Feb 09

Confused in Thailand

Here I am Sitting in Thailand with a stinking cold I could think of nothing better to do than listen to the recording of the recent TFL Board meeting which approved both mandatory Credit Cards for Black Cabs and a change in our tariffs, the levels of misinformation that I heard from so many spokesman was shocking, who is meant to be representing us on this Board, who is supplying them their facts and figures ??

To cover the costs of processing credit cards 20p will be added to the flag fall, therefore all passengers cash or credit card will pay this charge. Prior to the meeting a cap of a maximum 3% could be charged to the Cab Driver by the processing Company, this cap was removed because of its legality and it was felt that processing charges would be forced down by competition amongst processors. At no time was it mentioned that the 2 main processors Cabvision and Verifone have both stated that they could not provide fixed terminals front and back in Cabs at 3% or less. No mention was made of the alleged fixed terminals front and back that TFL seem to be stipulating as a minimum requirement in the near future, or the fact that they will require these terminals to be fixed to the meter. The 20p surcharge on the flag fall will be reviewed in 12 months, hopefully by then Cabvision and Verifone will have shown the market, us the Black Cab Drivers what monthly Fees, and length of contracts that will be required for them to continue making profits.

Why was it not mentioned that the 2 main suppliers could not and will not supply fixed terminals at 3% or less overall costs, why was it not mentioned or challenged that the that fixed terminals were even needed with the new technologies of IZettle and CabApp who could supply at 3% or below overall costs on a pay as you go basis, I thought TFL liked disruptive technologies?

Our tariffs have also been changed rate 3 will now end at 5am not 6am and rate 4 will only kick in after 6 miles not as before on time and distance achieving £17.40 whichever was the sooner therefore the Cab Driver stuck in Londons horrendous TFL generated ” Every Journey in Tatters ” schemes will suffer as the higher rate will only kick in once you have physically travelled 6 miles. Now I have no doubt that there will be many differing views on these changes, but the biggest problem I have is who asked the trade about these changes, because they went through on the nod with Leon Daniels stating this is what the trade supported, well one thing is certain nobody asked me for my opinion or my vote.

As for representation on the TFL board I can only assume we must be represented by the invisible man with laryngitis.

Steve Mepham

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