Saturday, October 26, 2019

Addison Lee lenders 'circle' Private Hire giant as sale effort continues

Addison Lee has insisted it expects "a successful conclusion" to the "ongoing" sale process despite reports that its lenders are preparing to take control of the London minicab company.

A syndicate of a dozen banks led by ING have drafted in advisers from Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) to consider their options, according to Sky News, with the company months out from having to repay £200m worth of debt.

It could see the company, which is owned by US buyout firm Carlyle, fall into administration, Sky News reported.

However, Addison Lee remain optimistic of completing a sale.
Valuations of the company were as high as £800m earlier in the year but it has recently suffered substantial losses.

To the year ending August 2018 it posted pre-tax losses of almost £39m, up from £20.8m a year before, despite a 13 per cent increase in revenue.

The company said its revenue had grown by 47 per cent over a three-year period "in an incredibly competitive market".
A spokesperson for the company said: "Addison Lee is engaged in an ongoing sale process, which has the full support of its shareholders and lenders.

"The business traded in line with its business plan through September 2019, has more recently won several large new contracts, and fully expects a successful conclusion to the current sale process.
"In the meantime, it remains business as usual for Addison Lee, our people and driver partners and we continue to provide a first-class service to passengers globally."

However there is an increasing threat of lenders taking control, with a source close to creditors telling Sky News: "Carlyle is out of the money: it increasingly looks like a question of when the lenders take the keys."

It could see lenders take control of Addison Lee through a pre-pack administration if the sale process falters.

Deloitte will continue to work with the company alongside Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Rothschild, the advisers on the auction.
The auction began six months ago, but has yet to receive a formal offer worth more than the debt owed, according to reports.

Norway Scraps 'Knowledge' Test For Oslo Taxi Drivers

The taxi drivers’ test, kjentmannsprøve in Norwegian, is comparable the Knowledge test taken by London cab drivers.

But Oslo Police District last week informed taxi companies in the Norwegian capital that the test would no longer be a requirement for taxi drivers in Oslo and Akershus, Aftenposten reports.

As such, good conduct and requisite health are now enough to be granted a taxi drivers’ permit by Oslo Police, the newspaper writes.

That applies to Norwegian driving licence holders as well as drivers from all EEA countries, meaning that newcomers to Norwegian roads can theoretically drive Oslo taxis from day one in the country, provided they fulfil other working requirements.

Individual taxi companies must now decide their own policies on whether they will test their drivers’ knowledge of local roads.

A total of 13 different taxi companies operate in Oslo and Akershus.
“This came as a surprise to us,” Jarle Kanaris, owner of the Bytaxi company, told Aftenposten.

“In its eagerness to dismantle the taxi industry, the government majority in parliament decided this spring to scrap the (knowledge) test, but we had expected this change to occur only on July 1st of next year, when the changes to the Professional Transport Act [yrkestransportloven, ed.] take effect,” Kanaris added.

“It’s very negative for customers that you could get drivers without the necessary competencies. Satellite navigation does not solve this problem. Now anyone, without any kind of competency, can apply to police for a permit,” he said.

The taxi company owner also said that his company would introduce its own road knowledge test for employees.

Oslo Police District head of office Marius Gaarde said that the decision to bring forward the removal of the test was related to the contractor that ran the taxi driver exams.

“In Oslo and Akershus there was a neutral entity, Taxiskolen, which organized the (knowledge) test. That company went bankrupt in September. There is now no approved test centre. We were contacted by several people who wanted to know where to take the test, so we made an assessment and took the decision to remove the requirement,” Gaarde said to Aftenposten.

“The ministry argues in the new law proposal that technological advancements with satellite navigation make the drivers’ test less important,” he added.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Khan And Brown Taking One Step Forward With Electric Taxis And Two Steps Back With Diesel PH Cars.

For the moment let's put to one side the unfair disparity between TfL vehicles, mandated to become fully electric.
  • Taxis biting the bullet first in 2018
  • PH are allowed five years grace until 2023
  • TfL Buses being pencilled in for 2037, almost two decades after Taxis.

Let's instead focus on who is pumping diesel vehicles out onto our streets.

Sadiq Khan, under the watchful tutelage of Mike Brown, proclaims that 2,500 LEVC Taxis are making the air cleaner for Londoners... whilst simultaneously licensing 90,000 PH diesel cars onto the roads of London.

TfL spin doctors have been able to hide the truth from the public that 4,000 extra PH diesel cars have been added by TfL to London streets since Taxis went electric nearly two years ago.

How can Khan & Brown quantify this anomaly when the amount of extra PH diesel cars added to London's streets are double that of decommissioned Taxi cabs?

Sadiq Khan and Mike Brown are taking one step forward with electric Taxis and two steps back with PH diesel cars. All the time pretending to be concerned about air quality, when in fact they've made £1.2m from the extra diesels.

TfL registered Private Hire have a staggering 480% more vehicles on the road than us.

However we are blamed for the pollution!!!

Khan states 20% of the pollution is taxi generated.... while the true figure is 2%

The discrimination is absolutely clear.

Just for the record Sadiq drives a BMW 440. Never one to lead by example our Mayor. 

If you don’t enforce the sign then they just ignore it 
Oxford st / Park st 24/10/19  @ 17.00

And it gets worse... TfL are currently licensing new Euro 6 diesel Vito’s to be used by a PH operator as a hop on hop off, on demand bus service in south west London. The very Vehicles Khan and TfL have banned for use as Taxis 

The complete incompetence of TfL doesn’t end there!!!

Apparently, we are not the only ones who think Old St is an absolute mess. 

The company contracted to work on the project is in despair with the sheer ineptitude of TfL

It is alleged that TfL have already changed their mind 9 times, and appear to be unconcerned that the scheme has rocketed from the original projection of £15m, to a staggering £40+m

It is very strange that Uber’s licence was not revoked after its recent court case just before its probationary licence ran out! 

It’s also very strange that Uber were given another TWO months temporary licence!
Why two months?
Why not one month or a year?

Two months takes the company over the period where Uber shares can be traded!
Is this pure coincidence ?

We need an independent inquiry to find out if any senior members of TfL, or the Mayors office, have shares in Uber. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

We Will Remember Them. The Taxi Charity Asked Four Veterans, What Remembrance Sunday Meant To Them

Frank Pendergast – Parachute Regiment,
“I think about the friends I lost in WWII throughout the year, but on Remembrance Sunday, I am heartened to know that the whole country is united in remembering those we lost”

How do you spend the day?

“I am so blessed that The Taxi Charity for Military Veterans arrange for me to be picked up from home and take me in a taxi to London to join fellow veterans at the commemoration services. We all wear our poppies and medals with pride and stand united, remembering those that didn’t make it home.”

Do you think younger generations understand what Remembrance Sunday represents?

“During my annual visits with the Taxi Charity to Normandy and Arnhem we are fortunate to meet lots of children and we are always overwhelmed by the love and thanks we receive from them, their parents and grandparents. The children are taught at a very early age about the liberation of their country and we know they will never forget.”

Tom Schaeffer - Parachute Reg                                                                 
“The words of the poem, For the Fallen, by Laurence Binyon, remain as perfect today, to remember the comrades we lost, as when they were first published in 1914 and the words like our fallen comrades will never grow old.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them.

I am so grateful to the Taxi Charity for the support they give to me and the other veterans who have all become my close friends.  I try to give something back by volunteering to do Taxi Charity bucket collections at underground stations throughout London, where the generosity and the kindness shown to me by those going through the stations always amazes me.”

Dickie Forrester - Royal Rifle Corps

“Every year it is so important to me that we unite, to make sure that those who didn’t return from WWI and WWII and all subsequent conflicts are not forgotten. I am so thankful that 11th November still holds such significance for many, and that Remembrance Sunday is still observed by people of all ages, to remember and honour those who sacrificed themselves to secure and protect freedom for our generation and for generations to come. I will be standing shoulder to shoulder with my friends at the Cenotaph, proudly wearing my medals and thinking about those who are not lucky enough to be standing there with me.”

Jeff Haward, MM, Middlesex Regiment

“I fought from Dunkirk in 1940, right through to D Day in 1944 and lost many brothers along the way. Without their sacrifice we would not have the freedom we enjoy today and the 11th hour of the 11th month, will always be the perfect way for the country to come together to remember.”

These photographic portraits are by Glyn Dewis and can be viewed at the 3945 exhibition at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, Woodstock, Oxfordshire until 5 January 2020.

Trade Gets Runaround On Tariff. LCDC Committee Member Micky Walker, Writes To TfL On Behalf Of Trade.

Transport for London are giving the trade a run around with our tariff payment. TFL have stated they will not automatically be applying the cost index as in past years.
Please read the letter the LCDC Committee member, Micky Walker has written on behalf of the Trade and submitted to TFL.

Letter to TfL Finance Committee

Taxi Trade Tariff Team

October 2019
Letter to TfL Finance Committee
Taxi Trade Tariff Team

October 2019
Dear Committee,

We, the taxi trade tariff team, feel compelled to write to you with regard to the continued late implementation of tariff adjustments and further, to comment on your observations forwarded to us with regard to:

The Taxi Cost Index (TCI);

The balancing of taxi fares between fair remuneration for taxi drivers and affordability for customers;

The competitiveness of taxi fares.


This tardiness is becoming systemic. We have been forced to write to Dan Maskell, the stakeholder relationship manager, on several occasions in this regard and the responses have been unsatisfactory. Instead of attempting to correct the situation, the response attempted to justify the situation by pointing out that there is no statutory duty on TFL to adjust fares annually.

However, traditionally fares have been adjusted annually since the mid 1980s, without fail, in early April. Indeed, TFLs own papers state that taxi fares are adjusted annually on the first Sunday of April unless this falls on Easter weekend, when adjustment is delayed for a week.

The last time TFL achieved this date was in 2016 and this has resulted in considerable cost to taxi drivers.

The taxi tariff annual increases were claimed by TFL to be 1.6% (2016); 3.8% (2017); 3.6% (2018); a proposed 3.4% (2019)

Although the 2016 adjustment was on time, it failed to include the significant decrease in Rate 3 and Rate 4 (the long distance rate). This far outweighed the 1.9% increase indicated by the TCI and thus fares were reduced overall in 2016.

The 2017 implementation, applied in June effectively reduced the increase by 25% to 2.55%.

The 2018 implementation was not applied until October and only then after an emergency "Chair Action". This effectively reduced the increase by 50% to 1.8%.

The 2019 implementation has yet to take place but on the assumption that another chair action will agree the proposed 3.4% increase, implementation is hoped to take place in December. In this case the 3.4% award will be reduced by 67% to 1.13%.

As a result, a total of 12% increase over four years, as indicated by the TCI, will have been reduced to just 5.48%, less than half the intended awards.

It is already known that the 2020 adjustment will be a minimum of four months late as it is no longer possible to make a tariff adjustment in less than a minimum of eight months after the amount of adjustment is calculated and the 2020 adjustment has yet to be calculated.

We have offered a solution to this situation, at some cost to taxi drivers, for 2021 onwards but TFL have yet to accept our proposal. It is unreasonable to expect the taxi trade to continue to suffer these annual delays.

We have reached an almost farcical point this week where we discussed the 2019 adjustment that has still to be confirmed, a provisional figure for the 2020 adjustment and proposals for the 2021 adjustment, all at the same meeting with TFL.

If a Chair Action were not allowed for this year’s adjustment and next year’s adjustment were to be on time, we would be asking for both adjustments at the same Finance Committee meeting in 2020.


The TCI is the bedrock of the taxi tariff. It is the sole reason there has been no dispute on fares between drivers and the regulators in the last 35 years. As such, the trade is extremely concerned that last year’s "Chair Action" stated that the TCI would not automatically be adhered to in the future.

Prior to the introduction of the TCI in the mid 1980s, taxi fare adjustments were on an ad hoc basis and this led to problems such as those in the late 1970s and early 1980s. During the late 1970s, the taxi tariff was not increased despite the 1978 oil crisis more than doubling the cost of diesel and high inflation almost doubling the price of a new taxi in the same period.

In order to redress this imbalance, after demonstrations in the streets by taxi drivers and drivers regularly refusing uneconomical fares, the tariff was raised by 52% in 1981. Such a situation was equally of no use to drivers or their customers. This was a primary reason for the introduction of the TCI.

The TCI is the taxi drivers’ RPI and makes a fair reflection to changes in the cost of running a taxi and driver remuneration and has worked very well for more than three decades. The taxi trade would be very much against the regulator moving away from this tried and tested method of tariff adjustment.

While it may be prudent to periodically review the contents of "the basket", the TCI itself provides the best method of ensuring that drivers are fairly compensated while  customers fares are only raised to cover the inflationary increases of inputs.

The trade has worked with TFL to apply the increase indicated by the TCI differently across the tariff rates but to date, not moved away from the total indicated by the TCI. This has effectively lowered Rates 3 and 4 relative to rates 1 and 2. It is the ambition of the trade to continue to correct the imbalance between rates caused in the past by simply increasing the tariff across the four rates evenly.


A perfect balance already exists as a result of using the TCI. TFL statisticians evaluate the rise in the cost of the basket of goods required by a taxi driver to carry out his business.

The rough split of taxi driver revenue is 40% costs (excluding labour cost) and 60% profit (income). In turn, the TCI is comprised in the same ratio. TFL statisticians annually review the increases in the basket of items in the TCI and national wage inflation. Added together, the TCI determines the amount that taxi fares have to rise to maintain, rather than increase, a driver’s real income.

Taxi fares only increase in nominal terms as a result. Therefore in real terms, an increase in taxi fares is only a real increase to a customer if said customers’ income has fallen in real terms in the same period. If this latter is the case, it is outside taxi drivers’ responsibility to redress any such imbalance.

Thus, if the original tariff set in the mid 1980s was deemed to be a fair balance between driver and customer, then that balance has been maintained in real terms to the current day. If it was unfair to driver or customer, the regulator has been responsible for an imbalance for the last three decades and more.

In any event, the whole basis of market economics is that the customer exercises choice. Based on the utility provided to the customer and the price of the service, the customer will decide whether or not to avail themselves of that service; in this case, our taxi service. In other words, the customer will decide if fares are too high or otherwise.

Normally, it may be argued that by raising price (fares), demand will fall. Conversely, if price (fares) falls, demand will increase. As a result, it may benefit both customers and drivers to restrict increases to below that indicated by the TCI.

However, this depends on an assumption that taxi fares are subject to a normal price elasticity of demand and that taxi drivers have the potential to reduce costs and/or increase efficiency. The reality is that neither condition applies to the London taxi driver.

The trade has contended for several years that taxi drivers face an inelastic demand. The recent investigation by SDG, commissioned by TFL, confirmed this opinion of inelastic demand. Therefore, a reduction in taxi fares would increase demand by too small an amount to maintain driver revenues. On the other hand, an increase in fares would result in a reduced demand but nevertheless increase driver revenues sufficiently to compensate for inflationary increases in costs.

With regard to costs, a driver is captive to costs imposed by the regulator, in the main. For example, a driver does not choose to operate a cheaper vehicle than the one currently offered by a monopolist producer as a result of regulations.TFL have the potential to reduce the costs of the taxi service by reducing regulatory costs but not the driver.

In most businesses, cost-cutting will involve reducing labour costs but this is not open to the taxi driver as the owner/driver is the only labour directly employed in running the business.

Equally, increased efficiency of the service depends largely on the road system being used by drivers. Again, the driver is hostage to TFL traffic planning and the reality of this is that year on year, average traffic speeds in Central London are reducing by 3-4%. Instead of increasing efficiency, this situation reduces efficiency and in so doing, increases taxi fares as a fare is comprised of three parts – hiring charge, distance and time elapsed.

It is in the gift of TFL to increase efficiency and reduce fares by allowing taxis greater access to roads and systems enjoyed by other public transport services, namely buses. However, a driver has no scope to make such efficiencies.

The corollary of all the foregoing is that a driver does not have the ability to reduce costs and thus, the only fair way to maintain a balance between driver income and customer fares is to apply the TCI automatically. If fares were increased above the amount indicated by the TCI, fares would be too high. If below that indicated by the TCI, the regulator would effectively be forcing a reduced income on drivers. Forcing a transfer of driver wage to reduce customers’ fares could hardly be called a fair balance.


The only useful way to evaluate competitiveness of a service is to compare it to similar alternative services. In the case of the London taxi service, the alternatives are any other way of travelling around London.

The cheapest fare on the tube for an adult is £2.40 unless using cash, when it is £4.90. Thus, it could often be cheaper for a cash customer travelling only one stop on the line, to use a taxi .For multiple people using a taxi, there is considerably more scope for a taxi to be cheaper. Six people using the tube pay a minimum of £14.40 (£29.40 if using cash), while the minimum fare in a taxi for six people is £3.00. Thus, at certain times of day a fully used taxi can often be cheaper.

The cheapest bus fare per person is £1.50; the minimum taxi fare is £3.00. Thus, there is some potential for a fully occupied taxi (six people)to be cheaper than some bus rides. Obviously, the tube and buses cannot be considered to be close substitutes for the taxi service and a comparison of fares is of little use.

The only other form of transport that can be considered a close substitute is the Private Hire (PH) service. However, in its intended form it may not be as close a substitute as many would consider. The taxi service is a privately-funded but nevertheless publicly-hired service, whereas the PH service is privately-hired.

In its form intended by the 1998 Act, a private Hire Vehicle (PHV) has to be booked in advance and in the early years after licensing this was how the PH service operated. As such, it was not a very close substitute for the immediate hire taxi service. However, it was a very close substitute for the pre-booked taxi service operated by taxi "circuits".

A much lower regulatory cost placed on PH had little effect on the immediate taxi hire service but it quickly decimated the pre-booked taxi service. In 2003 when PH licensing was complete, the largest PH operator, Addison Lee, enjoyed turnover that was only half of the largest taxi "circuit", Comcab. By 2009, Addison Lee’s turnover was greater than the three taxi "circuits" put together.

However, once TFL interpreted "pre-booked" to mean something other than "advance-booked", PH became a much closer substitute for taxis with the introduction of Satellite Offices which in practice were nothing less than PHV ranks for immediate hire.

With the arrival of "Apps" and particularly Uber, in 2014, much of the PH service has changed from an "advance – booked" service to an effectively "immediate hire" service, offering the same service as taxis.

The taxi trade assumes that when the Finance Committee refer to "competition" it is the PH service is it referring to. If so, there are a number of reasons why such a comparison is unfair but basically, the PH service represents unfair competition to the taxi service.

All regulation carries cost and PH are regulated much more lightly than the taxi service. The most glaring example of this is the vehicle used. Currently, the ubiquitous App PHV is the Prius. The only vehicle available to the taxi trade is that provided by a monopoly supplier, LEVC’s TXe. The TXe, even after the current grants are deducted, costs almost three times the cost of the Prius.

Thus, it is impossible for the taxi service to compete with PH Apps on price as the former faces hugely greater regulatory costs than do PH.

Another factor is supply. The taxi fleet has remained static or grown gradually over the last half century, although there is currently a worrying decline in the fleet. Meanwhile, when PH drivers were licenced in 2003 there were 24,000 drivers. As at 20th October 2019, there are now 107,674 (450% increase) PH drivers, an obvious over-supply. This over-supply of drivers enables PH operators to compel drivers to accept returns that more often than not oblige the driver to work unacceptably-long  and possibly dangerous hours of driving.

Even then, many PH drivers are obliged to obtain in-work benefits to augment their income. These benefits are effectively a subsidy on PH fares that does not apply to taxi fares.

Further, current PH fares are unsustainable for the operators. Addison Lee operate a loss. In 2016 they made £10.5 million profit; in 2017, they made a £20.8 million loss.

The Apps fare worse. Uber have consistently lost money since they began trading. In 2017, the company’s losses grew by more than 60% to $4.5 billion and those losses continue to increase. The Uber model depends on predatory pricing to drive competition out of business and create a monopoly situation that will allow the opportunity to make supernormal profits in the future.

Even after that, taxi fares often compare well with PH. As an example, the minimum fare that could be obtained at time of writing for a peak time journey from New Fetter Lane, EC4 to Charing X Station was £17.00. A taxi fare will always be cheaper for the same journey. However, it is accepted that PH fares are generally lower than taxi fares, as regulatory costs dictate they should be.

In summary, it would be grossly unfair and unrealistic to compare the price of a taxi service with that of the PH service when the regulator places as much as three times the regulatory cost on the taxi service as it does on the PH service. In addition to that, PH drivers are working for fares that often require government subsidy via in work benefits and operators are charging fare rates that are unsustainable as the major operators are making huge losses.

In any event, if the spirit of the 1988 Private Hire Act was adhered to, rather than using shoddy wording to allow the regulator to legally misinterpret The Act, the two services would not be close enough substitutes as to make a comparison of fares a worthwhile exercise. The intention of The Act was that "pre-booked" meant "advance-booked" and that was the basis for applying lighter regulation to the PH service than that applied to the taxi service. By interpreting "pre-booked" to mean simply putting an operator between driver and customer, the regulator has allowed PH to offer an effective immediate demand service and destroyed the rational for the justification of dual regulation.

In summary, it would be grossly unfair to ask the taxi service to consider PH fare levels when setting its own fares, or more precisely it would be unfair for the regulator to make such consideration.


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Nissan Dynamo Officially Unveiled At City Hall, Amid Controversial Claims From Mayor Khan

Nissan’s Dynamo, was officially unveiled to The Mayor, TfL and the GLA at City Hall this morning. 

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, said he was delighted to see taxi-drivers "were doing their bit to improve our filthy air". 

Funny though, the Mayor and TfL have no problem licensing up to 600 new, extra Private Hire Vehicles weekly to the streets.... greatly adding to congestion, resulting in extra pollution. 

London’s Taxis (black cabs) have traditionally been diesel, although there have been a large number of Cabs converted to LPG. Over the last decade, the engines in Taxis have become much cleaner and have always been in advance of EU standards.

Khan said: "Working with cabbies to go electric is a key part of our plans to improve London’s air quality. An air quality made much worse by the number of hybrid buses that are running solely on diesel because it’s "too expensive" to change the batteries that proved to be faulty. An air quality made worse by the badly planned road schemes and traffic light phasing, plus a massive increase in the volume of private hire vehicles. 

It’s hoped (at the more affordable price of £47,995 with subsidies) the Dynamo Taxi will accelerate the retirement of older diesel taxis from city streets across the UK."

London recently set aside £42m to encourage drivers to trade in older, dirtier vehicles earlier. Although at one point £25m went missing and it was only when the Mayor was interrogated by David Kurten, Kieth Prince and Susan Hall of the GLA, that it suddenly turned up again. 

According to TfL, taxis account for 16% of vehicle nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in central London, although in reality the actual figure is nowhere near that. 

When you take into consideration the expanding number of Electric hybrid TXe’s, the Gas conversions and the volume of cleaner euro6 Taxis currently in service, the true figure is considerably lower.  

TfL’s  figure  -which originates from the Mayor (another one of his guesstimates, which we’ve seen before on previous occasions)- is as fake as the 13,000 Uber drivers DBS certificates, uncovered by Inspector Neil Billany and publicised in his letter to Helen Chapman by the Sunday Times. 

The Nissan Dynamo is actually London’s third fully Electric Taxi....the first being the Bersey below
See Taxi Leaks article here:

The second fully electric London Taxi, was the Electromobile from Greenwood and Batley, seen below with luggage loaded on the roof, leaving the old Euston Station (image from Bill Munro’s book ‘A Century Of London Taxis’...available on Amazon)

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

TfL Alleged To Be Covering Up For Uber And Asking Passengers To Sign NDA

A well respected driver, has just stated on Twitter, that he had someone in the cab who was run over by an uninsured Uber driver, a year ago. 

He was told by the passenger that Tfl are now paying her medical bills. 

The passenger also told the driver she was made to her sign a none disclosure contract and told not to go the media. 

No surprises here then , Ubers investors are the big players and TFL just don’t want to  go up against them. 

Our biggest worry is having TFL as our regulator, because every new regulation they put on us is nothing to do with public safety, its to speed up our demise, as seen by our removal from the Mayors transport strategy. 

Whatever we expose with Uber, they (TfL) will always cover it up.

DfT are on the side of app technology and there is a huge green light for the likes of Uber, Ola, Lyft, Gett, FreeNow etc, even though it’s been shown how much they rip off customers with expensive fares, or the dangers they place the customer in. 

DfT structure means standards for Taxis & PHV will no fact, they will get much worse.


Let’s face it, we knew something was in place to keep stories out of the media which would be damaging to Uber’s business model, but we didn’t know the origin of this cover up originated from TfL itself. It’s just been one cover up after another an heads must now roll. 

The trade now must push for a public inquiry into the extent of what’s been going on, to keep these reports out of the media.

We now need to know just where the buck stops!

Grant Davis, Chairman of the LCDC has filed an FOI today for information about this claim.  

Is this the first dedicated hotel Electric Vehicle taxi rank in the UK?

Hyatt Spa & Conference Hotel announces state-of-the-art charging station for electric vehicles

[London: 22 October 2019]: Edinburgh Marina Holdings, the developer of the landmark Edinburgh Marina Scheme, has further established itself as a pioneer in the hotel and tourist industry, having recently unveiled its innovative proposition for a state-of-the-art Electric Vehicle (EV) taxi rank at the Hyatt Spa & Conference Hotel.

Edinburgh Marina’s provision of a dedicated EV taxi rank, will ensure that taxi drivers have access to free, naturally sourced electricity, while waiting for their next fare. This notable feature is believed to be the first of its kind in Scotland and the rest of the UK. The proposal is part of Edinburgh Marina’s sustainability objectives and affirms their commitment to the Scottish Government’s Climate Change plan, which seeks to phase out the need to purchase new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032, in the hope of significantly improving Edinburgh’s air quality.

Renowned as a low carbon leader, Scotland is paving the way for the rest of the UK, and Edinburgh Marina’s Hyatt Spa & Conference Hotel is a key player in ensuring it remains at the forefront of sustainable initiatives. The Scottish Government has confirmed funding of £20.6 million to support the uptake of electric vehicles through the ‘Switched On’ Towns and Cities Challenge Fund, and the Local Authority Installation Programme. Edinburgh Marina’s commitment to the green tourism market will lay the foundations for other key entities in the hotel industry to follow suit.

Electric vehicles play a prominent role in championing climate change as they produce significantly less pollution, emitting zero exhaust emissions that create air pollution with hazardous effect. By using the renewable energy available at the Hyatt Spa & Conference Hotel to recharge electric taxis, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will be substantial, whilst further reducing the carbon footprint.

The hotel will overlook the new world class marina comprising 427 full-serviced berths, which will be capable of accommodating boats of up to 40m plus in length, with 24/7 access at all states of tide, new homes, for sale and rent, a luxury living for retirement scheme, in addition to Chestnut Yard medical hub and neighbourhood shopping.

Charles Price, spokesman for the Edinburgh Marina Holdings, added: “I am delighted to confirm Edinburgh Marina’s commitment to the environment with the installation of electric vehicle taxi ranks. With an increase in visitors to what will be a world-class destination, reducing carbon emissions wherever possible is of great importance to us.  I would strongly encourage other developers to follow suit with this environmentally friendly initiative. Edinburgh is the second most visited city in the UK and it should lead the way in carbon reduction.” 

Monday, October 21, 2019

FreeNow Doing Work For Alleged Minicab Touts At Heathrow

A friend of mine was dropping at LAP and Freenow offered him a job back to town, from Terminal 2 back to Dorset sq fixed price of £55 of which I’m told, they (FreeNow) take 15%. 

He also had to pick up inside the car park, money which he can get reimbursed.

On talking to the customers (a couple) they said they were approached inside the terminal building by a woman. She asked if they needed help?

The female of the couple said “my husband is in the toilet but we will require a taxi to Dorset sq”.

The lady who approached them then told them they have to go to that desk to book a ride into town.  The gentleman asked the lady, “aren’t there taxis outside on a rank?”
She replied “no you have to go to the desk” which they did.

Now the driver who did the job received £55 minus 15%.

Now take look at his job information below at what the couple were actually charged by the private hire company who touted them. Not only is it touting, they also overcharged the tourists putting them into a FreeNow Taxi (who allegedly do their work when they are busy and don’t have enough cars. 

This incident has now been reported to the relevant authorities by the LCDC Heathrow reps. 

See Twitter video :


How is it that this company can so easily tout for passengers in the terminal building. If they are touring, they should be expelled from the airport completely. 

And why is it that drivers on FreeNow are willing to use an app that works in conjunction with a minicab firm that touts for work at the air port, ripping off tourists?

Also we found someone else on twitter who was given a "We Know" job by "FreeNow"... (see image below), so it appears the touted job today wasn't a one off.
The Previous job was undertaken on the 14th of this month and also appears to have been a fix price.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Ever Wondered Why Taxis Are Referred To As Black Cabs In London?

The red double-decker buses, the red telephone box, the red post office pillar box, Big Ben, and the Black Cab, all iconic features of the London landscape.

But have you ever wondered why they Cabs (Taxis) were black rather than any other colour -for instance- the same bright yellow as the cabs of New York?

The Hackney Coach can be traced back to Elizabethan times, leading on to Cromwellian London, when they were given a charter to ply for hire on the streets. The black cab as we know it today only dates back to 1948, before which taxis were produced in all different colours.

Just after the war, the choice of Taxi in London was the Austin FX3. This Taxi was produced in black as standard by Austin, although other colours were available, but buyers would have to pay extra for the privilege of having a different colour.

At that time, the predominantowners of Taxis tended to be fleet owners who bought vehicles in batches to rent out to drivers. The fleet owners decided it wasn't worth the expense and just left them black.

Unfortunately nowadays many iconic Taxis are covered with unsightly adverts, splashed across the sides, in some cases, hiding the vehicles colour completely. 

But even so, they are still collectively referred to as black cabs - let’s hope they always will be.

Originally, taxis were referred to as "hackneys", a term which originated from the Norman French word "hacquenée" which referred to a horse that was available to hire. 

Although the first Hackney Coach can be traced back to Elizabethan times, the first hackney-carriage licence dates from a 1662 Act of Parliament establishing the Commissioners of Scotland Yard to regulate them. 

Licences applied literally to horse-drawn carriages, later modernised as hansom cabs (1834), that operated as vehicles for hire (Plying for hire).


In an article in this weeks Mail on Sunday, actor Nigel Planer (The Young Ones) was asked: 
If you were Chancellor what would you do?

"I would give an income tax concession to black cab drivers in London.

"They offer disabled facilities, but are often undercut by Uber and other minicab drivers which don't. 

"It's not fair because black cabs come with higher vehicle and licensing costs than other taxis. Plus black cabs are an iconic London image. I would hate to see them die out."