve air quality and many other environmental improvements. But the report fails to mention the key problem. Namely that there are too many people in London.It highlights that water supply is set to outstrip supply by 2020 and the city’s electricity infrastructure is approaching full capacity. Air pollution is also high but that’s not just from transport, albeit much of the transport emissions are generated by the goods vehicles and public transport vehicles required to serve the growing population. Non-road emissions such as from construction, the river or wood burning constitute half of emissions in London and are a growing issue – that’s what the Mayor says, but he has no solution to that other than to “work with the government and other partners”.London’s population is growing rapidly and the more people there are, and the more businesses that provide employment and services to those people, the more energy and water are consumed and the more emissions generated. It also results in a sclerotic road transport network where no new capacity has been added for many years. But instead of tackling the root cause of the problem the Mayor is talking about planting more trees and providing more open spaces.In summary, many of the Mayor’s proposals are worthy and may have minor impacts on the quality of life in London. Encouraging us all to drive zero emission electric vehicles by 2050 may help in some regards, although they will add a further heavy load on the already stretched electricity network, but the report fails to spot the elephant in the room and propose how to deal with it. Namely that there are too many people in too small an area of land. The densification of London, with more and more homes and other buildings to support the growing population, supported by a few more green parks will not tackle the fundamental problem.
June 10, 2018 at 04:02PM

The £11,000 question; Should taxi drivers be paying VAT for wheelchair accessible vehicles?

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In many local authorities around the UK wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV) have long been made a necessity for taxi drivers working in that region.However some cities are only now going through the reclassification of the taxis available making drivers change from standard saloon cars to the more expensive WAV taxis.Nearby to where I live, Cheltenham are facing this exact change. Cheltenham Borough Council only recently decided to make all of the town's taxis wheelchair-accessible by 2021. Drivers have since taken to the streets in protest and also produced online petitions in order to reverse the decision.
There are pro’s and con’s for any taxi fleet to be fully WAV compliant. For those cities making the change cost, in a market that is currently low in confidence, is the biggest hurdle faced. There is also the argument by some that elderly and less mobile members of the public struggle to enter and exit a WAV taxi more so than its saloon counterpart. Personally speaking as a London cab driver I don’t mind the fact that all of our vehicles have to be WAV. It keeps the London fleet available to everyone and is also a huge PR point when selling the trade to the public. It also provided a brand and clear distinction from private hire options available in the area.
However it comes at a cost. WAV taxis start at £19,695 for the very basic 4-seater Peugeot Premier to the eye watering £55,599 price tag placed on the new electric LEVC TX taxi. If the costs were to be reduced for WAV taxis imposed and not chosen by drivers, the uptake of such vehicles would be met with much less resistance.Taxi drivers are currently paying 20% VAT on all new taxi purchases. Nothing new I hear you say, but should drivers be paying anything at all?Generally, VAT has to be paid on all goods and services. However, in certain circumstances there’s relief from paying VAT on a limited range of goods and services for disabled people.
For some time there has been VAT relief to those purchasing a vehicle adapted to carry wheelchairs. On the HMRC government website it details that an individual purchasing a vehicle on behalf of a disabled wheelchair user can claim relief if they meet the following criteria:Zero rate VAT on the supply of a ‘qualifying motor vehicle’ that has been:
designed to enable the disabled wheelchair user to travel in it, or substantially and permanently adapted to enable the disabled wheelchair user to travel in it and the adaptation is necessary to enable that person to travel in the vehicle
So on paper taxi drivers should be offered tax relief on WAV taxis. That would knock off over £11,000 on the new LEVC TX taxi and make it’s purchase a serious dilemma far all drivers not just a select few.
So why isn’t it happening?
June 10, 2018 at 09:44AM


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