Article from the May edition of private hire and courier magazine.
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The new mini-cab rank come feeder park will open this month at O2 centre in Greenwich. Mini-cab companies will be charged a fee of £2.00 to use the so called waiting facility for their pre-booked jobs. It will become London’s largest satellite office and would you believe it, they are employing professionally trained security guards to protect it from mini -cab touts!
This venue will be another jewel in the crown for the private hire industry and another stab in the back for licensed taxi drivers. Yet again TfL and the Metropolitan Police Farce have their fingerprints all over the deal.
This is the newly created model and the way forward for private hire to circumnavigate the 1998 Private Hire (London Act) and it’s the clubs belief that TfL have bent over backwards to help achieve this. It is our belief this model will be rolled out to all other major venues if it is seen as a success, which it will be! I wonder if the Olympic stadium is being designed to incorporate this facilility ? You can bet your bottom dollar private hire have been consulted over transportation facilities at the new stadium.
It’s becoming more and more evident there is some kind of TfL strategy in place that we know nothing about. We are now witnessing the careful dissection of the London taxi industry. TfL since its inception has victimised the licensed cab trade by virtually holding it down with constraints while private hire has raped our industry. They have tried to force harmonisation upon us and have been robust in helping private hire find its feet.
Whatever gave mini-cabs the right to pick up from a rank? We had to endure hardship and three years on the knowledge for this privilege. Maybe if the people making the decisions that will affect the long term future of our industry were to complete the first twenty runs of the bluebook, remember them and call them over for a month (all to be done in their own time). Then maybe they could begin to understand why we feel so passionate about our jobs. It’s not all about money; it’s about being a part of something that has been synonymous with London for 300 years. We have been undermined for far too long and tarred with a brush by people that are ignorant of what it means to us to be London cab drivers. It seems that there are many out there that begrudge us a living!
Yes, changes are needed, but is part of TfL’s strategy that we be no more than a novelty sighting for tourists in the future? Because if we don’t start to bite back this could well become a stark reality!
Never in the history of the London cab trade has the future looked so ominous. The radio circuits have sold out to private hire, their systems are infested with mini-cab bookings. Their idea of competing with private hire is to provide a cheaper mini-cab for the customer booked through their own systems. How can this be beneficial to the radio circuit driver, or our industry? It’s nothing less than cab trade treason!
When was the last time you read anything from the self proclaimed gatekeepers of our industry supporting our trade organisations in their ongoing battle to stave off the onslaught from the private hire industry ?….. Zip, Nada, NOTHING! The time has come to rally and cut out the cancer that is slowly killing off the licensed taxi trade in London!
This new ranking area and the latest assault by BAA /Addison Lee at Heathrow should be enough to get through to the very thickest skinned cab driver, that there’s a limited future to our industry as we know it unless we make ourselves loud and very visible ! It’s getting less and less feasible to invest outrageous sums of money in a new vehicle when our livelihoods and futures are under threat by TfL accommodating private hire with whatever they ask for!
Additional photo’s. Alan Mac
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