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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:23 am 
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This stuff and the photos are on quite a few news sources this morning. This piece is from Mail Online, but there's similar articles on ITV News, AOL etc. There's a few more photos on the Mail's website, if anyone's interested :?


Has Covid killed the black cab? Fifth of all London taxis are now off the road with hundreds stored on farmers' fields and drivers on 'starvation wages' after passengers 'evaporated' during pandemic

    Number of licensed taxis in London dropped by 3,900 from June to November
    Black cab rental firms have been forced to hire fields around city to store cars
    It is also believed that only 20 per cent of cabbies are still driving their vehicles
    TfL said it provided drivers with 'practical advice on number of issues' in crisis
    ** Has your taxi firm been affected? Contact katie.weston@mailonline.co.uk **

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... rated.html

Image
Image: Press Association

A fifth of all black cabs in London have been taken off the road with hundreds stored on farmer's fields and drivers on 'starvation wages' after passengers 'evaporated' during the Covid-19 pandemic, research has revealed.

The number of taxis licensed in the capital plummeted from 18,900 on June 7 to 15,000 on November 8, according to Transport for London (TfL) data.

Black cab rental firms have been forced to hire fields and farmland dotted around the edge of the city to store vehicles handed back by drivers in recent months.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA) believes only 20 per cent of cabbies are still driving their vehicles.

General secretary Steve McNamara said they are earning 'starvation wages' around a quarter of normal levels and are 'doing desperate things' such as selling their taxis for well below market value to 'get through the next few months'.

He added that the pandemic has been a 'complete and utter nightmare' for drivers who have 'fallen through the gaps' in the Treasury's furlough scheme.

These include those who recently bought a new £65,000 electric taxi, or receive a small pension from a previous job.

Many have received 'no income at all' since March, Mr McNamara said.

He commented: 'We're in a position now where London could lose this icon. We're a very viable business. We're an integral part of this city's DNA.

'We need a specific package that's targeted towards taxi drivers in London just to help us get through this.'

Image
Image: Press Association

London cabbie Andy Biggs, 63, said demand has 'evaporated' and he is lucky if he has three customers a day.

'When we first went back after the initial lockdown, things started to get a little bit better very slowly. But now it's as dead as it's ever been.

'This is a very gregarious job, generally. I like talking to people, meeting people, hearing people’s stories.

'That’s kind of gone now because you can go a whole day with only three people in your cab, if you’re lucky. It’s a completely different job.'

Mr Biggs, who became a taxi driver 10 years ago following a sailing career as a commercial skipper, added: 'I don’t want to do anything else. I’ll just manage, and hope for better times.

'If I was 20 years younger I might consider doing something else.'

Howard Taylor, who has been a cab driver in the capital for more than three decades, said he goes to work with 'no expectation at all' of being hailed for a ride.

'I’ve never seen London like it. In 33 years I’ve never seen it as quiet, as desolate and depressing.

The 60-year-old said he had three customers in five hours on Tuesday. That earned him a total of £30, but his costs mean he made a loss on the day.

'I try to be optimistic and think, if you don’t go out to work you’re never going to take any money. To win the lottery you’ve got to buy a ticket.'

LTDA figures show drivers arriving at Heathrow Airport's taxi feeder park last month waited an average of nine hours before being dispatched to pick up a passenger.

North London based rental company GB Taxi Services has seen the occupation rate of its fleet of 100 black cabs plummet from 95 per cent before the crisis to just 10 per cent, despite halving its fees to encourage drivers to hold on to their vehicles.

Image
Image: Press Association

It is one of two firms using an area of farmland in Epping Forest, Essex, to store around 220 unwanted taxis so they can stop paying to insure them.

But the plan backfired when intruders stole catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters from around 50 of them.

Simon Georgiou, a director at GB Taxi Services, said: 'We got our knees taken away with Covid and loads of vehicles getting handed back. Then this theft happens, which cost in excess of £120,000. We're in a right mess.'

Another rental firm, Sherbet London, has hired a car park to help store 400 unoccupied cabs, representing two-thirds of its fleet.

Chief executive Asher Moses said: 'The whole trade has suffered. There must be 2,000 taxis on fields at the moment.'

He accused ministers of failing to deliver on their commitments during the pandemic.

Mr Moses added: 'When Covid struck, we had the Government say "don't worry we will support businesses like yourselves". But unfortunately they did not, and they left us out to rot.'

TfL said it has provided drivers with 'practical advice on a number of issues' during the crisis, and insisted black cabs 'remain an integral part of the transport network'.

Image
Image: Press Association


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:23 am 
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Quote:
The number of taxis licensed in the capital plummeted from 18,900 on June 7 to 15,000 on November 8, according to Transport for London (TfL) data.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA) believes only 20 per cent of cabbies are still driving their vehicles.

If the LTDA figures are anything like correct, then presumably 10,000+ London HCs are still plated, but effectively mothballed. So maybe something like 3,000 actually working.

Of course, the reduction in numbers will be linked to plate renewal dates and that sort of thing. So I'd guess thousands more won't be renewed, either because the owners have already given up but cabs are still plated, or they'll decide to jack it in during the next few months :-|


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:13 pm 
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Same sort of report on BBC news as well:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-l ... acUfpC4MSo


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:30 pm 
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The majority of TAXI proprietors and drivers are in this boat, unable to make ends meet due to these restrictions from the end of March.
NO help from Councils whatsoever .

Ask about the Additional Restrictions Grant(ARG) according to government" supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes or where additional funding is needed"

In my opinion this means our trade TAXI/private hire who did not fit the criteria for assistance from the other schemes will get assistance from this scheme.

Councils in the main appear not to wish to assist us in our hour of need.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:36 pm 
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roythebus wrote:
Same sort of report on BBC news as well:

Seems to be on all the major newspapers' websites and dedicated news sites.

All using the same quotes and photos (there's also a video showing the mothballed cabs).

'Syndicated', I think the term is in the business.

Maybe the photos credited to the Press Association are a clue - they produce the 'copy' (text and quotes used in the articles) and photos, and distribute it to newspapers and websites.

Whole thing may have been initiated by the LTDA - they seem quite good at that sort of thing.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:50 pm 
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Quote:
[LTDA's Steve McNamara] added that the pandemic has been a 'complete and utter nightmare' for drivers who have 'fallen through the gaps' in the Treasury's furlough scheme.

These include those who recently bought a new £65,000 electric taxi, or receive a small pension from a previous job.

The latter rule is the 50% one - if more than half of your income comes from other sources, then you don't qualify for the SEISS grants.

The EV one is interesting, and have only become aware of that in past few days.

So normally when you buy a car, the whole amount won't come off your profits. You get a percentage of the cost each year (18% I think), and it's called capital allowances.

But I think what's happening is that if you buy an EV you get more of the cost upfront in capital allowances. Could be wrong, but it may be 100% of the cost.

So basically, if you spend a lot on a new EV, that can wipe out most or all of your profit for the year. Which is all well and good normally, because it means you pay less or zero tax.

But the problem seems to be that if these very low profits are used to assess your SEISS grant, then obviously your grant will be very low too :?

So I'm assuming that's what it's all about, but I'm not entirely sure.

But one of the drivers here told me that he wasn't getting much in the way of SEISS because he'd just invested in a couple of new vehicles. Not EVs, but even normal capital allowances on a new vehicle can drastically reduce taxable profits, which is now having negative consequences as far as the SEISS is concerned.

So if you've just bought a new vehicle in the last couple of years before lockdown, it won't have helped as regards claiming the SEISS :-|


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:07 pm 
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Location: Stamford Britains prettiest town till SKDC ruined it
Just seen this on bbc news website and I'm not surprised.

There is no economic sense in paying rent for a vehicle that won't generate enough revenue

It will be interesting to see if the Coventry electric taxi factory remains open i suspect that that will be mothballed soon

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:12 pm 
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you are right you can claim 100 % of the cost of the EV against your taxable profits BUT if you have bought it on finance that is not much use if you haven't got any profits and are making a loss due to the finance costs

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:16 pm 
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Quote:
But the plan backfired when intruders stole catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters from around 50 of them.

It never rains but it pours. :sad:

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:21 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
Quote:
But the plan backfired when intruders stole catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters from around 50 of them.

It never rains but it pours. :sad:



times like these are an opportunity for the unscrupulous :sad:

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