As has been emphasised many times, there is a need for change. The failure to embrace this message and move forward will be the licensed cab trades stumbling block, and the slick operators in the PH industry will capitalise on our failures. Read these two articles, one by John Griffin and another by FT.com
There is a certain amount of PH rhetoric in John Griffin’s article, but also a clear message about how and where he and PH will succeed by our failure in customer service standards and neglecting to embrace new technology. He goes on to compare the London cab trade to Woolworths who believed their High St brand name was a licence to print money; they eventually became a victim of stiff competition and their own complacency!
Addison Lee employs the very best I.T. professionals and analysts, people at the top of their game. They are employed to enhance the facilities, services and operations of Addison Lee. John Griffin is always looking to the future. He has all of the attributes of a man determined to succeed.
The people sitting on our own board of managements at the various radio circuits are no match for the likes of John Griffin. They have through gross neglect and ignorance let our industry slip behind, by failing to research and invest in new technology. The only technological breakthrough that has been made and used in recent years is concierge, a booking engine that has helped PH to grow and prosper at the expense of our industry and DaC’s own drivers!
Brian Rice said recently at the DaC A.G.M, that he has no intentions of competing with Addison Lee; emphasising weathering the storm was the way we would survive, as he and his BoM had stashed away a few quid for a rainy day.
Below is an article originally published in Echo 99, Addison Lee’s own professionally written magazine:
These are hard times for both the hackney carriage and private hire trades. There seems to be some evidence that the black taxi trade has been hit hardest. Some private hire proprietors will rejoice in this fact but they should consider how this may affect them.
The taxi trade often accuses the private hire industry of a hidden agenda whereby they are secretly planning to be able to ply for hire. Nothing could be further from the truth, if private hire drivers could ply for hire all the companies would have to close as they would have no drivers.
The truth is that London needs a vibrant taxi industry with both hackney carriage and private hire competing to offer superior services. On the available evidence it is clear that the black taxi drivers are beginning to suffer from years of neglecting the quality of service they are offering. A visit to any mainline station rank will show a number of drivers inappropriately dressed in trainers and shorts who sit in their cabs while the passengers wrestle their suitcases into the rear passenger area.
The private hire industry is now paying drivers to take customer service courses take topographical tests and how to make maximum use of the new I.T. facilities that are installed in their vehicles. Satallite navigation systems are now more reliable and sophisticated even taking on board traffic conditions and road works. The London taxi driver at best knows 10% of all the streets in London while the sat nav reaches 99%. These are issues that the taxi trade needs to take onboard if they are to fight for their share of the market.
Will passengers continue to stand on street corners waiting for an available taxi or will they press a button mobile that will send them the details of the driver who is on his way to pick them up?
London needs a vibrant black taxi trade offering the quality of service which meets the demands of the 21st century. They urgently need to address this problem or they will disappear under a barrage of competition from the private hire industry. This must not be allowed to happen. For a driver who takes two years to complete his knowledge, now is the time to take one week to learn the art of customer service.
The London black taxi enjoys a lot of emotional support from the public. Over the years they have earned this support, but so did Woolworths who died because they failed to change with the times.
This must not happen to the London hackney carriage and the time to start the fightback is now.
The time is right for change. We can move forward into a bright and exiting new era, and maintain our reputation as the World’s best Taxi service. Or we can stay apathetic and let the current status quo maintain a standard of living at the expense of our jobs and industry.
Get out of the trade squabble and into the real fight now!