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Black cab fares in Nottingham set to go up by 15 per cent from a week before Christmas

Black cab fares in Nottingham set to go up by 15 per cent from a week before Christmas

The price of getting a Hackney cab in Nottingham is set to go up by more than 15 per cent.

Fares are due to go up by an average 15.3 per cent in the night time and 16.5 per cent during the day.

The increase, which is the first in seven years, was proposed by the trade unions who represent Nottingham’s drivers of ‘black cabs’ (most of which are actually green).

It was approved by the city council today, November 27, and – subject to a two-week consultation – it will come into force from December 17.

Earlier this year, the Labour-run city council voted to replace the current fleet of cabs with new, more-environmentally friendly vehicles, which cost up to £72,000. These costs have to be met by the drivers.

Basheer Ahmed Latif is the chairman of the Nottingham branch of Unite’s Hackney Carriage drivers, and explained why his members supported the increase.

He said: “We are pleased at the increase because we are having to invest in the new vehicles.

“We haven’t had a fare rise for seven years, and in that time the cost of living has gone up by about 30 percent, the insurance has gone up by 50 percent, the price of diesel has gone up as well, and with the new vehicles the price of that has doubled as well.

“We offer a specialist service in the sense that all our vehicles are wheelchair accessible, and they’re five and six-seaters, and on top of that we have agreed to upgrade all our vehicles, so that really is a huge investment.

“If someone buys something like a new vehicle then they have got to be able to pay for it, and with all the costs going up this is really an incentive for drivers to stay in the trade, and we hope the public will support that for the future generation of Nottingham taxis.”

From next month, customers will pay an extra £1 for the first mile, and 20 pence more per mile thereafter.

So, for example, instead of a two-mile journey costing £5.60 in the day or £6.00 at night, prices will rise to £6.80 and £7.20 respectively.

A ten-mile journey would go up from £20.20 in the day or £22.00 at night, to £22.60 and £24.60.

There will also be a £1 surcharge on bank holidays; and a small increase in charges for waiting times.

The proposal was unanimously supported by the city council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee at Loxley House this morning.

Councillor Gul Nawaz Khan represents the Dales ward for Labour, and said: “Inflation has gone up, petrol prices are sky high, and the drivers are losing money every day because their fare hasn’t increased, but now we can agree to this, which is a really good idea.”


Source: Nottinghamshire Live

Taxi trade to be ‘decimated’ by Clean Air Zone in Birmingham – warning

Taxi trade to be ‘decimated’ by Clean Air Zone in Birmingham – warning

Birmingham’s iconic black cab trade will be ‘decimated’ by the Clean Air Zone, drivers have warned.

According to city council figures, only 72 of the 1,265 Hackney Carriages licensed to operate in the city will be compliant with the emission standards being imposed by the pollution charge from January 2020.

It is feared that should the majority of black cabs disappear from the roads it would have a major impact on disabled people, because only Hackney Carriages are required to be wheelchair accessible.

Drivers voiced their concerns today (Wednesday, November 21) during a heated meeting of the authority’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee.

Saj Mahmood, from the national union for Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) said: “We want to work with the council, but you have come across with a hammer, bang.”

He added there ‘won’t be a Hackney Carriage trade left’ unless the drivers were supported and the on-going issue around out of area workers was tackled once and for all.

The concerns were echoed by fellow RMT representative Mohammed Halim who said the Clean Air Zone would ‘decimate the black cab trade in the city’.

The committee agreed to go out to an eight-week consultation with the public and drivers later this month around proposed changes to the council’s licensing policy.

One of the ideas is to scrap the ‘exceptional condition test’ which allows Hackney Carriages to be used once they are more than 14 years old, providing they are deemed road-worthy.

Through a government pilot, 65 Birmingham black cabs were converted to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Only seven others are compliant with the emission benchmark.

The council has also enabled drivers to hold a dual licence which will allow them to work in private hire if they want to.

The authority is also making a multi-million pound bid to the Government’s Clean Air Fund to buy 50 ultra low emission vehicles, 10 of which would be offered on short leases as a try-before-you-buy scheme while the rest would be available for short-term rent on hourly rates.

Additionally, the bid will include a request for £5,000 individual support packages for up to 1,000 drivers to help them convert to LPG or run a low emission vehicle.

But today’s meeting threatened to spiral out of control when committee members starting making political points.

Cllr Simon Morall (Cons, Frankley Great Park) argued that the Conservative Group did not support the Labour-run council’s plans for a Clean Air Zone which charged private vehicles, including taxis.

While Cllr Mike Leddy (Lab, Brandwood and King’s Heath) hit back saying the council’s hand was being forced by Government demands to reduce pollution levels – said to contribute to 900 premature deaths a year in the city.

By that point taxi drivers were also voicing their concerns without being prompted.

Committee chairman Cllr Barbara Dring (Lab, Oscott) intervened and said: “This is starting to get political and starting to get critical of everybody.

“We are not going down that road. Your (addressing taxi drivers) behaviour has been impeccable up to now, I support the Hackney Carriage trade they are iconic in this city.

“We need to keep them and we are trying to assist in any way we can to get resources to make the transition.”

A report outlining final changes to the council’s licensing policy is due back in February after the consultation.


Source: Birmingham Live

Taxi! Metrocab prototype number one up for grabs

Taxi! Metrocab prototype number one up for grabs

Offered on behalf of its late owner, this unique survivor is no ordinary taxi. Built in 1969 to showcase a new direction of generational cab design, powered by a 1760cc S4 diesel engine churning out 52bhp and mated to a four speed all-syncromesh gearbox; this is Metrocab prototype number one.

Or, as some view it, a forerunner to the Range Rover P38.

First registered for road use in 1970 before undergoing tough and steadfast road trials across Britain for the best part of three years, this prototype then went on display in the London Cab Company museum in South London. After the museum closed, the Metrocab fell into the custody of a former chairman of the London Vintage Taxi Association, here you can book taxi without any problems, this company has the best personal, latest vehicles at a great affordable price and it is so easy and fast to use.

Only two prototypes were crafted sporting such a design, first spotted by the press undergoing traffic flow analysis outside Westminster in 1970. Designed by Metro-Cammel-Weymann as a rival to the Beardmore MK VII, it took some 17 years before manufacture of a production model began – albeit with updated aesthetics.

First hitting Britain’s cities in 1987, and remaining in production until late 2006, the final design utilised the headlamps and grille of the Ford Granada Mk II, with taillights from the Escort Cabriolet. The dashboard originated from the Austin Montego, with switchgear borrowed from the much-lampooned Maestro hatchback.

The original prototype, for sale here, employed the grille and headlamps off Ford’s Cortina Mk II with a bespoke interior and profile not dissimilar to British Leyland’s first stab at creating a pre-production Range Rover design.

The body comprises of a four door frame consisting of six light fibreglass panels with a separate chassis frame, and was originally designed to be lifted off the chassis as a single unit. Unused for the last three years, this Metrocab will most likely require some recommissioning before being capable of long-distance travel.

It’s an incredibly rare opportunity to acquire such a vehicle, and we can bet that such a culturally significant prototype that eventually defined a generation of Londoners, 17 years later than it expected to, won’t hang around for long.

An ode to the London cab : Austin FX4 taxi at 60.

An ode to the London cab : Austin FX4 taxi at 60.

The Austin FX4 is a taxicab that was produced from 1958 until 1997. It was sold by Austin from 1958 until 1982, when Carbodies, who had been producing the FX4 for Austin, took over the intellectual rights to the car. They continued production until 1984 when London Taxis International took over the rights to the FX4 – and they produced it until 1997. In all, more than 75,000 FX4s were built.
Sixty years ago, sales commenced of a taxi so radical in design that not a few cabbies in the capital regarded it with a degree of suspicion. Where were the running boards? Why was there no opening windscreen, so essential for ventilation, demisting or for assisting visibility while driving through the stereotypical London fog?

Furthermore, how would the automatic gearbox cope with the rigours of urban motoring? And where was the luggage platform alongside the driver’s compartment?

The new Austin FX4 together with the Routemaster bus, it was symbolic of post-war change in the capital.

In the late 1950s, the British Motor Corporation (BMC) boasted of the FX3 that “You see more Austin taxis on the streets of London than any other single make of cab”.

Work on its successor commenced in 1956, and in 1958 hit th ranks. The FX4 would use the chassis and the 2.2-litre diesel engine of the older model together with coachwork that managed the difficult achievement of combining the traditional with modernity – the Austin FX3 may have debuted in 1948, but its appearance still harked back to the late 1930s while its successor looked as up-to-the-minute as a Soho expresso bar; albeit with a slightly more dignified air.

The FX4 went out of production in 1997 but this early Nineties example is still going strong in 2009. Behind is a Metrocab taxi – it was more spacious than the Austin, but failed to overtake it as the archetypal ‘London taxi’

From an operator’s perspective, the driver’s compartment was still lacking in space, but the seat was adjustable for height, and you could specify a comparatively elaborate heating system. Communication with the passengers was via a circular disc in the partition, while the first FX4s lacked a rear-view mirror to ensure the fares’ privacy.

“Bunny ear” flashing indicators were mounted in the roof; these had been introduced on the late-model FX3s as the previous semaphore trafficators were prone to being used as unofficial grab handles by departing punters.

Early FX4s suffered from an array of teething problems, not least being that the bonnet was prone to flying open when the cab encountered a pothole. The Borg Warner automatic transmission was not universally popular, as there were complaints about its effect on performance and running costs.

London life: an FX4 encounters a punk on Westminster Bridge in the early EightiesCredit: Alamy

An additional issue was that many drivers were wholly unused to an automatic gearbox and by 1961 BMC offered an optional four-speed manual ’box. There was also a lack of soundproofing, as the Public Carriage Office regarded it as a potential fire hazard.

By 1968 the last FX3s were on the verge of departing London’s taxi ranks and the FX4 now comprised almost all cabs within the capital. A facelifted model introduced in that same year saw the replacement of the “Bunny Ears” indicators with conventional items, an angled division (to afford the driver more legroom) and the very welcome introduction of sound-deadening material.

An FX4 picks up a fare in Eccleston Street, Belgravia, in 1970. Note the Mk1 Ford Transit on the right.

BMC had developed a replacement model, codenamed ADO39, but this was cancelled following the company’s merger with Leyland, and the now virtually iconic taxi would have to continue in production for several more years.

In the event, the Fairway Driver, the final incarnation of the 1958 Austin, would cease production in 1997, and even today the FX4 is still regarded as the archetypal “London Taxi”.

Perhaps its most charmingly off-beat tribute to the FX4 is the 1965 musical Three Hats for Lisa, featuring British cinema’s favourite adopted cockney cabbie Sid James, along with a singing and dancing trio of passengers. Take it away Joe…

Source : Telegraph, Wikipedia.