Monday, August 15, 2016

When The Dream Turns Into A Jim Thomas

Very shortly, we will all be taking Credit and Debit Cards as the mandate kicks in . 
We've been sold the dream that Credit Cards are the future, the work will come flooding back and cash is for dinosaurs. 

That may be the dream, but it has already started to turn into a nightmare for some.

• When did you ever have to pay a third party transaction charge for taking cash?
• When did you have to pack up work and go home because your coin dispenser suddenly developed a fault?
• When did you ever decline a twenty pound note?
• when did you ever get a claw back request for cash?

I've been taking CCs for a number of years, first through Adelante's POS mobile app. I then progressed to CabApp's app which allowed a transaction through your phone without any third party equipment. 

But then, when certain card providers stopped accepting this type of online transaction, I decided to invested in an iZettle unit, which works by Bluetooth connection to a smart phone. I can honestly say, in all the time I used these systems, I never encountered a problem other that I once entered the amount as 32p instead of £32. Lesson learned, I moved on and was more careful with future transactions. 

About a month ago, in line with the impending mandate, I had a terminal fitted in the rear, connected to my meter/printer, with its own GPS source and independent of my phone's Bluetooth and data usage.

Stickers were attached to my passenger compartment side windows and partition screen. I was told this is the future, work will flood back. 

Unfortunately, this hasn't been the case.

Although I don't work the airport and only do about 30 hours over 5 nights, I'm averaging approx 5 to 6 CC trips a week. Passengers it seems, are not queuing up to use my new service, which currently blocks my rear view (well done TfL)

So what happens when the equipment suppliers come to the conclusion, passengers have not gone contactless wholesale and their machines (26,000) are not being used as much as first hoped?

To attract drivers into the pool, some suppliers have reduced their 10% service charge to around 3.95%, quite a drop! 
But what will happen when they come to the realisation, they've supplied machines to the whole trade, have taken over a 50% drop in service charge and yet the cab riding public haven't suddenly become a cashless society....

What do you think will happen next. 

Service charge will increase, there will be daily/weekly/monthly rentals (already happening with some radio cab companies). 
I know this seems hard to imagine but one CC equipment supplier in particular is asking for £100 deposit from drivers they believe won't last out a three year contract.

Even rental garages are starting to stick their greedy hands further into drivers pockets by charging their drivers a weekly (what they are calling) accidental damage insurance fee on fitted CC machines.

One of my friends has had a unit fitted in his MetroCab. 
The unit, fitted on the side hand rail, is so low down, the screen cannot be read from the normal sitting position. 
The passenger has to bend down almost with head touching the seat to read the LED screen. 

And this has been passed by's a joke.

At a time when the trade is in dire straits, the "Credit Card Mandate" has added an extra financial burden, which is about to get a lot worse -if/when- rentals are introduced and service charges rise dramatically. 

Yes there was a consultation, but in true TfL fashion, our licensing authority rarely take note of replies not suiting their own agenda. 

• The 3% cap on surcharges was dropped to favour equipment suppliers.
• The surcharge was moved from passenger to driver even through the vast majority voting against this happening. 
• The same with rear fitted machines. No notice taken, of their own consultation.

Major suppliers have indicated to TfL, they may not be able to equipt all vehicles by the 3rd of October. 
TfL have stated firmly on Twitter, there will be no extension to the deadline. 

With compliance being expanded to 350 foot soldiers (with no power other than to harass Taxi drivers) looks like there's going to be a lot of stop notes being issued in October. 

Well done TfL, another complete mess you've made.


Anonymous said...

As I've said on a different site anything a certain mr Daniels has signed off for the trade should be torn up and re- negotiated because of his bias to a certain company that wants to destroy us

Anonymous said...

stickers ALL over my cab - inside, outside, EVERYWHERE, but 90% of my passengers, still pay by cash

if they want to use a CARD, I have my little IZETTLE reader, that was FREE & just connects to my smartphone

what the: Abstract of Laws (updated 2008)

it only refers to: PAYMENT ON THE SPOT

see: page 21, section (3)

Anonymous said...

What happens if I have to rent a cab because mi e is in repair. The rented cab does not have the same fittings. What I am I suppose to do not work

Anonymous said...

Dear sirs , a lot of drivers have been getting headaches coming from the credit card machines on partion Windows , I understand the radiation from these machines is similar to mobile phones , can we have an urgent inquiry .... Also why do all the shops and coffee shops have hand helds ,,,, never mind uber this was the one for a big demo , your health is more important ....

Anonymous said...

I thought izettle are doing a bundle that is approved by TFL. I've got a reader was gonna put the cradle and printer in when released. Is this not happening now?

Anonymous said...

Having the reader in the back of the cab will be a safety issue to drivers, they will be tempted out of the vehicle on the pretence the reader is not working. Either get in the back of the cab and sort it out or you don't get paid, driver gets out and is attacked and robbed. Also what happens if I pick up a lone female at night and she can't work the reader, am I supposed to get in the back with her and show her how it works? As usual, Tfl have not thought this through, having the equipment in the back will be a safety issue for the driver.

Editorial said...

Anon 2:04 pm
In the last 4 weeks I've had to get in the back 6 times to explain to customers how to use machine.
The most worrying thing is I have to walk round to the pavement side to see the machines screen. I cannot turn off the engine and lock the front as the system won't work with ignition off. So the safety of my driver compartment is compromised.

This whole issue is a mess but what concerns me most of all is the complete silence from our trade representative groups.
This rear fitting is putting drivers safety at risk and should be taken up by the orgs
Unfortunately some of them have conflict of interest, as they sell advertising space in their trade mages to the multiple CC equipment suppliers

Jim Thomas

Anonymous said...

Bad experience with CC

Passenger put card in wrong way round and my system shut down and wouldn't reboot for 11 minutes. Message came on screen "please wait 660 seconds"

Passenger tried to insist he shouldn't have to wait, shouldn't have to pay
Took him to cash machine

Anonymous said...

Complete balls up. No driver should use the cc facility of any company that actively lobbied for cc mandate. Izettle seems to be the most honest to me‼️Why the orgs not fighting for the right to pass on the charges⁉️

Anonymous said...

Don't understand why you changed from iZettle to a more expensive solution? Charges are more likely to become cheaper than more expensive as more players enter the market. IZettle does not rely solely on the taxi trade so numbers won't affect its prices.

As most here are reporting that 90% of payment is still cash (my experience as well) it seems the 20p cc flag fall increase is more than covering charges (if you have chosen a reasonably priced provider)

Anonymous said...

I've lost count the number of times I've had to get out with a person who's had a few drinks - not totally smashed - money up front for that lot - and had to do the card payment for them! The combination of no bins (glasses) and a few light ales has meant they can't make head nor tail of the reader in the back. Been a bit foolish really hadn't thought about my safety. If this becomes common knowledge with thieving scum that we get out to sort this out - then it's only matter of time before some innocent driver gets whacked. Clearly I need to think about this as once your out of the office you are very vulnerable. Be safe out there!

Anonymous said...

another wonderfull solution to a non existant problem,what happens at night when you get to the destination and the card is declined?whos bright idea was this?seem to remember it was grant davis of the lcdc in one of his cosy little chats with boris,who ever it was well done another nail in the cffin of the licensed cab trade