I was following a thread on Twitter the other day where a
driver who shall remain nameless admitted that he had been double flashed by a
speed camera in N1 and was asking whether anyone knew whether that camera was
active or not.
No driver could give a definitive answer as to whether the
camera was active and whether the affected Taxi driver would be getting a PCN
through the post.
This got me thinking about speed camera alert systems and my
ageing Road Angel that constantly loses GPS signal so is totally useless most
of the time, it also reminded me that I had been considering replacing the Road
Angel with a newer, more reliable device but had yet to find anything suitable.
Reading through the thread one driver commented on how he had utilised an old phone with an app called Cyclops which had saved him from falling fail of any speed cameras on numerous occasions.
Now I had never heard of Cyclops, but I do have a couple of
old iPhones that I no longer have any use for, so I looked up Cyclops on the
App Store and downloaded it.
Cyclops allow you to use their app for 1 month on a trial
basis and then for £2.99 per year, comparing this to standalone Speed Camera
Alert Systems it is extremely cheap as they can cost upwards of £80.00.
My initial impressions of Cyclops are very good, the app
seems to work very well and gives accurate warnings of speed & traffic
alert camera’s and also changes in speed limits on roads.
The app is simple to use and has an attractive warning
system with both visual and audible warnings which can be turned off if desired.
The visual warnings are great, the background which is normally black turns
yellow when approaching a speed or traffic light camera and also turns red when
you exceed the speed limit in a controlled zone of 20mph.
If you are worried about the increasing number of traffic enforcement cameras that seem to be appearing on every road and traffic signal then Cyclops is well worth considering, it can run in the background on your phone or if you have and old phone that you no longer use then maybe you could utilise it as a dedicated camera alert system.
Peugeot have recently taken over General Motors Europe, which includes Vauxhall Motors UK and has brought into question whether those working for Vauxhall will keep their jobs or if Peugeot will relocate the vehicle manufacturing to somewhere else in Europe?
Vauxhall employs around 4000 people manufacturing cars in the UK and obviously there is great concern over possible job losses, which cannot and should not be ignored.
Recently the Port Talbot steel works was all over the news as it was threatened with closure as the parent company Tata were looking to close the works as they claim that Port Talbot could not compete with cheap steel coming from Countries like China.
Port Talbot employs around 12000 people making steel and there was an enormous outcry that these jobs needed to be saved, there were shouts that the Government should step in and make sure that the steel workers did not lose their jobs.
Port Talbot attracted massive media coverage due to its possible closure; there was not a day go past without a news item either on the TV or in the press regarding Port Talbot.
Both of these industries have a combined workforce of around 16,000 workers who were threatened with job losses and unemployment.
There are just under 25,000 London Taxi Drivers, plus the industries that support the Taxi Trade in London which includes garages, insurance brokers, advertising companies, card processing companies, fleet owners, Taxi manufacturers, component suppliers & meter rental companies to name just a few.
The London Taxi Trade supports around 35,000 workers if not more, the support industries rely totally on the London Taxi driver to obtain their income, without the drivers these support industries basically have no income and therefore no business.
Drivers in London are under increasing pressure from Private Hire companies using app-based technology to reduce the lead-time for a booking down to, in Leon Daniels words, a Nano Second. The time decrease in passengers having to wait for a car essentially means that these private hire vehicles are now available for immediate hire hence challenging the traditional and legal domain on the Black Cabbies.
Also with their reduced running costs, and cheap labour these app companies are able to offer their services a lot cheaper than the London Taxi drivers. Taxi Drivers in London are compelled to buy only the vehicles approved for use by Transport for London, these vehicles currently cost in excess of £44,000 and the price is due to increase with the release of the new TX5 Electric Taxi.
The fares charged by Taxis in London is also set by Transport for London using a formula that calculates the cost of running a Taxi in London and a reasonable profit. Taxi drivers cannot charge more than the metered fare but they can of course charge less, but by charging less they would be running a very expensive vehicle in an uneconomical environment.
The Taxi Trade in London has a very long history dating back to 1654 when the first Hackney Coachmen were licensed by decree of Oliver Cromwell, drivers have served London and it’s travelling public for over 360 years.
To obtain a license to drive a London Taxi you have to undertake the most stringent topographical knowledge test anywhere in the World, which can take the potential driver anywhere from 2.5 years upwards to complete with no financial support whilst doing so.
The vehicles are also subject to the highest regulations to be found anywhere in the World, every London Taxi has to be able to accommodate a passenger in a wheelchair and also incorporates many other enhancements to assist those with an impairment.
After 363 years of serving London, the Taxi Trade is facing fierce competition from these app based private hire companies threatening its very existence as drivers find it increasingly harder the attain a reasonable living even while working increasingly longer hours.
35,000 jobs are threatened right here in the Capital, and yet we have not seen any media coverage of this threat to loss of jobs, there has been no outcry that the London Taxi driver must be saved, no-one has called for Government intervention to help save one of our Countries most historic and famous industries, in fact quite the opposite has happened!
Whenever Taxi drivers take industrial action to protest against anything that affects our trade there appears to be a media blackout, we see very little coverage on the TV or in the main stream press, Taxi drivers have brought London to a complete standstill and yet nothing is mentioned of major industrial action right in the heart of our Country.
The trade can be forgiven for its cries of corruption and conspiracy as when compared to other industries that are threatened with closure the Taxi trade seem to be the poor relation when it comes to media coverage of its plight.
Politicians appear blind to the problems currently being faced by the London Taxi Trade, even appeals for help seem to fall on deaf ears. The RMT have been trying to get an Early Day Motion, defining plying for hire through Parliament for a few years, but very few politicians have signed up to the cause.
So is it that no-one actually cares for the London Taxi? Is the Government not concerned at the potential loss of 35,000 jobs right in the heart of the Country? Is the Country not worried that the Capital may lose one of the most Iconic, historic and noble industries?
Thursday 6th October 2016 see’s the launch of a new Taxi App, “oh no not another app” I hear you say, well yes, another app but this time it is different from the previous offerings.
Previously all of the apps that have been aimed at Taxi drivers have been from Corporate companies backed by Venture Capitalists looking to earn a profit off the back of the hard working Taxi driver.
Well this new app is different, their are no investors, no venture capitalists, no CEO’s on outrageous salaries, nope, it has been set up as a Not for Profit company.
The app is simply called Taxi App and has been set up by a small group of passionate London taxi drivers who believe in the future of our 360 year old trade.
Taxi App will also operate in a different way to other apps, there will be no commission charged on any job, so no 10% or 13.5% deductions from your earnings, the fare on the meter at the end of the journey is yours to keep.
So how will Taxi App operate? drivers will be charged a subscription of £5 per week, so it doesn’t matter if you accept jobs totalling £400 or more in a week, all you will ever pay is £5 per week.
Is there any work on the app you ask? Well lets be honest, to start with of course not, there have been a few jobs go through the app but without any money to promote the app to the public the steering team will have to wait until funds start to build up before they can embark on any promotions.
I have, for over 5 years, been extolling the virtues of the London taxi trade owning and controlling its own app, there has always been the worry that the existing apps want to control the trade so that they can manipulate the trade to maximise their profits, and if one investor backed app gained market share within London then where would that leave the working driver? They can remove a driver from the app at will leaving you without part of your income that you may well have become used to earning.
This is the app that our trade has been crying out for, an app for drivers, run by drivers with no one creaming any profit off the top, but it needs as many drivers as possible to get involved.
There is a caveat, it needs you the driver to sign up and be available for work on the app, it also needs you to promote the app to every potential taxi customer.
There is no point in saying “I will sign up once there is some work on the app” it doesn’t work like that. to make this work there needs to initially be an oversupply of drivers to service the customers. When a customer uses the app to order a Taxi there needs to be one available otherwise that customer may never use the app again.
Taxi App is not looking to convert the street hailing passenger, far from it they want to encourage customers to use street hailing when and where possible but to use Taxi App when they are in a location where Taxis do not normally drive past.
Any surplus income from subscriptions over and above the operating costs of Taxi App will be reinvested to promote the London taxi trade as Taxi App does not need to make a profit, the app has been set up purely for the benefit of the working taxi driver in London.
If you value your job and this trade you have nothing to lose but everything to gain, what is a fiver, 2 Costa coffee’s, less than a packet of cigarettes. Taxi App needs you the driver to sign up for the App, work the App and promote the App.
To find out more about Taxi App or to sign up please click here
Black-cab drivers are to be forced to forget the knowledge and instead use either a sat-nav or just drive around in circles like a twat hoping to finally stumble on their destination, according to new legislation announced by the Government.
David Cameron warned that climbing into a taxi whose driver had some sort of fucking clue about the best route through the city during rush hour had no place in today’s digital age.
“We don’t want the market stifled by road map memorising cockneys. It’s not fair on Uber or their directors. Neither is it fair on us, with our almost fetishist obsession with dismantling British institutions. So we’ll be issuing severe penalties to any drivers who blatantly remember the knowledge or draw on years of experience in driving around London. In serious cases we will withdraw their licenses until they stop knowing their way around and start driving around like a fart in a trance.” He explained.
Under the proposed legislation, licensed cabbies will be forced to take a test to ensure that they have not one solitary clue how to get from Liverpool street to Fulham Palace Road. Each will be required to take a taxi to the test centre themselves to prove that they haven’t somehow navigated themselves there under their own steam.