It’s becoming a regular bind to have to find a cab in central London, with the unreliable tube, and the even more unreliable bus service I’m one of many people that’s having to rely on cabs to get from A to B. My most recent cab journey was a perfect example, the tube has broken down and I’m late for a train. I caught a cab from Charring Cross Road to Kings Cross, and was appalled to be charged £9.50 for nothing more than myself, and my record bag.
But the high price of my cab is only put in perspective when you consider the rail ticket that I purchased for an 80 mile journey only cost me £14.50. Taxi’s fares around London soaring, and my recent experience is a perfect illustration of why Londoners are angry over the new night rates.
You know I’m sure that I’m just one of tens of thousands of Londoners who’ve had the heart-attacking inducing shock of discovering that the black cab fare has gone through the roof. Until last November, the new rates approved by Ken Livingstone meant that a black cab in London after 8pm is going to cost up to 48% more, despite Transport for London saying that prices would only rise by a maximum of 30%.
Apparently it’s supposed to incentivise and persuade cab drivers to work at night, after all of us started to bitch about the number of unlicensed mini cabs prowling the streets. So rather than finding a sensitive clever response to this TfL simply appealed to greed, rather than looking after their public with a new “after 8pm” tariff that has increased fares for journeys of two miles or over, peaking at about 35% for journeys of four miles, and then downhill for more lengthy journeys.
You see the problem with this is that it’s once again unfair, as the people who are hit hardest by these new fare’s are those who live and work in central London (zone 1) with only the first six miles of any cab journey being subject to this “inbuilt” extra charge, with most of that charge heavily aimed at the first four miles. It’s really not bloody difficult to see why Londoners already hardened to astronomically high charges for public transport are reeling to see the taxi home can now cost more than the night out: and you know what? I don’t think it’s working at all. On my regular trip home from Soho to Notting Hill Gate it’s not at all unusual to find not a single black cab for hire at all on Oxford Street, which mean once again dodging vomit, stabbings and lunatics on London’s horrid night bus service.
It’s hardly surprising that there’s rising resentment from Londoners like me, who are being forced to pay extra when they are more likely to have been working late at the office than coming out of a club or bar. What pisses me off still more is the scandal of the who scheme who’s main beneficiaries may well be the minicab operators and unlicensed cabs who are not covered by the rates. We’ve all got our horror stories from mini-cabs, most ending in a rip off, but some ending in violence and sex; so let’s face it all this scheme is going to do is not help out the London traveller, but it’s going to help the minicab touts.
TfL is failing in it’s duty to Londoners, and we’re simply forced to grin and bear it. It’s clear that someone is making a quick buck here, the taxi drivers say it’s not them, Transport for London say it’s not them, and it’s certainly not me, the average taxi user. Instead of stiffing the user, why not get more enforcement officers out on the road impounding the illegal vehicles, arresting the drivers and fining the touts.