Australian transport union accuses Amazon Flex of underpaying drivers

Transport Workers Union (TWU) has hit out at Amazon, accusing the global e-commerce giant of underpaying Amazon Flex drivers.

Amazon Flex was launched in Australia at the start of the year. At the time, Amazon Australia boasted it would give individuals the chance to earn money while delivering Amazon packages to customers.

Much like Uber, individuals are required to use their own vehicles, and at a minimum, are required to have personal car insurance and compulsory third-party personal injury.

When these compulsory insurance requirements are met, Amazon also provides delivery partners with Amazon Insurance Coverage at no additional cost, which includes auto liability coverage, third-party property damage, and contingent comprehensive coverage. But the coverage is only applicable when individuals are using Amazon Flex to deliver packages or return undelivered packages back to a designated location.

While it is unclear how much individual contractors earn or whether Amazon will take a share of those earnings, Amazon had assured that delivery partner rates are “competitive”.

“Our delivery partners are paid per delivery block rather than per hour and block rates vary depending on a range of different factors, including time of day and day of the week. The delivery partner knows the estimated duration and payment for each block before they accept it on the Amazon Flex app,” an Amazon spokesperson told ZDNet during the launch.

However, TWU said following a financial examination of Amazon’s pay rates, it has revealed all Amazon Flex drivers are allegedly being paid “well under Australia’s minimum wage” when costs such as insurance, petrol, and maintenance are taken into account.

“For years, workers and unions have exposed the gig economy sham for its exploitation and dodging of industrial and WHS legislation. Now here we have a retail giant that has profited immensely from the pandemic on a

This Is The New Transport Trend Sweeping Europe

Before the pandemic, the number of cycle lanes and on-demand bike share schemes were rocketing across Europe. Shared public transport–scooters, bikes, cars–worked on the assumption that people in modern cities wanted to jump on whatever transport was available nearby, using an application, and leave them at stations or spaces when finished.

But there is a new trend, fuelled by Covid-19 and the rise in popularity of e-bikes; in a pandemic, people don’t want to rub shoulders with anyone else, they don’t want to share transport with people they don’t know and they need to not be sweaty or out of breath when they arrive at their destination.

Now, as countries clear roads for cycle lanes, and investors pour money into new European transport, it seems the public is ready for a new transport model for cycling–that of longer-term bike rentals, via a subscription service.

EU cities, like Paris, are investing in cycle lanes…

Anne Hidalgo was reelected to office as Paris’ mayor three months ago for a second term–a term in which she is determined to stamp her environmental credentials, particularly before the Olympic Games arrive in 2024.

In an interview with French newspaper, Le Parisien, she stated her intent to double down on environmental projects stating “you can forget traveling from east to west through the city by car.”

50km of cycle paths were created when France came out of lockdown in May–dubbed ‘coronapistes’ by the press–but Hidalgo intends to add another 10km to these and make them permanent. The makeshift yellow markings, will in time, become permanent blocks.

Hidalgo intends to focus on two major mobility projects–one is to reserve a

London transport regulator strips Ola’s operating licence over public safety failings

By Rebekah Mathew

(Reuters) – London’s public transport authority stripped Indian ride-hailing company Ola of its London operating licence, saying that the taxi app was not “fit and proper” to hold one, having put passenger safety at risk.

Bengaluru-based Ola entered the London taxi market in February this year. The market is dominated by rivals including Uber <UBER.N>, Freenow and Bolt, and traditional black cab drivers who previously blocked streets in protest at what they see as a threat to their livelihoods.

Transport for London (TfL) said in a statement that it refused to grant Ola, a Softbank-backed <9984.T> operator, a new London private hire vehicle (PHV) operator’s licence as it “cannot find it fit and proper to hold one after discovering a number of failures that could have risked public safety.”

TfL’s decision came days after Uber won a legal bid to restore its London operating licence, which was taken away over safety concerns, after a judge ruled that the company was a fit and proper operator despite “historical failings”.

TfL said it had discovered a number of failures in Ola’s operations, including breaches of its licensing regime, which led to unlicensed drivers and vehicles undertaking more than 1,000 passenger trips on the platform’s behalf.

Ola was also accused of failing to notify Tfl of the breaches when they were first identified.

“Ola can continue to operate pending the outcome of any appeal process”, TfL said, adding that Ola had 21 days to appeal against TfL’s decision.

In an emailed statement, Ola said it was working with TfL during the review period and “have sought to provide assurances and address the issues raised in an open and transparent manner”.

“Ola will take the opportunity to appeal this decision”, the company said, adding it would continue to operate as normal.

UK trials hydrogen train in step forward for transport innovation

University of Birmingham | Porterbrook

Trials of a hydrogen-powered train are underway in the U.K. with an initial journey successfully completed between the locations of Long Marston and Evesham in the West Midlands region of England.

The HydroFLEX train — which has been developed by a team from the University of Birmingham and Porterbrook, a rolling stock firm — uses a fuel-cell which combines hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity, heat and water.

The train has been fitted with a range of kit inside one of its carriages. This tech includes a hydrogen fuel tank, the aforementioned fuel-cell and lithium ion batteries for storage. It’s hoped that the technology will be available to retrofit trains already in use by the year 2023.

A statement issued Wednesday, published on the website of both the University of Birmingham and U.K. government, said the university was also, “developing a hydrogen and battery powered module that can be fitted underneath the train.” The idea behind this modification is that it will create more room in the carriage to host passengers.

In its own announcement, Porterbrook described the train being used in the trials as a “demonstrator unit.” Citing customer demand, the firm also said it planned to put the HydroFLEX into production. This version of the train, it added, would “be configured for operation using both overhead-electric-wires and hydrogen for non-electrified routes.”

The trials have been backed by a grant of £750,000 (around $962,362) from the U.K.’s Department of Transport, while over £1 million has already been invested in the project by the University of Birmingham and Porterbrook.

Wednesday’s news comes at the end of a month that’s seen several interesting developments in the arena of hydrogen-powered transport.

Last week, in airspace over England, a hydrogen fuel-cell plane capable of carrying passengers completed its