News

2Oct

Kabbee Founder’s Open Letter to TFL

Justin Peters
CEO & Founder, Kabbee
727-729 High Road
London
N12 0BP

Monday 2nd October 2017

Mayor of London
Transport for London
11th Floor, Zone R4
Palestra
197 Blackfriars Road
London
SE1 8NJ

To The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan,

I am writing this open letter to you in relation to Transport for London’s recent decision not to renew the license of Uber London, and the subsequent, surprising comments made by Prime Minister Theresa May on September 28th, which support an extension of the license.

As the Founder & CEO of Kabbee, London’s largest minicab aggregator, where we work with 50 of London’s best licensed fleets, and in my position as the Founder & CEO of iRide London, the largest minicab fleet in the North West of the City, I feel reasonably placed to provide insight on the impact of these decisions for London.

Theresa May’s comments addressed just one element of the Uber debate – the job losses of 40,000 drivers. These job losses, and the potential, quite fearful, inability of Londoners to travel, will not be a natural consequence of Uber losing its license. I’m keen to provide some assurance to the 40,000 drivers as well as Uber’s recently referenced 3.5m passengers.

There are three major, but fixable, issues with regards to Uber’s license, which are:

1) Unfit and improper behavior: Uber has failed to meet this reasonable standard in a number of serious areas – one being the safety and security of its passengers, the other, the use of its Greyball technology, which, to put it simply, is designed with the sole purpose of confusing and avoiding regulators.

2) Uber charges its drivers 25 percent commission on each fare – which is slightly higher than many London cab fleets. It is often quoted in the press that Uber takes payment for these journeys not in London, but via their Dutch-based sister company. It has also been referenced that Uber does not pay VAT. If this is the case, then the UK taxpayer has been subsidising 5% of the value of Uber rides – which is a contentious and unfair advantage to UK based licensed operators, who will not be on the level playing field that the Prime Minister has requested.

3) It has been widely referenced in the press that Uber has provided subsidies on its fares in order to acquire significant market share. It has also been reported that these investments have come at a significant financial cost. The natural outcome of sustained behaviour like this is a monopoly. This is not the consumer choice championed by the Prime Minister, and the danger of allowing a private company to reach a monopolistic position is of course very dangerous when considering that transport monopolies essentially become utilities.

The solutions to the above issues are simple:

a) If Uber London can prove that they will operate in a fit and proper way, including the clarification requested around Greyball, its license should be renewed, and Londoners can continue to use Uber. This would reflect the desired outcome of the government.

b) Uber London must clear up ongoing concerns around any failure to pay HMRC the same levels of VAT and corporation tax paid by other UK-based minicab fleets. I am guessing this would reflect the desired outcome of the government.

c) There should be a cap on the overall percentage of the minicab driver supply that can be overseen by an individual company – this will ensure healthy competition and consumer choice forever. I am guessing this would also reflect the desired outcome of the government too.

With regards to the genuine financial concerns of the 40,000 Uber drivers, should Uber’s license not be reissued, then assuming the quality of these drivers was equal to the standards required of the existing fleets, I would expect them all to quickly secure ongoing work.

Finally, to reassure passengers, before Uber joined the market, London’s minicab fleets and aggregators like Kabbee were investing in technology to speed up the app-based booking, tracking and payment process for minicabs – the progress has been phenomenal, but has been overshadowed by Uber’s arrival which, as we continue to see, was based on a strategy of not playing by the rules.

In the midst of the Uber license being revoked, Kabbee’s fleets have seen their driver numbers swell by 20 percent in a week, which indicates that a market-based solution is already gathering pace.

Yours sincerely,

Justin Peters,
CEO & Founder, Kabbee

30Jan

Help Jay find his ‘fare’ lady

Jay tweet - Copy

Jay shoe - Copy

Everyone’s heard the tale of Cinderella right? Well this could be your chance to help make that ‘happily ever after’ moment come true…

Jay, a 32 year old fella from South London, was getting into his pre-booked Kabbee to take him home from Heathrow Airport, when a striking young lady caught his eye outside arrivals. She looked a little lost, so Jay kindly allowed her to share his cab and drop her off to her destination, London Victoria coach station.

The pair spent the journey chatting about their favourite places to go in London, and there was a real connection between them. With time flying, the cab had reached the coach station quicker than expected, and so love struck Jay and his mysterious crush had to say their goodbyes – and no numbers were exchanged.

Luckily, as if the traditional fairy tale was to become reality, the driver, upon handing Jay his bags from the boot, also handed him the girls’ shoe (size 5)  – she’d left it behind. 

Kabbee tweet

We really want to help Jay return the shoe to his Cinderella. Can you help? Here’s a description of the mysterious girl:

  • Medium length, brunette coloured hair with blue eyes
  • Caucasian, slim build, around 5ft2″ tall
  • Light blue jeans and a black jersey top
  • Large navy blue rucksack with a pink travel pillow attached to the outside

Know who this girl is? Recognise the size 5 shoe in Jay’s tweet? She would have been getting a connecting coach from Victoria Station at around midday on 23rd January 2016. Get in touch via twitter (@kabbee) or email us at enquiry@kabbee.com

Thanks for your help guys!

The Kabbee Team

17Dec

More miles means more magnificent munch

Hi-Life logo.jpeg

Hi-Life

Yes you heard correctly. The more times you go from A to B with Kabbee, the more you could save on dining out at some of the finest restaurants in the UK with Hi-Life Diners Club.

Being a member of the Hi-Life Diners Club will enable you to discover utter foodie heaven. Feast on a whole host of well known restaurants such as Prezzo, Loch Fyne Seafood & Grill, Verve Grill, Malmaison across the country and never pay full price again! And as if that wasn’t enough to tempt you, being a member also allows 2 for 1 access to the UK’s leading airport lounges and exclusive offers from UK’s favourite attractions.

Kabbee is delighted to welcome Hi-Life Diners Club to its growing list of Kabbee Treats partners. Here’s how many miles you need to become a member:

  • BronzeBees (50 miles) = Free 1 month Hi-Life membership
  • SilverBees (200 miles) = Free 3 month Hi-Life membership
  • GoldBees (400 miles) = Free 6 month Hi-Life membership

Sounds like it’s time to start racking up your miles…

The Kabbee Team

9Dec

2015 Kabbee fleet of the year award winners

Fleet awards

Our outstanding fleet managers receiving their award from Kabbee Partner Manager, Kim

Last week Kabbee hosted its annual Fleet Awards, to reward the best performing fleets in 2015. The two top awards that were up for grabs for the 50+ fleets on the platform were:

  • Kabbee Fleet of the Year Award 2015
  • Kabbee Growth Award 2015

We caught up with some of the fantastic fleet winners for this year…

Kabbee Fleet of the Year 2015 – Premier Cars

1) How does it feel to be the best performing fleet of the 50+ fleets on the Kabbee platform? It’s great news for us, it was completely unexpected and nice that our hard work is appreciated so much.

2) What do you think helped you to get this award? All of our drivers and office staff are committed to working hard and providing the best possible service for customers – the Premier Cars ethos has customer service at the epicentre.

3) Do you have any growth plans in place for 2016? Yes. We are looking to invest in new hybrid cars to comply with environmental initiatives such as ULEZ, and we would also like to expand our fleet of wheelchair accessible vehicles. At the same time, we are also planning to move into bigger office due to the increase in office staff.

 

Kabbee Growth Award 2015 – GB Airport

1) What has helped you to grow this year? Forming a strong partnership with another mighty minicab operator in London (Jet Cars) has given us access to more drivers and therefore enabled us to increase the volume of bookings. In order to cope with the dramatically increased influx of jobs, we have employed well-trained and dedicated operators who do their best to complete as many bookings as possible.

2) Are there plans to grow even further next year? We definitely are planning to do so by expanding our operating areas and recruiting more drivers to satisfy the demands.

3) Where do the majority of jobs come from? Airport transfers are certainly our most popular booking choice.

 

Congratulations to all fleets that won this year – we’re looking forward to next year’s event already!

The Kabbee Team

11Nov

Kabbee launches fundraising campaign with Crowdcube – here’s some mighty reasons to invest

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After a successful four years operating in London, Kabbee is looking to expand its buzzing business right across the UK. We’re pleased to announce that Kabbee has launched a fundraising campaign with Crowdcube, to help raise £1m investment.

#CrowdBee = One who has Invested in the journey towards Making Minicabs Mighty. Please #InvestAware as your capital is at risk.

Your investment is so valuable to us; here are four mighty reasons why we believe you should become a #CrowdBee today:

  1. Be a part of the award-winning team that is helping to grow and support many more of the UK’s best minicab fleets.
  2. Support our corner in the competitive minicab market place, helping to move people from A to Bee even more efficiently.
  3. Help us to constantly improve the vital areas of the service, to stay up to date with modern technologies.
  4. Support innovation that will enable us to continue to develop industry leading features. For example, Kabbee was one of the first minicab apps to launch a loyalty programme for its passengers.

To see Kabbee’s awesome video click here, or to join us on our mission, click here to invest today.

Want to know more about what matters to Kabbee, or want to know more about the fundraising campaign? – we’d love to hear from you! Email us at Kabbee@sensecommunications.co.uk

The Kabbee Team.

14Oct

Did someone say View From The Shard?

View from the shard.jpg-large

Cheers! *clink*

For this month only, Kabbee is pleased to announce a luxury partnership with The View from The Shard.

Enjoy stunning scenes right across the capital with a free glass of bubbly, courtesy of Kabbee Treats loyalty programme.

The offer is available for all tiers; so BronzeBees, SilverBees and GoldBees can all use their Kabbee Miles to redeem a free glass of Champagne to sip whilst up The Shard.

Cheers, from Kabbee Treats!

 

2Oct

Opinion: Justin Peters on the latest TfL proposals

TfL Threatens Quality of the Private Hire Sector With Proposed Rules

This week, proposals were unveiled by Transport for London (TfL) with new rules for the private hire vehicles and operators, which has sparked mixed responses from key industry players – primarily Uber, who has launched a petition against the regulations, called ‘Let TfL know riders come first.’

Some of the proposals include a minimum waiting time of five minutes for the passengers, even if a car is immediately available and banning ride-sharing services such as uberPOOL and Lyft, as well as displaying nearby drivers’ availability and location on apps.

If TfL’s new regulations were to go ahead, it would cause a major shift in the way that Uber and other London-based cab apps and fleets operate. The news suggests that these policies could ‘be an end’ to Uber, as it goes against everything they do. This might sound scary to some and Uber certainly feel threatened, but London’s minicab market would still survive without Uber and the users would eventually adapt to the circumstances.

Londoners have plenty of choice when it comes to transportation, and there are 78,000 plus private hire vehicle in the city alone. We are perfectly capable of keeping London moving without Uber – Kabbee has been doing this since 2011. There have been other instances where well known and established companies disappeared from the scene (e.g. Enron, Lehman Brothers), but the market kept going.

12/2/14 Picture by Ashley Bingham. Picture taken for Kabbee.

However, there is a way for Uber and black cabs to both continue effectively as competitors, as they already co-exist and there is still a sizeable market with demand and supply that vary, depending on the time and place. What is required is not removing players from the market, but for all parties to evolve, improve and survive by remaining competitive and providing a great service. On the other hand, could the market become united? Kabbee has had various discussions with black cab representatives about joining our aggregator platform. We believe there can be unity and our app can facilitate this in London. We work with more than 60 licensed minicab fleets via our aggregator platform and we already provide fixed, upfront fares for passengers, along with the option to pre-book a journey.

We believe that consumers are just as important as drivers, therefore we have a 24/7 customer service with a telephone line set-up for our 550K users. Consumers deserve choice, and that is exactly what Kabbee was designed for – to provide a comparison service, offering a wide range of journey options, based on the time of arrival, price, type of car, and customer ratings.

Kabbee-london-street

Kabbee welcomes regulations which help to improve the quality of the sector, however most of the new rules are ultimately designed to benefit black taxi drivers, over the 78,000 plus private hire drivers in London. We strongly urge TfL to consider making a set of requirements that are applicable and fair to both parties, as each one plays an essential role in providing a safe and reliable transport service for Londoners. Passenger safety is not just an issue with minicabs on London’s roads.

We also disagree with a five minute delay for bookings and the driver’s display – this doesn’t benefit anyone. GPS technology enables operators to provide a better customer experience and reduce waiting times, by avoiding dead mileage. Reduced waiting times benefit drivers and Londoners alike, so TfL should be careful putting forward legislation that means everyone waits longer.

If the genesis of the legislation is to reduce the number of minicab drivers on the road, then ultimately we would need each driver to complete more journeys, given the demand for their journeys is already there. Getting drivers to wait around unnecessarily, in this case for legislation’s sake, could defeat the purpose that the legislation is being designed for.

Sources: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/justin-peters/uber-tfl-regulations_b_8231670.html

28Sep

‘Bee’autiful news for Bee’s in London!

This Buddhist Monk was clearly happy about the news...

This Buddhist Monk was clearly happy about the news…

We thought Friday’s were meant to be mighty, but not for poor  Jonny Bee who recently moved to London.

Mr Bee was charged a whopping £93 for a short journey that he arranged through another well-known minicab app, a journey which usually takes around five minutes, in north London last Friday night.

To ensure that all Bee’s are given a fair price to get around London, Kabbee will be offering unique codes worth £10 for anyone with the surname ‘Bee’, including Jonny and his whole hive.

All existing customers with the surname Bee will receive a notification, with a £10 off code for them to use this week. ‘NewBee’s’ will also a receive a notification with a £10 off code if they sign up this week.

So if you’re a Bee, or know a Bee, it’s your/their lucky week!

Bee fact – The surname ‘Bee’ name derives from the Medieval English ‘be’, itself deriving from the Olde English ‘beo’ meaning a bee and was originally given as a nickname to a busy and industrious worker, or an active person.

Sources:

 

16Sep

Ultra Low Emission Zones in London – A Minicab and Taxi Industry White Paper

This White Paper presents key recommendations in response to Transport for London’s proposed introduction of an Ultra-Low Emission Zone in London, based on an industry roundtable discussion between key private hire & taxi industry stakeholders.

Summary of agreements

  • The concept of cleaner air presents several social benefits, so all parties agree on the importance of introducing an ULEZ in London.
  • The current ‘cliff-edge’ TfL ULEZ policies will affect 65,000 minicabs and 23,000 black cabs.  A phased approach whereby plans are tested, and iterated based on learnings is a must to ensure business as usual for existing fleets and drivers.
  • There is a level of nervousness around the 2018 / 2020 targets, due to lack of charging infrastructure and suitable vehicles available. This nervousness is felt by green car manufacturers (who can’t supply cars with inadequate charging infrastructure), fleets and operators (who can’t commit to buying green vehicles until the charging infrastructure is confirmed, or in place).
  • Financial loss caused by the transition to be ULEZ-ready is a big concern for existing minicab and black cab fleets.
  • Government support and subsidisation of a ULEZ transition for existing fleets is unclear, and therefore, unsupportive during these important planning stages. One way government could support is to offer vehicle upgrade loans.
  • There is not enough regular communication from TfL on the ULEZ process, plans or insights to private hire and black cab license holders, or fleet operators.
  • The ULEZ penalty price plans for non-compliant domestic vehicles are too low.

Industry Key Recommendations

Below are a range of key recommendations to be considered by TfL during the policy planning stages for London’s Ultra-low Emission Zones.

1) A phased approach – An initial target of 2018 for fleets to become ULEZ-ready is not physically possible.  Instead, the transition should be phased over a 2 year period, with clearly presented support from TfL.

2) Improved charging infrastructure – Existing charging infrastructure in London is not yet sufficient for the recharge of London’s existing electric vehicles that currently serve London’s passengers, before the introduction of ULEZ.  The charging infrastructure plans must be in place, and communicated to all industry stakeholders, to provide minicab and taxi operators with the confidence they need to make a decision to buy a green vehicle.

3) Government support and subsidisation – There must be clear support and subsidisation options made available to all minicab and black cab operators as soon as possible, to enable fleets and individuals to make the best decisions for the future.

4) A dedicated ULEZ communication hub – A TfL-owned regularly updated communication channel for all stakeholders affected by London’s ULEZ should be made available, for proactive and reactive communication between drivers, fleet operators, manufacturers, charging infrastructure providers and other affected / affecting stakeholders

5) Improved green vehicle innovation and supply – Supply of green vehicles is not currently sufficient to respond to the demands created by the ULEZ plans in 2018 / 2020 – more innovation and better supply of green vehicles that are the right size to serve the minicab and taxi industry should be a key and immediate focus.

If you’d like to share your comments on the ULEZ plans, or wish to get involved with future discussions, please contact Kabbee’s press team at kabbee@sensecommunications.co.uk.

14Aug

Kabbee teams up with InStyle to give away £300 worth of summer treats!

*Exciting news ahead*

We’re pleased to announce that we have joined forces with our awesome loyalty partners, to launch a competition on InStyle.co.uk, offering you the chance to win a summer prize bundle worth over £300.

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From a relaxing home massage to an artisan coffee kit, returning to a spotless home or receiving freshly-cut flowers after a busy week, Kabbee and its partners are helping one city dweller to enjoy their summer to the fullest!

Here’s what you could win:

• Kabbee – Free credit for your cab journey

• Housekeep – A sparkling clean home

• Bloom & Wild – Three months of freshly-cut letterbox flowers

• DogBuddy – Treat yours or a friend’s dog to a holiday for one night

• Pact Coffee – Crafty Coffee Kit & 1 bag of credit for fresh-roasted coffee

• LOVESPACE – Extra space at home with a storage collection

• Urban Massage – Luxury one hour massage enjoyed at home

 

To enter the competition, click here. The competition closes on Saturday 12 September 2015.

Good luck Londoners!

 

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