On a freezing, rainy winter’s night, there are few greater pleasures in London than seeing the yellow light and being scooped up from the cold street into your little private compartment with the rain lashing against the windows and the heating (controllable by you) turned on full. There is legroom, there is headroom, there is calm and quiet, there is privacy and separation from the driver.
For all our capital’s economic glory, we have lost some of the accolades we took pride in as Londoners. Our streets are filled with shops and vehicles which could be anywhere. Now London risks losing one more thing which makes it different, special, and civilised: the world’s best taxis. Cab-driving in London is a profession, its members an elite. The long and difficult process of passing the Knowledge remains a highly effective means of excluding unsuitable or dangerous individuals and creating a corps of skilled, professional drivers. Black cabs also have a wider, symbolic value as an internationally recognised part of London’s identity. The black cab is an important element of “brand London’s” associations with elegance, tradition and quality, and thus has an economic value beyond the purely transportational.
The black cab must keep what makes it worth keeping, and worth paying for. We find that at least during the day, the black cab’s main competitive weakness is not price – but predictability and convenience. With other APPs you know, within a relatively narrow range, what the fare will be, you know when the cab will arrive, you do not have to wait in the street, and no cash has to change hands. Black cabs do not consistently offer these services. “Meter anxiety” from sitting in the back and watching the price tick up can be considerable. Providing an app for Elite drivers, being able to access quality work to means we can bring in incremental revenue to our drivers, this is not dilution. We appreciate that competition is great for the industry as it keeps us all on our toes and the need to continually innovate and evolve. The more investments made means that incremental revenue is felt and beneficial to all; we’re not relying on any regulator, we regulate ourselves to be the best. Driven by the Worlds Best.
Evolution and innovation means our current business models of garages are evolving into studios, and our Mechanics are now Technicians. The same pace of advancement means our passengers are now consumers and our administration is now in the Cloud.
Consumer behaviour has changed significantly and consumer demand is such that service is at its highest level; we exist in a brand competitive world with multiple choices and communication messages bombarding us all day at every touch-point.
We can collectively control & maintain Driver & Taxi standards within our Industry, but we must be open to innovation in order to future proof our industry:
“Our drivers represent the Sherbet values - their vehicles will be pristine, air conditioned or heated, our drivers smartly dressed, and we’ll offer bottled water to customers on arrival. This is all part of the evolution of our service and brand. Our focus is how we use service excellence and technology to ensure a premium journey experience thus future proofing the sustainability of our industry.”