Saturday, September 17, 2016
Friday, September 16, 2016
Thursday, September 15, 2016
But one issue that is not so well documented is the personal strain that many drivers and their families are feeling as a result of the relentless morale bashing we are all experiencing. It's inevitable that tensions in family life rise as worry over job security and the ability to provide for our families takes its toll.
The natural reaction to take out daily frustrations on those closest to us is something we must not give in to.
We must constantly remind ourselves that our partners are also feeling the same pressure and are worried on our behalf - even if they may roll their eyes occasionally after we mention the dreaded 'U' word for the umpteenth time each evening!
We must remember that for many of us, they were by our side throughout the highs and lows of The Knowledge, from helping us call over to providing support after a disheartening appearance, they were with us. Every time the stresses of our current situation arise we must not forget this.
It is, of course, perfectly understandable for us all to feel deflated at the moment.
Without just cause the media relentlessly drags our good name through the mud proving the immense power of PR in its ability to sway public opinion into any direction it wishes. The avalanche of unfounded, and often personal attacks, on our character continues week after week as we ask ourselves
"What have we done to deserve this treatment?"
Each and every taxi driver has always played by the rules, following guideline after guideline not simply since they became a cabby, but from the minute they signed on to The Knowledge. From that first obscure Manor House to Gibson Square run we have built a bond with London and a love of everything we thought it stood for.
TfL and our current government seem to be doing their utmost to destroy that bond as they actively undermine our contribution to our city and play down our worth to the general public. Let us not kid ourselves that TfL's distain towards our trade is a new phenomenon. Since they inherited us from the Metropolitan Police, they have shown an ongoing and growing resentment to a trade that has done nothing more than give exemplary service to Londoners for over 300 years and is still the world leader in its field today.
Without even the pretence of impartiality from our regulator, is it any wonder that many drivers are feeling so undervalued and possibly even losing faith in London itself.
Yes London is changing and always will - but improving? I'm not so sure. The London I grew up in seemed to have stronger values. It was a place that was built upon a spirit of fair play without the need to tread on everyone in your way to reach your goal. The 'comply or you are expendable' ethos is typical of London's new working culture and is very evident in the cut-throat nature that is being shown to the cab trade. Our government continually preaches about how prosperous London is, whilst ignoring the fact that it's workforce is forced into working excessive hours in a city that none of us can afford to live in anymore.
Don't get me wrong, London is still the greatest city in the world, it's just that much of its greatness is being dismantled by government officials that seemingly tread a fine line between corruption and incompetence. Many of our current politicians are happy to give away yet another homegrown industry to uncaring foreign corporations that meticulously calculate how they can take as much from this country without giving anything back.
This is exactly what is happening to the London taxi trade. Under the pretence of innovative technology our government and regulator are effectively sanctioning a corporate takeover where the little man will be voiceless, controlled and kept firmly in his place. But what can the average driver do to fight back?
It goes without saying that the minimum we should all be doing is to lobby and apply pressure to the MPs in question and support trade demos. The majority of our day to day issues we drivers have no say or control over; fare structures, traffic schemes and choice of vehicle to name just a few. We, therefore, must make clear demands of our trade orgs as they represent our voice in the above issues.
We have a choice to either let the deterioration of our working environment beat us into submission or we can roll up our sleeves and raise our bar even higher to provide a service that the public is thankful for.
The over-saturation of the private hire market means the public have more choice than ever before. However, this has also led to PH standards sinking to new depths.
Through our quality of service we must ensure that the majority of the public only use a minicab because a black cab was not available and not vice versa.
As 25,000 sole traders we must replace our 'we work for ourselves' belief, with a 'we work for each other' mindset. 'The better I do my job today, the better we all do tomorrow' is the necessary mantra we must adopt to have any chance of surviving and flourishing again.
The overwhelming sense of achievement we all felt when completing The Knowledge is something that unites us all. It is impossible to convey that 'badge day' feeling to someone who has not experienced it. Any driver who has been interrogated in a 24ft room by Mr Ormes or Mr Finlay knows that anything Leon and Travis throw at us is trivial in comparison.
So the next time you put on your badge, puff out your chest and wear it with pride like it's the day you were awarded it. We have a long battle on our hands but when our battle is finally won and family life returns to normal, we can thank our loved ones for their unwavering support. After all, they are the ones we were really fighting for all along.
John (@Igot Ormed)
I just started the petition "firstname.lastname@example.org: London Taxi Driver’s Increase risk off Attack" and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.
My goal is to reach 100 signatures and I need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Monday, September 12, 2016
We are already experiencing how de-regulation causes a race to the bottom. History has shown that it is not always the best person, team, product, ideology, or even idea that wins, but mostly it is those that have the most money, weaponry and/or exposure that are victorious. As a consequence, everyone loses. And it has been studied in great detail. The Great Depression in the USA is a case in point.
Studies show how a deregulated environment puts passengers in danger financially and physically, and leads to an unhealthy business environment – preventing companies from providing top quality service.
With that in mind, it is of my firm opinion that the private hire industry is on course for UK wide deregulation. Whilst the consequences of this are not fully known, the ramifications on the stringently regulated taxi trade could be monumental.
On the back of TfL’s tentative admission that it was lawful for PHV/D to show availability was the news that the DVSA were going to scrap the taxi driver test from December 2016, deregulation seems inevitable.
Simply put, any PHV/D that is showing availability for work is plying for hire. Effectively, a concept that has defined our working model for over 150 years is no more. Yes, they have a particular way in which they ply their wares but then so do we. Those who asked for a level playing field are now being rewarded with a one tier system. And instead of instructing all private hire drivers to undertake a similar driving standard requirement to taxi drivers, the policy makers have decided to scrap the taxi driver test altogether. The news of both was secreted to the trade so surreptitiously it has garnered virtually no response at all. Notably, the silence from our representatives is deafening.
I’ll be the first to admit, deregulation of the private hire bill has been a foreboding for some time and was the primary reason I chose to get on board taxiapp. Following a long night of existential angst, I concluded that the trade needed it’s own technological platform. To think otherwise, was to enslave ourselves to the whims of corporates; the money men who feign fondness for the history of our sweet, little localised trade.
In a moment of frantic urgency, I called Phil- one of taxiapp’s founder members- convinced that a work force was being stockpiled in order to perform an en-masse take over of our vibrant, self sufficient industry. .
It is impossible to know where innovation will take us next, but it is safe to say, if we are not on the first rung of the technological ladder we may not be afforded the chance to ascend to the second rung.
Those working on taxiapp have, unequivocally, done everything they can to protect the driver from a potential takeover by off-shore business men facilitated by our very own government bodies. It is crucial that we are not distracted by dissenters (even trolls have trolls) who's misdirection would rather see us sold off to the next highest bidder.
Although i’ve said a thousand times, the intention with taxiapp has always been for the trade to regain control, and to be,, at least, the eulogists of our own destination.
One aspect I have realised since being amongst the passionate and determined steering group behind taxiapp is that business only has regard for business, and taxiapp has in some weird way put the trade back on the map. No question then, if we as a trade want to be a formidable force to be reckoned with when our ranks and the street hail come under threat, then we have to make sure there is no chink in the taxi trade’s armour.
it is as clear as day that our regulators have smoothed the way for us to be hijacked, nevertheless, each and every one of us must accept the responsibility of promoting our industry- on a big scale- to remain valid, and it is imperative that we are in a position to challenge those who would readily take our place. Now is not the time to be suffering the tiredness of defeat.
Taxiapp believe the fight has yet to enter the ring. Collectively, we are a behemoth and by utilising that cohesive strength we can securely operate stronger than all the rest. Merely going through the motions as the Corporates feed on our (not yet deceased) carcasses would mean we are doomed to stagnate amongst the satnav swamp, or at worst not at all.
Are you ready to fight our corner? Defeated, no more! Promote #StreetHail. Promote #Ranks. Promote #Taxiapp. taxiapp.uk.com
In the words of that famous silent film star Charlie Chaplin, let us all unite
Sean Paul Day
London Taxi Radio & taxiapp