Shared booking platforms threaten the long term future of black cabs warns leading taxi industry figure.
Asher Moses, CEO of Sherbet London, has warned of the potential long-term damage to the black cab industry when both Black Cabs and Private Hire Vehicles (PHV) share the same booking apps.
In recent weeks Freenow has linked up with Kapten, Gett has partnered with Ola, whilst Uber has purchased cab technology company Autocab.
Asher Moses, Chief Executive of Sherbet London, said: “With a number of apps now promoting both Black Cabs and PHVs, customers are presented with a choice about how to make their journey. However, in the vast majority of cases a private hire vehicle is presented as the cheaper option. I am concerned that customers will only consider the cost of their journey and not the benefits of using a Black Cab and this will result in journeys being diverted from Black Cabs to PHVs.
“In the long term this may well see a reduction in business for black cabs and a challenge to the viability of the business model for Black Cab owners. It is vital that we continue to support the iconic Black Cab industry in London, particularly. That is why at Sherbet we only allow the booking of Black Cabs via our app.”
Yellow Badge Cab driver, Allen Prosser agreed: “Many cabbies I have spoken with disagree with both PHVs and Black Cabs being on the same app. The reality is people just choose based on price, which often benefits the PHV drivers and don’t consider the improved, faster service that they can get from a Black Cab Driver who has completed the ‘Knowledge’.”
During COVID-19 there has been a significant drop in business for the taxi trade, with some cabbies in London reporting that they are seeing earnings drop by up to 80%.
With the ending of government support for self-employed workers and businesses in London being slow to return to full time office-working, Black Cab drivers are facing difficult business conditions. There are concerns that a further loss of business, with customers being diverted from black cabs to PHVs, will only exacerbate the problem.