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SHPHA supports Utag

Dear UTAG Supporter

Before we provide a comprehensive update, we’d like to start by thanking you for your donations and unwavering support.
In relation to legacy court cases, you are aware, UTAG has challenged TfL and others in a number of areas, in an effort to protect the industry, and regrettably, we have had to pay substantial costs as our recent challenges have been unsuccessful. 
Whilst it is normal to pay ‘fair costs’, TfL have submitted the most outrageous costs bill, in relation to Bishopsgate, in what we believe is a deliberate effort to make UTAG insolvent. We are robustly challenging those costs (which are an unwanted distraction) whilst at the same time keeping the pressure on TfL for their failure to regulate.   Our view is they prevaricate not regulate. 

We apologise that we have not updated you sooner, however we were waiting for the judgment from Uber vs Sefton that we now have and this can be read in detail in the link below:

We’re certain that as a working driver, you, like us, have noticed the influx of mini cabs bearing Wolverhampton licensing plates and freely working in London. We can inform you that Data Cars, a Southeast London Operator, are openly encouraging drivers to circumvent TfL regulations and become licensed in Wolverhampton, which has an even lower barrier to entry than TfL.
Uber vs Sefton was primarily about “acceptance of the booking”, however, we believed that there would be references to the 1976 Miscellaneous Act vs 1998 Private Hire Act and we were not disappointed.
UTAG first raised the issue of cross border hiring's to TfL in a letter in August 2019, which remains unanswered.  You can read our letter here:

Without getting overly technical, UTAG explained that what Uber was doing (using out of area cars) was not legal due to the need to be hired in the ‘controlled district’. The Judge in Uber vs Sefton agreed with our analysis, an analysis that TfL ignored.
In fact, the Judge, very similar to Lord Leggart in our Part 8 Declaration victory went even further and explained who could do what and where. In short, Uber vs Sefton has given very clear case law that what is currently happening, is illegal.
The ‘triple lock’, (an Operator, car and driver licensed by the same authority) only applies to bookings in the licensed areas ‘controlled district’, where all three are licensed by a single authority. The triple lock has been manipulated by several Operators, none more so than Uber and Data Cars.
Armed with the new verdict, UTAG has written to TfL with our grievances, once again pointing out that TfL has failed in its duty to protect the travelling public and its Licensees (legitimate Taxi drivers). TfL must act not only to protect the aforementioned Licensees but to also protect their own licensing revenues, especially given their precarious financial position.
UTAG, with your support aims to force TfL to regulate properly, otherwise, London will be flooded with vehicles, stealing work, who have no right to work here.   TfL are allowing this.  Let that sink in, our own regulator and with your support, UTAG will challenge it as nobody else will.
In addition to the verdict, it has come to light that Data Cars have a ‘ghost office’ (an unmanned office) in Wolverhampton where drivers from all over the county, including London, are registering to circumvent higher barriers to entry such as the TfL topographical and English language tests. We believe that Data Cars are unfit to be a London Operator, as they are very deliberately undermining the regulatory regime.
This outrageous behaviour has been brought to TfL’s attention and we wait to see how robust TfL’s disciplinary action (if any) shall be. TfL have a real opportunity to send a message to the whole marketplace and UTAG intends to ensure that they do so.
If TfL fail to act, then they undermine the whole regulatory regime. UTAG believe that it would be impossible for TfL to maintain their position on public safety, whist allowing their own Operators to make a mockery of the licensing regime. Public safety is the primary consideration of any licensing authority; it is of paramount importance that TfL do not allow mini cab drivers held to extremely low operating standards to flood the streets of London.
Although it shouldn’t be necessary, with your continued support, UTAG can continue holding TfL the ‘world class regulator’ to account for their failures to regulate. Without your determination and generosity, none of this would be possible and we’d like to sign off by saying thank you.
Kind regards,

Angela Clarkson & Trevor Merralls
United Trade Action Group



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