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. 


Anonymous said...

My sentiments exactly

john wall said...

Very good article, todays verdict water off a ducks back as far as I'm concerned, never expected anything else, at the end of the day what we have is a far superior product to any of the so called opposition, the work is there if you've got the b####cks to take it back. Onwards and upwards because the u##r product day in day out is becoming more toxic and the public are wising up ! Don't look like this government have got the a####ole to deregulate us properly so keep fighting and show Londoners that we are still number one in world !

Tony Casey said...

We can now use a smart phone and not our fixed taxi meter calibrated at any rate we
like .The taxi trade can in effect do price surging on a smart phone and not fall foul of the law.Very clever decision judge ....

Anonymous said...

When I look at the time on my mobile phone, it's pretty damn accurate. It's not a clock or watch in difinitive terms. Now look in the dictionary for the word chronometer:

chronometer Translate

a timepiece or timing device with a special mechanism for ensuring and adjusting its accuracy, for use in determining longitude at sea or for any purpose where very exact measurement of time is required.

The use of a smart phones clock for a calcultion makes it in dicriptive terms a chronometer (METER).

Anonymous said...

Nice response, I've always thought their charging method is their Achilles heal.

Anonymous said...

Verdict is only bad for Uber customers which can only be good for us.

Hackney John said...

Great article Jimmy, it's given me new fire to come out fighting. Just like the old days when me you and Tony stood shoulder to shoulder with Jim Wells in Cranbourne Street.

Anonymous said...

The new thing is to ring the customers up to find out where they are going if they dont like it they just cancel the job, Plenty have admitted to this on their Forum.


Anonymous said...

Thinking outside the box,I like it.
Every minicab outfit in the country now will parity with uber,less the surge pricing

Andy said...

Great article Jim.

Sean Day said...

Great article, and my sentiments exactly. Although the verdict feels like a hard hit is it is more symbolic then detrimental. If other private hire companies start adopting the meter system and the transparency of ours will work in our favour. They think it's a major victory not realising it is quite often the passengers bugbear. Time to plug the holes, we are iconic in every way! If anything, it's game on!

Anonymous said...

Good luck to everybody in the taxi and private hire trades. We all need to earn a living and work happily together like brothers and sisters.

Anonymous said...

I've always said giving a meter ro a minicab driver who doesn't know where he is going is like giving him a piece of rope to hand himself with. GPS may work ok in modern grid cities but they are useless in an old city like ours which is an old winding place without any straight roads and allsorts of unforseen traffic situations around every corner.

Anonymous said...

Least the London cabbie can rectify the metered fare immediately, so the customer will leave the cab with the feeling that they will want to use a black cab again. With the Uber dopes, they go the wrong way or round in circles, as one customer told me, and customer has to fight 'tooth and nail' to get fare reduced ! Nice one mr Judge !

Anonymous said...

there are a lot of drivers on uber who are moonlighting and i am sure you are aware.maybe the the people in higher places are told taxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

Anonymous said...

A lot of my friends, family and customers have talked to me regarding the meter ruling and obviously initially you feel disgruntled as you know the ruling 'isn't fair' to coin a phrase. What you realise is that the ruling was based on the literal sense of the definition, not the idea of the meter principle. As others have suggested this is indeed not a bad thing in itself due to the model U6er operate with regard surging. We are transparent as you can see what we charge. The only problem with this in my opinion is the way TfL are flooding the market with PHV licenses so whether there is a huge demand or not there are a shed load of drivers available at every turn, thus reducing the chance of surging due to availability. And then we look at the traffic. Friday/Sat night was always bad but now it's a PHV/Bus/Taxi showdown in the West End due to the amount if vehicles in the zone and the systematic abuse TfL are subjecting us all to as part of their 'Road improvement scheme'. Do me a lemon. Every journey matters? We are all up against a hell of a lot of s@&£e in this business but I have to say, being part of the more unified arm(s) of the cab trade (UCGup, Mayfair Mob etc) I do feel buoyed, proud and up for the fight for what ever we are presented with. I've been a London Cab driver for 15 years and its only been a year or so that I have felt the unity. Btw I'm @Gazuana on Twitter and on facebook and email. Proud to be handed the StarveAScab sticker by BenidormDave back in July. Keep em loaded and keep on keeping on..