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Neither the taxi nor private-hire vehicle industry are thriving, says Karhoo

Posted: 12 December 2018 | | No comments yet

The taxi and private-hire vehicle (PHV) industry in London is “enduring systemic adverse impacts”, according to one of the country’s major electronic platforms.

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London-based Karhoo, in its submission to the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) investigation into taxis and private-hire vehicles (PHVs), has claimed that taxis are likely to dwindle and potentially disappear.

The headlines of large increases in PHVs in London, and claims of this causing congestion, have obscured what is really happening, the company said.

With drivers’ wages continuing to decline and the number of PHV operators reducing, Karhoo stated that more needs to be done to ensure the system works better for drivers, passengers and operators – most of whom are smaller companies. This could include expanding the role of taxis and PHV through technology.

Karhoo, which has connected with over 1 million licensed taxis and cars worldwide, called on Transport for London (TfL) to develop objective measures for what ‘good’ looks like in the industry, and to identify the causes of decline.

The company argued the transport body should also introduce a regular survey to monitor the health of the industry in areas such as driver pay, journey volumes, growth in demand and profitability. This could then be used to identify the root causes of the problems and intervene.

Citing statistics from TfL, Karhoo warned applications for the Knowledge of London are reducing significantly. The number of PHV driver licence renewals has also moved from steady growth to a noticeable decline.

The submission calls for greater collaboration across the industry from PHV fleets, their representative organisations, the taxi industry and the involvement of technology companies, disability representative groups and consumer and safety groups.

Karhoo’s response said: “The inability to thrive appears to be impacting all sizes of business in all geographies across London. Widespread reports from operators in all sectors concerning the difficulty of recruiting PHV drivers underlines this notion.

“The reduction in the number of Knowledge of London candidates suggests that the hardly discernible reduction in Licensed London Taxi Drivers over recent times is likely to accelerate as less people enter the industry given the demographics of this sector.”

Karhoo co-CEO, Boris Pilichowski, said: “It’s no secret that there is massive potential for the taxi and PHV sectors to grow. However, changes need to be made to ensure the industry as a whole thrives. That can only be done by upholding standards and making sure that certain groups aren’t being exploited. Technology will also have an important part to play. That’s why we’ve put forward our submission – to help authorities help drivers, passengers and smaller firms.”

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