Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Black Cab Dying

Richard Branson has weighed into the Uber debate, that any attempt to clamp down on the popular taxi-hailing app will hurt UK consumers. The Virgin billionaire told London’s traditional taxi businesses to “accept” that there is a new model in the industry, and they must either “embrace it or change what they are doing”. “cannot stop progress and you can’t turn the clock back,” he said, speaking at the Virgin StartUp Foodpreneur event in London. “Once you’ve let the genie out of the box and people are benefiting from something, you can’t put it back in.” Claimed that taxi lobbying groups who are fighting to curb Uber’s expansion in the capital should either “accept Uber and embrace it or change what they are doing”. He added: “The moment somebody creates something that’s better value for the consumer, you just have to accept it.” Would anyone pay more for something than the minimum they’re allowed to? It’s a question that goes to the heart of who we are as ‘consumers’. Do you see the inherent value in something and believe you should pay what an item or service is worth? You’re probably at least vaguely socialist, even if the word conjures up images of bearded men printing pamphlets nobody will read. Or do you think the value of an item or service is not somehow built within it but decided by ‘the market’? You probably have a giant portrait of Margaret Thatcher in your house, and it's a long time since that was OK. Drivers will have been through rigorous background checks, to make sure he hasn’t complained to any previous employers about working conditions or attempted to join a union. He could be a champion fiend in other ways of course, the criminal background checks are questionable at best, but what’s a cab ride without an edge to it? Boring, and who needs that at the end of a great night out with the girls? You don't know Londoners very well if you think we don't anticipate the howls of anger that will greet such a viewpoint. People will invoke Amazon to defend the tax point, because Amazon is the new Santa. They'll claim cabbies earn a fortune, which is bollocks. These people will yell at us for being against progress, but what we're against is blindly stumbling towards a worse London than we have now, for no other reason than we might be able to save a few bob. Black cabs are fighting back, but without the support of the people of this city we are going to lose a fine service that is doing everything it can to keep up with the terrifying march of modernity. Give black cabs time to adjust to the Age of Cheap, and eventually you'll come to appreciate their solid, dependable service. Black cabs will die, an honest occupation will go with it, Uber put their prices up immediately, and the moment driverless cars become a reality they’ll be all over it like Cameron on swine (because you think Uber cares about their drivers, you're way off). And when your boss calls you into his office and tells you you’re being replaced by Sergei, who can’t speak a bean of English but by Christ, spare us the whimpers that your skill and experience make you worth that extra couple of quid, because you brought this on yourself with that little app you love so much. taxi weybridge taxi walton on thames

Friday, 13 May 2016

Taxi and minicabs

Taxicabs are regulated in the United Kingdom, the regulation of taxicabs in London is very rigorous with regard to integrity and driver knowledge. The official report observed that however is known about the regulation by anyone outside the trade. The Public Carriage Office, which regulates and licenses taxis and private hire (known as minicabs) was transferred from the police to become part of Transport for London. Only the licensed hackney carriages (black cab) can pick up passengers on the street and without pre-booking. London's black cabs (despite being of various colours and advertising designs) are specially constructed taxis designed to the standards set out in the Conditions of Fitness. London taxi drivers are licensed and must pass an extensive training course (the Knowledge). Unlike other cities, the number of taxi cab drivers in London is not limited. For years purpose-designed vehicles were used, but from about 2008 specially-adapted "people carrier" vehicles also have been used. There are many models over the years. The space beside the driver's seat can be used for luggage, there is much luggage room in the passenger compartment. For improved manoeuvrability, the turning circle is smaller than other vehicles of similar size . The cab seats three people on the back seat, and 2 more in backwards-facing seats. There is good headroom, to facilitate entry to and exit from the vehicle. A ramp for access by disabled people is fitted in every black cab. In London the term minicab is used to refer to a private hire car and the term private hire is used in the rest of the United Kingdom; that is a car with a driver available for hire only on a pre-booked basis. They began operating in the 1960's in competition with hackney carriages after a loophole in the law was spotted. A minicab must be booked, for example, by telephone, internet, or fax, or in person at the office. A minicab can be booked at the time it is required, but only at the office of a company registered to accept bookings rather than directly with a driver. Since 2001 minicabs are subject to some regulation in London and most other local authorities. London minicabs are now licensed by TFL, or LTPH, formerly known as the Public Carriage Office. This is the same body that now regulates London's licensed taxicabs, but the minicab drivers do not have to complete 'The Knowledge', and although they must undergo a small 'test' in order to obtain a 'Private Hire' Drivers Licence, they generally rely on sat navs to take them to the destination. All vehicles available for pre-booking by London minicab drivers must hold a P.H licence showing that the vehicles are fit for purpose; this is updated with 'mot tests' twice a year after an inspection at a licensed garage. In London applicants must send their test Certificate along with their application to the P.H Driver Licensing Section of the LTPH. These are the many differences outlined above between hackney black cabs and minicab taxis. Although there is much going on in 2016 in London with TFL and Uber in the mix!