Saturday, October 06, 2012

Dublin's Taxis: A Complete Shambles.

As the Law commission looks set to redefine and simplify the legislation governing Taxis and private hire here in the UK, we take a look at Dublin where this has already been carried out.

After deregulation, quite frankly it's a mess. Too many Taxis, to many part-timers working the peak hours and full time drivers having to claim supplementary income benefit because they can't make a living. The Trade has also been infiltrated by criminal elements plus anyone with a car, sat-nav and smart phone seems to be out on weekends doing Taxi work. Also Taxi drivers have been renting out their licenses in a bid to earn more income.

Moves to require all Taxis in Dublin to be the same colour have been opposed as the Government has decided it would be too expensive, but in the near future will require semi-permanent "taxi" signs to be stuck to the doors of all cabs to prevent licences being switched between different cars.

Drivers are opposed to the move, saying it will cost them up to €250 each and encourage more burglary of cabs.

Junior Transport Minister Alan Kelly yesterday welcomed the new branding developed by the National Transport Authority, which will be phased in from January on all licence renewals.

"New York has yellow taxis, London has the famous black cabs. These approaches would be far too expensive for Irish taxi drivers, but to ensure the people who operate in the sector are accountable for their vehicles, we have opted for semi-permanent branding," he said.

Reform
It was a significant reform that would encourage a more professional taxi sector and make it harder for rogue drivers to pass licences from car to car, he said.

But the National Transport Assembly of Ireland (NTAI) said that the cost was way too high for an already struggling sector.

"It's nonsense what they are doing. We've heard estimates of €150 to €250, even though if we were left to source them ourselves we could get them for €10," said NTAI taxi spokesman Tony Rowe.

Taxis were already targeted by thieves looking for petty cash but while drivers could remove roofplates when they weren't in use to decrease visibility, this wouldn't be possible with the new signs, he said.

Fees
If the authorities insisted on forcing this move through they should use some of the millions gathered from taxi licence fees to pay for it, Mr Rowe said.

But Mr Kelly said that official suppliers would be licensed to print and fit the signs, ensuring competition.

"Taxi drivers will be able to shop around and achieve the lowest possible price for operators," he said.

The Government is also planning a new Taxi Regulation Act, which will set new age limits for vehicles, ban tinted windows in new taxis, allow online checks to make sure the licensed driver is in the vehicle and prevent the transfer of licences.

Source: the Irish Times



Thursday, October 04, 2012

GetTaxi – Drivers Update – October 2012

At GetTaxi we have had a fantastic start since we launched our business in London just over a year ago. Not only have we built up a strong foundation for what is fast becoming a large scale operation across London and the surrounding areas, but we have also built up a substantial customer base of clients who use GetTaxi on a regular basis.

We’re also delighted to announce that our enterprise client list has increased dramatically, with more businesses than ever choosing GetTaxi over PHV as their exclusive transportation provider. In the next few months we are set to take on some very important business accounts alongside a huge increase in consumers acquisition, and we could not have done this without your commitment and dedication. Thanks to the influx of account work, the average GetTaxi fare is now £22 per journey, which means more money in your pocket.

We wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your loyalty and support – we wouldn’t have been able to get where we are today without you.
We’ve included some highlights from the last year below, and also an update of where the business currently stands.
Here’s to a promising future ahead!

GetTaxi and Private Hire
We’d like to confirm that there is no such thing! The only relation between GetTaxi and PHVs is in the fact that here at GetTaxi we are doing everything possible to take work from them and bring it back to where it belongs – the licensed taxis.
GetTaxi has never worked with or for PHVs and there is no plan to do so. GetTaxi is however targeting companies that currently have accounts with PHVs companies, for example Addison Lee. In the last few weeks we have taken more than 15 accounts from different mini cab companies and we’ll continue to increase this number in the coming months.

GetTaxi and Hotel Rides
GetTaxi is very keen to take ownership of work that has been wrongfully taken by PHVs, and is continually looking for creative ways to do so. Unfortunately, a couple of months ago a former GetTaxi sales person sent you all a text message that conveyed exactly the opposite of what we are looking to do. After a number of consultations with you, we have decided to shelve this scheme until we’re confident we have found the best way of implementing it.
We’re already in discussion with the largest Hotel Management Systems companies to find ways to integrate our booking system with theirs, allowing GetTaxi to “bypass” the concierge and other kickbacks. Watch this space.

GetTaxi Drivers Committee
Over the last few months there have been a number of changes at GetTaxi HQ. We recently set up a drivers committee, a dedicated group of drivers that provides insightful thinking on your behalf, so GetTaxi can continue to improve and grow, whilst providing you with the necessities needed to ensure you can continually deliver the high quality service we’re known for.

GetTaxi and Corporate Accounts
GetTaxi has just completed a long and thorough recruitment process of sales experts that will lead our corporate sales into the next stage by targeting companies that use PHVs as their main transport service provider. We’re already seeing the fruits of our labour, and we’re positive we have a bright future ahead.

GetTaxi Technology
GetTaxi is pleased to announce the arrival of our new driver terminals. The device contains a number of features including an upgraded drivers application that many of you have asked for. The new unit will also benefit passengers... Stay tuned for the release date and more details of what it will include.

GetTaxi’s Facts
• GetTaxi is the cheapest and risk free service in London – drivers pay nothing for the equipment or the data it consumes
• Driver’s pay a flat fee of £1 per private jobs and only 10% on account work, where in most cases they get 5% gratuity back (so effectively only 5% subs)
• Driver’s are not charged for any credit card payments
• No drivers charges on credit card payments for non GetTaxi passengers
• If the job has been cancelled three minutes after you accepted it, GetTaxi
will reimburse you with £5
• GetTaxi average meter fare is £22.
Some New Offers
• GetTaxi offers a taxi wash scheme – pay only £12 a month and get four washes / interior valet. Any washes on top of that will cost only £3.50– and they can be redeemed in any of FYCO sites across London.
• Make sure you pick up your GT membership card which will give you 15% discount on all hot meals in the new Oak café in Hermitage St W2
• GetTaxi’s new Driver Services office has been opened in Hermitage Street, London, W2. Feel free to pop in for a cuppa.
• Don’t forget to visit our new and upgraded website – www.GetTaxi.co.uk

Here at GetTaxi our drivers are of primary importance to us and we want to do our best to keep you happy. We want to be the best service the UK has to offer, and we know we can’t do it without you. We’d love to hear from you so please do drop us a line at our dedicated drivers email address: Drivers.uk@gettaxi.com


Disclaimer. Taxi Leaks has no commercial connection with GetTaxi. The article above is a general press release.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

For Those who Missed This; Law Commission In A Nutshell

Just incase you missed it, below are the key points of the changes, proposed by the Law Commission. Frankly, they are quite frightening.

But why have I had to wait to read about this in a Private Hire magazine ?


Why haven't I seen these propositions, laid out along with all the obvious dangers, in the Taxi trade media such as Taxi, the Badge or CTN?

In a nutshell, this is what the Law Commission will be asking for;

1. Cross boarder hiring restrictions to be scrapped.
Allowing any vehicle to be able to pick up a job anywhere in the country, no mater where that vehicle is when he/she receives the booking.
Operators will be able to use drivers from any area. Meaning PH drivers in Bedford, Surrey Kent, in fact anywhere in the UK will be able to work for any satellite office in London.

2. London conditions of fitness will be lowered to that of a national standard.
This means the lowest common denominator on conditions of fitness will be introduced

3. No limit on the number of licenses issued..Follow the Money!!!

4. Wedding, funeral and vintage vehicles would have to buy a license....Following the Money?

5. Drivers on Licensed Taxi Radio circuits would need a dual Taxi/PH license...Follow the...well you know the rest

6. PH will be asking for the law in respect of Satellite Office hirings, to be defined. PH want the right to accept bookings at satellite offices, in roped off areas on the street, catching people as they leave, rather than inside the premises. (Much like they do now by openly flouting the law)

On top of the Law Commissions recommendations, PH will be asking for many changes to current legislation.
Question 23: Should private hire vehicles be able to use terms such as “taxi” or “cab” in advertising provided only used in combination with terms like “pre-booked” and does not otherwise lead to customer confusion????

Every newspaper in the last few days has stated that Mark Duggun was shot after being stopped in a TAXI.
PH advertise in nation papers and on line offering TAXI services.
Some Minicab offices still advertise the roundel TAXI Private Hire in their window

And the Director of LTPH does and says nothing.

"Pre-booked taxi or private hire taxi sounds good to me." Said Patric Reaburn of SmartMove in the September PHC,"But I don’t think the London taxi trade is going to like it"

A new “peak-time” taxi licence that could only be used at particular times of the day (Like 6pm till 6am) by the licensing authority
This is the most dangerous recommendation to the trade as it will lead to private hire ranks introduced all over the West End and City.

They said "it will never happen"...just like 20 years ago, when they said "minicabs will never be licensed" and "Taxi driving is a job for life".
Then we were told, "when we license minicabs their numbers will half and touting will be their problem, not ours".

Well they lied then and they are lying now

Provisional Proposal 27: End of Topographical Testing:
Private hire services would not be subject to standards except those related to safety. Requirements such as topographical knowledge would no longer apply to private hire drivers.
These tests have been controversial in London.

Claims have been made as to the honesty of some of those carrying out the tests.

The Commission proposes that these tests are abolished.
End of problem or start of chaos?Still Following the money?


Frances Patterson QC speaks for the Law Commission 

Monday, October 01, 2012

Will Action Be Taken After Gen Sec Of The LTDA Admits Blatant Law Breaking

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE DIRECTOR OF LTPH JOHN MASON.

Dear John
It has been alleged by drivers present, that at a recent workshop/meeting, the new General Secretary of the LTDA (Steve McNamara) admitted in front of approximately 50 people which included yourself, Helen Chapman, Simon Buggy, Nicole Harris and Nicola Danvers, that he blatantly and deliberately broke the law and encouraged Suburban drivers to also break the law and jeopardise their licenses by giving them (stealing) green badge work when he was marshalling.

John, you surely must realise, this is a serious statement.
More so than a few drivers stuck in the gridlock of a demonstration stepping out of the heat of their vehicles till traffic started to flow again.

As the now legendary "Parliament Square 5" have been summoned to attend a complaint hearing at Palestra, could you please explain what action will be taken to deal with this mater, or will you again be condoning lawbreaking as you did with the issue of "Private Hire Free Ride Taxi Ranks".

I have had to resort to an open letter John as LTPH hasn't answered an emails of mine or my colleagues for some time.

Regards Mike

Source: LTDF taxi Blog: Author Topic: Is John Mason Victimising the UCG & RMT?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Remembrance Sunday 6 weeks left

AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

A post from Mike Hughes:

This is an 'early warning' about the free taxi service for Remembrance Sunday which this year falls on the 11th of November.

The UCG have honoured my by asking me to once again act as taxi co-ordinator in the run up to the day, when their marshals will no doubt continue with their excellent organisation at the various pickup points.

I will be posting more details as we get closer to the day but they are briefly,
Victory Services Club,
Union Jack Club
All main line stations
Victoria Coach Station
plus various locations for wheelchair pickups

I know I can rely upon you to help provide the service.-

I'm already getting requests from the veterans including one wheelchair user (one of only 4 living survivors of Japanese camps) in West Wickham plus a 40 strong group who will be in one of the travel lodges in Kings Cross Road. I'll add detail to that next week.

In the meantime here's a copy of a message I've received and shows just what this means to the veterans.

=================

Dear Mike,

I have recieved the letter from the United Cabbies Group, via the Royal British Legion, and would like to inform you that my oppo and myself hope to use the free taxi service from Liverpool Street Station to the Cenotaph, on Sunday 11th November 2012.

May I take this opportunity to thank all those involved in providing this excellent service. I find it both very genorous and moving that the Cabbies are prepared to do this.

"The British Spirit" never ceases to amaze me!

Many Thanks,

Kind Regards,

Nick Page.

P.S. This will be our first year to be Marching Past at the Cenotaph, and the United Cabbies Group are making us feel special even before our arrival in London! It wiil be a very emotional time.

Thanks again, Nick.

=================

The requests are starting to come in. Last year's event was big for us, I'm getting the impression that this year's one could be even bigger so please tell your friends and colleagues.

Here's a couple of examples of the thing I mean

I've got a request for 40 people from the Kings Cross Royal Scot Hotel (Travelodge) who are marching together for the first time. I'll ask for more help closer to the day but if you live that neck of the woods please keep it in mind.

But this next one really shows what it means to the veterans

We are travelling from Yorkshire and staying at the Millennium Gloucester for Julie's 91 year old father to take part in the parade, he is one of 4 ex Japanese POWs taking part. He can walk a little but uses a wheelchair and will be on parade in his chair.

It's all very humbling. Let's show them how proud we are of them.

Remembrance Sunday
6 weeks left


Please mark it in your diaries.
There's more requests coming in. I'd like to fulfill them all but can't without your help.