Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Letter to the editor : TfL, Cartels And Restrictive Trade Practice.

Are you happy about Tfl's decision to form a Cartel of credit card companies to provide a fixed unit in Cab solution for compulsory credit / Debit card  acceptance in London ignoring the other big players in the market such as Apple Pay and many others in the market and many drivers have signed up to lengthy contracts with these suppliers for POS hand held and Apps based devices.

Personally I think that any company who are PCI compliment should be allowed into the London Taxi market.

By choosing the selective few I see this as a restrictive trade practice.
If we are to offer the public a truly open and transparent payment option surly this should include the ability to pay for a journey in the currency of the customers choice.

DDC Dynamic currency conversion gives the best spot price in real time, in the currency of the customers choice. This is picked up when you swipe the card, it will automatically know if it is an American card to offer the transaction in Dollars for example and also reward the driver with a percentage commission, normally 1%, which is then deducted from the merchant fees.

Interesting to note that none of the chosen few have the ability to provide this option.

If we, the London Taxi trade are forced to accept credit cards, which by the way is not legal tender and force the driver to absorb the merchant charges, we should IMO, have the right to market this imposition to a free and open market, giving us the choice of which provider we choose based on payment frequency and efficiency of the Point of sale terminal. 

The notion of having fixed units installed in Cab relying on a manual printer is archaic and prone  to problems, some drivers have said it's too dangerous having a unit in the back! Punters can say "it isn't working"... what does the driver then do, get out of his cab to get in the back to offer assistance? I don't think so.

Are Tfl asking for the terminals to be connected to the meter via a "dongle", a hard wired cable which transmits the data from the meter to the POS, or is it a manual process whereby the driver enters the fare? 

The reason I ask is because it would not be practicable for set prices at Heathrow going out of the Met, or agreed prices for longer journeys in town.

What happens if you share a Cab?
Can any driver sign on with fixed equipment ?

What about spare fleet cabs p, when you change over in the middle of the night, or when you are in overhaul?

Most of us have our own preferred supplier for credit card processing using an App based or hand held POS device. 

Why can't Tfl just leave it to up to us to make our own business decisions?
Customers love the fact they can get a PDF receipt via email or SMS which gives a full audit trail of the transaction including the time, date, location and driver details instantly, printed receipts only show the amount date and time and can easily be lost by the customer who will not be able to claim back his expenses. 

We as a trade could and should see compulsory credit card acceptance as a massive positive, without restriction, limitation or interference from Tfl.

What would be welcome is a positive marketing campaign from Tfl promoting the 100% credit card acceptance with Licensed London Taxis with any fees being paid by the drivers so passengers are 10% better off than last year for example.

Kind regards 
Tom Scullion