I'm fed up with being told how expensive Taxis are, when in fact what we're experiencing, is 'the Primark effect!'
If you shop exclusively in Primark, Poundland and Iceland for a few months, then suddenly go in to M&S or Waitrose, you get the shock of your life.
But it's not like for like, you've become accustomed to low quality, substandard goods produced by children in third-world countries and when you compare the quality, M&S and Waitrose win hands down.
People want cheap....until it comes back to bite them on the arse. Ask a rape victim if they would have preferred to pay another couple of quid ...and got home safe!
Ask the celebrity who bought a cheap Disney dress and saw her daughter engulfed in flames if she'd like to go back and pay more for a flame proof dress!
When the unspeakable happens, cheap doesn't factor in, it's just too late after a tragedy!
Let's now go back to Taxi prices!
We appear to be expensive because we are being compared like for like to a company using slave labour (willing to work well below the living wage), fares subsidised using vast investment from huge financial corporations, operating an illegal form of predator pricing, with drivers using a vehicle half the price of ours, subsidised in many cases by the fact they don't have the correct insurance.
This has been sold to the drivers as a part time job, where you can just pop out and take a few quid when your not doing anything!
Also look at the costs involved in doing the knowledge as compared to signing up to Uber!
The Taxi trade have had little to no fare increase in many years and suddenly...we've become too expensive?
If we wasn't too expensive 6 years ago, why are we too expensive now....we haven't had a noticeable fare increase!
What we do have now is congestion....massive congestion.
Caused by road works in virtually every major street, with side streets closed to through traffic.
We also have a new phenomenal of the segregated cycle lanes which (although the Lycra brigade won't admit it) also cause congestion 24/7.
Take a trip to tower bridge along Upper and Lower Thames street at one o clock in the morning....its mashed!
A scandalous victim of the greenie cycle brigade which is causing massive congestion, pollution and lengthy journey delays.
And they have the ironic cheek to have speed cameras along this route.
On top of this, in the day time, we no have the bank Junction exclusion of Taxis.....adding to the surrounding chaos.
Add to this madness the congestion caused by the escalation of an uncapped Private Hire Trade, with TfL selling PHV licenses like sweets..... Of course Cab journeys are taking much longer than they did five years ago...... and it's being reflected in the price!
Should we reduce fares to compensate?
If the drivers themselves decide to reduce prices, then (in Taxi Leaks opinion) it should be done across the full spectrum of rates, with a set percentage drop.
There has been a call to scrap rate 3 but this comes mainly from day and evening drivers who wouldn't be affected.
What good would this do as the problem of traffic and higher journey prices is a 24 hour problem?
A set percentage drop would be much fairer.
Plus if you take away the incentive to work unsocial hours, then you could be creating a shortage of drivers at night, going back to a pre-Livingston era.
There's also been plenty of talk about a set price (bell the meter) for journeys to Heathrow, but why should airport jobs get a discount yet a Northwood Hills resident have to pay the full price?
As we've said many times before, it's no good blaming the Taxi trade, it's really not our fault. Our prices are set by TfL and ratified by Parliament. Hire journey prices have resulted from avoidable congestion.
To solve this problem, you have to look towards TfL and local councils who make these crazy planning decisions.
What ever happened to the traffic Zhar who's job was to coordinate road works?
If we were to have a competition to find the worst council of all, Camden would win hands down!
The new traffic schemes implemented across Fitzrovia have seen greatly increased journey times/costs, through extremely bad planning. Three major transport termini are within minutes of the worst transit scheme ever seen on London streets. Everything appears to be geared around cycles, with no thought whatsoever to travellers using the three stations. TfL won't get involved because the current schemes encourage travellers to use the tube.
In the run up to the Mayoral election, Sadiq Khan promised us "use of all bus lanes" to help with journey times/ cost but has now done a U-turn saying Bus drivers have complained that they don't want Taxis in 'their' lanes....how ironic....as many bus drivers now work part time for uber!
One bit of good news...Taxis are to be allowed to use the bus lane in front of the UCH in order to ease traffic from the Euston underpass. But don't use until the TMO is in place and the new signage has been uncovered.
There's been a lot of meaningless sound bites from TfL and the Mayor's office lately, but the one that gets my blood boiling is "London is open"
It should be "it'll be nice when it's finished".