SuperCabby Podcast Episode 15 – TaxiToo Interview

TaxiTooIn this Episode I interview Mick Coulter and Warren Cressde from Taxi Too App

The App was originally called the London Taxi App and was the first to launch in London, before Hailo or Get Taxi!

LDNTaxiApp did not have the financial backing behind them which would have allowed them to compete with the likes of Hailo & Get Taxi who were giving away ride incentives of £10 to passengers.

Mick & Warren then entered into a partnership with the Tweet a London Cab drivers, which at first was going quite well, Tweet a London Cab brought a large number of drivers to the app which is what it needed, but after one of the main members of TLC had to withdraw due to personal reasons the partnership came to an end.

Since the decline in the popularity of Hailo Mick & Warren have decided to give it another go and have relaunched the app as TaxiToo.

TaxiToo has managed to secure some investment from a British company, they explain that the investment has not given the investors control over the way in which the business develops, but it has given them the finance to be able to finish the app. Originaly the main failing of the app was that it did not have a payment gateway for either passengers or drivers so there was no way to process credit card transactions and also no way for the drivers to be charged for jobs. This investment has allowed them to engage developers to add these facilities within the app and to complete what Mick and Warren set out to achieve.

Mick explains that he let all of the old domain names and hosting expire as he thought that he would not have the opportunity to relaunch his app, he is now kicking himself for letting the domains expire and explains that it was extremely hard to come up with a name that was available.

Both Mick and Warren still come across as enthusiastic about the app and also about the London Taxi Trade, which is quite remarkable considering the journey they have endured with the app so far.

You can download the TaxiToo app by clicking on the relevant store below, the app is free to download and easy to register.

App Store

Google Play Store

 

Or for more information please visit the TaxiToo Website

The End of the Taxi Disc

Taxi Disc

No more taxi Discs, does this mean lower Taxi test Fees?

Since the 1st October 2014 you no longer need to display a tax disc in the windscreen of your vehicle.

The DVLA no longer issue Taxi Discs when you renew your road fund license but you still need to pay which can now be done either online or at a Post Office.

AS from 1st November you will also be able to pay your road tax by direct debit in either 12 month, 6 month or monthly.

Recently LTPH announced that Taxis carrying roof top advertising would be charged more money for their annual licensing inspection, they stated the reason for this as being, it will cost them more to test vehicles with roof top advertising!

One of the things inspected during the NSL test is the road tax disc, now that the tax disc is no longer issued or displayed in the windscreen the NSL examiners will no longer be able to inspect the disc surely this should result in lower licensing fees for taxis?

SuperCabby Podcast Episode 14 – The Maaxi Taxi Interview

The Maaxi Taxi App Interview with Gabi Campos and Nat Rothschild

Maxxi Taxi logoIn this episode I speak to Nat Rothschild and Gabi Campos from the new Maaxi Taxi App.

The New Maaxi Taxi App aims to offer passengers the chance to share taxis and pay a lower fare, the app compares fares with bus, rail and tube fares and offers the passenger the option of how many others they would like to share the taxi with, or they can opt to just hailing the taxi for single occupancy.

Maaxi Taxi is the Brain child of Gabi Campos who is the CEO of the new start up company. Gabi started out as a software developer and moved upwards through management roles in various companies to later becoming the CEO of Poker Stars which he left in 2010.

You can take a look at Gabi’s Linkdin Profile Here

Gabi explained to me, that the app is built on completely different technology to other apps that are already out there and that he is looking at this business as lasting at least 10 years, he said that he has no intention of “spinning” the business in 3-5 years like others that have entered our trade, but would rather grow and nurture the business.

Gabi CamposHe stated that he will running the business in a transparent way otherwise he will not gain the trust of taxi drivers, he is open to any questions being asked of him and invitees drivers to go and speak with him at the offices at 26 Hammersmith Grove at any time.

Gabi said that he understands that drivers will be suspicious of his intentions due to what other companies have done to the London Taxi Trade, but he went to some lengths to assure me that his intentions were not the same as the likes of Hailo.

Investment

There has so far been only 1 round of investment into Maaxi, and the sole investor is Nat Rothschild, Nat explained that there will be further rounds of investment and he would rather that taxi drivers invested in the company, he said that at the next round of investment Taxi Drivers would be offered the chance to invest first before the looked elsewhere for finances, Nat also said he would be investing more money into the business.

Nat RothschildNat said that he was introduced to Gabi through a mutual friend who asked Nat to look at 3 investment opportunities, Nat said he looked at what Gabi had to offer and then didn’t want to look at the other 2 as he was excited by the Maaxi opportunity.

Drivers can download to app from the Maaxi website by clicking on the link to get the app, you can then register within the app

Below is some information taken from Wikipedia about Nat

Nathaniel Philip Victor James “Nat” Rothschild (born 12 July 1971) is a British-born financier who has settled in Switzerland,[1]and a member of the prominent Rothschild family. He is the chairman of JNR Limited, an investment advisory business primarily focused on emerging markets and the metals, mining and resources sector. He was co-chairman of Bumi plc, a natural resources group, that he helped create and that is listed on London Stock Exchange. He was co-chairman of the hedge fund Atticus Capital from 1996 until its dissolution in 2009. He has a wide range of international business interests.

Early life and education

Nathaniel Philip Rothschild is the youngest of four children and only son of Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild and Serena Mary Dunn. His mother was from a Christian background while his father was raised Jewish (Rothschild’s paternal grandfather was born into a Jewish family, while Rothschild’s paternal grandmother had converted to Judaism upon marriage).[2] His maternal grandparents were Lady Mary Sybil St. Clair-Erskine, daughter of James St Clair-Erskine, 5th Earl of Rosslyn and Sir Philip Gordon Dunn, 2nd Baronet, whose father was the Canadian financier and tycoon, Sir James Dunn.

He was educated at Colet Court (in the same year as Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne), Eton College and Wadham College, Oxford where he read history, gaining a 2:1. Rothschild was a member of the Bullingdon Club as an undergraduate, at the same time as George Osborne.[3]

Career

Rothschild began his career in 1994 at Lazard Brothers Asset Management in London, before joining Gleacher Partners, the New York-based mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advisory firm founded by Eric Gleacher, former head of M&A at Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers.[citation needed]

Rothschild was the co-chairman (as well as a 50% owner) of Atticus Capital, an international investment management firm established in 1995, that had offices in New York and London. There he was instrumental in developing the business, using his contacts to raise money and employ staff. After the dissolution of Atticus Capital in 2009, Rothschild became co-chairman of the hedge fund Attara Capital LP, the successor investment manager to the Atticus European Fund, which was previously managed by Atticus Capital. He retired from Attara in December 2011.[citation needed]

Rothschild is the former chairman of Vivarte, a pan-European retailer and owner of the Kookai clothing brand. Appointed in 2000 following NR Atticus’s acquisition of a 32.9% stake, in what was widely regarded as the first hostile proxy fight in France, he led the group though its successful restructuring and subsequent sale to PAI Partners, a French private equity firm in 2004.[4]

He became an alternate director of RIT Capital Partners plc in March 2000, and a full non-executive director in 2004 until 2010 when he stepped down from the RIT board to focus on his other activities. He remains a substantial direct shareholder of RIT and a 35% beneficial shareholder of Five Arrows Limited, a Rothschild holding company whose major asset is shares in RIT.

Since 2010, Rothschild has been a non-executive director of Barrick Gold Corporation. He also served as the chairman of the International Advisory Board of United Company Rusal plc, the world’s largest aluminum producer, from its formation in 2007 until December 2011.[citation needed]

Nat Rothschild is a member of the Belfer Center‘s International Council at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the International Advisory Council of theBrookings Institution. He is also a member of the International Advisory Board of the Barrick Gold Corporation.[citation needed]

Investments

In 2000, The Observer wrote that, in addition to Rothschild’s then declared inheritance of £500million, his actual inheritance “hidden in a series of trusts in Switzerland is rumoured to be worth £40bn”.[5] Via NR Investments Ltd., his principal investment company, Nathaniel Rothschild was a cornerstone investor in the United Company Rusal initial public offering in January 2010. At the same time Rothschild bought $40million of Glencore bonds convertible into shares upon an IPO.[citation needed]

Also Rothschild’s NR Investments Ltd. is the largest shareholder (26.5% End December 2009) of Volex, a Manchester-based electrical cable maker. Furthermore Nathaniel Rothschild owns an 11% share in BR Properties, a Brazilian property company, and has an interest in various property developments in eastern Europe (MontenegroRomaniaand Ukraine).

In July 2010 Vallar Plc, a Jersey-incorporated investment vehicle founded by Nathaniel Rothschild, raised £707.2 million ($1.07 billion) in an Initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange. Vallar is led by Rothschild and James Campbell, a former Anglo American PLC coal and base metals chief. Together with other members of the Vallar management team, they have invested £100million in shares of the company. Vallar will focus on investments in mining of metalscoal, and iron ore in the Americas, Russia, eastern Europe, and Australia.[6]

In November 2010, Vallar announced it was buying stakes for $3bn in two listed Indonesia thermal coal (used for power stations) producers for a combination of cash and new Vallar shares, with a view to combining them to create the largest exporter of thermal coal to China, India, and the other emerging economies of Asia. The transaction closed as planned on 8 April 2011.[7]

In 2011, Vallar plc was renamed Bumi plc.[8]

In June 2011, Rothschild and Tony Hayward, the former chief executive of BP plc, listed a successor vehicle to Vallar called Vallares (LSE:VLRS) in London Stock Exchange, raising $2.2 billion. Essentially, this was identical in every respect to the first vehicle, which was metals and mining focused, except that the new entity would try to acquire oil & gas assets.[9]

In September, Vallares announced a 50/50 all stock merger with Turkish Energy Champion Genel Energy, valued at $4.2billion.[10]

In 2011, The Sunday Times estimated his personal fortune to be $1.6billion.[11]

Personal life

In 1994, he married to socialite and model Annabelle Neilson; they divorced in 1997.[12][13][14] Rothschild lived for a time in New York before settling in Switzerland in 2000, and according to the Swiss business magazine Bilanz he is a resident of Klosters in Graubünden.

The racehorse Nathaniel, winner of the 2011 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, was bred and owned by Rothschild’s mother and is named after him.

Controversies

In October 2008, he was the subject of much press speculation when it was revealed that Labour politician Peter Mandelson and the Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska had met when staying on a yacht moored near Corfu, in order to attend a party held by Rothschild.[15] After speculation that this might constitute a conflict of interest for Mandelson, Rothschild wrote a letter to The Times alleging that another guest was Conservative Shadow-Chancellor George Osborne, who, Rothschild claimed, illicitly tried to solicit a donation from the Russian for his party.[16]

Further controversy emerged in the summer of 2009, when it was revealed that Mandelson (recently appointed First Secretary of State) would be returning to Corfu to stay in a villa owned by Rothschild, despite in effect acting as Prime Minister during Gordon Brown’s holiday absence.[17]

Rothschild has been linked to the son of former Libyan leader Muammar GaddafiSaif al-Islam Gaddafi.[18] In 2009, Saif threw his 37th birthday party at the Splendid Hotel inBečići Montenegro where the guests were rumored to include Arcelor Mittal CEO Lakshmi Mittal, gold magnate Peter Munk, as well as Oleg Deripaska and Nathaniel Rothschild.[19][20]

In February 2012 he lost his libel case with the Daily Mail who had accused him of being a “puppet master” in reporting about his foreign trips with Peter Mandelson

Get Taxi Starts “Corporate Team”

Get Taxi LogoGet Taxi have today announced that they are to start a corporate team, these drivers will work exclusively for Get Taxi corporate clients.

I seem to remember seeing something like this before from another app! And we all know where that led?

Instigating this sort of service is, in my opinion, a step backwards, there is not enough work on the system to satisfy most drivers at the moment, and starting a scheme such as this will only go towards reducing the amount or work available to those drivers who are not part of this corporate team.

Below is the email from Remo Gerber

I hope you’re well and the streets are being kind. Some great news for you – we’ve recently had a number of new business accounts join us, and specifically, we have two major account launches in the next few weeks. These clients are very important, so to ensure we can offer them the best customer experience (we need to have 100% coverage within minutes) we are inviting applicants to join our Corporate Team.

As a member of the Corporate Team you will:

  • Be paid a day-rate for 7 hours work of £200

  • You will exclusively work for these companies, or as directed for important jobs – in some cases this may mean just waiting outside the office for the next job

  • Receive an enhanced promotional pack including a 4G WiFi hotspot in your cab

  • Need to have the highest driver standards. You will serve our top corporate clients and be representing the trade in general

To be eligible you need to be one of our top 250 drivers, you can apply here:drivers.uk@gettaxi.com

Please note places are very limited, so do not hesitate to register your interest. We aim to respond to you as quickly as possible and will make a formal announcement once the team Corporate Team is complete.

Just to be very clear, we will never discriminate amongst drivers in job allocation. The process is totally fair. Every driver is eligible to cover any corporate job at any time and the first job request will always be made to the whole GetTaxi team. The Corporate Team is for special situations.

If you want to join the Corporate Team, improve your chances by:

  • Helping out when the team calls – we remember the drivers who are willing to go the extra mile and bring corporate work back to Black Cabs – thank you all for this!

  • Get your rating into the top 250 – best customer service, number of jobs you complete and extra rating points if you accept jobs between 7-10am or 5-10pm Mon-Fri and during the weekend Friday 4pm to Monday 10am

Remo Gerber

So if all corporate jobs will be offered to the whole Get Taxi Fleet then what is the purpose of having this team?

Hailo introduced something similar a while back which culminated in them applying for a private hire license, I wonder where this Get taxi Initiative will lead?

10 Year Age Limit for Taxis on the Horizon

The word on the rumour mill is that there is a real danger of a 10 year ago limit being announced for London Taxis next week.

I have heard this rumour from various sources this week and also read it on a couple of sites.

7000 Taxis could be affected by a 10 years age limit!

It is not yet known whether this suggested 10 year rule will be for all taxis or just new taxis, either way it will have a devastating affect on our trade.

If the 10 years age limit is to be aimed at all taxis then it would render 1/3 of the total London Taxi Fleet useless as at some point in the near future these vehicles would have to be taken off the road.

We have already seen the effects of the 15 year age limit which was compounded by LTC going into administration and the shortage of taxis available to buy or rent which is still being felt by the trade to this day, so a 10 year age limit would be devastating.

It would mean that there are fewer taxis to rent, and those that are available would attract a premium rental fee!

There would be less taxis available in the second hand market and we would see those that are available selling for and even higher price than they are already fetching.

The 15 year age limit has seen taxis selling for the same money today as they were fetching over 4 years ago!

If LTPH and TFL instigate a 10 year rule next week, where do they think the shortfall of available taxis is going to be met from?

Unlike Private Hire, we as Taxi drivers are restricted by the Metropolitan Conditions of Fitness as to what vehicles we are allowed to drive and present for licensing, we cannot choose from the vast amount of cars available to private hire as they do not meet the requirements.

The effect this proposed age limit would have on some of the smaller fleets really is not worth thinking about, many garages and small fleets run lots of TX2′ as rental taxis, these vehicles could become worthless overnight sending garages and small fleet owners to the wall.

When the 15 year age limit was introduced the effect was considerable, many taxis that were still serviceable were forced into early retirement, but after 15 years on the road many fleets would have been changing these older taxis anyway. also a lot of taxis around 15 years old would have been deemed uneconomical to kep on the road and would have been scrapped to provide parts for others. This meant the total number of taxis affected was much lower than it could have been.

But a 10 year age limit would see thousands of taxis that are still serviceable and in good condition forced off the road, where will these taxis go? Does TFL really thunk that these taxis will just disappear off the face of the earth never to be seen again?

The reality is that these taxis which are still quite serviceable will probably end up in private ownership, still being used in London as cheap people carriers and still adding to the pollution in London

Stop Press

Figures confirm that unto 8270 Taxis could be taken off the road by imposing a 10 year age limit!

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