So Taxify have now launched despite there being some confusion surrounding the validity of their operators licence. Now if you think this piece is about Taxify as a company then you are wrong.....This is about public perception.
Well known news source Business Insider published a review of three random Taxify journeys conducted by its journalists. Two of the authors used the word taxi on three separate occasions.....easily done and can be excused when used by the general public, however when you have a well informed journalist emphasise the fact that a BMW is in fact a taxi you then have to start asking questions.
A private hire vehicle is not a taxi in any way shape nor form and vice versa, yet some people still can't seem to differentiate between the two modes of transport.
There are a myriad of reasons, most of them perfectly innocent as to why a proportion of the general public see it that way. Given that this particular author travelled from Aldgate to Clerkenwell and seemed to come across as somebody who lives/works in London, it's highly intriguing that they can't tell the difference between a taxi and a minicab. This therefore begs the question as to why he is so adamant that a BMW private hire vehicle is a taxi.
The taxi trade in London is suffering from homogenisation. Both taxis and the private hire industry are slowly becoming assimilated in name, especially by those in the media. This could have been prevented decades ago but because the name has now become a generic term (outside of London) it has become extremely difficult to enforce the seperation between the two industry's. This blurring of lines has led to the public becoming confused in regards to the standard of vehicle that they are getting into, bearing in mind the differences are both vast and highly significant.
So should we blame the media for melding the two industries together.....the answer is no, both the regulators and those representing the taxi industry across the country (not just in London) are the ones who should bare responsibility for failing to protect the name taxi from misuse.