There has been a lot of chat around the ranks, forums and on Twitter over the last couple of days regarding the introduction and the deadline of 1st March 2012 for drivers to affix their identifiers into the cabs, there has been a lot of abuse aimed a Yellow Badge drivers on Twitter in particular. Now obviously unfounded abuse is totally unjust and should not happen but this does raise the question as to why have these identifiers come about and who is to blame?
Well I think there a a few reasons why these identifiers have been brought in, the main one being to combat the number of YB drivers who blatantly work in town day in day out, before you all start shouting that the problem is not that bad let me state that I used to rent to Taxis to quite a few yellow badges and know quite a number of yellow badge drivers personally, a number of them are quite good friends of mine. I also know of quite a few yellow badge drivers who once they obtained their shiny new Yellow Badge never had any intention of actually working the area for which they are licensed but instead preferred to take their chances and work exclusively in town, in fact one YB driver actually said to me that he must be getting better these days as the metered fare between any two given locations was getting less so he must be going the right way these days. I also know of a colleague who has a telephone call from a YB badge driver who has obviously been working in town for a number of years asking him whether he could photocopy his identifiers so that the YB could carry on working in town. We have all heard the rumours of the prices being offered for a set of green identifiers, there have also been reports of thefts of badges and identifiers from drivers cabs, funnily enough I have not heard of any YB identifiers being stolen! now they always say that there is no smoke without fire so there must be some truth in these rumours.
Now obviously YB drivers working in central London poses a number of problems, legally they are not insured as they have picked up a fare paying passenger in contravention to their licensing conditions, also as the above YB drivers statement confirms they are not as knowledgeable in Central London as Green Badge drivers, that is without even broaching the subject of YB or YB drivers picking up in Central London being totally illegal!
The thing that I am finding quite disturbing is the amount of conflict that these identifiers is causing between green badge drivers and yellow badge drivers, we are all very aware that these YB drivers who blatantly work in town are obviously in the minority, even if there are 1000 YB drivers working in town they still form a minority of the total number of YB drivers who hold a license. Over the last couple of days I have witnessed genuine YB drivers trying to defend other YB drivers and GB drivers aiming unjustified abuse at some YB drivers whom I know to be genuine. If a YB driver has been working outside of his licensing area then that position is not defendable and the genuine YBs should distance themselves from these law breakers, and by the same token GBs should not aim unfounded accusations at YBs without having substantiated proof.
Personally I feel sorry for all of the genuine YB drivers who go about their business legally as they are having abuse aimed at them which should not happen and they now have to put up with those who have been illegally working in town for a number of years who now have no alternative but to return to the sector in which they are licensed which will obviously have a knock on affect for the earning capabilities of those genuine YBs who have been serving the public in the suburbs for years.
So in conclusion who should all of this anger from both YBs and GBs be aimed at? It should be aimed at those drivers who have been blagging jobs in town for years, it is they who have been instrumental in the decision to bring in these identifiers, it is they who have been steeling jobs from under GB drivers noses for years, it is now them who are going to return to their own licensing sectors to now make life harder for those genuine drivers in the suburbs! So Yellow Badge Drivers, please don’t blame the Green Badge Drivers for you having to display Yellow identifiers in your front and rear windscreens, blame your colleagues who have been illegally working in town, you will know who they are, they are easily identifiable, they are the drivers who you have not seen for a length of time who will reappear at a rank near you soon.