26May

Kabbee responds to Boris Johnson

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Tuesday 26th May, 2015

Dear Boris,

I am writing to you in response to your recent announcement on capping the number of minicab licenses in London.

I understand that the number of private hire vehicle licences has risen from 52,000 to 77,000, and most of that increase is made up of new Uber drivers. However, with a rapidly growing population of 8.6million in the capital, it is our responsibility, as a minicab booking service along with others in the industry, to promote consumer choice and match supply and demand.

At the moment, it is difficult for both consumers and businesses in the private hire industry to assess the implications that would be brought about by this proposal, due to the lack of information on what the cap will actually be and how it would be implemented in London. It would be helpful to see more details on how you envisage the proposal working, as a limit may not necessarily be such a bad thing, if fair decisions were made and justified to the public.

Although at Kabbee we are not completely opposed to the idea of limiting minicab licenses, there is a real lack of data on congestion rising and the causes of it, which will raise doubts about the purpose behind the new proposal. We recommend considering an alternative solution which we would support by setting up higher barriers and regulations for minicab licenses, such as the English-language test and enhanced topographical skills.

We are keen to end the black cab and minicab war, and I am personally willing to hold an industry roundtable discussion whereby stakeholders can come together and identify a sustainable solution, rather than limiting choice for consumers. We are currently organising a roundtable to discuss the impact of Ultra-Low Emission Zones on the private hire industry, and last year we held one about driverless cars.

Since our launch in June 2011, the Kabbee app has been downloaded by more than 500,000 Londoners, who use the app to access 65 fleets and over 10,000 licensed minicabs. Kabbee is designed to Make Minicabs Mighty, to help Londoners move around the city. Our sophisticated technology enables Kabbee to match supply and demand, to ensure minicab drivers are always available for Londoners who need to get from A to B. The GPS-based software we developed called Live Plot has been implemented to connect drivers with passengers nearby, increasing efficiency and making minicabs more affordable with reductions in journey fares.

Last year, we requested that TfL allow minicabs to access bus lanes as black cabs do, to avoid congestion and to maintain a steady flow of traffic in the capital. I’m sure you’ll agree that this proposal would support any issues caused by congestion, and we strongly urge you to reconsider this request.

I would appreciate your consideration of this request, and if you are unable grant permission, please quantify your reason for this.

Yours sincerely,

Justin Peters,

CEO & Founder, Kabbee

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