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View Full Version : The wheels are starting to come off the taxicab business.


G-CPTN
22nd May 2014, 19:04
BBC News - Taxi technology: Why catching a cab will never be the same (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24393348)

Hailo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hailo)

Uber (company) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uber_%28company%29)

Hailo app proves a virtuous circle for London's black-taxi drivers | Business | The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/apr/06/hailo-app-cabbies-entrepreneurs-london-black-taxis)

BBC News - Angry London cabbies attack Hailo taxi app office (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-27517914)

He said that the protest, likely to cause gridlock in central London had "united the taxi and minicab trades in London".
At the heart of the dispute is why Uber is classified as a minicab service when it uses a smartphone app to calculate fares. Black-cab drivers argue that the app is akin to a taximeter and it is illegal for such vehicles to be fitted with these.

BBC News - London black taxis plan congestion chaos to block Uber (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-27317164)

500N
22nd May 2014, 19:12
Same happened over here but the people who own the cab businesses
have such a monopoly and are so well connected that they are getting
people who use hailing apps fined.

But on the other hand, the cabs are using an app, by passing the taxi
booking service and the Taxi Booking Service wants it brought under
them :rolleyes:


So yes, Taxi services are under threat all over !

Fox3WheresMyBanana
22nd May 2014, 19:19
May I first declare an interest; my brother is a London cabbie.

The issue here is council licencing and national laws. Having forced cabbies and mini-cab drivers to jump through a variety of hoops, and a lot of expenses for cabbies, they are now letting others ignore those laws.

The current situation is deeply unfair competition. My brother has to submit to lots of checks, inspections etc which cost him money; none of which is true for the app drivers. Furthermore, the licencing was introduced for many good reasons, including safety, efficiency, knowledge and the reputation of London. All of this goes out the window without effective licencing.

west lakes
22nd May 2014, 19:53
Memory suggests the same arguments came out when Private Hire started up in London and was affecting the traditional Cabbies.

Now it seems old "enemies" are now on the same side!

500N
22nd May 2014, 19:55
Fox3

I can well imagine after the hoops they are made to go through.


They are starting to bring in even tougher tests here in Melbourne,
to raise the standard.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
22nd May 2014, 20:21
West Lakes
The cabbies' arguments were as valid then as they are now.
What standards does London want?
The problem with minicabs is that they are very poorly policed, and standards have dropped over time as a consequence. There are some perfectly acceptable operators out there, but some newly arrived muppet with a GPS on his cousin's driving licence doing a 14 hour shift fueled by Red Bull in a dodgy motor is an all too common occurrence.

My brother's training took him 4 years, and he is as professional about it as I was about flying RAF jets.

con-pilot
22nd May 2014, 20:38
My brother's training took him 4 years, and he is as professional about it as I was about flying RAF jets.

The one thing that I highly admire about getting around in London, is the professionalism and knowledge of the London taxicab drivers. Even my wife is very impressed.

Very sad to see those standards go away.

By accident, a long story, my wife and I took a 'gyspy' cab once from one area of London back to our hotel, the Washington Mayfair, in Mayfair and I had to give the driver directions.

Even then after he turned where I told him not to, 'No, no don't turn here!", we ended up going the wrong way on a one-way street, where I demanded he stop, leaving us a block away from our hotel. We walked the rest of the way.

And no, I didn't pay him, told him to call the cops and if he wanted to, I'd wait for them. He drove off, cursing us in Arabic I'm sure. Oh, he wanted 50 Pounds or some silly amount like that.

Dushan
22nd May 2014, 20:59
Already illegal in some jurisdictions. This is from Ontario HTA.

103.1 Pick up passenger for compensation without authority 39.1(1) $300.00
103.2 Owner – allow use of vehicle to pick up passenger for compensation without authority 39.1(2) $300.00
103.3 Arrange for passenger pick-up for compensation without authority 39.1(3) $300.00
103.4 Offer to arrange for passenger pick-up for compensation without authority 39.1(3) $300.00

mixture
22nd May 2014, 21:27
The current situation is deeply unfair competition. My brother has to submit to lots of checks, inspections etc which cost him money; none of which is true for the app drivers. Furthermore, the licencing was introduced for many good reasons, including safety, efficiency, knowledge and the reputation of London. All of this goes out the window without effective licencing.

Fox3WheresMyBanana,

Let me know when I can start playing my violin to your tune .... :E

I've lost track of the number of times I've been in London recently and have hopped into "official" taxis only to find :

- The driver charges me the tourist tax (finds the busiest routes, slows down for the last mile, misses turns .... all the tricks in the cabbie's book to rack up the meter).
- I get charged 70 for a journey from Heathrow to Central London
- Hand the cabbie a 10/20 whatever note and find he hands me any notes quickly but deliberately takes his time to gather the coinage in change expecting me to tell him to keep it.
- Rusty, battered old cabs (and drivers whose age is getting on that way too)
the list goes on....

Give me Addison Lee any day in London. Clean, well maintained cars. They keep an eye on their drivers, all of them are vetted and regularly undergo training. And its a fixed fee for the distance.... so I don't care which route they (or their sat nav) takes them or whether we hit traffic. Plus its only 30 to Heathrow !

mixture
22nd May 2014, 21:50
Agree with all your points except for "Rusty, battered old cabs (and drivers whose age is getting on that way too)".

Well, 99% are perfectly ok... but there is 1% that do conform to the description.... I even had one old fart that didn't have a working meter and he asked me to negotiate a price before he left the rank. :rolleyes:

Tankertrashnav
22nd May 2014, 21:53
Got a black cab from Paddington to the RAF Club a couple of years back. Was puzzled when we found ourselves heading along Piccadilly away from the Club. When I asked the cabbie if he knew where the RAF club was he admitted he'd had a mental block and was heading for the RAC club (as though I could afford their fees!) He was so embarrassed he'd only take a fiver for the fare. Try taking a cab in Paris one day and London the next and you'll see why we are so lucky - lets keep the black cabs!

(even though they arent black anymore!)

Fox3WheresMyBanana
22nd May 2014, 22:04
Mixture - Heliport: Should you ever use a Black Cab again and this happens again, get the Cabbie's number and the details and report them to the Public Carriage Office. This is effective. Or just give me the details and I'll pass them on. I hope you can see from other posters that your experience is relatively rare.

G-CPTN
22nd May 2014, 22:15
Is it possible that a 'black cab' is not a licensed hackney carriage (apart from Prince Philip)?

I realise that:-
It is illegal to operate as a taxi without a licence from the Public Carriage Office or local authority, and it is illegal for minicabs to pick up or tout for passengers off the street.
From:- http://www.taxiregister.com/unlicensed.php

Fox3WheresMyBanana
22nd May 2014, 22:18
Good point - indeed, certain aspects of the described behaviour would fit Prince Philip ;)

Fox3WheresMyBanana
22nd May 2014, 23:42
Disappointing, but at least it's a minority.

Hope you get my brother next time!

BenThere
22nd May 2014, 23:49
Back in the old days a cab plying the streets of London would work assiduously for his company, which would gain a reputation for competent drivers, efficient times, quality of the carriage vehicle, etc., and build a business.

No government was needed as the desire to increase the taxi firm's share of the market provided all the regulation necessary.

Why did we give that all up? Because we like mediocrity?

david1300
23rd May 2014, 04:50
Fox3

I can well imagine after the hoops they are made to go through.

They are starting to bring in even tougher tests here in Melbourne,
to raise the standard.

I hope that includes proficiency in speaking English :ok:

Effluent Man
23rd May 2014, 07:56
One of the most amusing journeys I made was when a friend dropped me off near the Isle of Dogs and I needed to get to Dagenham.There was this asian chap with a very elderly Nissan Sunny and he agreed to take me.I think a fair bit of the journey was on the pavement and he appeared to have exemption from all traffic laws.His driving skills were,well,he didn't really have any.But I seem to recall the fare was reasonable.

chuks
23rd May 2014, 07:59
Brits, count yourselves lucky!

I took a cab from Washington National (DCA) to Bethesda when we had a very interesting chat about the political scene in Eritrea, the cabby and I, until the wheels came off in Bethesda, where it's a grid of alternate one-way streets in opposite directions. The cabby missed the turn I told him to take, not fully understanding my English, and then tried to take the next turning despite a big red and white sign showing it was one-way the other way. After that he wanted to back up, down Wisconsin Avenue ....

I was intrigued to get a ride in a converted Mercedes-Benz Vito van in London recently. The cabby told me that they are very popular now as a replacement for the classic "black cab." It made for a very nice ride, so that I had to wonder if it might not be a better choice for New York City than this curious Mexican-made Nissan they have chosen as a replacement for the long-serving Ford Crown Victoria, our standard taxi and "cop car" since forever.

500N
23rd May 2014, 08:08
Those van type cabs make damn good cabs compared to the "car" type cabs.

Although I always liked the London cabs, both for the ease of getting in and out and the sheer space inside. It was a great design.

Capetonian
23rd May 2014, 08:16
Last time I was in Melbourne, booked taxi for early morning departure from Kew to the airport, taxi turns up 20 minutes late. Driver tells me he's from South Africa ....... clearly lying ..... knew f. all about South Africa ..... he was Nigerian. Heads off towards the east (MEL airport is NW from Kew) after a few minutes I asked him if he knew the way to the airport and his reply was 'which airport?'. I said FFS if you didn't know where we were going why not ask me.

Then he asked me if I know the way to the airport and I said no, I don't know the roads but I know which direction it's in, so he got on the 'phone and asked directions. We got to the airport 15 minutes before flight departure time, I grabbed my bag and sprinted, no intention of wasting money or more importantly time paying the s-o-b. He chased me, cursing and swearing in Igbo or Yoruba. They kindly let me board the flight.

Back in SYD, I rang the taxico to complain, they said 'that taxi driver is one of our best drivers, his name is Allan McKenzie'......... I explained that this guy's name was more likely Adeugbo Bogomonyama. Embarrassed silence.

That was my only bad experience the entire time I was in Australia. I had a few drivers in SYD who didn't have much of a clue either and who couldn't speak much English but at least they were pleasant.

Then there was the time I'd called a private hire cab in north London, crappy old car turns up, cracked windscreen, driver has a big framed photo of Robert Mugabe on his dashboard, so I told him to remove it or I wasn't getting in. Of course I was 'racist'!

Definitely an industry crying out for stricter controls.

chuks
23rd May 2014, 10:45
So's Mugabe!