Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Letter To Editor : From Will Grozier, On The Proposed 5 Minute Wait.

Paul Church and 6 of his Westminster City fellow Councillors ( Evening Standard Letters 2/10 ) claim that the proposed 5 min wait for an App hailed car will not benefit customers. 

He is right and for once the taxi trade agree, however it is for entirely diametrically opposed reasoning. 

We are all fed up with immediate demand facilitated by App technology being passed off as 'bookings'. I and many of my colleagues called in Stage 1 of the Consultation process for a minimum period of 15 mins from e-hail to despatch in order for the term 'Booking' to have a significantly different meaning to the current instantaneously recorded fullfillment. 

That TfL have watered this down to a meaningless 5 mins shows how little they understand of what the cab trade needs and expects. 

Church also calls for Black Cab Red Tape to be cut without specifying which of those pesky Carriage Office rules would be relaxed. Perhaps they would dispense with;
•the need to drive a wheelchair accessible vehicle and ditch the disabled.... 
•maybe they would advocate dropping hire and reward insurance and put public protection in peril..... 
•or perhaps they think the uniform meter fares should be scrapped in favour of a free market race to the bottom where cabbies set their own individual prices -

 I seem to recall the archly taxiphobic Steve Norris had similarly potty ideas. 

No, of course none of these things could or should be done, Church says 'Hands Off Uber' whereas what he should be advocating is a hands off approach to a London taxi trade fighting for it's very existence. 

James Ashton writing on the previous day ( Comment 1/10... London can lead the way in settling the global war with Uber) highIights the same issue saying:
'it is not clear why minicabs should provide confirmation details five minutes before a journey starts
But then continues in same paragraph to answer the question:
'when a black cab can be hailed on the street, for example'.

This is the nub of the matter for if the licensed Taxi's exclusive right to ply for hire on the street and thus it's very existence is to be maintained, then the modus operandi of Apps must be modified since currently there is hardly a fag paper differential between taxis & minicabs when what is needed is an instrument of tobacco bale proportions. 

Paradoxically a further worrying consequence of the Uber explosion, a 29 fold and rising rapidly increase in Private Hire cars in the congestion zone points us in the right direction. 

Instead of an arbitrary time delay, perhaps what is needed is mechanism that would ban all empty cars from receiving hirings whilst in the congestion zone thus ending the cavalry charge of empty PHV's into the central area - a particular problem at night - and ensuring that only those cars with legitimate 'bookings' add to the chronic overcrowding in the West End. 

A system of progressive ripple effect restrictions whereby the Uber App only allows empty cars to be allocated jobs in adjacent zones - the Underground Zoning providing a template - would go a long way toward relieving congestion and restoring something of a proper division between minicabs and taxis. 

Yours sincerely 

Will Grozier Licensed London Taxi Driver


Anonymous said...

5 minutes is a joke. Most punters expect to wait 5-10 mins before what ever you order turns up. Most punters will happily wait for thier half price fare. My friends son got UBER - Harold Hill (Romford North) to Vauxhall £37 - we can't compete - it turned up in 4 mins!!! He would have happily waited 9 minutes. Funny how this whole debate is suddenly opening up - Boris's alleged support of black cabs in the telegraph didn't ring true especially when he surreptitiously mentioned surely we protect the cabs within the law or we change it!!! I strongly suspect the law commission review is about to reappear and there are plenty of free market tories who would like to see us wiped out and the industry deregulated - so shareholders can have another carcass to feast on in the endless capitalist quest for thier favourite meal - a fast buck!!! Housing - knackered. Train services - knackered. Health service - knackered. Pubic utilities - knackered. Ordinary working people - knackered. Taxis- going knackered. Worrying times.......

Anonymous said...

The customer using any form of communication should be automatically directed to the licensed private hire operating centre where the licensed private hire operator prices the journey and informs the customer. If the customer is happy with the costs the licensed private hire operator logs the details and dispatches a licensed private hire vehicle giving those details to the licensed private hire driver to carry out the hiring.

Obligations of London operators.
(1)The holder of a London PHV operator’s licence (in this Act referred to as a “London PHV operator”) shall not in London accept a private hire booking other than at an operating centre specified in his licence.

(2)A London PHV operator shall secure that any vehicle which is provided by him for carrying out a private hire booking accepted by him in London is—
(a)a vehicle for which a London PHV licence is in force driven by a person holding a London PHV driver’s licence; or

(b)a London cab driven by a person holding a London cab driver’s licence.

3)A London PHV operator shall—

(a)display a copy of his licence at each operating centre specified in the licence;

(b)keep at each specified operating centre a record in the prescribed form of the private hire bookings accepted by him there;

(c)before the commencement of each journey booked at a specified operating centre, enter in the record kept under paragraph (b) the prescribed particulars of the booking;

(d)keep at each specified operating centre such records as may be prescribed of particulars of the private hire vehicles and drivers which are available to him for carrying out bookings accepted by him at that centre;

(e)at the request of a constable or authorised officer, produce for inspection any record required by this section to be kept.

(4)If a London PHV operator ceases to use an operating centre specified in his licence he shall preserve any record he was required by this section to keep there for such period as may be prescribed.

(5)A London PHV operator who contravenes any provision of this section is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

(6)It is a defence in proceedings for an offence under this section for an operator to show that he exercised all due diligence to avoid committing such an offence.

They are the rules laid down by parliament and all should abide by them and the London licencing authority should stringently enforce these rules.

How can you put a time limit on those rules and be able to police it?

A private hire driver cannot legally accept a hiring direct whilst in their vehicle from the customer even if they hold a private hire operators licence.

colin said...

Well i dont think double yellow lines outside a shop i want to go in are helpfull,so these types of people need to know what they are talking about to start with??

Sean Day said...

Excellent article and subsequent comments!