Where Does The Cab Trade Go From Here?

With everyone involved in the cab trade waiting with baited breath
hoping the end of lockdowns will see the streets of London start to
swell again with commuters, workers and tourists, we can only hope
that we never have to experience anything like the past two years ever
again.

It is welcoming indeed to see more cabs working and the public coming
back to us in their droves. Over the past lockdown years, the good
news is that UBER have taken a hiding  in the Courts with both the workers
rights case and also the High Court declaration that requires PH
Operators to enter into a contractual obligation with passengers,
which has potentially massive VAT implications.

All this only shows that unfortunately for the cab trade if our
Regulator had only “Regulated” properly years ago, who knows what the
landscape would have looked like now?
One must ask why TFL had never sought any clarity  in the courts
over issues such as P4H and also the whole Agent / Principal argument,
even when the LCDC Legal team at Bindmans LLP highlighted the UBER
booking process, TFL remained suspiciously neutral.
But unfortunately for us, at the last senior trade meeting with TFL
where Reps discussed reasons why the KOL numbers had fallen so
dramatically, we were told that the trade should forget the past and
“move on” ….. that may be easier said than done, but when TFL allow PH
drivers to operate in our marketplace ( and on the taxi apps ) with
none of our costs and none of the training, it’s not hard to see that
For many people, it just does not add up financially.

So where are we…. Just before the last lockdown in November  I hope
you would agree that work levels were very high and it was just lovely
to see cabs in London being so…well busy! It was such a tonic for the
trade building up to Christmas.

So into February and with lockdowns gone, we can only hope work levels
rise again.

So, if the present outlook looks rosy for the  trade, how can we build
on that and flourish?

I have received many emails and calls from members and non-members who
tell me we need a wider choice of vehicle in London. I remember when
attending the ULEZ meetings at Tfl we ( the trade ) were “promised” a
wide choice… Mercedes, LTI, Metrocab, Nissan,  Mercedes and Karsan but
at present, we have but one vehicle which equates to a monopoly.

The Dynamo Nissan taxi was short lived and their development manager,
John Heath recently took to Twitter to announce that…”Nissan have
sadly ceased production of the e-NV200 which was our donor taxi, we
are talking to other manufacturers in relation to producing another
taxi”.

Many drivers have also raised the issue of the turning circle
requirement  being removed from new taxis as they  feel that  in such
a restricted market  such as in London, it could hold back the
introduction of possible newer vehicles into the market.

With the current demographics of the taxi drivers in London, I know from
members in their late fifties, they simply cannot  afford to buy a new taxi nor
can they afford the rental costs of new taxis, it is a conundrum that
must be resolved if we are to survive. and flourish.
So in my opinion we need to work together to both rejuvenate the KOL and
also address the issue of our vehicle, I would really welcome your
views on both of these issues, everyone.

Grant Davis

LCDC

Visit our YouTube Channel at www.LCDC.TV

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