Friday, October 16, 2015

Why the long face....We haven't lost a case, we've been handed a major victory! Thomasthetaxi.

So, the Hon Sir Duncan Brian Walter Ouseley has handed down his opinion, based on the letter of the law as it stands. 

And his opinion is that Uber's smartphone app, is not a Taximeter, even though it is a device that calculates the fare using both time and distance (which is the dictionary definition of a Taximeter). Even Uber, in their instructional guide to drivers refer to it as a meter!

And are we surprised? of course not.

TfL have won their case plus TfL managers/directors past and present have been vindicated. 

Ever since the Uber app was first approved, TfL have been accused of sanctioning illegal activity. There have also been allegations of corruption, strongly denied by ex commissioner Sir Peter Hendy when he appeared in front of a GLA transport committee. 

>Click here for transcript of case<

So what does this verdict mean to us...the Taxi trade. Is it indeed a defeat, or is this a major victory?

The surge rates will now continue, passenger complaints of huge fares after sitting in gridlock traffic, drivers getting lost, taking the long way round, all adding to an increase in cost...this all continues. 

Had Uber lost, they would have had to change their modus operandi to a more user friend system and be bought inline with every other PH operator. 

Let's make no mistake, as good as their platform is, the threat to our trade is not coming from the efficiency of Uber's technology!

 Many passenger once stung are reluctant to reuse. A large proportion of rides are made up from customer promotions and money off vouchers.

To give you a for instance, in a three hour period, at the height of a busy Saturday night earlier this summer, Uber's system processed 10,000 rides. At that time they had an alleged work force of approx 10,000 drivers. With just over half their drivers actually on shift, this equates to 2 jobs per unit, in a three hour period. 

At that rate, their drivers cannot sustain financial stability and are forced to tout to make their money up. 

But this is where we can fight back, where we can make a difference.

For many decades drivers circulated, looking for waving hands but this has now changed. People do not want to walk around looking for vacant taxis. They want a ride sitting outside the venue, the club, the hotel, the restaurant. And they don't care if that vehicle is a cab, a minicab, a scab cab, whether it has a licence or insurance, as long as it's there when they come out. 

With touts reluctance to pay clipboard johnnies for work that comes to them anyway, has seen the apatite for licence variation applications all but drying up. TfL are finally considering the end of satellite offices. 

Enter stage right....the Mayfair Mob. 

A group of like minded drivers under strong leadership, have been raking back the work lost to touts at night venues. 

These rank and file cabbies from across the trade, have achieved more in just a few months, than the large so called representative orgs have in many years. 

New ranks at Hakassan and Novikov (once thought unobtainable), an extension to the Forge rank on Cornhill effectively doubling capacity. Weekend marshals being deployed at the Forge and Novikov's. 

Their work, in league with the UCGup and FlashDemo Twitter accounts, has been aspirational and has expanded into Shorditch, Shepherds Bush and soon to come Fulham and Chelsea.

Their creed easy to follow; Clean Cab, no brooming, take credit cards. Simple but highly affective. Massive amounts of work has been clawed back from tout operations in the West End and City.

You can't buy this badge, it has to be earned.


A metered System, is not a good marketing policy for any PH company.

The one good selling point was that the passenger new exactly what they were paying in advance.

Effectively Uber are now using a covert meter. At least the public no that our Taximeter is transparent.

We must focus on preventing further indistinction by doing all we can to ensure TfL in full she is the existing and newly proposed PH regulations.