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They call it the sharing community, sharing economy or the sharing revolution, but what does it really mean? who is gaining out of this so called sharing revolution?
Where our trade is concerned they want you to believe that it is all about sharing, lower costs to consumers, making services more accessible for the end user.
making goods and services more accessible through mobile apps and software is how they say it can be done, and to some extent this is quite true in the short term.
But is it really a sharing community? Do the instigators and disrupters really want to “share”? And what does it mean for the long term future of the trades that have been disrupted? And how will the service to the end user be affected in the long term?
Well of course the developers of this disruptive apps love to put a spin on things to make the end user believe that it is all about sharing, but we all know it has bugger all to do with sharing! The whole aim of the of these so called “sharing community” instigators is to make vast amounts of money for themselves and their investors through disrupting traditional trades by bringing in alternatives and exploting the people who are used to provide those alternatives.
Within our own trade we have seen the likes of Uber who started in America and have now begun their operations in London, their model is to disrupt taxi services by providing private hire cars at discounted prices to the public! From the travelling publics viewpoint this looks very good value, they can use an app on their smartphone to instantly hail a private hire vehicle at a lower price than a Taxi.
But what do they actually get? They get a car with a driver who has no knowledge of where he is going, a driver who cannot find his way around London, the frequently get a driver who cannot speak English that well, so in essence they have received a sub standard service by a driver that is being paid a very low fee for undertaking that journey.
So who wins? Well i’s not the passenger/customer!, its not the driver! Of course its Uber because they have just creamed 20% off the top of that fare. But lets not forget its the sharing community! Maybe I am being a little naive here, but where does the sharing bit come in? And who benefits from this so called sharing?
Ah, I see, the idea of sharing is to make huge profits for these companies and their investors? Not for those companies to share anything with you or me of the customer!
So what are the long term effects of the sharing community with the taxi and private hire trades?
We are already seeing that Taxi drivers in London are reluctant to renew their vehicles due to the downturn in work and bleak outlook for our trade, a lot of the larger private hire companies are now keeping the vehicles longer for the same reasons.
If the work levels continue to decline we will then see drivers starting to leave the trade, both taxi drivers and private hire drivers as they will no longer be able to sustain a decent living from driving people from A to B.
So the eventual outcome could be that the consumer is left with badly maintained vehicles that are a lot older driven by drivers who do not know their way around the city in which they work.
So the end result is that the drivers lose, the customers lose, but the companies who instigated the disruptive sharing age WIN!
Do you want to continue earning a living driving a Taxi in London?
Open Meeting Wednesday 1st October 8:00pm at the Oak Taxi Cafe, North Wharf Road.
Work Levels Down
I don’t think there is a driver out there who would not agree that work levels are not what they once were? It is becoming harder and harder to earn a living driving a taxi in London, yes we are all still managing to keep our heads above water but it is becoming harder.
We are spending longer and longer in our Taxis to earn the same money, we are not moving forward.
With the advent of Smartphone apps and the industry disrupters muscling in on our business the future for the taxi trade in London does not look as good as it once did.
The media keep on telling everyone that we are luddites and that we are resistant to technological change, when in fact quite the opposite is the truth, London Taxis were the forerunners of Radio communications between vehicle and control room, we were also the first to embrace data despatch, we were also accepting credit cards long before any private hire company thought of doing so.
We are never going to be able to stop these so called journalists from writing these badly researched and biased articles but we can do something about promoting our own trade.
Taxi Drivers in London need to stop looking at this profession as merely a job! We need to recognise that we are all small business people and we need to act as such! We need to pull 0ur heads out of the sand, from where we have had them stuck for many years and take the reins of our business and make sure that the London Taxi Trade, which has been around for over 350 years is fit to compete for another 350 years.
Yes we are competing with one hand tied behind our backs as we are told what vehicle we can drive, we have to abide by the most stringent regulations, whereas these business disrupters have blatant disregard for the law, and as we are all too aware, TfL are totally inept at enforcing their own licensing laws and regulations.
Minicabs have been about for 40 years and I have still earn a living – Its always been the same, you won’t change it!
Yes minicabs have been around for over 40 years, but there has never been a bigger threat to our trade than there is now.
You can drive around in your own little World in the misguided belief that there will always be work on the streets with your head stuck up your arse until the day comes when you are struggling to earn enough money to cover your diesel to get back home again.
Or you can do something to help yourself and your colleagues to protect and preserve the London Taxi Trade for the future, to preserve it so that you can continue to provide for your family.
The World we living is changing, we are living in a “switched on World” where technology is king and people have become lazy, they want to be able to order what they want from where they are standing and they want it now! They want an efficient and prompt service and they want to be treated with respect and be shown some customer service.
It’s all Doom & Gloom
Reading this post you might come to the conclusion that it’s all doom and gloom, but there are those of us, within the trade who truly believe that we can win.
We may not win every battle but there are many battles fought within a war! Don’t forget, If we do not fight then we are destined to lose, but if we do fight we may just win!
There are things that we as a trade can do to enhance the image that the travelling public have of the London Taxi, but we need to work together.
It is time that the drivers within this trade took control of their destiny, and stopped looking at others to provide solutions for them.
We are going to hold another open meeting to discuss the future of the London Taxi Trade and what we can do to insure its future, what we can do to promote our trade and improve the publics perception of London taxi drivers and dispel the untruths that the news and media print regarding our fares compared to those of private hire.
The Meeting will be held on
Wednesday 1st October
The Oak Taxi Cafe
North Wharf Road, Paddington
So if you care about the trade from which you earn your living?
If you would like to continue driving a Taxi
If you do not want to retrain to do another job.
Please come along and put your point across, we need ideas and suggestions as to how we can move our trade forward and secure its future.
But you have already had one meeting
Yes I had already arranged one meeting, and no it wasn’t very week attended but there were some positives that come out of that meeting.
Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm
Believe me I have no loss of enthusiasm for preserving our trade, I want our trade to survive and flourish and move forward.
In this episode I talk about promoting the London Taxi Trade to a wider audience.
I highlight some of the negatives about our trade and also the positives and explore a few ways in which we can tackle the negatives within our trade.
I break our customers down into 3 categories Customers Tourists Corporates And explore some of the ways in which we could promote the trade to these different categories of passengers.
We have a meeting organised for Wednesday 27th August 2014 for drivers to come along and discuss ideas and suggestions as to how we can promote the London Taxi Trade to a wider and broader customer base, and how we can make those who have a low opinion of taxi drivers see us in a new light.
We need to learn to re-educate those who have been misled into believing that London taxis are expensive, we need to make it “cool” to use a London taxi, we need to make it “hip & trendy” to use a London Taxi.
We need to become the first choice for passengers who want to travel around London.
I’ve been nominated by my friend and fellow Taxi driver, Paul Morgan, to do an Ice Bucket challenge.
I have decided to take the opportunity to raise awareness and perhaps some funds, towards the magnificent Magical Taxi Tour. Not wanting to take anything away from the ALS charity, I will also make a donation to them.
Magical Taxi Tour
Although they have managed to exceed their target for this year, it’s a dynamic ongoing event. All donations recieved will help secure this wonderful experience for many others to enjoy on future trips.
I also get to nominate three others to take on the ice bucket challenge:
After much deliberation I have decided to nominate fellow Taxi drivers, Mark White, Glen Alutto and Steve Brown (The Parrot).
More about the Magical Taxi Tour:
Follow on FaceBook, The Children’s Magical Tour for Seriously ill children, as they head to Paris Disneyland via P&O Ferries from Dover in a fleet of London Taxis.
This year once again the Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers, have organised the three-day trip of a lifetime to Disneyland Paris for children with life threatening diseases.
A convoy of over 100 London taxis, will be escorted by Police from both London and Paris, London Ambulance Service and AA also assist throughout the trip.
Putting “Kids in Cabs” is the mission and this annual event is only possible with your continued help and support, along with sponsors who generously donate towards the £1250 per taxi necessary to meet the expense, such as Hotel, fuel, food, admission charges etc.
As a result of your donations, this tour has brought moments of great joy and happiness to many unfortunate families. Some of the children who went on the last trip won’t be going this time. We are filled with sadness that some of these children have died, but with your help we are determined to keep on giving even more children this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Please consider working an extra hour over this bank holiday weekend, for the children.
If you would like to donate just click the link below
The UK Taxi Discussion List was established in 1997.
Why not join the list and take part in the lively discussions that are going on!
The list is open to anyone who has connections with the UK Hackney Carriage Trade.
To visit the Discuss website please click on the link below TaxiTalk