Title: Taxi Survey 2016

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Summary: Have you ever wondered whether the price you’re paying for a ride home is “normal”? Whether your driver appreciates you whiling the miles away with chat about your cat, or if they’d prefer the strong silent type? If not leaving your driver a tip is fine, cos, well, nobody tips in taxis, do they? We have.

Meta Title: Taxi Survey 2016

Meta Description: Take a look at our 2016 Taxi Survey. Click through to read more about average taxi prices, how many people use uber, and whether to tip or not to tip.

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Have you ever wondered whether the price you’re paying for a ride home is “normal”? Whether your driver appreciates you whiling the miles away with chat about your cat, or if they’d prefer the strong silent type? If not leaving your driver a tip is fine, cos, well, nobody tips in taxis, do they?

To be honest, probably not. But here at The Taxi Centre, we have, and we’ve decided to get to the bottom of things. We’ve surveyed taxi passengers from Dorset to Durham, to find out how and what they ride, how much they pay for the pleasure, how happy they are about it, and how polite they are in the process. Take a look at the results of our survey below.

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We asked all respondents for to estimate the average fare they’d usually pay to travel one mile, including minimum fares. With those in the north and the midlands paying on average more than a quid less per mile, it’s safe (and perhaps not surprising) to say that a north south divide exists when it comes to taxi prices. Average prices down south were pushed up considerably by respondents from London, some of whom reported minimum fares of over £10!

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Next up we asked our passengers which type of taxi they used most often – private hire, hackney cab, or Uber.

Whilst you might have expected private hire services to come out on top, perhaps a bit more surprising is Uber – not yet available nationwide – coming in second place.

It’d be interesting to see how these stats would have fared up a couple of years ago before rideshare apps became so widely used. Would hackney cabs have had a wider share of the market, or would this gap have been closed by more people using private hire services?

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A deeper look shows that the further south you go, the more likely taxi passengers are to rely on Uber. Around 30% of southerners said they used Uber most often, compared to just 14.58% of those in the north.

Our older age range seemed more likely to use taxi apps too, with around 30% of 18-34 year olds using Uber most often compared to 19% of 34-54 year olds.

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Despite – or perhaps because of – the bigger market share the app has in southern cities, a definite north south divide exists when it comes to getting an Uber.

It might be an attempt to drum up interest, or maybe those famously thrifty Yorkshire folk are simply unwilling to pay any more, but at around £2.50 Leeds currently has the lowest base fare in the country. That’s a good half of the base price that Londoners have to pay, which might explain our next stat…frame05

We asked whether our passengers were happy with the price they usually pay for a cab, and the results we got pretty much mirror a pattern we’ve seen emerging. Unsurprisingly, where taxi prices are higher, passengers are least happy with the prices. Is it true that a quid really does go further in the north. Or, is it that the surge pricing typical of services like Uber is leaving those in the south less satisfied than Northerners?

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This might be a bit of a shocking stat for drivers, but 93% of those in the north said they usually provide a little something extra for their driver. And despite being the least satisfied with the fare, having to shell out most in the first place, and being more likely to use apps, 80% of southerners also said they provided a tip. Those in the Midlands were the least likely to say “keep the change”, but at 69% we’d still say they’re not exactly stingy.

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With 85% of northerners saying they usually talk to their driver compared to 81% in the midlands and 63% in the south, our survey seems to confirm two old clichés; the stuffy southerner, and the northerner who for better or worse will take up any opportunity wait to chew someone’s ear off.

Or, it could be that as 68% of northerners said they used local minicab services most often, those in the north might have simply got to know their drivers a bit better.

Our results also showed that the older spectrum of those surveyed are more likely to chat to their driver, with 81% of 34-54 year olds saying they usually initiate conversation compared to 68% of younger passengers. Women are also marginally less likely to spark up a chat, with only 67% saying they talk to their driver compared to 85% of men.

It’s also worth pointing that it’s hard to determine how many people are classing “been busy mate?” as a conversation.

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Our respondents agreed pretty unanimously on their preferred seats, with just over half of all preferring to ride in the back. The only exception appears to be men, who at 55% were the only group to slightly favour front seat riding.

Presumably, those riding up front are northerners looking to get into prime position to regale their life story.

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As an aside, we asked our passengers about the most memorable thing to ever happen to them in a taxi. Unsurprisingly, most of the stories were half remembered drunken escapades.

However, amongst the tears, vomit, and stuntman antics, were two good Samaritans, nobly handing in forgotten valuables. We will say that people who frequently pocket found goods are perhaps less likely to brag about it when asked, although before doing this survey we’d have said the same about people who are liable to fall out of moving vehicles when seat-belted in with the doors closed.

So, there we have it, a little snapshot of England’s taxi users in 2016; embracing of new technologies, thrifty, invariably chatty, and more likely to tip (or lie about it) than you might think.

Author: Fusion

Title: Taxi News Roundup – April 2016

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Summary: Take a look at the latest news from April 2016 in our taxi industry roundup.

Meta Title: Taxi Industry News | April 2016

Meta Description: View Uber's latest expansion plans, new Transport for London regulations, and find out which city is getting driverless taxis in our taxi industry news.

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Taxi Industry News

Uber launches in Cardiff

After much rumour and speculation, last month finally saw Uber launch in Cardiff. The official launch took place on the 22nd of April, following on from a week of driver registrations. However, despite registrations taking place a week earlier, potential drivers were kept in the dark about the actual date the service would roll out, only being informed via text message before the day before the launch. Uber received its license to operate in Cardiff earlier this year, making the city Uber’s 18th operating location in the UK.

London cabs remove card fees

Passengers hailing a cab in London will soon no longer have to pay a premium for paying by card, after a Transport for London announced new regulations removing card fees.

Speaking on behalf of Transport for London, Chief Operating Officer Garrett Emmerson stated “We are pleased to be able to reduce the cost for taxi passengers paying by card, as people now use them in every aspect of their lives. The acceptance of these kinds of payments in all taxis from October will be a huge plus for Londoners, visitors, and drivers”.

To compensate drivers for the cost incurred from accepting card payments, TfL says that the cost of a minimum fare will rise by 20p to £2.60 when the regulations come into force this October.

Singapore set to launch fully autonomous taxi service 

Singapore is set to break world records, after a start-up producing “driverless” taxis was granted a license to trial its service in the city state. The announcement comes thanks to software company nuTonomy, who have collaborated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to create what is being hailed as one of the world’s first fully autonomous taxi vehicles. A small fleet of these vehicles was trialed in Singapore back in March, and after passing a “driving test” with no collisions nuTonomy was granted permission to apply for further testing in the city state’s One North district, which is specifically designated for autonomous vehicle testing.

Although further tests need to take place before a full license to operate is granted, nuTonomy’s CTO Emilio Frazzoli says he envisions the company operating a fleet of thousands in the city in the very near future.

Uber Manchester team up with Parklife festival

Organisers of Manchester’s Parklife have announced that this year’s event will see a partnership with Uber, in a bid to tackle unlicensed cab activity around the festival. Councillor Alan Quinn has stated that the plan will provide a safer option for festival goers looking to get home. Speaking to This Is Lancashire, Quinn stated that “We have had complaints in the past about private hire vehicles not going through the operator and picking up illegally. Parklife will be working with Uber Taxis, which is safer for revelers because no money changes hands.” Quinn also stated that police will be on site to monitor taxi activity, and ensure that any private hire vehicles around the site are operating under license.

Author: Fusion

Title: Car Cultures of the World: Japan

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Summary: With companies such as Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota, and dozens more all based there, it’s no wonder that the Japanese car industry is one of the strongest in the world, holding the title of ‘largest car producing country in the world’. The land of the rising sun is in love with all things car-related, and their willingness to experiment has led to some of motoring’s most important revolutions.

Meta Title: Car Cultures of the World | Japanese Car Culture | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: In this month's Car Cultures of the World feature, Bristol Street Motors explore the tuner culture of Japan.

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Appy Park

With companies such as Honda, Isuzu, Daihatsu, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and dozens more all based there, it’s no wonder that the Japanese car industry is one of the strongest in the world, holding the title of ‘largest car producing country in the world’ until China wrestled the title from them in recent years.

If the crown for highest car production goes to China, and the gong for excellence in automotive engineering goes to Germany, surely the laurel wreath for innovation has to be lowered onto Japan’s collective head. The land of the rising sun is in love with all things car-related, and their willingness to experiment has led to some of motoring’s most important revolutions. It’s not only the victories of innovation that are worth celebrating, however. Japan’s manufacturers have had more than their fair share of explosively bad ideas and terrible inventions, which only serves to make us love them more. Japanese engineers definitely don’t shy away from experimentation.

There are entire subcultures based around the modification and souping-up of cars, transforming them from humble commuting vehicles and city coupes into neon soaked, skidding disco balls. One such subculture is the Bosozoku, or ‘running wild gang‘. This group consists of people mostly from 16 to 20 years old, who drive highly customised motorcycles and cars. Car tuners add wide bodykits and enormous, oversized features such as wings, as well as daubing their cars in blindingly bright paint. Think window rattling speakers, spinning rims, and hair so big it makes Jedward look like the Mitchell brothers. The Bosozoku meet in car parks and underground locations, showing off their motors, racing, and generally causing the hassle for the Tokyo police force.

Through the 2000’s, however, Japan’s car tuning culture was in decline, due in equal parts to the sky high cost of parking, and the expense of learning to drive in the country; around £1,800 for a pink license. With Bosozoku membership around 40,000 in the 80’s, today their numbers are estimated at 5,300 in the Tokyo area due to police crackdowns. Infamous illegal street racing gang, the Midnight Club, used to tear around Toyko’s Wangan highways in the 80’s, with a minimum requirement for entry into the club being that your car could achieve 160mph. Today, these races are virtually non-existent in the capital.

While racing might be off the cards, tuning and modding certainly isn’t. With the arrival of the internet, the current generation has access to unlimited sources of inspiration. Whereas previous generations of tuners would religiously read comics such as ‘Wangan Midnight‘ or ‘Initial D‘, today’s youth have the means to access culture from all over the world, which has meant a mesh of styles like never before have taken over the tuning game, giving birth to a huge range of alternative, quirky, occasionally bizarre stylings.

Initially, it may look as though Japan’s tuning scene is dying out due to the reduction in on-street activity and the lack of a Tokyo Drift sequel. However, scratch beneath the surface, and Tokyo still buzzes with the passion and innovation for motoring that has helped it grow to such a dominating force in the world of cars. From the new generation of drivers strapping twenty feet of neon lights to the interior of their rides, to the streets crammed with miniature ‘Kei‘ commuter cars, after a recession-induced hiatus, it looks like Japanese car culture is alive and kicking.

Author: Dan Hackett

Title: Taxi News Roundup – March 2016

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Summary: Gett plans to expand it's operations in London, Uber is denied the license to operate in Reading, and Middlesbrough Council pays out £700,000 to drivers; read all the latest UK taxi industry news from March 2016, courtesy of The Taxi Centre.

Meta Title: Taxi Industry News| March 2016

Meta Description: Read the latest taxi industry developments in The Taxi Centre's news roundup, and find out about the Gett's plans for expansion, the Reading Uber ban, and more.

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Taxi News - March 16

Gett Plans Radio Taxis Acquisition

During March, the black cab rideshare app Gett announced its intentions to acquire London’s Radio Taxis. If the deal is successful, Gett will be the operator of around 11,500 of London’s black cabs – roughly equivalent to around half of all licensed taxis in the city. The takeover, which is to be approved by shareholders, would also make Gett the biggest black cab company in the UK.

Radio Taxis was started back in 1953 as a cooperative company, using radios as the primary means of communication. The company switched over to satellite navigation technology in the 90’s, and more recently has developed its own rideshare style app. As Radio Taxis is currently owned by the Mountview House group, if bought by Gett the deal would also mean the acquisition of two more black cab groups; Xeta and One Transport.

Speaking about the plans, Gett said “Radio Taxis has a long, proud history and we are delighted to bring such a great business into the Gett family. In the short term, Gett will still be Gett and The Mountview House Group will still operate Radio Taxis and their other brands. Longer term, we will look for ways to work more closely together as a single business”. Mountview House CEO Geoffrey Riesel commented that “Our board unanimously supports the deal. The future of the business as well as that of our drivers and clients is well served by becoming part of this exciting high tech brand”.

Middlesbrough Council Set to Refund Drivers £700,000

Following an error that led to drivers being overcharged for licenses over a four year period, Middlesbrough Council set to pay out almost £700,000 to drivers and companies affected.

The refunds follow an investigation by a Local Government Ombudsman, which identified overcharging on licensing fees between 2012 and 2016. The error stems from the council’s system of increasing the fees payable by private hire operators in order to offset and subsidise those payable by drivers. Although designed to support drivers of limited means, a spokesperson for the local authority stated that upon review this system “could not be legally justified”.

Following the Ombudsman’s decision, Middlesbrough council has now set out a new fee structure in order to resolve the issue. In addition, almost £700,000 will be paid to drivers and private hire operators as a refund for the error.

Uber Denied License to Operate in Reading

Global rideshare app Uber has been denied permission to operate in Reading following a review by the local authority.

Before the decision, Uber General Manager Thomas Elvidge stated that the company was “excited about coming to Reading”, and believed that there was a demand for the service to operate in the city. However, in contrast Reading council said that they could identify no real demand for Uber within the region, despite claims that around 20,000 users had accessed the app within the city in recent months.

According to Reading councillors, Uber failed to prove that it would be able to follow guidelines set out by the council. This includes the requirement of having an operational office within the region, which council representatives would be able to visit in the event of problems or complaints from customers. Other contributions to the refusal included the “notorious traffic” in the city, which was said could influence Uber’s surge pricing to be activated, and the thought that drunken passengers may be subject to overcharging due to the companies no cash operation.

A spokesperson for Uber said that they were “disappointed and surprised” by the decision.

Thinking of getting a new taxi? Take a look at the taxis for sale we have at The Taxi Centre.

Author: Tom

Title: Everything You Need To Know About Geneva 2016

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Summary: The International Geneva Motor Show is one of the world’s most popular and respected automotive shows, and every year manufacturers compete to steal the limelight with their dazzling new prototypes. To save you the effort of trawling through the legions of this year's gleaming concept cars and alternate trim styles, we've sifted out the very best from this year's Geneva Motor Show.

Meta Title: Geneva 2016 | Geneva Motor Show Highlights | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: Bristol Street Motors brings you the very best 2016 Geneva Motor Show highlights

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The International Geneva Motor Show is one of the world’s most popular and respected automotive shows, and every year manufacturers compete to steal the limelight with their dazzling new prototypes. Past cars to first come strutting out of production and onto on the automotive catwalk of Geneva Motor Show include the Jaguar E-Type, the Ford Capri, and the Audi Quattro. To save you the effort of trawling through the legions of this year’s gleaming concept cars and alternate trim styles, we’ve sifted out the very best from this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

And yes, don’t worry. We’ve included the Bugatti.

  1. Audi Q2

Audi wades into SUV territory with the Q2, a sporty crossover to rival the Mercedes GLA and the upcoming BMW X2. Since its initial concept went on show in 2012, the car has developed from a 2 door coupe in to a 5 door, and weighs a light (well, for a massive SUV) 1205kg. The Q2’s design brief was to attract a younger audience to the manufacturer, and with its sloping roof, broad dimensions and slick stylings, it looks set to do just that.

  1. Maserati Levante

The Levante debuted at Geneva, although UK buyers will be left pacing and twiddling their thumbs until it goes on sale in December 2016. The car will start from £55,000, which puts in the same price range as the Porsche Cayenne and the Range Rover Sport. Maserati’s SUV is a thing to behold, with a dipped, curving bonnet, and a futuristic, aerodynamic lines. It certainly looks the part. Maserati hope it will propel global sales upwards of 70,000 by 2018.

  1. Honda Civic

The mighty Civic is due to be replaced next year, with a fresh faced, more stylish version. The updated car will feature a low roofline, and a steep rear. The bonnet has been lengthened, and a more aggressive front bumper has been added. The concept shown at Geneva boasts twin rear exhausts, as well as new taillights. Although the car that prowled into the public eye at Geneva was a prototype, Honda has said that the release version should be practically indistinguishable.

  1. Renault Scenic

Bucking the trend of storming onto the scene with a flash new supercar, Renault instead unveiled their newest MPV at Geneva. MPV sales have been slowing as drivers opt instead for crossovers and SUVs, but with the new Scenic, Renault is attempting to turn the tide. Still one of the safest cars on the market, the car features such tech as Active Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Land Keeping Assist, and the impressive/spooky Tiredness Detection.

  1. Volvo V90

The V90 estate threw back the curtains and sashayed its way onto the catwalk at Geneva, following its reveal several weeks earlier. The V90 starts at £34,555, slightly cheaper than its competitor, the BMW 520d Touring. Heated seats, LED lamps, and Drive Pilot assist come as standard, and in the pricier Inscription trim you can expect Nappa leather seating, and 18 inch alloy wheels. The D4 diesel promises 187bhp, with a 0-62 of 8.5 seconds.

  1. Aston Martin DB11

Starting at a cool £155,000, the DB11 updates the still-stunning-but-aging DB9 model with a more powerful engine and a roomier cabin, always a good thing. With 600 horses charging about under the bonnet, the twin-turbo V12 engine packs a hell of a punch, making the DB11 the “most dynamically gifted” DB in Aston history. While retaining all the features that make the brand unique, Aston Martin have strived to begin to take the car in a new direction, after years of similar stylings. Buyers can personalise practically everything, right down to the colour of the roof panels.

  1. Bugatti Chiron

Okay, time for the big one. The unstoppable Veyron, snapped up by rappers and music moguls the world over, was, for a time, the fastest car in existence. Not anymore. If you’ve got a spare £1.9 million knocking about, you can get your hands on the all new hypercar, the Chiron. Described by the ever-humble Bugatti as the “world’s most powerful, fastest, most luxurious and most exclusive production super sports car”, the car features an 8.0-litre, quad-turbo W16 engine, kicking out the power of 1,479 furious horses and a top speed of 261mph.

Bugatti has already released a list of customisation options, and a staggering variety of colour and texture options are on offer. You can bet your life that some Hollywood a-lister will be papped skidding through a slew of red lights in a chrome plated Chiron in the near future.  Only 500 hundred will be built, and 166 or so have already been ordered by the super-rich. Best get your order in quickly!

Author: Dan Hackett