Taxis

Discussion in 'Other Public Transport' started by Mitchell Hurd, 28 Apr 2019.

  1. Mitchell Hurd

    Mitchell Hurd Member

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    Hello there. I thought I'd create a thread on taxis. Anything to do with taxis is welcome.

    I've used taxis for around 20 years, largely in Oxfordshire but not all over the UK.

    I've noticed, which clicked in my mind in recent times, that not one taxi is say a 1.2 litre Vauxhall Astra or Fiat 500 and any 1.2 litre model car. Would this be because they'd require fuelling twice a day compared to larger engined models. I know 1.2 litres aren't the most powerful of cars.
     
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  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Possibly because if you're driving all day you don't want to be driving an underpowered car? Underpowered cars also aren't great on fuel economy. In my observation, the most popular private hire car around here is the Toyota Prius, which offers performance, fuel economy and reliability.
     
  4. 433N

    433N Member

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    For the life of me, I cannot understand why taxis are allowed to use Bus Lanes - can someone explain the logic behind this.

    Even more than this, I realised recently that cars with stickers on saying 'Taxi for pre-booked hire only' are probably just Ubers aren't they. They obviously carry those stickers to use Bus Lanes (since there is no phone number to contact and so it's not advertising) but I'm completely bemused as to how they can then be classed as 'Public Transport'.

    Similarly, quite often I drive my wife places. Does that mean I can use Bus Lanes as I am being used as a taxi ? Or if I pick up a hitchiker can I use Bus Lanes ?

    [Please don't point out that I need a 'Licence' whatever that is, I'm just having a rant about how illogical the system has been made to accommodate people who can afford taxis - no offence intended to the OP :) ]
     
  5. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    legally there's two distinct things that are lumped together as "taxis" in common usage- Hackney Carriages and Private Hire. The latter are often referred to as Minicabs.
    Hackney Carriages are those that you can hail at the kerbside and that can use taxi ranks. Private Hire are those that must be booked by phone or app. Uber in this country operate using Private Hire licences.

    London is more regulated than other places- all the Hackney Carriages have to be of specific models, those operating in the central area have additional qualification requirements. Crucially though in London only Hackney Carriages count as "taxis" when it comes to Bus Lanes. TfL have been challenged on this by Addison Lee in court and won. In the rest of the country, this seems to not be the case, and Private Hire can use buslanes.
     
  6. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    In London there was a spate of people registering their own cars as private hire vehicles for this end, though I believe TfL changed the rules to stop this.
     
  7. Aivilo

    Aivilo Member

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    Local authorities license the vehicles and generally want them be fit for purpose of which smaller vehicles may not be.

    Hire and reward therefore public transport and allowed to use bus lanes.

    All private hire vehicles will have pre booked only somewhere as it is illegal to pick up off the street.
     
  8. mark-h

    mark-h Member

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    Some local authorities require private hire cars to have the pre-booked only stickers.
     
  9. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    I believe the justification (such as it is) for allowing taxis to use bus lanes is that they have to pull into the kerb almost anywhere to pick up and drop off, and I've heard it quoted that the reason only Hackney Carriages get this privilege is because PHVs are visually hard to distinguish from ordinary cars would be difficult to enforce. I don't find either of these justifications particularly convincing myself. In my view PHVs need to be more regulated and hackneys need to be more restricted, which would create a more level playing field between the two.
     
  10. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    Are PHVs any less regulated in London than elsewhere? If I recall correctly, there used to be a time that minicab drivers in London didn't even need to have a licence. London also had different terminology, using "minicab" rather than "private hire".

    There is some good news in that taxis are not allowed in the new southbound lane on Tottenham Court Road.
     
    Last edited: 28 Apr 2019
  11. route101

    route101 Established Member

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    Is the UK the only place to have private hires and hacks? Whenever ive been abroad a taxi is a taxi !

    Here in Glasgow the Private Hires have a sticker on the door for pre - booked only and apparently theres a 6 year age limit on them . Never seen anything referred to hackney carriage in scotland .
    Generally only Edinburgh and Glasgow have black hacks .
    Glasgow appears to have more PHs than Edinburgh .
     
  12. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    A practice which, of course, delays buses. I would like to see it made an offence for a taxi to stop to pick up or drop off and in doing so to obstruct a bus lane. Perhaps with a statutory defence that the passenger being picked up or dropped off was in a wheelchair.
     
  13. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Changing subject slightly...

    I’m keeping a tab on the proportion of black cabs in London that are the new LEVC electric taxi. I reckon it’s about 10% now (from a standing start about 15 months ago) and the cabbies I have spoken to who have them absolutely love them.

    Are they making similar inroads to the traditional fleet in other cities?
     
  14. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Not seen one at all outside London.
     
  15. 90019

    90019 Established Member

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    There's quite a few of them around Edinburgh.
     
  16. pdq

    pdq Member

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    why is that private hire vehicles in London carry no branding? It's common in most other places for the company's details to be stuck to the doors.
    I saw one in Sheffield a few weeks ago.

    It's certainly a confusing area where terminology is concerned. Where I grew up, we had Jims taxi's (sic) but they were private hire only.

    In Kirklees I've seen cars that have a local authority style meter and also the modern phone app; presumably if the car is booked as private hire it's the app rate, if hailed at the taxi rank it's the meter.

    The standard of driving often worries me though. For professional drivers (ie they earn their living through driving) it's often shocking. They either seem to belt along to get to the next job quicker, or they dawdle and pull in (or even not pull in) and just stop. Then they indicate - maybe.

    And why can't minicab drivers operate the heating controls in their vehicles? I've been in so many where the temp is on full, (usually at the windscreen only) and the driver's constantly turning the fan on and off.

    I know this is tarring all drivers the same, and it's only poor driving and poor cars that stick in the mind, but it does highlight the lack of oversight of driving skills and vehicle condition in many parts of the country.
     
  17. PermitToTravel

    PermitToTravel Established Member

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    TfL extend this privilege to PHVs too! They have to have a roundel in a shield-shaped sticker in the windscreen, to allow enforcement cameras to identify them.
     
  18. GusB

    GusB Established Member

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    We had a few running around Elgin for a time - a couple of Metrocabs and an ageing Fairway. When I worked for one of the larger cab firms in Aberdeen there were "London" cabs in the fleet, but they were fairly few in number.

    At the time Aberdeen had three different types of licence (it has been some time since I worked there so things may have changed)
    - Hackney (Yellow plate): can be hailed on the street
    - Private Hire (Red Plate): pre-book only and can use bus lanes, although it used to be the case that they could only do this when they had a PoB (Passenger on Board). This I believe has changed, probably because they carry plate numbers on the front now as well as the back
    - Airport (Green plate): permitted to pick up at the rank at the airport only - anywhere else they function as a normal private hire and have to be pre-booked
    All were fitted with standard meters. There was a requirement that any new hackney licences could only be issued to wheelchair accessible vehicles, mostly Ford Galaxy/VW Sharan and the Peugeot Euro7 was also becoming popular at the time. However, any existing hackney licence holder could continue with a regular car.

    I seem to recall there was a bit of a stramash when the city council proposed that they wanted all taxis to be yellow. They did introduce a standardised roof sign, though.

    I quite enjoyed working there as a team leader in the call centre, but I was also trained up to fill in as controller to cover breaks and absence; I used to dread any of the regular control staff phoning in sick!
     
  19. Aivilo

    Aivilo Member

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    Branding is again down to local authorities. As has been pointed out in London it's a simple roundel with vehicle details.

    Take somewhere like Uber and Merseyside. Although the door magnets appear the same they're different in sizing and wording for each respective council
     
  20. richw

    richw Established Member

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    Anyone with a cleanish licence can drive a taxi/ private hire. In most of the country there is no additional driving qualifications or tests etc for them. Deciding to be a taxi driver doesn’t make a rubbish driver a good driver overnight!
     
  21. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    Manchester is unusual (at least I haven't seen it elsewhere), in that the name of the company is stuck on the car using the same black on yellow stickers in the same font for all companies.
     
  22. route101

    route101 Established Member

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    Yeah , i see some of the new private hire drivers using there sat nav , seem to have no clue where anything is.
     
  23. route101

    route101 Established Member

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    Yeah PH drivers , maybe because they are chasing money /hires or complacent . Certainly the worst drivers in town i think
     
  24. route101

    route101 Established Member

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    I see , when ive been in Aberdeen its white taxis ive seen.
     
  25. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    I see one in St Albans some mornings, but assume it is a London cabbie starting from home. Having said that, the return trip into London will take nearly half the battery!
     
  26. WestCoast

    WestCoast Established Member

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    Yes it’s a good idea really, I believe it’s so they can easily be identified at night.

    Although it’s not so useful as so many private hires in Manchester seem to have Bury/Stockport/Rossendale etc licenses which obviously have no such requirement.
     
  27. PermitToTravel

    PermitToTravel Established Member

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    They're all Wolverhampton now
     
  28. Tom B

    Tom B Established Member

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    Until a couple of weeks ago, minicabs were exempt from the congestion charge.

    I believe that randomly (or otherwise) TfL will write to minicabs to obtain proof that they were on genuine business when caught e.g. in the congestion zone. Presumably to avoid the above.

    The standard of driving by them is shocking. Glued to mobile phones or tablets and with seemingly no other common sense, if the phone says turn left they will happily scoot across 4 lanes of traffic to do so.
     
  29. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I find the TfL sticker in the top corner of the windows a great warning to keep clear of said vehicle. I used to do the same when seeing Addison Lee decals.

    Another way to avoid potential problems is to also steer clear of any Prius. Apologies to those who own one and aren't taxi drivers, but you're in the minority. It's probably why YouTube has loads of videos dedicated just to Prius incidents, and I could probably set up a channel using the footage I get on my dashcam!
     
  30. fowler9

    fowler9 Established Member

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    There are four or five in Liverpool at the moment.
     
  31. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Someone posted a while back that a lot of PHVs are old Priuses imported from Japan, where the battery is shot so it's effectively just a heavyweight petrol car but it still qualifies for congestion charge discount. If this still applies (I know the rules on discounts are tightened up from time to time) then there ought to be a change to the MOT or some other system to check that a supposed hybrid is actually functioning as such for it to qualify for the various financial inducements it gets.
     

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