In their recent Blog post, London's top Taxi hailing app "Hailo", controversially announced a new minimum fare policy. The Blog post states:
"Let’s look at this from a driver’s perspective. Understandably, they want to spend as much time as possible with a passenger on board."
“When they’re offered a Hailo job, they are happy to drive to the pickup location and wait a couple of minutes, but all that time is non-earning time. They may pass people with their hand out on the way to picking you up. So it can be quite disappointing if the resulting job is 200 yards down the road to the shop.
“In order to give you the most chance of getting a cab when you want one, we need every driver to know that the job is worth accepting – and that means guaranteeing them a reasonable minimum fare.”
The decision to impose the new minimum charge is a commercial decision taken by Hailo.
Hailo's customers are advised of the new charges when making a booking. By signing up to use the app they are agreeing to the terms and condition published by Hailo.
Apparently a few customers have reacted adversely, with some saying they will in future be forced to use alternative apps.
We are led to believe, a complaint has been made to LTPH, saying;
"London Taxis are licensed by TfL and are subject to a fares policy set by the Mayor that already includes a minimum fare of £2.40"
Helen Chapman, interim General Manager for London Taxi and Private Hire, said yesterday:
“We are investigating complaints about Hailo introducing a minimum fare policy.
“It is against the licensing regulations for any taxi driver to charge a customer more than the metered fare.
Action will be taken against any driver found to be doing so.”
When Hailo first introduced a £5 minimum fare, it was welcomed by John Mason, former Director of LTPH and at that time, no one at TfL or LTPH mentioned anything about it being in breach of licensing regulations.
Indeed, a couple of years ago TfL along with Westminster City Council, introduced a new type of Taxi rank in the centre of London's West End. The Golden Rank, as it was known, had a range of minimum fares. The cheapest being £25. Some passengers were charged £25 to travel just a few hundred yards.
The Golden Rank was welcomed by TfL with no word of it being in contravention of the fares policy or driver's licensing regulations.
Again we've seen LTPH unfairly attack the London Taxi Driver.
If Helen Chapman is so worried about the public being overcharged, or breaches in licensing regulation, why has she said and done nothing about the nightly rip off of passengers who are touted by RD2 drivers illegally parked in Regent Street, by the Swallow Street Arch, illegally plying for hire?
Passengers from bars in Swallow Street wishing to go just a few hundred yards are often touted and charged between £15-25 for jobs of under a mile.
This situation has been ongoing for over a year since RD2 were controversially issued a satellite office license by LTPH for The Groucho Bar in breach of TfL's own licensing regulation.
If TfL/TPH are to take issue over minimum fares, it must be right across the spectrum and take into consideration minimum fares charged by radio circuits and ride sharing schemes at stations, both of which were ongoing practises long before TfL came into existence.
Helen Chapman's statement yesterday was uninformed and should be retracted immediately.
Taxi Leaks will make space available should Hailo wish to reply to Helen Chapman's statement.
Read Hailo's Blog post here: https://t.co/VjOmssduzH