Tuesday, May 27, 2014

TaxiCab App: Statement to the trade from Alex White.

I am sure most of you are aware of the current challenges the trade faces. Basically, technology is moving forward at a much faster rate than the trade is. Due to this, a number of commercial companies are exploiting this gap in technology, e.g. Hailo, but more recently Uber and other companies.

As you may have seen, there was a significant backlash last week, when it became clear that Hailo had applied for a Private Hire licence. Please be sure that the only reason Hailo have done this, is to increase profits. They have also made it clear that they intend to offer the work to the closest taxi/mini cab when jobs come in.

Personally, I'm not sure that this will happen. Hailo make 10% from black taxis and Uber make 30% from private hire. Will Hailo be working hard to get enough Private Hire drivers on board, so they can make 30% from each journey? Only time will tell.

With all of this in mind, I have sat down with a number of like minded green badge drivers and we have made plans for an app that will compete directly against all the other apps.

These are the details:
* We have started work on an app called TaxiCab app.
* It will be a run on a "not for profit" basis.
* It will need to make money to run, covering its overheads, plus a little more to cover promotion, expansion etc. 
* The organisation will be setup so the app can never be sold to private enterprise and will be run with the primary goal of supporting the London Black Cab Trade at minimal costs to the drivers. 

We already have more than 900 followers on twitter and outside of twitter there is also a lot of interest in the app. 

Other than myself, Pete Crane (AKA PeteCee) is involved, Jamie (Owner of Sherbet Radio) is involved and Steve (@CabbieLDN) is also deeply involved. We have a number of other drivers involved as well, but these are the main people getting their hands dirty in the project. 

On twitter our account is @TaxiCabLDN. 
Please give us a follow if you use twitter (we will follow you back so we can discuss things privately if you want). We have a number of features that none of the other apps can do, because they would lose money if they did.

We are totally focused on the trade and look to promote the black taxi trade exclusively within the app. 

In the coming weeks when we hit certain milestones in the development, we will be giving out demo versions of the app. This will enable us to test some of the features. We will be doing the same with a number of drivers as well. 

The news feed for progress will be 


Some features will not be discussed in open discussions, as like most things, you can only show some features once they are ready to go and tested fully.

I can't stress this enough, we are fed up with money men coming into the trade and messing with things to turn a quick profit. 
We are hoping this app will reverse this trend. 



Anonymous said...

Good luck lads! Get It done.

I'm Spartacus said...

Let's have 9 drivers on the board, 3 have to stand down every 3 years and cannot stand for at least another 3.

'You can't run a circuit like that' the doubters will say, well it's a common successful model all over Europe .

If that's in place I will sign up.

Anonymous said...

Will this app be available to all drivers or just Central London drivers?

It's great to see that the death of hailo ( in the eyes of the Taxi trade) has such a promising sounding alternative app to succeed where ther floundered.

Is the hope to cover the whole of the Greater London area and involve Suburban Drivers, or to target the much more concentrated 'six mile' area?

Also if it is for the whole of Gtr London, will the 'hailing' system to involve all of the new criteria of a Pre Booked Job to assist drivers coming in from the sticks to start working earlier?

As I understand it, the new laws (if passed, but it looks likely) means any non There and Then job can be accepted from anywhere, even cross border, so this rule means that we could pick up a fare on the way in to work cutting down some of that dead mileage!!

Simco said...

I thank you for all this work you are doing on our behalf.

This app will win hands down against the exploiting and money grabbing men. Good luck to all involved in the development and to us who are looking forward to support it.

Anonymous said...

The only way it can succeed is if all gb and yb drivers are on board and the nearest driver gets the job. That's why Hailo lost all there work because people couldn't get a taxi at peake times even though there was available drivers 2 minutes away. These people got sick of waiting and now gone back to mini cabs.
Thank you G.B's. It's not rocket science

Gerald Coba said...

What gave you the impression that Hailo were losing work?

There are drivers out there saying they can't live without it.

Yes I think YB should be included but with the technology available today they must stick to picking up in the area they're trained for.

Otherwise we might as well all stay on Hailo and take our chances with minicabs.

Anonymous said...

Author of prev post is wrong. New app should work as hailo 'First accept-first gets' the job. Reason punters couldnt get cab in Hailo was that drivers had enough work on streets and didnt bother wasting time for hailo jobs and loosing 10%, to avoid that hailo should have not take comission during weekends especially night time, unfortunatelly greedines won.

In GT where job is alocated to closest driver, sice u click accept the job, theres a big delay untill u find out if job been alocated to u or not, and u clearly can not do nothing wile youre awaiting for the result (cant pick up street job etc).

Anonymous said...

Well Mr Cobra, would you agree that Green badges should also be restricted to the area they have 'trained for' ie a six mile radius of charing cross?

The suburban routes you learn are no more appropriate as a working knowledge in the suburbs as the inners are for the central area; a main road in 1 direction, with a few points.

If a Green badge is capable of accepting jobs and completing jobs satisfactorily ( if not to kol standards ) outside the six mike radius, then why can't yellow badges do the same within that area?

We don't take 2 years to pass the 1/9 th of the same exam that you take six weeks to learn, incidentally!!

Anonymous said...

Computer cab used to have there own yellow badge circuit , why can't yellow badges have a yellow bade app for yellows only . And build up work in the area they signed up for .. All these apps are killing street work , if I wanted to work the radio or apps I would have just worked for a big mini cab company and driven a decent car , instead of a 45.000 converted van .

Gerald Coba said...

Taxi drivers should only be allowed to pick up a "There and then" hail in there own licensing area.
Green badged drivers are licensed for the GMPD while yellow badges are subjected to borough boundaries. (With the exception of a couple of island ranks)

I have no objection to a yellow badge accepting a job in Central London if they are physically in their own area when job is offered.

If you don't like this, you can always do the full knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:50
The reason yellow badges don't have an app is they can't be bothered to do anything for themselves.
When was the last time you saw suburban drivers demonstrate about an issue in their area?

All they want to do is get green badges to protest for them while they nip in and nick their work. Com cab bought out harrow taxis the suburban circuit, nicked their account work, combined with main fleet and sold their premises to a minicab firm. Should have seen their collaboration with PH coming back then.

But as all drivers then were LTDA members (compulsory) they did as they were told.

Anonymous said...

Jim Thomas, you've caused more division in the trade than any other driver.

If you are anything to do with this app, you can poke it mate.

Anonymous said...

what y.b is going to run into central London to do a job just because you can't cover it.
Every weekend hailo offer me work in shorditch/Hoxton but I refuse it all the time, same as everyone else I know. So who do these punters turn to after no taxi time and time again.
Would you run from stoke Newington to old st on a Saturday midnight, to cover your work as you put it when there's an empty y.b already there available empty.

Anonymous said...

Not asking you to run to cover work, stay in your area. Wouldn't want you getting lost.

So you and a few mates don't cover work in Central London, oh my god what are Hailo going to do, they've only got 6,000 other driver to do the work. And soon, tens of thousands of Ph.

Better get use to not being offered work then as PH are willing to lay out 30% of the fare to buy jobs.

Editorial said...

Hope you've all got the YB/GB stuff off you chest cause that's the last one

Stick to the post

Jason B

Anonymous said...

Hailo was being covered well by the drivers , they only lost work when tax exile out of touch Richard Branson who only got lucky signing the sex pistols to Virgin an unknown record company at the time , got involved and they started 10 minimum fare , a lot of punters were feeling cheated and wouldn't bother again .. Yours truly Johnny Rotten ....

Anonymous said...

Taxi only app sounds good, but hav,nt we heard this before ?

er... sex pistols signed for EMI not virgin

alfie cane said...

Jim Thomas is a fighter mr anonymous , I'd rather have him fighting for the Cab trade and my corner than you .

LCY Len said...

Lets hope hailo decide to do what I said and stick two fingers up to tfl and the short sighted green badges and start giving yellows work wherever they may be. From the wording in the law commission, it says to me that as long as a fare is booked by a third party, area boundaries don't come into it for the driver. Perhaps if the booking center is in the suburbs, then the job was accepted in a yellow badge area and can be dispatched legally to the driver. I'm sure green badges wouldnt kick up a fuss if a booking center giving them work was outside the met area, they'd feel it was their right because they've done the knowledge and boundaries would be irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Anim 8,45. E M I. Dropped them after one single then A And M. Records done the same Then Virgin signed them and done the album . Your probably to young to remember ,

Anonymous said...

I'll try again.
I can't see y/bs taking up with the new app especially if they are restricted from doing work they are leagally entitled to do.
Also as with the other apps g/bs are prioritsed over y/bs( I'm stating facts here admin ) we've seen it in my sector y/b build the work and if there's a green in area it will go to them first. Me and other's have witnessed this happening many times at O2.
The only way y/bs will take this app on if it's done fairly closest 3 cabs first which ever the colour get offered job.

Editorial said...

Must apologise
After posting a ling to online petition through my twitter account, I received an email for every one who signed it.

I've had over 1100 emails in 18 hours

In my bid to free up my email inbox I may have deleted a number of comment posts.

Will try to retrieve comments deleted in error if a get time


Anonymous said...

It has never been illegal for YB to pick up outside their area ,what about GB picking up at gatwick thats outside area.So all cabs are illegal picking up outside their area, total crap,sooner the level playing field the better.

Anonymous said...

It's only legal for taxi drivers to pick up outside their area if the job is dispatched as a booking to the driver who is inside the boundaries of his working area, regardless of badge colour.
Yellow badge drivers are licensed to pick up in a part of the GMPD defined by borough boundaries
Green badges can pick up anywhere within the GMPD

If you want the same facilities as a green badge driver, then do the all London knowledge.

Anonymous said...

It's not the yellow badges that work the suburban area who are the problem , it's the island rank mob that think they can work anywhere , with only one I'd in the front that they can quickly slip in and out , . A yellow was hailed in. Front of me in upper st , took job , next minute 6 empty greens coming along , they go to town empty , then west end full of empty cabs , it's happening , shepards bush putney green badges are being squashed in to a small pond

Anonymous said...

(shepards bush putney green badges are being squashed in to a small pond)

with all the fish in it

Anonymous said...

.....but surely the abolishment of plying for hire clears this issue up instantly.

Light on advertises 'there and then' availability.

None of this 'I wasn't plying for hire, I was in motion' bullshit!!

Light on out of licence area instant nick!!

Once the doubt is taken out I'm sure there will be much stricter compliance....no one wants to lose their bill!!

I still say this law commission may be a blessing in a lot of ways it's difficult to see at the moment!!

Anonymous said...

Only in the London Taxi trade can a group of drivers try to launch something for the greater good only to have it hijacked before it is even off the ground by bitter suburban drivers trying to find another way to nick a few jobs out of their licensed area!

What a mess

Anonymous said...

Chill Bruv...(or sis)

It's the same few excitables who seem to thrive on winding themselves (and everyone else) up by spending empty hours on Suburban Ranks with nothing to do but provoke anyone that will bite!!

Ever heard the expression Empty Vessels make the most sound? The more people react, the more they provoke.

They went embarrassingly quite after the suburban consultation ruled out Central London ranks and all sorts of similar ridiculous proposals BEFORE the consultation was even launched!!

Now the law commission has come along and they see the opportunity to grab something they haven't earned again.....but it's all noise like yapping little dogs with no bite. Annoying but harmless!!!

The truth is that those drivers who want to and are willing to work can and are making a very good living on a suburban licence, thank you very much.....

Then you get these idiots who would find any excuse not to do anything for themselves but because they are miserable because they are too stupid to help themselves they want to bring everyone else down to there level.

I'm sure sense will prevail with the law commission as it did with the consultation, but even if it does permit them to pick up out of area....and these new apps are designed to comply with all the new pre-booking requirements that will be set out, do you really think that any of these drivers could earn enough purely off of app based work?
The streets weren't flooded with 'light off' yellows for one very good reason; and not the one you think!!

Despite saying they would only give jobs to drivers in their licenced areas, several drivers have boasted being offered jobs well out of their areas on Hailo.

The reason they didn't float around waiting for the next out of area job was these jobs were too infrequent to be viable.
Show me a driver who says they can do that and I'll show you a liar!!

I wish these guys all the best with their new app, it's great that the vision we were sold by Hailo will not only be replaced, but also IMPROVED by the sound of it...and hats off to them for actually having the courage to set it up so it can't be hijacked by greed!!

Don't get wound up by these insignificant and impotent big mouths!!