London mayor put forward plans to pedestrianise large parts of Oxford street

Large parts of Oxford street are set to be pedestrianised by December 2018 in time for the launch of Elizabeth Line services.

Today the London Mayor Sadiq khan and Robert Davis the deputy leader of Westminster City Council have announced plans to stop Buses and black Taxis as well as other forms of transport as east to west traffic will be restricted from entering Oxford street between Orchard street and Oxford Circus.

The Mayor hopes that by restricting traffic this will deal with the air quality issues, frequency of accidents and serious congestion. The Elizabeth Line is hoped to have a positive impact on the number of visitors shopping in and around the Oxford street area.

 

School Minibuses – A Safety Guide

Minibuses are large vehicles and driving them requires a great deal of care.

The Responsibility of the Driver

 The volunteer who drives the minibus is personally responsible for keeping it roadworthy. If the Police were to find any faults the driver is liable and could be subject to a fine, motoring convictions or prosecuted for other offences.

The driver is responsible for ensuring the following:

  • The Insurance covers the uses to which the vehicle is going to be used for.
  • The number of passengers does not exceed the limit and the total weight

Training for drivers of minibuses

A Volunteers should only agree to drive if you have received suitable training:

  • Vehicle familiarisation
  • Simple vehicle checks
  • Procedures following an emergency.
  • Use of seatbelts
  • Use of passenger lifts if applicable
  • The loading and removal of wheelchairs and the securing of them to the vehicle.

Safety Checks on a School Minibus

  •  As any defects are the responsibility are the responsibility of the driver it is essential there is a proper vehicle maintenance system in place.
  • If you are not sure checks have been carried out, carry out the checks personally.

Driving Licence Requirements For Minibus Driver

 Quotax would always recommend that you confirm with The Vehicle and Operators Services Agency (VOSA) and the DVLA that you are able to drive the minibus as licensing can change.

If you volunteer to drive a minibus you must by law:

  • Ensure a section 19 permit has been obtained if one is needed;
  • Hold the appropriate full Driving Licence to do so.
  • Are insured on the vehicle.
  • The minibus has less than 18 passenger seats
  • Held a full UK Licence for over 2 years
  • Comply with the local requirements of the local authority.

If you have passed your driving licence before 1st Jan 1997 you would have a category B and D1 requirement automatically on your licence. These allow you to drive minibuses as well as private cars.

If you passed your car driving licence after 1st January 1997 you no longer have automatic Category D1 minibus entitlement. You would need to pass additional Category D1 test to drive minibuses.

Number of Drivers

It is recommended that a second trained driver accompany every teacher driving a minibus. By having two drivers this should help if an emergency arises. The second driver can act as a supervisor. For longer drives the second driver can share the driving to allow suitable rest times.

For more details regarding the licensing VOSA can be contacted on 0870 218 3818.

 

UK Petrol Price set to rise following Tropical Storm Harvey

The price of Petrol at the pumps is predicted to rise to its highest level in over 2 years following tropical Storm harvey.

U.S.A refineries on the Gulf coast have been shut down resulting in a surge of imported petrol. Port Arthur the US’s biggest refinery could be shut for over 2 weeks by flooding. Wholesale prices have risen 5% in the last week.

Petrol is set rise above the cost of diesel for the first time since June 2016. The storm has put approximately a quarter of the US refineries out of action.

The floodwaters have started to recede but it could be months before the crisis is fully over.

A Guide to Insuring your Minibus

What is a Minibus?

A minibus is a passenger carrying motor vehicle that is designed to carry more passengers than a multi-purpose vehicle or minivan but less than a bus or coach. Typically they are between 9 and 17 seats and are a great low cost way of transporting small groups of people around.

Do I need specialist Insurance to drive a minibus?

Minibuses can be used for a wide range of uses and often by multiple drivers therefore you will require specialist insurance to drive a minibus. To ensure you have insured your minibus correctly we would also recommend speaking to a specialist Minibus Insurance broker that has experience in this market and can therefore recommend a product that best suits your needs.

Will I be able to find Minibus quotes online?

Minibus Insurance typically is more expensive than insuring small vehicles such as estates and salons. Minibuses carry more passengers and as such are more expensive to Insure. It is best to speak to a broker as we have found online websites generating quotes but not supplying the correct cover because it hasn’t picked up the fact that the vehicle has more seats.

Can I insure a minibus for a short period of time?

Here at Quotax we have an exclusive short term minibus scheme with a leading Insurer, if you would like to discuss cover options please call our team.

If I take out Minibus Insurance can I drive other cars and minibuses Third party only?

Unfortunately we don’t know of any Insurer that allows cover to driver other vehicles when taking out a Minibus Insurance policy.

What are the requirements if I wanted to drive a minibus not for ‘hire and reward’

We always recommend speaking to the Vehicle and Operators Services Agency and the Driver and Vehicle licensing Agency but current guidance as of the 14/08/2017 is as follows:

✔ 21 or older

✔ Had your driving licence for at least 2 years

✔ Meet the group 2 medical standards if you’re over 70 – check with your GP if you are not sure you meet the standards

✔ You’re driving on a voluntary basis and the minibus is not more than 3.5 tonnes – or 4.25 tonnes including specialist equipment for disabled passenger, for example a wheelchair ramp

✔ You’re not towing a trailer

We are a Not for profit organisation and would like to make a small charge towards the running costs of the minibus, will I need Private Hire Insurance?

If you are an organisation providing transport on a ‘’not for profit basis’ you can apply for either a section 19 or section 22 permit. These permits allow an organisation to make a charge towards the running costs of the vehicle, without a view to profit.

How quickly will I be able to get a quote for my minibus?

We have a specialist minibus team available to take your call between 9am & 5pm, often we are able to run through details which usually takes about 5 to 10 minutes and deliver a quote within half an hour. If you would like to discuss your requirements with our team please call us on 0208 691 9691.

Get a quote for Minibus Insurance

Retro Truck Show 2017

Retro Truck Show 2017

The 9th and 10th September sees the 6th year of the Retro Truck Show. The show attracts over 350 of the best modern Classic Trucks from between the years 1960 to 2000.

Volvo, Scania and DAF as well as many other of the UK’s leading Truck Manufacturers will feature at the show.

There will also be a large indoor model show within the museum plus many trade stands. Other goods on sale include phots, models brochures etc.

Camping facilities are available including showers and toilets.

Quotax is one of the UK’s leading Classic truck Insurers, if you need cover to drive your vehicle to this event please do not hesitate to contact us. We are extremely competitive for Modern Classic Trucks and have a number of exclusive schemes.

Further details of the show can be found at: https://www.britishmotormuseum.co.uk/events/retro-truck-show

Please call our Truck specialists on 0208 691 9691 if you would like a quote from our experienced team.

Car insurance has become more expensive than ever before

Motorists are now paying an average of £666 for their coverage, which is an all-time high.

According to research by Consumer Intelligence, premiums have elevated more than five times the current rate of inflation to 15.7%.

Almost half of the increase last year occurred in three months to May, and the premiums have increased by over a third since October 2013.

Consumer Intelligence blamed the rise on a cut to the discount rate on personal injury claims in March from 2.5% to -0.75%.

The rate is used to determine compensation payments handed to accident victims to consider the extra interest they could gain. The fact that it is now a negative rate means that there are higher pay outs for insurance companies, leading to inflated premiums for car owners.

The rise in Insurance Premium Tax to 12% from 10% last month will have taken its toll on drivers, which will add an estimated £13 to the policy if insurers pass the tax on to motorists, this is eventually expected to increase to 20% in line with VAT.

Over 50s insurance has seen the biggest increase of all with a 17.9% rise, but still pay the least of any age bracket (£418).

Drivers between 21 and 24 years of age pay the most for their policies with an average of £1,202 but saw a below average rise of 13.1%. According to Consumer Intelligence, this below average change is down to cost-reducing black boxes, with 62% of the policies for younger drivers use telematic technology.

Drivers living in London are still the highest paying area with an average of £1000, which is more than double Scotland and South West where the average price is £474.

Up until this year rates increases were fairly flat but since the start of 2017 we have seen substantial rises especially since the Insurers price the cost of Ogden rate rise into their premiums.

The Governments after facing a huge backlash from the Insurance industry had planned to review the rate increase but the general election and fallout from this now seems to have taken precedent.

Pre-booked Taxis and Private Hire PCO Licencing

Pre-booked Taxis and Private Hire PCO Licencing

Over the last few weeks we have taken a number of calls asking about Licensing restrictions, particularly whether London Green Badge holders can pick up pre-booked fares outside London.

We have sought clarification from TFL and one of the Policy Officers has sent us the following Licence limitations:

Taxis

Taxis are permitted to accept pre-bookings, and can do so by taking bookings directly; through a taxi radio circuit or app; or through a private hire vehicle operator.

Taxi drivers are able to accept a pre-booked journey that starts or finishes outside of London, though if the journey is accepted by a Suburban (yellow badge) driver they must be in the sector (s) they are licensed for, when accepting the booking.

Private Hire Vehicles (PHV’s)

There are no constraints on where private hire journeys can start and / or finish and PHVs are free to undertake journeys anywhere in England and Wales provided :-

  • The vehicle, driver and operator are licensed by the same licensing authority
  • The booking is accepted by the operator at their specified operating centre within that authority

The above is commonly referred to as the ‘triple licensing requirement

Undefeated Dean Richardson, The Boxing Cabbie fights again on the 10th June

Following the disappointment of having to pull out of his fight in March due to illness, London taxi driver turned professional boxer, Dean Richardson, steps into the ring for the fourth time at York Hall, Bethnal Green on Saturday 10th June.

The undefeated 21 year old, from South Ruislip, turned pro in November 2015 and has won all his fights by KO.  His last fight was in November last year when he fought on the undercard of George Groves vs Eduard Gutknecht at Wembley Arena.

If you would like to go along to York Hall and support Dean, tickets are available on 07512 542168 and are priced at £35 (Unreserved Seating), £65 (Ringside) and £100 (VIP which includes a free bar and food from 5-7pm).

 

Equal treatment for disabled taxi users

A change in the law now means that it is illegal for taxi drivers to discriminate against wheelchair users.

As of the 6th April 2017, taxi drivers will face a fine of up to £1,000 in the event they refuse to transport wheelchair users or if they attempt to charge the passengers any extra for the same.

By law taxi and private hire vehicle drivers will be obliged to;

  • Transport wheelchair users in their wheelchair
  • Provide wheelchair passengers with appropriate assistance
  • Charge wheelchair users the same as non-wheelchair users

Transport Minister Andrew Jones commented:

“We are building a country that works for everyone, and part of that is ensuring disabled people have the same access to services and opportunities as anyone else – including when it comes to travel. People who use wheelchairs are often heavily reliant on taxis and private hire vehicles and this change to the law will mean fair and equal treatment for all”

The law changes apply to England, Wales and Scotland and will affect vehicles that are wheelchair accessible.

Not only will drivers be faced with the fine of up to £1,000, they could also face having their taxi or Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) license suspended or revoked by the licencing authority. Drivers that are unable to provide assistance for medical reasons will be able to apply for an exemption from the new law.

Robert Meadowcroft, Chief Executive of Muscular Dystrophy UK, said:

“Today’s change in legislation is positive news, as we know that disabled people often have to rely on taxis where accessible public transport isn’t an option.

Taxi drivers can provide a vital service in getting wheelchair users from A to B so they are able to maintain their livelihoods and play an active part in society. Today creates a level playing field for both drivers and passengers.

The law now makes clear the rights for wheelchair users and the responsibilities of taxi drivers, including the penalties that will occur if they aren’t observed. Wheelchair users are frequent customers of taxi services, so instead of being apprehensive of these new rules, taxi companies should promote their accessibility credentials.”

MyTaxi to take on Uber as they merge with Hailo

The taxi-hailing app Hailo has launched today as MyTaxi and it is forecasted to give Uber some stiff competition.

Daimler took over Hailo back in July of last year and oversaw the merge of the app with its MyTaxi subsidiary which has formed Europe’s largest taxi app.

Hailo’s chief executive Andrew Pinnington feels that the German car company will build up its credentials against their rival Uber.

He also went on to say that MyTaxi is a new brand to London however it is currently the market leader is over half of the countries it operates in.

The new app has incorporated the features of Hailo along with some added additions. One of the additions will allow customers the option to save a favourite driver in order to make it more likely for them to be allocated on their next journey.

For all customers that hold a Hailo account, they will be redirected to download the MyTaxi app from the download store which will automatically log them in without the need to register or sign in.

Around 17,000 of Hailo’s London cabbies have signed up for MyTaxi along with a further 700 joining the app.

Uber has not received the warmest of welcomes by London Cabbies since they launched in the capital back in 2012. Many protests have been held over the company’s operation however with little effect to the running and success of Uber.

That being said TFL has been setting out plans to have a shakeup of the private hire industry in order to boost standards across the board.

Uber has recently lost a legal claim against TFL for their plans to introduce a written English language test for all private hire drivers. Uber claim that the plans will result in “tens of thousands  of drivers” losing their livelihoods.