That’s £5,565 Please Guv’nor!
When the cab:app team decided to travel around the UK in a TX4 Taxicab promoting their mobile taxi hailing and card payment app for hackney drivers, we knew it would be a trip of discovery. Fortunately we didn’t actually have to pay the metered fare!
While we are convinced that technology is the solution to many of the problems facing the Hackney Carriage industry we knew we needed to prove our theory. Here’s how we did it and what we found on our ten-day journey, driving 1,373 miles, across 35 cities, meeting over 1,000 drivers, sleeping in 7 Premier Inns (didn’t see Lenny Henry once!) and presenting at the National Taxi Association conference. This was all in a TX4 Euro 5, which miraculously was not recalled by the London Taxi Company or indeed TfL despite having a similar registration to those that were!
Different cities, different vehicles, same challenges
Driving north from London, every town and city we visited the same strong theme emerged; hackney drivers want to work but face an uphill battle. Some of the issues they face include significant price undercutting and illegal touting for business by private hire, the rising cost of radio circuits, exorbitant airport and train station fees, inflated insurance, the cost of handling and processing credit cards and in some towns a local authority block on accepting cards. Combine these barriers to business with the threat of deregulation and the challenges become even bigger.
The word on the street
In Bolton we were shocked to learn that there are only 130 hackney drivers vs. 2500 private hire, charging “half what we charge on the meter”. In Sunderland one driver we spoke to stated: “you can’t get on the ranks for private hire picking up illegally, but the council turn a blind eye”. In Northampton we openly saw a minicab touting for work at the station rank and a driver told us: “there is no enforcement of private hire by the local council.” One of the most sobering comments came from a group of drivers at Preston train station who stated that: “2-3 years from now hackneys will be gone from Preston if we don’t do something about it.”
Just charge it...or perhaps not
Credit card discussion was a contentious subject and we found that many drivers are locked into long term chip and pin contracts paying up to £20 per month to suppliers for equipment, who also charge passengers a whopping 10%! Drivers across the country expressed their opinions that this is too high. A driver in Hemel Hempstead did a £180 job, which cost the passenger £18 in card fees. Payments to drivers are also taking too long with 7-14 days to be paid.
Another outrageous finding was that some local authorities don’t permit drivers to accept credit cards. This may be due to high costs but surely this is a restriction of trade? This was the case in Coventry, Leicester and Derby, we were told that drivers can only accept cards if they work for a radio circuit. In Edinburgh the council need to approve chip and pin before a driver can take cards and in Newcastle the council has not sanctioned chip and pin as it’s considered too expensive for passengers.
To add to these challenges drivers face high permit fees for the privilege of picking up from airports and train stations. Some examples include Birmingham Airport where the charge is £1,250 per year plus £2.50 for every pick up and at Heathrow Airport it costs £6 per job. In York, the train station charges £1,200 per year for a taxi permit.
Then there’s radio circuit fees being charged to drivers; in most cases these range from £80 to £100/week, with one circuit charging £120 p/w, yikes! The general consensus was that they were continually putting up weekly/monthly subscription costs even when there is less work. One driver asked the question: “Has anyone ever heard of a radio circuit bringing fees down?” There seems to be little or no alignment of interest between the radio operator, profitability and driver earnings. That said, many drivers we met are being entrepreneurial and are working together in their own small way setting up independent circuits and printing consumer cards to help generate new business.
Let’s talk about The Law Commission and deregulation
Whilst on the road we stopped off at the National Taxi Association annual conference in Manchester (as already stated above) to introduce cab:app to fellow drivers and also hear an update from Mr Percival and the Law Commission on deregulation. We also heard from John Usher, President of the Irish Taxi Federation, speaking on the history of the Irish taxi industry and the impact of deregulation there. The bottom line expressed by John was that it had been an unmitigated disaster and he sincerely hoped we never have to face the same consequences in England.
With 78,000 licensed taxis in England and Wales the Law Commission would propose abolition of quantity restrictions and favour a two-tier system for taxis and PHV. One of the key reasons cited by the Law Commission in favour of deregulation is to provide access to the public at peak times particularly in larger cities to help clear them at night. The workforce is there; it’s just not being utilised effectively. Hackney drivers have done the knowledge, they have been CRB checked and drive vehicles which are licensed and insured. Add to this the fact that many hackney cabs are wheelchair accessible.
Hackney cabs should be about accessibility for all. Many passengers with reduced mobility rely on this as their primary method of transport. There is no shortage of hackney drivers with standard accessibility, in cities like London and towns like Clydebank this is 100% of the hackney cabs on the road. The real issue is historically there has been no way for drivers and passengers to connect unless drivers join an expensive radio circuit or passengers make their way to the ranks which is not ideal if it’s cold, wet or dark. Across the country, taxpayers’ money is being wasted by Trusts and local authorities on other forms of transport for disabled passengers when a hackney cab is already equipped for this and transporting passengers can be done at a relatively low cost.
There is some good news - technology can unite hackney drivers
The proof we needed was in the stories of all the drivers we met and was reinforced by one of our local partners in Blackpool. Blackpool Licensed Taxi Operators Association approached cab:app as a solution to win back work from private hire and help their drivers unite through the latest mobile technology. They had the drive and the desire to take a stand, armed with 25,000 flyers they distributed to houses, local businesses and hotels. They are now wrapping 20 cabs to help promote the services around town to locals and tourists. cab:app technology has invigorated hackney drivers in Blackpool and given them renewed hope. We know drivers want to work and we know that they are being squeezed on several fronts, and while technology can’t solve all the problems within the industry it will help to address many of them. Hackney drivers are always looking for ways to increase their income without increasing costs. cab:app can provide a framework for getting more work and connecting drivers and passengers with a pay as you go approach and a free in app credit card facility for drivers.
At the end of the day a passenger just wants to get a cab safely and efficiently. cab:app provides this by offering instant hail, pre bookings, fixed price fares, the ability to pay by card and the reassurance of a hackney cab with full details of their driver. Passengers can even track their driver and communicate directly via the app.
Drivers get it! In Middlesbrough one driver declared: “this is the future” and in Clydebank the hackney spokesman said: “we’ve been looking for the catch and can’t find one. This gives us hope and doesn’t cost us so we’ve nothing to lose”. In Carlisle and Chester women drivers immediately recognised the safety benefits of the app for drivers and passengers alike stating: “this is really good for women, we like to see who the passenger is and the passenger probably likes to see who is picking them up” and “the in-app messaging is great”.
For the cab:app team this was a journey of discovery. By the end of the trip we felt humbled by what we found, yet excited about the hope new technology is giving fellow drivers across the UK and Ireland.
B2C Global e-Commerce Overview 2012
London, 11 October, 2012 cab:app, the mobile hailing app has introduced a free and secure payment processing facility for Hackney cab drivers. This innovative technology will help drivers meet the growing demand by consumers who prefer the convenience of paying by card. In addition, this will offer drivers complete flexibility from their mobile phone to generate more income with no cost, no tie in, no radio circuit fees or specialist equipment installed in their cab.
The mobile payment app will allow drivers to accept debit and credit cards on VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Diners and Laser (Ireland only) for the range of services available on cab:app, including instant hails, pre-bookings and fixed price fares.
cab:app is free to download for drivers and passengers across the UK and Ireland on iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and Nokia, making it the the most comprehensive app available on the taxi app market.
It’s never been easier for a driver to take a secure credit or debit card payment. Passengers can choose to pre-register their card details or the driver can complete the transaction at the end of the journey. “The secure mobile card payment system is powered by DataCash, a Mastercard company which processes over a billion card transactions a year and is a known innovator in developing alternative and convenient payment solutions.”
Currently most card payments within cabs are via chip and PIN machine, which results in passengers paying 10-12% on top of the metered fare primarily to cover the cost of this expensive equipment plus transaction processing fees.
Innovation in mobile technology has enabled cab:app to develop a secure mobile payment facility for most smartphones, which eliminates the cost of hardware and significantly reduces the card processing fees for passengers to only 3.9%.
cab:app inventor and Hackney cab driver Peter Schive commented ‘as a London cabbie for over 10 years I wanted to develop a payment facility that was fair, transparent and secure to help fellow drivers offer improved services at a lower cost to passengers. I’m proud to say that cab:app has achieved this and is now available to all Hackney carriage drivers and passengers across the UK and Ireland.’
You can now download cab:app free from the various app stores and once registered you can start benefiting from the full range of services.
For more information about cab:app please contact: email@example.com
For more information about DataCash please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or Simon.Chan@edelman.com
Visit us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/cabapp
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cabapp
Invented by a London cabbie Peter Schive, cab:app is a convenient, accessible, reliable and safe way to hail a taxi, anytime, anyplace direct from your mobile phone.
cab:app aims to set new standards in taxi travel by making it easy for passengers to hail a cab in any town from a single app. Offering a range of door to door services to meet different needs and budgets which include Hail Now, Pre-book and Fixed price fares to help make those important travel connections with road, rail and air. You can even pay by card using the cab:app mobile payment facility.
All cab:app drivers are licensed and on booking passengers will receive driver details. You can track your driver on the map and also keep in contact through the in-app message board or by calling.
Free to download on iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and Nokia, cab:app is the only taxi app available to passengers and Hackney carriage drivers across the UK and Ireland
Founded in 1996, DataCash Group Ltd (part of MasterCard Incorporated) provides multi-channel global payment processing services and advanced fraud prevention and risk management solutions to merchants and banks. As a global partner to some of the world’s most recognisable brands in the gaming, travel, retail and finance sectors. DataCash combines smart thinking and an end-to-end solution to help its customers transcend the complexities and expense associated with payment processing.
Advance technology from DataCash enables customers to accept and process payments in multiple currencies – across e-commerce, m-commerce and cardholder present channels – with the security and confidence of tools tailored to meet exacting and expanding business needs. DataCash customers protect their brand and reputation, enhance end-user experience and capitalize on new global market opportunities.
DataCash successfully processes up to a billion transactions each year and prevents over £1 million of attempted fraud a day for over 30,000 Merchants.
cab:app launches taxi mobile app in UK, Ireland
cab:app has introduced a free mobile payment facility for Hackney cab drivers across the UK and Ireland. Global payment services provider DataCash, member of the MasterCard group, has provided the payment gateway for the app so that passengers can pay their fare. cab:app enables users to hail a taxi, anytime, anyplace directly from their mobile phone.
The mobile payment facility enables Hackney cab drivers across the UK and Ireland to process payments. The mobile payment application allows drivers to accept debit and credit cards on Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners and Laser (Ireland only) for the range of services available on cab:app, including instant hails, pre-bookings and fixed price fares. The cab:app mobile application is available for free download for drivers and passengers across the UK and Ireland on iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and Nokia devices.
cab:app – Driving Mobile Payments Across The UK
cab:app is a new easy and convenient way to hail a taxi in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh, among others. PYMNTS.com spoke with Peter Schive, co-founder of the company about the new app and its innovative payment system. “As a London cabbie for 10 years, I invented cab:app using the latest mobile app technology to help fellow drivers provide the public with a convenient, accessible, reliable and safe way to hail and pay for a taxi anytime, anyplace direct from their mobile phone,” he said.
The application is available for free on iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Nokia smartphones and is associated with Datacash – a Mastercard company – to create a seamless payment service. An easy and secure payment method is obviously central to cab:app. “We had the initial idea for mobile payments over 12 months ago but took our time to thoroughly research the market place as it was changing very quickly," Schive said. "We met with a number of payment service providers, acquiring banks and business banks to determine with our developers the best model for securely processing mobile payments. It was important to provide taxi customers with the flexibility to pay with a widerange of debit and credit cards in a secure and fully PCI compliant framework, so we worked actively with our partners Datacash, Elavon and Santander overseveral months to implement our current mobile solution.
Schive talked about the importance of a convenient and affordable payment method for both the industry and customers which did not really exist until now. “Historically paying for a taxi by credit card has been prohibitively expensive for passengers as the traditional suppliers of chip and pin solutions to the taxi industry typically pass on the cost to passengers at a rate which varies between 10-12% on top of the metered fare. Drivers are often locked into lengthy hardware contracts with suppliers, so it was never an ideal situation for either passengers or drivers” Mobile payments have changed the game completely and allows for competitive rates for drivers. “Recent developments in mobile payments has enabled cab:app to bring this cost down to under 4% and we expect this to be reduced further as business volumes increase. It is vital to the success of the taxi industry, particularly in the current economic climate, that they embrace new technology and payment methods to offer customers a better service at a lower cost”
Non-cash payment methods are incredibly important for the industry nowadays as more and more clients carry less cash and find it more convenient to pay with cards. Cab:app is also thinking about other, alternative payment methods which will be rolled out in the future. “We are already exploring mobile wallets to add to our system and will continue to research new developments in both contactless and phone payments. There is no doubt that our current mobile payments system will evolve in 2013 as these payment methods become more widely available. We intend to keep pace with developments, embracing the most secure and efficient payment methods for passengers and drivers”
With an expected expansion to 60 towns in the UK in the next few months and internationally in 2013, cab:app will be joining similar services like Uber in the US and Hailo in the UK in popularizing alternative mobile payment instruments.
Peter Schive is the inventor and co- founder of cab:app. Peter has been a London Hackney cab driver for over ten years. While he was doing the Knowledge he worked as a motorbike courier and also worked in a taxi dispatch centre. Before that Peter had his own mobile phone shop. He remains a working driver as he knows this keeps him close to the needs of drivers and passengers. He is continually looking for ways to improve upon cab:app's technology.
Waterfront Solicitors - Meet Our Client: Peter Schive of cab:app
cab:app partners with Datacash to provide mobile credit card payments
Payment provider Datacash, the experts in mobile security, talk about the latest secure technology available for customers. Mobile phone apps like cab:app integrate with a payment service provider such as DataCash to ensure that payments are made in the most secure environment.
cab:app set to launch in Dublin
Steering Wheel - cab:app coming soon to a town near you
Irish Taxi News
The Technology race within the Taxi Industry is continuing with gusto as cab:app, a mobile taxi booking facility has recently arrived in Ireland.
Flanked by Gerry Maguire (Major of Fingal) and Councillor Cathriona Jones, Peter Schive and Jane Van Aken, the London Side of cab:app, together with Lar Kelly who operates the Dublin side of the operation, launched and demonstrated cap:app in the Radisson Hotel at Dublin Airport on 7th March 2012, which The Taxi Magazine attended. Also in attendance were the DAA and Dublin business people.
The service will provide an electronic cab hailing system and an in app credit card facility that brings the passenger and taxi driver together through mobile phone internet. Put very simply the concept allows a passenger to enter their collection and drop off address which is then circulated to all cap:app drivers within a certain radius. Drivers can see jobs available to them on their smart phone and first to accept the job gets it. The demonstration was impressive and the app is detailed and very technologically advanced. The financial model is interesting too, cap:app promises to operate as a “pay as you go” service with a flat fee of 50 cents per job. Marketing of the service is in progress and will be visible across multiple media from now on. The Irish public will see a PR and marketing campaign this summer.
Taxi Magazine Question: Is this the shape of things to come?
cab:app and WheelPower Announce Partnership for the Paralympic Games with Design Competition
To commemorate the Paralympic Games in London this year, National Disability Sports Charity, WheelPower and Smart Phone application, cab:app have joined forces to improve access for disabled people using public transport in the Capital. cab:app will add a Wheelchair Assistance button to its electronic taxi hailing app, encouraging wheelchair and disabled users to take advantage of black cabs this summer. Thanks to the large amount of space within the vehicle and the availability of access ramps, black cabs are perfectly set up to accommodate wheelchair and disabled users.
WheelPower and cab:app are asking the public to join this summer’s celebrations by offering the chance to design the Wheelchair and Disabled Assistance button on cab:app. Alongside the competition, cab:app will donate £1 from every cab:app journey taken during the Paralympic Games from 29 August – 9 September to WheelPower.
Paul Rushton, Head of Fundrasing at WheelPower said, “We are delighted that cab:app is supporting WheelPower’s work to transform the lives of disabled people through sport at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. By providing disabled people with a simple, fast and easy to use mobile phone app to hail black cabs, cab:app is transforming access to transport for many disabled people.”
The opportunity to win a fabulous trip for two to London is only the design of an app button away. Entrants are tasked with creating an iconic, eye-catching logo that is easily recognisable to both drivers and passengers, depicting that wheelchair or disabled assistance is required, and they must explain the inspiration behind their design. The winning image will be chosen by WheelPower Ambassador, wheelchair racer, Nikki Emerson.
In addition to seeing their design come to life within the cab:app interface, the winner will win: rail travel from anywhere in mainland UK to London for two people; a two night stay in the Belgraves-Thompson hotel; dinner for two on one evening during their stay at HIX restaurant in the hotel; a London Eye champagne experience for two; and a night time guided tour of London given by the creator of cab:app, Peter Schive.
Looking beyond the Paralympics, cab:app and WheelPower want to promote black cab travel to disabled passengers as a long term initiative. cab:app has long been aware of the difficulties that disabled passengers may experience travelling around London using public transport, including complaints of cab drivers sometimes picking up non disabled passengers over wheelchair and disabled users in the street. With the addition of the cab:app Wheelchair and Disabled Assistance button and the support of cab:app's fleet of drivers, cab:app aims to make travel around London an easier and more pleasant experience for disabled passengers.
To enter the competition - Click Here for the Entry Form
For more information please visit www.cabapp.net or http://www.wheelpower.org.uk/
cab:app Blackpool 'Cab please!'
By Shelagh Parkinson Published on Wednesday 13 June 2012 16:00
BLACKPOOL’S cabbies are harnessing new technology to make hailing a taxi easier and safer.
A new smart phone app will allow passengers to call a cab at the touch of a button.
The Blackpool Licensed Taxi Owners Association (BLOTA) has linked up with national company cab:app and hopes to have the technology on board 50 of the resort’s hackney cabs by the end of July, with more drivers set to follow.
It will bring Blackpool’s famous fleet of cabs in line with taxis in cities including London, Dublin and Glasgow which are also adopting the technology.
BLOTA spokesman Bill Lewtas said: “For some time we have been wanting to bring new technology to the hackney trade.
“We now have our own website and a number of drivers already have chip and pin technology in their vehicles.
“We hope to go live with cab:app at the end of July initially with 50 vehicles but we can expand that as more drivers come on board.
“When customers use cab:app, they get the driver’s name, vehicle registration, description and plate numbers and even a Google map to see where their taxi is coming from so they can track its progress. “We hope both residents and visitors to Blackpool will use it. It will be particularly helpful for disabled people by making it easier for them to call a taxi.
Driver Steve Buckley added: “It is very user friendly for both the drivers and passengers, and will also improve safety.
“For example if a lone woman at night uses it, she will get the full details of her driver. “It enables people to have full contact with their driver, so for example if you are going to be a few minutes late for your pick-up you can let them know.”
Jane Van Aken, of cab:app, said the system was already working well in London. She said: “The app has been invented by Peter Schive, who is himself a taxi driver in London so he really understands what people need.
“With two taps on the phone, the cab is on its way. You haven’t got to hang on the line waiting for the dispatcher, and the system is GPS based so it knows where you are. “It is a very quick, user-friendly and seamless experience, and it’s great that Blackpool is one of the first taxi associations to be coming on board with it.
Life of Android cab:app review
REVIEW BY STUART PRITCHARD ON THE 25TH MAY 2012
GETTING A TAXI IN LONDON CAN BE DIFFICULT; FINDING AN EMPTY ONE, ONE WILLING TO GO SOUTH OF THE RIVER ‘AT THIS TIME OF NIGHT’, OR SIMPLY ONE NOT DRIVEN BY A MAN WHOSE THOUGHTS FOR MOST OF THE JOURNEY CENTRE AROUND HOW HE’S GOING TO DISPOSE OF YOUR CORPSE IS NO EASY FEAT IN A CITY THAT’S CONSTANTLY EXPANDING. UNLESS, OF COURSE, YOU HAVE AN ANDROID APP FOR THAT! AND THIS LITTLE BEAUTY IS, QUITE LITERALLY, THE LATEST…
cab:app reaches a new high in Tanzania
The cab:app team set off for the summit at 6am on October 11th and climbed approximately 3000 feet in their first day on the mountain. Sleeping in tents on the mountainside, some nights on slopes as steep as 45 degrees, and with minimal sleep, the cab:app team trekked for 6 days through ravines, up sheer cliff faces and crossed ledges 1 person deep in order to finish the climb . . .
For more information download the press release attached.
Shiny Shiny App of The Day
The Guardian Apps Blog
cab:app unites black cab drivers with the first multi-platform app
Innovative electronic hailing system promises to deliver more customers and more fares
A London cabbie has invented a mobile app that is set to revolutionise the way that cabbies across the capital pick up their fares. The new app, aptly named cab:app, brings drivers and passengers together to provide, what is effectively, an electronic hailing system . . . .
To read more download the press release above.