If this is allowed to succeed, the offence of Taxi touting will finally be consigned to the history books in London. But at the biggest cost to the livelihood of every Taxi driver this trade has ever seen. People will look for a logo which will be as recognisable as a for hire sign, believing it to be a safe alternative to a London taxi.
Touts say they prowl the streets of London because of unmet demand. That demand will disappear when all licensed private hire vehicles are..."able to flout existing laws & ply for hire". The system is called CabWave and try's to legitimise itself by constant use of the word cab and compares itself to licensed Taxis trade.
It's so far unknown if CabWave is registered or in fact it needs registering, as it can be argued it is not an operator but a third party booking agent (much like MiniCabit) which only puts passengers in touch with operators.
The system is depended on a touch pad, attached to the back of a roundel, underneath the TfL licence roundel on the minicab windscreen. Potential customers use this to connect to an operator via details on their credit or debit cards. The website states this will constitute a pre booking.
The website then goes on to explain:
Under the terms of the agreement private hire drivers have to remain within their vehicle at all times and are allowed to park legally in full site of the public but are not allowed to promote the service to passers by as under existing legislation this may be classed as illegally plying for hire.
If the trial is successful registration will rolled out a cross the capital and be made available to all private hire drivers and operators.
The CabWave system lets the public book a minicab manually, without the need of a phone or app. It is an instant hail. They simply wave their credit or debit card in front of a roundel located below the TfL licence and they’re on their way. Card details are acquired by the reader and an account is automatically created with a private hire operator registered with CabWave. The booking is despatched same second, to the driver by the PH operator. The driver can then allow the passenger to enter the minicab.
The account registration procedure is completed by the driver entering a contact number and name for the passenger before departure. If the passenger books another journey with the same operator, then this step will not need to be completed again.
Taxi Leaks has written to TfL to find out exactly where they stand on this. We will post any reply we receive, as soon as we get it.
Our legal advisors have said that this is a blatant disregard of the law and would constitute a street hail.
Not only a street hail but also a potential honey trap for sexual predators looking for potential victims.
Picture the scene, man/group of men/ mixed couple, "sorry something wrong with reader".
Young single lady, who may have had a few drinks, sees a roundel, puts card near roundel and
"that's gone through love, jump in".
Case law shows it's illegal for a PHV to be on view to the public for the sole purpose of taking work that should be going in a licensed taxi.
This CabWave practise needs to be stopped immediately. Even the name has been designed to give the impression that this is a bona-fide Taxi service. If it's left to fester, the same way nothing was ever done about the rolling out of satellite offices, this could be the greatest danger ever, to the survival of the licensed taxi industry as we know it.
It is imperative now, more than ever before, that the trade stands together and demands that plying for hire is defined in law.
We don't have to like each other, or forgive and forget to fight side by side. But now is the time to bury the hatchet and call for total unity.
The law commission has said it has no intention of defining plying for hire, but are proposing a completely new approach to pre bookings instead.
The LTDA's general secretary Steve McNamara has stated previously that the LTDA doesn't see the same dangers in the Law Commission proposals that other representative orgs see.
Perhaps now the membership of the LTDA might like to ask their Executive Committee to reconsider it's views on the Law Commission.
With thanks to Glen Alutto.
It seems that the proposed relocation to Faith Lawson House by LTPH has been postponed as the new premises are not ready for the big move...now there's a surprise.