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Taxi Wars!


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Looks like its all kicking off down the docks.

Taken from the Echo website




CRUISE liner passengers arriving in Southampton could be left stranded at the docks as a war between rival taxi firms threatens to erupt.


Taxi trade leaders say the situation is like a "tinder box" and last night called for emergency talks with port bosses. They say drivers fear for their livelihoods and that "it would not take much" for a blockade or boycott to bring chaos to the docks.


The row centres on proposals to allow private hire cabs to pick up passengers disembarking at Southampton.





Currently, only hackney carriage cabs, those that can be hailed in the street, operate at the city's three cruise terminals.


Port owner Associated British Ports (ABP) wants to allow in more taxis because of the boom in superliners, which can carry up to 4,000 passengers, calling at Southampton.


ABP is considering a number of solutions, including a proposal from the owner of private hire firm West Quay Cars to allow all Southampton's cabs open access to the terminals.



Rank marshals inside the terminals would co-ordinate the scheme, to be funded by a £1 surcharge paid by the passenger.


The scheme, dubbed Comb-ined Taxis of Southampton, is the brainchild of West Quay Cars boss Lee Haynes, who has set out his plan in a letter posted to more than 1,000 drivers.


Mr Haynes said the operation would be run totally independently and that he was simply trying to improve the service received by tourists arriving in Southampton.


He told the Daily Echo: "There are people who spend £8,000 on their annual holiday and then are being greeted with guys in flip-flops and football shorts and they are being charged £20 to go to the airport - I don't want people to have that impression of my city. It's something I'm passionate about. I'm trying to do something for the whole of the trade, but everyone is against me because they are not getting the right information."


Taxi trade representatives are angry at a lack of consultation and say they have been "left in the dark" by ABP.


Transport and General Workers' Union cab section chairman Perry McMillan agreed there had been an increase in passenger numbers, but said the trade as a whole should be involved in developing a solution. He said: "We don't have a problem with a private hire car making a general booking, but what we do object to is somebody who sees an opportunity to expand their own company with no benefit to the docks or passengers.


"If we do not get around the table with ABP, or if West Quay Cars are given a free hand, then there will be a lot of drivers who will be frightened for their livelihoods in what is a very difficult time to earn a living.


"If that happens, then I think there will be a rise in militancy among taxi drivers."



Private land


Clive Johnson, chairman of the Southampton Taxi Consult-ative Council and Radio Taxis, said he had been forced to quell talk of industrial action.


"It's a tinder box and at this present moment I have got control of it, but if they (ABP) do not sit down and talk to us it would not take much," he said.


"We want to show ABP that the main body of the trade is there to help them."


An ABP spokesman said it was committed to undertaking a full consultation process with the trade, but would not comment on threats of industrial action.


Ian Hall, chairman of the Southampton Hackney Assoc-iation, said there should be no talk of militant action.


"The docks are on private land owned by ABP and they can do whatever they want," Mr Hall said.


I'm a private hire owner myself (Streamline), and although it wouldn't bother me in the slightest if I never picked up from a cruise liner again, I can certainly see things from both sides of the arguement. Personally I can't stand going to pick up there. Its chaos, no one knows where to wait, the 'security' don't have a clue and the traffic in and out makes it more trouble than its normally worth.

Also on the busy days the ships tend to drag all the red plates out of the town centre so leaving all their usual work for the rest of us to scoop up, which suits me fine.

On the other hand I can see ABPs viewpoint, and who can blame them trying to improve things for their passengers if they're getting it the ear from the cruise companies because they feel their highly paid up passengers aren't getting the service they would expect.


What do the other cabbies/cab users on the forum think?


ps:this isn't TMS, so can we try not to post the usual taxi drivers are ***** type posts, ta.

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I think it should be fair game to everyone. I always begrudge paying Hackney prices (they always add a surcharge, I am sure they have reasons for it) when I can call West Quay and get a taxi for about 2/3 of the price.

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Good news. This happened 6 months ago were I live, and all the Asian taxi drivers kicked the poo out of each other, it was great fun. All private taxi's stopped after 8pm at night because the black n white cabs 'hackneys' were stopping the privates and buses and beating the drivers and passengers.

That week my truck became a private taxi.

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I understand the drivers being upset, but it is true about the drivers not turning up looking professional.

The more professional they look the better the tip is likely to be, as the passenger would most likely look and think,'well he'll be happy with a £1, as he's used to little.' Wheras the well dressed would be more likely to expect a better tip.

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Hackneys should get some priveleges for the money they have to pay for their red plate. However, they obviously may need to raise their game.


This fella from WestQuay cars sounds very insincere. He's probably a freemason who has been given the nod from his lodge mates from ABP to have a go.


In my experience, WestQuay give a crap service anyway. I always have to give them directions, which they can just about understand.


I'd rather go in a taxi with a driver in flip flops who knows where he's going as opposed to a smartly dressed one who doesn't have a clue.

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Hackneys should get some priveleges for the money they have to pay for their red plate.


But they only pay the same as a private hire owner. The reason the £30k figure is banded about is due to the council stopping issuing new plates. Existing owners just pay a yearly fee the same as PH owners. Quite why anyone would pay that kind of money when they can make just as much driving a PH is anyone guess.

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