Why The Cab Trade needs Evolution and Not a Revolution

Grant Davis, LCDC Chairman

As a licensed driver for the last 34 years, I have seen a lot of
changes within the Industry, the cabs we drive, the work levels, the
minicab threat and  being part of the “Met”… and then Ken Livingstone
taking us over when he became Mayor of London, but I truly believe the
Trade as a whole needs to come together and demand from our Regulators
that they actually listen to what we have to say and not accept  the
“take it or leave it “ attitude being fostered upon us.

The Licensed Taxi Trade as we know it have two bedrocks, the Knowledge
of London and our vehicles, along the line, TFL have managed to make a
complete mess of both. At a recent meeting with Senior TFL Management,
we spoke about the KOL, but after myself and other Trade Reps spoke
candidly and honestly of the reasons why we felt the knowledge numbers
were alarmingly low, we was informed that they “TFL” did not want to
talk about the past, but what can we all do collectively for the
future?

That may suit them, but it certainly does not suit the taxi trade who
has had to suffer watching the trade slowly being dismantled and how
the trade cries of “unlawful”  working practices by the PH Industry
has now been proven correct in the Courts.

My own opinion is that the stance taken by TFL over Ubers booking
practices, workers rights, Agent and Principle agreements have been
nothing short of shocking and as our Regulator TFL should have really
have been the body to seek legal clarification on major aspects of our
industry, such as plying for hire.

Now we can look at the current state of our vehicles or should I say
vehicle plural as now with Dynamo stopping production, we have gone
back to a monopoly. The trade needs to seriously think about how we
address this situation. Every year at the AGM the members of the LCDC
take a vote on retaining the COF and at the last AGM pre covid, we
voted to retain the COF unanimously. As I have previously stated, TFL
promised us at least five vehicles and at a meeting I attended,
Michelle Dix who was in charge of ULEZ told the trade groups that …”
there would be so many charged points….you would trip over them on the
streets”. Her words would be funny if the consequences we are now
seeing were not so dire for the trade and when you think we were
banned from buying diesel taxis in January 2018, the charge point
infrastructure then was ten times worse than it is now.

But the overhaul picture we now  face in London where our taxis are
coming in after payments / balloon payment somewhere in the region of
£82k is just ( in my opinion ) too much. The PH have  a number of
vehicles and if you read their magazines, vehicles like the KIA Nitro
cost £19k that’s four times cheaper than us.. how is that fair
competition?

When the PH scream that English tests etc are a barrier to entry,
imagine 3 – 4 years on the KOL and then having to buy a £82k taxi to
go to work………

We need a choice, no more, no less and as our Mayor and Regulator
demands more  greener vehicles, surely they should be looking to help
the trade in investing green. I truly believe that if you buy a LEVC
taxi, it should have a plate life of at least 20 years and if an
all-electric taxi were to hit the streets of the Capital, then an
unlimited life span should come into play as the age limits were only
brought in to combat emissions, so an electric cab that has no
emissions should be plated every year it passes at the TFL testing
centres. If TFL wish older drivers to purchase a new taxi, they should
understand the financial responsibilities that the driver undertakes
and if he buys a cab and keeps it for say, ten years and retires, he
would be able to sell the taxi on with ten plates left so he could
leave the trade with a bit of capital to help in retirement.

This article is certainly not meant to be in any way “doom and gloom”
it simply addresses the concerns of my members and that as a trade we
need to really become more proactive  on how we can move forwards and
prosper.

Thank you

Grant Davis

Visit our YouTube Channel at www.LCDC.TV

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