The Black Cab – loss of a national icon?

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Afternoon,

There’s a revolution happening in transport in London. No, it’s not Crossrail or any of those minor projects.

It’s the demise of the iconic London black cab.

It’s going to be a slow death but it started years ago. The Hackney Carriage (nothing to do with the London Borough – it’s a word of French origin) is on its way out.

The killer blow is Uber.  The company doesn’t have taxi ranks – instead its drivers park up – often illegally – and wait for their next job from the app. Uber is cheaper, easy to use for the millennial generation, clean and efficient.

But what a shame if we lost this icon of London. In many ways the ‘trade’ has only itself to blame.

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Credit cards now vastly outnumber cash purchases – but it took years for taxis to accept them universally and there are still some whose machines are permanently ‘out of order’.

Then there is the grumpy driver who looks like his aunt has just died when you don’t say you are going to the airport. And as for finding change for a twenty pound note, you get a look like you are some sort of pervert.

Earphones are a disaster for drivers ‘didn’t the gunners do well last night?’ I’d rather hear their good old-fashioned right-wing opinions.

Unlike Uber, the taxi drivers don’t present an united front – they have tried numerous apps – far too many – whereas Uber offers only one.

Legislation is not the way to save the Black Cab – the brand needs to be reinvented. Google maps has overtaken the ‘knowledge’; the rank has been replaced by door-to-door.

For London’s cabbies the future looks black.

Tom


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