back to article Shock: Brit capital strips Uber of its taxi licence

Uber's application for a new taxi licence in the UK capital has been rejected. In a shock move, Transport for London today said the app biz is not "fit and proper" to hold a licence. "TfL's regulation of London's taxi and private hire trades is designed to ensure passenger safety. Private hire operators must meet rigorous …

Anonymous Coward

40,000 drivers out of work

OMG, WHAT WILL THEY DO?!!!!

(in response to the clickbaiting sub-headline)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

OMG, WHAT WILL THEY DO?!!!!

Half will do their f***ing day job instead of being asleep on it after moonshining all night for a few more quid to top up their minimal salary.

The other half will go back from where they came from (inclusive of some who are expats from the same place I came from to the UK).

To put it bluntly, I have spent 4+ years every weekend observing how they (in 3 different languages I happen to speak or understand) negotiate their cars to be chipped/ECU reprogrammed to turn the EGR and other emission control off. There were 3 garages next to junior's language school which had queues of 20+ cars each every weekend to do exactly that. For several years. If they are removed off the streets it will be a blessing. If Uber is removed as a side effect that will be a double blessing - Hallelujah time.

I would have had some level of sympathy and empathy to their plight if they actually obeyed the law. As I have seen exactly how much they do it, screw that. Enforce it. And more some. So that the kids can breathe some clean air for a change.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

Upvoting the ac bigot? Isn't this forum supposed to be frequented by the relatively brainy? That post came straight from the daily mail. Article, not comments.

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Go

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

Ever thought of reporting the Situation to the authorities?

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Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

Perhaps some will start driving proper cabs.

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Facepalm

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

Edited. There's no Lyft in London.

There is MyTaxi though (Hailo). That'll do instead.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

Isn't this the sort of bordering on racism justification posting the Russians were placing during the US elections.

If you are so cock sure report it to the Police and relevant authorities...your local MP and councillors would certainly have it investigated.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

If you are so cock sure report it to the Police and relevant authorities...

London police cannot even be arsed to check that foreign cars have proper insurance, stay within the 6 months allowed by EU regs and have a valid foreign MOT. They are the only ones in Europe that are so lax. Emission control enforcement. You GOTTA BE KIDDING.

As a comparison - this summer I crossed the Monte Negro/Serbian border. A small two-people border crossing which is located somewhere in deepest darkest Eastern Europe next to war zone. BOTH the montenegro police and the serbs (customs in their case) had up to date info on my insurance and MOT. Online. The Serb showed it to me - expiration dates, even if I have points on my license, the lot. Everyone else - Austrians, Czech, German, Dutch - have constant ANPR + check versus that. UK - nope. How do I know it? I can read the fecking insurance and MOT stickers on the cars - several Eastern European ones still use them. I have seen my share of out of date ones around London.

As a second comparison - German and Austrian police have had mobile emission enforcement (and used to check especially Eastern European cars and "boy racers") for more than a decade and a half. That is the first time I saw them - 15+ years ago. I suspect they have been doing it for longer. Have you ever seen a UK plod with emission control kit.

To conclude - there has NEVER been a case in court in the UK regarding removing emission control and circumventing it is it is NOT a MOT criteria. There have been for MOT stuff. NO2 specifically - which is achieved by de-EGR-ing - never. In fact, while in theory it should be an offence as it alters the car outside its regulatory parameters, in practice it has never been enforced and no plod will try enforce it. So trying to tell plod about it is as effective as trying to talk to wall. By the way - I tried.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

"If Uber is removed as a side effect that will be a double blessing "

.... oh boy I can't wait to get back to the stone age where we had to wait for a taxi to just turn up randomly, or call a number that never answered, or find a taxi that didn't want to go where you were going, or would take you the long way round, or only accepted cash, or got lost or.....

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Happy

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

If you are so cock sure report it to the Police and relevant authorities...your local MP and councillors would certainly have it investigated.

Not sure who the "relevant authorities" are, but the Police are far too undermanned and busy to bother with non-violent crime these days.

And I fear you are one of those poor benighted fools who believe that non-cabinet MPs and councillors have some sort influence on anything or even give a shit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

"Not sure who the "relevant authorities" are"

I think you'll find it is the DVSA, who also carry out random roadside checks, although I've only been stopped twice in my driving life.

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Facepalm

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

"OMG, WHAT WILL THEY DO?!!!!"

Yeah, I mean, it's not like there are other private hire companies waiting to pick up the business.

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Why Uber was stripped of its licence

Uber lost its licence for not adequately following up on reports of passenger assault and rape, and not providing evidence of adequately screening drivers for prior violent offences.

It doesn't matter what they charged. It doesn't matter that "Black cabs are too expensive". Uber operated a company where a driver could attack a passenger and get away with it, and so it lost its licence to operate in London.

It doesn't matter that you, personally, never had a rapist driving any time you booked an Uber. It mattered that in the cases when people did, Uber didn't follow up on the police reports, and didn't take action against the drivers.

If someone else started an Uber competitor tomorrow that did everything Uber did, but obeyed the actual laws of the land, properly screened its drivers and co-operated with police investigations of assault on passengers, they would not have their licence revoked by TfL.

The usual suspects are, of course, free to assume that "Uber ignored cases of rape and battery" isn't really a reason to have a licence revoked, and that this is all a smokescreen to stop the "exceptional" people achieving their birthright as rulers of the world.

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Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

1) YOU can even look up your insurance, tax and MOT online in seconds now. I'm damn sure the UK police can and do - in London it's done at automated stations for EVERY vehicle that joins a motorway or goes into London. Every ANPR police car does the same. And all police cars can look up dodgy motors - it's the first thing they do on a stop, and they often crawl backstreets and pick out anything that looks ripe for a lookup.

2) If you don't report it, they can't do anything. Did you report it? Or just think "They won't do anything" and then not report it? Report it anyway. If they do nothing, that's not your problem. Write them a letter that says you have concerns about X happening at address Y on a regular basis and then you're done. If nothing happens, they have more important things to worry about. I can't say that's their fault, nor that I blame them. If you're really that worried that you moan on forums, write to the council, get it into the newspapers, etc. Trading Standards will help shut them down way more than police ever will (it's a civil offence, not criminal, hence not a police job).

3) Emissions - yeah, maybe they can't test on the road. But for sure it's illegal to modify the car. The UK police have WINDOW TINT METERS that they regularly use on the boy-racers at Southend and places. Maybe if you reported it, they might organise a raid six months into the future with random checks on customer vehicles?

4) MOT criteria have zero correlation to road-worthiness. It says it on the certificate. You can come out of an MOT test center holding your pass certificate and be nicked for having an unroadworthy car. There's NOTHING in the law stopping it.

5) I don't wish to dig into citing case law or particular cases as the searches are expensive, but you're talking nonsense. Hell, there are programs on TV where lorries/vans are pulled for random things and they are convicted for the modifications to make it more polluting (and window-tinting, and under-car lighting, and all kinds of things). Even UK cop shows from 10+ years ago, whether random-stops, or services-pull-offs on a mass scale.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

Or you could just use the MyTaxi/Hailo or Gett etc. apps.

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WTF?

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

What will they do?

Stop working for an organized crime organization?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

@Lee D Did you even see that AC already tried reporting it?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

It is not illegal to modify a car so long as it does not fail MOT tests.

EGR blanking and rechipping for economy and high NOx is perfectly legal.

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Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

or to put it another way, 40,000 other workers who were originally doing that work in black or licenced mini cabs are kept in work at a higher rate of pay

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Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

EGR blanking and rechipping for economy and high NOx is perfectly legal.

No it's not. "You probably won't be caught" doesn't make something legal. If it was perfectly legal, the cars would ship without EGR from the factory.

The car has to be certified as legal to use in the United Kingdom (or any other country with laws). In the UK this is the Vehicle Type Approval, and is separate from your MOT, which is a roadworthiness and safety test. Part of the Type Approval lists the exhaust emissions standard that the vehicle complies with. The current standard is for passenger cars is "Euro 6", and it sets strict limits on NOx emissions among other things. (Which standard you need to comply with depends on when the model was introduced, although if you're Mercedes or Volkswagen, it seems you can bribe your way into complying with the old type approval rules...)

If an owner modifies the emissions controls such that their car is no longer compliant with the emissions standard on its Type Approval documents, it will be illegal to operate that vehicle on public roads. End of story.

Whether you'll be caught and punished is a different matter, but of all the things that come out of a car's exhaust pipe, Nitrogen oxides are the most dangerous to long-term human health. They are the major cause of urban smog, which causes respiratory illness in children and the elderly. You're free to not believe in global warming safe in the knowledge that it'll take decades before you're proven wrong, but NOx pollution is much more immediate and direct in its consequences.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

.... oh boy I can't wait to get back to the stone age where we had to wait for a taxi to just turn up randomly, or call a number that never answered, or find a taxi that didn't want to go where you were going, or would take you the long way round, or only accepted cash, or got lost or.....

...had an app that constantly tracked you even if you weren't using it, or used software to skirt law enforcement and regulators or misled drivers about potential earnings or.......

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Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

Maybe the legit private hire companies wouldn't want the ex-Uberites

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Anonymous Coward

Uber - the real world view

Have you ever seen some of the routes Uber drivers take?

Here's a list of things I know from my personal experience thats wrong with Uber drivers. These aren't stories from the Daily Mail or Express, but what I have seen.

1. Uber drivers going the wrong way up one way streets. I cycle a lot and more than once I've had an Uber driver come flying towards me.

2. Uber drivers doing n-point turns in the middle of the A2. No indicators, no stopping, just a sudden realisation they've got it wrong.

3. Taking cyclists out. I was cycling with a friend, the Uber driver pulled into the cycle super highway opened his door and took my mate out. He then tried to blame the incident on my mate forcycling ion the cycle superhighway and it was only because I showed up and stated I'd seen everything he backed down. Claimed he had no documents on him, so we took photos of everything including him. He didn't like that at all, but fuck him. Police got involved as my mate was hurt, and lo and behold the car wasn't in his name, it was his 'mates' and he had no insurance. The fact he'd just dropped off some passengers meant they weren't insured either if he's had a serious accident. The police were quite interested in him by this point :)

4. Picking people up when they haven't pre-booked. Yes we can see you driving with your fog lamps on in the middle of the day. Black cab drivers are given a monopoly on picking up hailed cabs as they have to learn the knowledge, they have to have a cab of a certain age, they have to display a green badge, they have to have certain tyres on their cars, yes you can fail your MOT if you don't have the right badged tyre for black cabs even if the tyres are identical as the non-badged (and cheaper) version of the tyre. They have to do certain things, certain types of insurance etc but then they are given the state provided monopoly to pick people up in the street. However their fares are set by TfL and they do have the right to refuse a journey.

5. Parking on red lines along the A2 at rush hour to pick up/drop people off. The A2 is a awful road at the best of time and some cunt in a White Prius sitting on the red lines as they work out what to do can cause an immediate talk back of a mile or so which takes a long time to clear,

4. I also have noted the uplift in sexual offences and I have asked my other half not to take Uber's. Shes a grown woman and can make her own mind up, but my view is that I would rather reduce the risk and pay more than risk an Uber.

I will note as well that I have had some of the most stupid right wing, racist loons driving a black cab. So I know they're not perfect, but most of the time I enjoy the black cab and find it far better than a mini-cab. I know my way round London so have never yet been ripped off by a black cab driver, but I'd expect it to happen. I like Black cabs as I always find a slightly different route to get from A to B.

I have never had a taxi driver refuse to take me home and I've lived South of the river since 1985. I worked in organisations that finished work at 02:00 and would head outside and hail a cab to Tooting, Brixton and now Greenwich. Average cost between £20, £30 and £40. I would estimate that I have taken 200-300 cabs south of the river in 30 years. Not a massive amount but enough.

Ubers model is based on a race to the bottom and a complete disregard of laws. I have zero issues with Uber providing a proper model based on drivers who can drive without relying on a SatNav to send them up the wrong way along a one way street, that actually respected the rules of the road, that ensured their drivers weren't criminals, that had the proper insurance, that didn't ask them to work all hours under the sun and didn't try to kill me on my bike.

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Anonymous Coward

"not adequately following up on reports of passenger assault and rape"

I thought that's was the police were supposed to do?

They should, however, carry out suitable safeguarding checks and keep track of any claims so that patterns can be detected.

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Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

I've always considered Uber a case of Right Time, Right Place, Wrong Company.

We have constant mobile communications and the ability to manage complex systems systems like thousands of car journeys across a city. The rise of a system like this is inevitable and also desirable (because it's more efficient). I've just always felt it was a shame that Uber were the ones to do so.

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Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

Emissions control is not within the remit of the police in the UK - it's enforced by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency who mainly focus on trucks and other heavy goods vehicles.

Normal vehicles are fully emissions tested when they have an MOT and are failed if they don't meet the criteria laid down when the vehicle was produced.

In addition the police are extremely stretched for resources right now so they have more important things to be dealing with than out of date tax/MOT from cars from other countries.

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Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

Telling a copper "I think you should be doing X rather than whatever you're busy with now" is not reporting it properly. Ring 101 and get a proper case generated rather than wasting the time of someone who is probably stretched beyond belief.

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Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

Smooth Newt:

"Police are far too undermanned and busy to bother with non-violent crime these days"

Really? - it seems to me that they've effectively given up on ALL physical crime (including the violent sort) in order to concentrate on "thought offences" such as possibly causing mild annoyance to someone on the far side of the world who's never even heard of the social media on which you are considering posting.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

and Gett (with two Ts) acording to GMaps

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Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

@AC Bloody hell, you wait for ever for one black cab driver to down-vote you and then 37 turn up at once ...

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Ogi
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Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

> London police cannot even be arsed to check that foreign cars have proper insurance, stay within the 6 months allowed by EU regs and have a valid foreign MOT. They are the only ones in Europe that are so lax. Emission control enforcement. You GOTTA BE KIDDING.

Your comment was an insightful read for me, but I think you are being a bit unfair on the London police.

Having extensively traveled across Europe by car multiple times, including the Serbia/Montenegro/FYROM/Greek borders, I can say that by and large the plod across the channel don't care that much about emissions either.

Serbia/Montenegro has very big problems with smuggling. Because they are non EU, some things are so cheap there (Especially ciggies) everyone and their mother tries to smuggle some into the EU for a handsome profit. Due to tariffs on certain goods, just as many try to smuggle laptops etc... the other way as well (they once booked me because I had two laptops for use. Had to explain one was business, and one personal, and they actually wrote it into my passport, so when I leave the country the make and models can be checked, to make sure I didn't flog them).

As a result their borders are one of the most locked down in Europe, and they will be thorough with checks. So while they do pay much attention and take their time, the side effect is that you can have 8 hour queues to cross the border, while they check and cross check every single detail of everyone.

If that happened across the whole of the EU, commerce and transport would grind to a halt.

I have also never seen an emissions check in the EU, and most Europeans who live there have also removed their particulate filters (or other emissions equipment) on their cars, and neither the plod nor their equivalent of MOT garages give a toss. Never thought I'd see people "rolling coal" on public roads in Europe, but I have, on a few occasions.

As for checking the 6 month limit. I know UK expats who never bothered registering their cars where they moved to in the EU. Some have driven for 5+ years over the 6 month limit, without ever getting bothered by the police. Indeed as I am thinking of moving to the EU, most of my friends there already said not to worry about the 6 month limit, because "nobody really cares that much".

Saying that, things might be different in Austria and Germany, two countries I have yet to extensively road trip on, so things could be radically different there, but the rest of the EU is not much different to the UK in that sense.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

"can't wait to get back to the stone age"

Just because it is convenient doesn't mean it's right or legal.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

Actually it is: Twice! DVLA and insurance both have to be informed in writing of any change "which may significantly alter the performance of the engine or gearing system". I nearly had to do this a while back because it turned out that replacing ECU counts as "significantly altering".

Fortunately in my case it wasn't needed as ECU turned out not to be the problem.

Hint: this law applies to electric vehicles as well so don't you go and replace lead acid on e-bike with Li-ion, this is also illegal but worst case a fine or fixed penalty only (I checked!)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

So modding a car is allowed under insurance? Not sure what the insinuated racism has to do with modding cars.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

I wouldn't want to driving for 6 hours after a 12 hour shift. I certainly don't want to be driven by an Uber driver after his 12 hour shift for less than minimum wage.

I also don't want half my cab fair being shipped out of the UK economy never to come back.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

This is pretty much the conversation my partner and I have just had.

Great tech, it's the business implementation that is wrong.

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Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

As an occasional visitor to London, I have stuck with Taxis, rather than private hire. It could just be good luck that I have never had problems. I've also used Underground, DLR, and buses without problems.

OK, that might just be good luck. Any public transport system can have something go wrong. I have seen a couple of bus breakdowns, not a disaster for me.

Maybe we're both 3-sigma from the mean, in opposite directions.

I do have an IT connection here. The local bus company has a web page, and their timetable pages have a "Live Updates" box displayed. It has to be amended by the IT company that runs their web page, so I can read it on the phone from the bus stop, but their traffic manager can't actually put anything there from his office.

They've been running buses for over 100 years, and I trust them. Computers, not so long.

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Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

Arguing about what the Police should have been doing is an ancient tradition, you can see elements of it in a couple of Shakespeare's plays. When I was a kid, they still had village bobbies, and beat points, and there was a reason there were Police Boxes with a telephone, that didn't disappear through time and space. No radio, you see.

Not my side of the family, but I still heard a few stories. One of my Great Uncles knew a kid who ended up commanding a squadron in the Battle of Britain. He reckoned the Germans deserved him.

It needs manpower to pick up the gossip, to know the people who might bear watching. These days, they need daytime TV programs reporting on the dodgy to do the watching.

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Re: Uber - the real world view

Maybe you shouldn't be riding a bike on roads paid for by taxpayers. Just sayin'

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Re: Whats this GUI thingy?

You've just proved my point with that foul-mouthed tantrum. If you can't behave in a civilised manner then perhaps you should not be on the road at all.

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Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

.... oh boy I can't wait to get back to the stone age where we had to wait for a taxi to just turn up randomly, or call a number that never answered, or find a taxi that didn't want to go where you were going, or would take you the long way round, or only accepted cash, or got lost or.....

Keyword here is taxi. Uber is not a taxi company and it will never be as it would have to obey the law.

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Anonymous Coward

You're still an idiot

Maybe you're the idiot for making stupid assertions. What has my tax situation got to do with me riding a bicycle on the road? What has my tax situation got to do with Uber drivers? What has my language, foul mouthed or otherwise, got to do with anything I commented on.

I've not proved your point at all, as there is no linkage between my tax situation, cycling, language or Uber. Your tenuous grasp of logic and the inability to understand simple arguments is worrying.

I cycle carefully howeverI am sick to back teeth of stupid Uber drivers who are so focussed on their satnav that they miss cyclists, red lights and cause crash after crash.

I restate my views but in deference to you I'll rephrase it.

You're still an idiot.

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Big Brother

Re: Uber - the real world view

Maybe you shouldn't be riding a bike on roads paid for by taxpayers. Just sayin'

Do keep up, someone has to pay for the location tracking/surveillance whether it be by Facebook, Uber or the state.

Once TPTB perfect road pricing for cars, it is only a small step to road pricing for all; step outside of your front door and get charged for using the pavement. Stay at home get charged (council tax). There will be no escape...

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Mushroom

Re: You're still an idiot

I see you still enjoy being wrong - about everything. Perhaps if you looked where you were going insted of running over pedestrians you would have a case.

Or perhaps if you drove a car like an adult instead of using that ridicuolous child's toy on the roads - which MY taxes pay for by the way - then maybe you would be able to understand 'simple arguments.

You're still a failure.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

"So modding a car is allowed under insurance?"

It is, so long as you tell them about said mod (you have to tell them even if you swap out the crap radio for something usable), and doesn't do anything to invalidate said insurance Otherwise don't expect much of a decent response if you try to make a claim.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Uber - the real world view

Two car household here and i ride a bike, obviously can't use all three at the same time and i shouldn't have to remember to mention the fact i also have a car if i want to mention my bike in a post, unless of course it's in The Rules.

By the way, you may want to consider dedicated cycle routes, wear and tear on the road surface, noxious emissions and on that subject cars in the lower band(s) that pay £0 tax, my cars cost £25 and £200 annually and i use the cheaper one daily.

Think before you post.

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Re: Uber - the real world view

>Maybe you shouldn't be riding a bike on roads paid for by taxpayers. Just sayin'

Another example of where the phrase "just sayin" at the end of a statement predicts the low intelligence of the statement maker.

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Re: Uber - the real world view

You don't pay tax for roads. You pay tax based on the emissions of your vehicle. 'Road Tax' was abolished in 1947. It then became Vehicle Excise Duty, and again, the money didn't directly fund roads. Not all cars have to pay emissions tax either, so, are electric cars not allowed to use roads in your mind?

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