What about Mini Cabs? they have Satellite Navigation, don’t have to do The Knowledge, can be licensed in a very short time, if you get an e-hailing light plugged in it’s just like being a black cab driver and TFL has no control over how many can be licensed, you would have to be mad to spend 3 to 5 years doing The Knowledge then spend £50000 or more on a Cab that you will have to hand back because you are outnumbered by 6 to1 and rising.
All of the above are good points for as long as the Mini Cabs are subsidised, I fear that as the Mini Cab market share increases so will the frequency of surge pricing (something a Black Cab driver cannot do) the business model being used is unfair to Black Cab drivers at the moment but will become unfair to the customers in the future.
The number of Mini Cabs will continue to rise (causing more congestion for London) until they have the required numbers for a monopoly, then it will become unfair to the very drivers that help build the company, they are after all not the responsibly of the company. As of Jan 2017, they are classed as self-employed and therefore add a double benefit to the operator in that their workers have no workers’ rights and that by being classed as self-employed if their driver is in an accident while you are a paying passenger your claim would be with the driver and not the operator.
I cannot begin to understand how frustrating this lack of regulation must be to the regulated Taxi trade that is required to pay more for purpose-built wheelchair accessible vehicles to see vast amounts of money spent on PR & advertising by predatory Mini Cab company’s trying to convince the public that what they offer is the same service at a reduced price, its not a reduced price its a loss leader subsidised until a monopoly can be achieved then the rates will rise and the surge pricing will increase.