More from the world of Del Boy

Hello everybody, hope you are well and earning enough. It’s a bit quiet out there isn’t it?
There is not a lot to report from the work front, nothing funny has happened but it has given me time to read the trade papers and listen to the grumbling going on in the trade.

The first thing that I want to comment on is the possibility of the Peugeot E7 coming to London. Now some of you may know that I live in Bedfordshire and we have some of these E7’s working around here.
I have been in a couple of them when we have been out for a drink and I would like to say that they are possibly the most uncomfortable taxi that I have ever ridden in, even worse than the early Metro cabs and that’s saying something.

Now I know that they are cheap but it shows. The rear seats are so high that when you are sitting on them you can only see the roof lining and you have to crane your neck to look out of the windscreen.
Now before anybody starts moaning at me saying that it’s good to have a choice of cab, I agree but the problem is that we are slowly watching our customers, especially accounts, disappear into the backs of miniscabs.

Most of these miniscabs offer rear air con, a nice quiet ride and comfortable seats. So if we want to try and get the work back we need to compete on the same lines. Now if you have read some of my older blogs you can’t help to have noticed that I am a great believer in the TX cab and have said that I would need to be convinced about the Merc but I also think that the introduction of the Merc Vito will only help L.T.I (or whatever they are calling themselves this week) to produce a better cab.
And when I talk to drivers of the Vito they all say that the general public and account customers alike find the vito to be a better vehicle. Some drivers have even commented on the fact that some account customers have requested them over a TX, I have even seen this on the radio circuit that I am on.

The other thing about the E7 is that if the P.C.O. are forced to license it that will open the doors for other manufacturers to bring in their creations which will cause confusion among the general public as to what is and what isn’t a real London cab.

Now there is a way around this and that is to do what I am reliably informed that they do in New York and this is to make all licensed cabs the same colour. When you go to New York, I am told, you will only see yellow cabs. Now there are many makes of yellow cab but are all distinguishable by their colour so you know that they are the proper thing.
So over here we could have all London cabs painted black only as that is what the public expect. Obviously this would take some time to arrange but if , for arguments sake, the pco said all new cabs registered on or after 1st of Jan 1010 had to be black and all existing cabs had to be painted black by 1.01.2012 that would give us all enough time to get things sorted by the Olympics. We could also include the taxi logo along the sides of the cabs , the same as merc have done with the Vito.
At the same time the P.C.O. could decree that miniscabs all have to be anything but black and include the wording “private hire vehicle, must be pre-booked” if nothing else that would pi*s the owner of Addison loo off!
Another thing that I read in one of the trade papers is the idea of having set fares from LAP into town. When I first read this I thought that it was a silly idea but after talking to a few other drivers and some of my customers I have changed my mind. The reason for this is that the customers that have expressed an opinion have all said that they would use us from the airport instead of miniscabs if they knew what the cost was and they aren’t expecting it to be done on the cheap either.
I don’t know how it would work but an idea would be to set the prices and then give the drivers 2 hours to return to the terminal that way there shouldn’t be any problems with the local jobs in the morning traffic. The upside of this would be that the same customers would hopefully use us to get them to the airport in the first place. Obviously this wouldn’t please everybody but it would be a step towards getting some of our work back and there are some drivers at LAP that would only be pleased if they were able to charge the customers from the moment they arrive in the feeder park, and from some of the prices on the meters when drivers set off from the terminals I think they already do.
Lester, the fella that Steve gets to keep the website running, stopped using black cabs back from the airport when he lived in Greenford because of the hassle getting a driver to take him without having a moan about how long they had been ranked up.

In one of the trade papers I read a piece by Alf Townsend, a writer who I greatly admire, and he was saying that the airport drivers are all perfect these days and do a fantastic job. Well I have to disagree with him on that point as the reason that I stopped ranking up there was due to the amount of jobs being broomed.

The last time I was there I saw a couple came out and they wanted to go to the Elephant and Castle but the driver in front decided that he didn’t want to go there as he wanted to go north so he sent them down the line to me. When I went to speak to him he told me to f off and then took the next job out and went on his way leaving the couple who wanted to go south for me to deal with!
Well that’s enough moaning for now.

I’ll finish with a little story about a thing that happened to me on Thursday evening.
I had just left Smithfield market where I had stopped for a quick cuppa and as I went up Charterhouse street there were 2 young ladies tottering along on extremely high heels and wearing the tightest clothing imaginable, 1 was in a skirt and the other was wearing trousers.
They flagged me down and said that they wanted to go to Vauxhall but they only had £5. So I said that I could stop by a cash point if they wanted but they declined, saying that they didn’t have any money in their accounts. So I said that £5 wouldn’t get them very far so the one in the skirt said” would you do it for £5 and a blow job?”
I declined their kind offer and went on my way.
Cheers and I’ll be back soon with more ramblings. Del Boy

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