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!
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.
The West End Project will transform the Tottenham Court Road area, making it safer and more attractive for residents, boosting business and creating new public spaces.
There will be a big increase in people coming to the area with the opening of the Tottenham Court Road Crossrail station in 2018, and we need to make sure that the area is safe and welcoming.
The one-way system will be replaced with two-way tree-lined streets, some protected cycle lanes and new public space. The scheme will reduce congestion and pollution, widen pavements and make bus journeys quicker.
We have secured £26 million of investment to improve Camden’s West End. The improvements will unlock the area’s potential, boosting business and creating new public spaces for the community and visitors to enjoy.
The project will be delivered by 2018 in time for the opening of Crossrail, when Tottenham Court Road station will be busier than Heathrow Airport.
Cllr Phil Jones, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport & Planning outlines the vision behind the West End Project.
Traffic congestion creating delays and poor air quality
Narrow and cluttered pavements on Tottenham Court Road that won’t cope with more pedestrians
Lack of public spaces to enjoy the area
One-way streets on Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street making journeys longer
Bus passengers find the area confusing as they can’t arrive and leave from the same street
Pedestrian and cycling casualties caused by the speed of traffic and lack of good pedestrian crossings and cycle routes
High quality public spaces for everyone to enjoy
Better streets that reduce traffic congestion, delays and collisions
Brand new parks, green spaces and improved air quality
Safe and attractive streets with wider tree-lined pavements
Streets designed to make bus journeys simpler, faster and more reliable
Improved streets for cycling including protected cycle lanes on Gower Street
A better place to do business
We have assessed the impacts of our proposals and these would be:
Less traffic across the area
Some bus routes over 3 minutes quicker
6 new or improved public spaces
Up to 285 new trees
Widen pavements by up to 2 metres
Make an extra 15 streets two-way for cycling
The West End Project covers the area outlined below and includes the public spaces, main roads and side roads.
The area is home to a large number of residents, the British Museum, University College London and University College London Hospital and is thriving with theatres, businesses, cafes and restaurants. quality public spaces for everyone to enjoy.
Every Taxi Driver should read this and complete the consultation survey as this will severely alter our working environment
In the 1988–89 season, Sitton captained Leyton Orient to promotion to the Third Division through the play-offs, and in all made over 200 appearances for Orient in all competitions. After his release in May 1991, he started working for Orient’s School of Excellence Academy as a youth coach whilst making a few appearances for Slough Town in the Conference. By the end of his playing career, Sitton played in all of the top five divisions of English football.
Sitton was appointed joint caretaker manager at Leyton Orient with Chris Turner in April 1994, following the departure of Peter Eustace, and helped the team avoid relegation from the Second Division by earning four points from their last two matches. The co-managership was Sitton’s idea, as he did not know many of the first team players since he moved into coaching in Orient’s youth setup, and knew that Turner had more knowledge about them. The duo were given the job permanently that summer after the board received positive feedback from the players, and continued throughout the difficult 1994–95 season in which Sitton had to work in six different roles within the club whilst on a youth coach salary. The squad size was cut in half and the club was on the verge of liquidation, with the PFA paying the players wages for several months whilst chairman Tony Wood tried to sell the club.
During this time, he became one of the few football managers to feature in a Channel 4 documentary, Orient: Club for a Fiver (sometimes known as Leyton Orient: Yours for a Fiver), made in 1995 by Open Media. The programme highlighted Sitton’s well-known passionate language and managerial style, and featured a half-time team talk given by Sitton on 7 February 1995, after Orient had fallen 1–0 down in a league match at home to Blackpool. After sacking defender and fan favourite Terry Howard on camera in the dressing room, Sitton addressed two other players and offered to fight them, saying:
“You, you little cunt, when I tell you to do something, and you, you fucking big cunt, when I tell you to do something, do it. And if you come back at me, we’ll have a fucking right sort-out in here. All right? And you can pair up if you like, and you can fucking pick someone else to help you, and you can bring your fucking dinner. ‘Cos by the time I’ve finished with you, you’ll fucking need it.”
Speaking about the event later, Sitton said, “Terry’s an ex-teammate of mine who I like very, very much. He’s good company when you go for a night out – but as a manager and a coach, he’s not what I’m looking for. I may have lost a friend, but by tomorrow I would have recovered.”
Orient went on to lose the match 1–0, and after winning only one of the next 15 games, both Sitton and Turner were sacked two months later. Orient won just seven of 47 games under the pair. After the pair left, the side lost the following three games and finished bottom of the table.
New owner Barry Hearn had briefly considered retaining Sitton on a three year contract, before hiring Pat Holland as Sitton and Turner’s replacement.
After leaving Brisbane Road, Sitton battled depression and had therapy. He was passed over for many club coaching jobs due to how he was perceived in Club for a Fiver, leaving him very disillusioned. He spent eighteen months applying for work without success despite being a well regarded coach within football.
Sitton had a short spell as assistant manager at Enfield under controversial chairman Tony Lazarou, and later briefly worked as assistant manager at Leyton. A few years later, he was brought back to the club by popular demand from the players. As manager, Sitton started well in the league, but pressure from chairman Costas Sophocleous after a draw made him decide to leave after the following match.
Sitton also worked at the Press Association, compiling statistics for Arsenal matches for the Actim Index, and had also spent some time as a martial arts instructor.
Sitton currently works as a taxi driver, and is a regular Twitter user. Since 2012 Sitton has done several interviews with Vernon Grant on YouTube in which he discussed his playing career and his time as Leyton Orient manager. Sitton related his hopes of creating a Wimbledon-style Crazy Gang mentality at Leyton Orient, coupled with youth development along the lines of Dario Gradi‘s work at Crewe Alexandra.
Since February 2013, Sitton and Grant have made regular videos via Skype in which Sitton discusses current events in football, tells anecdotes and makes score predictions. The pair are currently collaborating on an autobiography due for release in 2014. Sitton also appeared on Pitch Talk, discussing his life and career, and has also appeared onTalksport.
Sitton has a wife and three children. They live in Chingford, London.
We have been getting a lot of questions lately asking, “how’s the app going?” When will the app be available?” so I though that I would speak about how we started, how far we have come, when we realistically expect to have the app available.
I talk about offers that we had from various third party app developers, why we didn’t accept any of the offers and the individual reasons why they were not appropriate for our trade.
I mention some of the things that those involved with the project thought were fundamental for our app to succeed.
I also talk about how the app business will be set up, how the cooperative will work and what drivers can expect from getting involved.
This episode was not scripted and I spoke about the app “off pat” so please excuse some of the pregnant pauses and if I repeat myself please forgive me, this was originally broadcast on London Taxi Radio on Monday 11th August 2014 live.
You can get in touch with the TaxiCab Group either by email or via twitter @TaxiCabLDN