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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 9:23 pm 
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FEARS FOR CHAOS IN TAXI PICK-UP SCHEME


Taxi drivers are demanding an urgent meeting with council officials amid fears a new scheme to create late-night private hire "pick-up spots" could add to chaos in a busy town centre. Hundreds of private hire vehicles will have to be pre-booked to wait in Newcastle on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights as part of a crackdown on illegal cabbies who have plagued the town centre for months.

Under the initiative - which starts at the end of this month - High Street will be cordoned off and private hire operators allowed to collect clubbers waiting at designated points in Hassell Street, Paradise Street and Stubbs Street.

Police hope the move will stop the mass clamour for taxis among drinkers when they pour out of nightclubs at the south end of High Street in the early hours of the morning. But hackney drivers - the only cabbies normally allowed to pick up customers from defined taxi ranks - say the move could create a "free for all" in the town centre.

And Newcastle's biggest private hire firm predict the new system will see drunks clash as they wander across town to the different collection points.

But officials at Newcastle Borough Council argue the scheme will reduce health and safety problems.

Ian McCallum, chairman of Newcastle and Kidsgrove Hackney Drivers' Association, said today: "We have a number of questions we would like to ask the council. I am very fearful that these plans could make the situation far worse and could lead to 101 health and safety issues. Our future as an organisation is at stake. We have made numerous attempts to speak to the council but they never respond to us."

Andrew Hammond, manager of Sid's Private Hire in Chesterton, said: "I cannot stress how bad this is going to be. People will come out of the clubs early in the morning, will have to walk to different points to join queues and will get into fights."

"Why can't we pick them up from outside the High Street clubs when they have pre-booked? The sensible thing would be for private hire companies to pick up customers who have pre-booked and for police and the council to crack down on people who illegally ply for hire."

The scheme is being run by Newcastle Community Safety Partnership, which is headed by police and the borough council.

A council spokesman said: "The new scheme is designed to ease congestion in the High Street area."

"We are currently consulting private hire firms as they would be directly affected."

"The scheme will allow a more effective crackdown on private hire firms who are illegally plying their trade as well as reducing the risk of violence and improving safety."

"If hackney drivers want to contact us, we will listen to what they have to say."

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For the record chaps, this is the Newcastle near Stoke, not the one that the scousers beat to be Cultural Capital. :D :D :D :D


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2003 10:51 am 
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Location: Plymouth, i think, i'll just check the A to Z!
this is similar to what our company do. after 1am we no longer pick up in the middle of clubland, cos of all the [edited by admin] head and trouble there.

so when a punter makes a booking we tell the to go to the end of the street where there is a small layby. this works fine in most of the time, but at peak time it is a nightmare.

imagine the scene where you have 20-30 punters all in the same place and they have all booked a car with your company. trying to find the right punter is a pain in the butt.

most of the time the one who has booked it is either late, not turning up or jumped in the first black cab thats gone by, and its very frustrating to call in a no fare when you've got booked fares waiting especially as normally the next job on the datapad is not where your sat. the punters can never understand why i pull away empty when they've booked with us.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2003 12:24 pm 
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I think the problem arises when that place get known for having 'cabs', and many people go there instead of a pukka rank.

Then you will get those 'cabs' who shouldn't be there, doing things they shouldn't be doing.

However de-limination would solve that over night. :D


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2003 1:12 pm 
Sussex Man wrote:
I think the problem arises when that place get known for having 'cabs', and many people go there instead of a pukka rank.

Then you will get those 'cabs' who shouldn't be there, doing things they shouldn't be doing.

However de-limination would solve that over night. :D


The problem of a predefined collection used for all the trade is exactly that, it brings all sorts of trouble. In our hotspots telephonist over suggestions of pick up points influenced by where the punter is going. Saving a loop round the one way system.

I tried like mad to stay out of the de-limiting argument. But I have to comment that we are de-limited and I still can't get half the cars on the road on a saturday night. Folks just don't need the hassle.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2003 8:04 pm 
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Anonymous wrote:
I tried like mad to stay out of the de-limiting argument. But I have to comment that we are de-limited and I still can't get half the cars on the road on a saturday night. Folks just don't need the hassle.


No Mr Guest you are not permitted to stay out of the de-limiting argument. :D :D

Alright then just this once. :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2003 12:22 am 
steveo wrote:
this is similar to what our company do. after 1am we no longer pick up in the middle of clubland, cos of all the [edited by admin] head and trouble there.

so when a punter makes a booking we tell the to go to the end of the street where there is a small layby. this works fine in most of the time, but at peak time it is a nightmare.

imagine the scene where you have 20-30 punters all in the same place and they have all booked a car with your company. trying to find the right punter is a pain in the butt.

most of the time the one who has booked it is either late, not turning up or jumped in the first black cab thats gone by, and its very frustrating to call in a no fare when you've got booked fares waiting especially as normally the next job on the datapad is not where your sat. the punters can never understand why i pull away empty when they've booked with us.


well it does seem daft! if the passengers are all for your company surely you can take another one and tell control which one you have got? what a waste of time, fuel and energy!

Wharfie


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2003 10:11 am 
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Location: Plymouth, i think, i'll just check the A to Z!
Wharfie wrote:

well it does seem daft! if the passengers are all for your company surely you can take another one and tell control which one you have got? what a waste of time, fuel and energy!

Wharfie


you right there it is daft and it does a lot of damage to the company image. punters get frustrated when you tell them that you cant take them cos your booked for someone else and after typing in for a no-fare the next job on the datapad is down the road. i guess thats one of the joys of the datapad/computer system instead of radio work.

like someone said in another post, where we tell the punters to wait for us is well known, and often you'll see a black cab poaching a booked fare or another PH company stopping and illegally plying for the fare.
so you get a lot of no-fares from these places, for one reason or another, could even be that the punter is taking a slow stroll with a face full of KFC or whatever. the problem we got is on a sat night you got no chance getting through on the radio when theres 500 odd calls coming in every hour and 150-200 cars on the road, so its hard to pick up someone else whos booked. and if i do it anyway that would cause problems for the next driver who comes along to pick up the fare i've just gone off with (not to mention a bit of a grey area regarding local PH laws)

this is a major saturday night problem for us which we need to sort out. for example a few weeks ago i went for a full hour between 2-3 am with nothing but no-fares from these spots. not what you want at peak money time on a saturday night. another example is last saturday night where there was a huge out of town party/rave at a manor house, thousands of punter all wanting to get home and no chance of finding your booked fare. i must put my hand up to just shouting out the booked name and just taking whoever said yes on that night, a rare thing for me to do but it was a long way back for a no fare :wink:

anyway i guess the way is to sort out our radio so we can take who ever has booked and get the next car coming along to take whoever is next, a bit like you would if it was punters waiting in a booking office. although im sure the black cab lads would kick up a storm cos that would effectivly make it a PH rank, im not sure where we would stand legally on that one.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2003 5:54 pm 
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Well you could get your office to give you the job as a booking for a lady, or a gentlemen. But I believe that would annoy a few members on here.

Or get the office to take all the bookings, and say you are one car of ten (it could be more, depending on how many bookings you have) covering the work. Then providing you pick up someone who has rang your office, then it shouldn't matter if you get the wrong name.

But 10 out of 10 for honestly Steveo, cos I suspect that up and down the country, most drivers (be they HC or PH) will just grab what they can.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2003 5:43 pm 
So in a nutshell they are creating a PH rank. They tried this in Pontifract a few years ago and our Council was trying to do it last year but it ended up on the back burner. Last month the Council threw it out.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2003 10:33 am 
back to the newcastle issue, it seems like the HC lads dont want it (for obvious reasons) the PH operaters dont want it cos they can forsee the trouble it will cause, but the council are just ploughing ahead and doing it anyway, dont they listen to the drivers up there?

the HC lads are right, by shutting off the whole street and having that many PH pick up points, the council are unwittingly creating a free for all as far as picking up goes. those PH driver who follow the rules will lose out as they will never find their fares, those who disregard the rules will love it cos theres no realistic way you can control who does what once they are 'in the zone'. i suspect the police & council wont care as long as it gets the [edited by admin] heads off the streets on a saturday night. it will take the HC lads and even the PH operators to actully try and work together and kick up a stink about it. unfortuently i think it will take a while and evicence of a lot of trouble before the police back a U-turn.


Back to our problems in plymouth with this type of picking up, its going to improve for us slightly as we have just took over another PH company with a nice big office right in the middle of town just 50 yards away from our old pick up point. hopefully thing should improve. i say hopefully because the office wont be manned, it will have a couple of freephones striaght to the main booking office. the punter come in the front, make the booking on the phone, we get the job on the data pad and pick them up at the rear door of the office. should work OK, up until the rouge HC lads and touts find out the how it works!

anyway, the new office opens this weekend, so i'll just have to wait and see, even at worst case it ought to work out better than the mess we had before.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2003 10:35 am 
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Location: Plymouth, i think, i'll just check the A to Z!
sorry i wasnt logged in when i wrote the post above, it was me steveo! :D


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2003 8:00 pm 
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Location: Miles away from paradise, not far from hell.
I think we gathered that. We appear to only have one Plymouth reporter. :D

But on a serious note, having PHs sort of ranked up, even if waiting for or picking up legitimate jobs, is really asking for trouble.

Your new office should be busy. Where I work our office is just a short walk from the pubs/clubs etc. Which is great, because by the time they have walked there, they have already eaten their kebabs and/or spewed up. :oops:


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