First publishedon www.ITSInternational.com
Ride-hailing platform Karhoo says that the number of taxis and private hire (PH) vehicles in London is set to decline as demographic and financial pressures bite.
Taxis can be hailed in the street while PH vehicles can only be booked in advance, but both are struggling, Karhoo says in its submission to the Greater London Authority (GLA)’s investigation into the sector.
The headline figures of a large increase in PH numbers in London - and claims of this being the cause of congestion - have obscured a reduction in driver wages and falling numbers of PH licence renewals, the company insists.
Karhoo says more needs to be done to ensure the system works better for drivers, passengers and operators - most of whom are smaller companies. The company – which promotes an electronic marketplace for ride-hailing firms and links them to other travel operators – suggests that technology could be used to expand the role of taxis and PH.
The company told the GLA: “The inability to thrive appears to be impacting all sizes of business in all geographies across London.”
There are “widespread reports” of difficulty in recruiting PH drivers as well as a reduction in candidate numbers to take the ‘knowledge’ test for licensed London cab drivers.
The “hardly discernible reduction in taxi drivers over recent times is likely to accelerate as less people enter the industry given the demographics of this sector”, it goes on.
“In summary, the taxi and PH industry appears not to be thriving and is in fact enduring systemic adverse impacts.”
Karhoo says Transport for London should regularly monitor issues 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 make interventions,” the company concludes.