What cab drivers should expect coming out of lockdown

In line with the government’s roadmap, there are steps that we must take to help ensure we come out of lockdown and ease restrictions safely and with caution. Children and teachers went back to school on 8th March after being homeschooled for three months and, so far, evidence suggests that there has been only a slight increase in positive tests carried out during the second week back at school, ending 20th March.
The next step was the 29th of March (when most schools start to break up for the Easter holidays). Evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors due to covid particles spreading and being blown away by the wind. So from the 29th March, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens), of either six people or two households, were also allowed. Additionally, the England wide ‘stay at home’ rule ended on 29th March but many restrictions still remain in place. The latest easing of restrictions will make it easier for friends and families to meet outside.

The upcoming step to take place on 12th April is the opening of non-essential retail, personal care and public buildings. Indoor leisure facilities will also reopen as well as most outdoor attractions including outdoor zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas. In line with the ‘outdoor’ rule, hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors (either six people or two households). But, there will be no need for customers to order a ‘substantial’ meal with alcoholic drinks and there will be no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated with table service. In addition, events will be allowed to go ahead too – the number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15, while funerals can continue with up to 30 mourners.

With a significant amount of businesses opening up on this date, cab drivers should expect to see a sudden demand for their services to help passengers get around London.

So what should you expect in terms of travel?

There are a few rules surrounding public transport that need to still be followed and obtained by the general public. TFL requires these rules to be followed at all times:

  • Plan your journey in advance and, where possible, travel when it is quiet.
  • Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth, unless you are exempt for age, health or accessibility reasons.
  • Maintain social distancing where possible.
  • Follow signs, listen to announcements and pay attention to staff.
  • Wash your hands before and after your journey.
  • Carry hand sanitiser or use sanitiser points at stations.
  • Use contactless or Oyster to pay for your travel.
  • Follow government advice for safer travel and check the safer travel information sheet.
  • Make sure taxi or bus windows are kept open to ensure a good supply of fresh air into the vehicle at all times.

In addition to TFL rules, the Government advises that you should:

  • Try not to touch anyone or anything when you get in the car.
  • If you own the car make sure you clean it after every use.
  • Do not share taxi rides with people outside of your bubble, household or people (rule of six) you are with. Although, sometimes you are allowed to share a taxi with others if it is for work.
  • Listen to any instructions the driver gives you.
  • Make sure you have enough time as your journey may take longer than usual.

Are you prepared?

Whether you’re a driver who needs to fix new perspex or plastic shields for covid safe regulations and protection or you’re a passenger who is raring to get into a pub garden, make sure you follow all instructions. The government and TFL have put these rules in place to ensure we all do our part and continue to stay safe.

All taxi companies and drivers are being asked by TFL to put protective measures in place. This includes ensuring face coverings are worn by drivers and letting passengers know that they must wear theirs too. The latest Government advice is that, although face coverings are unlikely to prevent you from getting the virus, they could help prevent you from giving it to others – which is why we all must do our part to keep everyone safe and protected.

With the sudden increase in demand for cab services, it’s imperative that the safety guidelines are met by cab drivers and their passengers to reduce the spread of covid.

How can we help with your taxi insurance?

At Quotax Insurance, our promise is to provide London black cab taxi drivers with friendly and efficient service, helping owner-drivers and fleet proprietors find a competitive taxi insurance quote.

Our very competitive rates, along with our relationships with a wide-ranging number of specialist insurers mean that we are well placed to provide the perfect taxi insurance for London’s taxi drivers.

We also understand that your taxi is your livelihood – if it’s not working then neither are you. Find out more about our taxi insurance policies here, or give us a call to speak with an expert on 0208 691 9691.

What being a London Black Cab Driver is like

Black cabs are an iconic part of London, providing essential transport for people all around the capital.

Whether day or night, you can rely on black cabs to get you around London extremely efficiently. As a service many of us rely on, have you ever wondered what it’s like being a black cab driver?

Requirements

Now, some people may believe that becoming a black cab driver may be a walk in the park. Thanks to sat navs, many of us can get around the capital with very little knowledge of the area. However, black cab drivers do not use sat navs and are held to very high standards to know their way around London. Before drivers can become licensed, they are put through a very difficult test called ‘The Knowledge’.

This test requires black cabbies to study some 320 routes and 25,000 streets, knowing them all by heart… so if you have a fantastic memory, becoming a black cab driver may be ideal for you!

There are 7 main stages to becoming a London taxi driver:

Stage 1 – Initially a self assessment of the first 80 runs in Blue Book (runs are effectively the list of streets from one point to another following as straight a line as possible).
Stage 2 – Written Exam – Based around landmarks (points) in the city and runs.
Stages 3-5 – Appearances – One on one interviews based around 4 runs.
Stage 6 – Suburban examination – Learning the streets surrounding London and routes from London too.
Stage 7 – Licence application and pre-licencing talk.

They also memorise roughly 20,000 landmarks and places of public interest, from tourist destinations to museums, parks, churches, theatres and schools.

Due to this, the test can typically take between two and four years to complete. This knowledge of London significantly sets black cabbies apart from private hire taxis. This allows passengers to safely travel around London as drivers do not need to rely on technology to get around, finding the most efficient and safest routes to reach the destination.

Due to this process, there is a great deal of appreciation for black cab drivers. Their dedication to the job shows that there is a lot of hard work that is put into what they do, in order to officially become a licensed black cab driver.

If you are interested in becoming a Licenced London Taxi driver, contact TFL to apply here.

General public

Black cab drivers will come across many people in their lifetimes and will have many stories to tell. Many drivers love to chat and get on very well with the majority of their customers, allowing them to make some decent tips!

However, it is also important for these drivers to know how to deal with the general public in certain negative situations that many of them may face. Drivers need to be wary of who they allow in their cabs for their own safety, as well as others.

So although they may come across some very friendly passengers they can get along with, like any job, there will be moments where they will need to be prepared to deal with any problems.

Your own boss

Many join the cab trade to become their own boss. Becoming self-employed in this trade means that there is no-one above you to dictate your hours. You choose your own working schedule.

Of course, taxi drivers have rules to follow but, most of the time, it is just their vehicle and their customers to manage. This sense of freedom is great for those who desire this independence, allowing you to find the best routes around the city, customising your cab how you like and deciding how many hours you need to work to make a living.

Although cab drivers work independently, there is a strong community of drivers across the taxi trade where you can always receive plenty of support and advice from fellow cabbies.

Working hours

For many cab drivers, ‘unsociable’ hours are part of the deal. Before the pandemic, their busiest times were during the evenings and weekends when other people are off work and out and about socialising. This may not be for everyone, but it can mean taxi drivers can spend more time during the day with their family or catch up on other jobs!

Summary

Being a black cab driver comes with many advantages and disadvantages, however, it can be very rewarding for those who are willing to put in the hours.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges for the taxi trade. It has been tough for the industry due to travel restrictions and road closures across the capital. However, we are hopeful that non-essential retail can open back up again on the 12th of April, massively increasing the demand for black cabs for transport.

How can we help with your taxi insurance?

At Quotax Insurance, our promise is to provide London black cab taxi drivers with friendly and efficient service, helping owner-drivers and fleet proprietors find a competitive taxi insurance quote.

Our very competitive rates, along with our relationships with a wide-ranging number of specialist insurers mean that we are well placed to provide the perfect taxi insurance for London’s taxi drivers.

We also understand that your taxi is your livelihood – if it’s not working then neither are you. Find out more about our taxi insurance policies here, or give us a call to speak with an expert on 0208 691 9691.

Old London Black cab in black and white

ZEC Vehicles and the history of black cabs in London

London can always be associated with red buses and the iconic black cabs. These taxis are a true symbol of London, but how did they emerge?

The famous London taxis (black cabs) have an extensive history. They started as horse-drawn carriages called ‘Hackney carriages’. The earliest record of this method of transport dates back to 1662!

When motorised cars became popular, the design of the taxis changed. After 1945, the infamous black cab design became routine.

But in recent times, black cabs haven’t necessarily been ‘black’ as many cabs now feature different colours and are often covered in advertising. See below for examples:

Traditional London Taxi Cab of different colours. UK

Typical London street with a blue taxi in the middle, UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The history of the ‘Hackney-carriage’ was approved by parliament in 1654, described as a remedy to: “Many inconveniences that do daily arise by reason of the late increase and great irregularity of Hackney Coaches and Hackney Coachmen in London, Westminster and the places thereabouts”. The first Hackney-carriage licence dates back to 1662, where there was an Act of Parliament to establish the Commissioners of Scotland Yard to administer them. Since then, they have been a significant part of transport within London. Black cabs are essential for people to travel to work. Not only that, they are fantastic for tourism.

Becoming a licensed black cab driver is quite a difficult process. Each driver needs to pass a test before they can drive the famous black taxi, called ‘The Knowledge’. In this test, they need to memorise every street in London within six miles from Charing Cross, meaning they have to learn 320 routes, 25,000 streets and 20,000 landmarks! The average time to pass the test is three years.

With many other vehicles on the road, black cabs have evolved to become much more eco-friendly over the years, helping to reduce emissions within the capital. Most recently, in London, there are plans to implement a low emission zone, to help improve air quality in and around the capital. As a result of this, the government is encouraging drivers, as well as cab drivers to make the switch to electric vehicles instead.

The government is providing plug-in taxi grants to help taxi drivers purchase electric cabs, such as the LEVC TXE. Vehicles like these are great to not only reduce harmful emissions but can also significantly reduce fuel costs for drivers. Over 3,500 taxi drivers now drive zero emission capable (ZEC) electric vehicles.

How can we help with your taxi insurance?

At Quotax Insurance, our promise is to provide London black cab taxi drivers with friendly and efficient service, helping owner-drivers and fleet proprietors find a competitive taxi insurance quote.

Our very competitive rates, along with our relationships with a wide-ranging number of specialist insurers mean that we are well placed to provide the perfect taxi insurance for London’s taxi drivers.

We also understand that your taxi is your livelihood – if it’s not working then neither are you. Find out more about our taxi insurance policies here, or give us a call to speak with an expert on 0208 691 9691.

Important Notice – Covid-19 Update

Please note: In response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we are doing all we can to protect both our staff and our clients from face to face contact.

With this in mind, please only visit our premises where absolutely necessary and it is a government requirement that unless medically exempt a face mask must be worn. Hand sanitation is also available on entry to our office.

Please rest assured, we are working hard to support our valued customers during this difficult time. Please feel free to contact us in all the following ways;

  • Contacting us via phone: 0208 691 9691
  • You can send us documents to us via our business WhatsApp on: 07853 411043
  • You can contact our administration team (and forward requested documents) via email on: admin@quotax.net
  • You can speak with our experts on our online chat facility on our website: www.quotax.net
  • You can request a call back from one of our team on our website: www.quotax.net

If you have had a claim please contact our claims line on 0203 928 7337. If you would like to contact your insurer directly, a list of our insurers’ claims numbers can be found at www.quotax.net/how-to-claim/

Thank you for your business, we assure you of our best attention at all times.

London Taxi Cab driving through the streets of London

TFL Changes – A Disaster for the Taxi Trade

The future of London’s iconic black cabs could be under threat due to the COVID pandemic.

As thousands of workers and tourists stay away from the capital, and Transport for London (TFL) continue to close large numbers of roads, this has had a detrimental effect on the black cab trade.

Many are struggling to cope with these changes, putting the industry under major pressure.

In this blog, we will cover what some of these changes are and how you can help to challenge these updates to ensure that London black cab drivers have a secure future.

Car-free streets

Due to coronavirus restrictions, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and Transport for London (TFL) has closed a large number of roads in London, causing havoc for black cabs.

The aim of this is to encourage more people to walk and cycle safely during lockdown. Unfortunately, this has greatly impacted London taxi drivers, restricting their business heavily due to the inaccessibility they have to a large number of roads in and around central London.

David Kurten, a London Assembly Member had asked the mayor, “Do you

London Taxi Cab driving through the streets of London

TFL Changes – A disaster for the taxi trade

accept the more roads that are inaccessible to taxis, the fewer people will use taxis, therefore, the taxi trade will continue to reduce in size?”. Sadiq Khan refuted this claim.

With the large number of roads that have become closed for public transport and taxis, more and more people are encouraged to avoid using these methods of transportation.

Grant Davis, Chairman of the London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC) shares our concerns ‘’The LTN closures in London have been met with dismay from the licensed taxi trade and local residents alike and this has seen widespread protests at Town Halls and City Hall. For the Cab trade the road closures are another nail in our coffin. Whilst the PM tells everyone that it is vital to get back to work, for the cab trade these road closures (for the cab trade) is like turning up at the office to go to work but the front door has been locked. Unless common sense is resumed pretty quick, these closures will only aid our demise.’’

Pedestrian only areas

The increase of many pedestrian-only areas in London has also caused concern for disabled passengers who are unable to be dropped off right to the door. As black cabs provide a 100% wheelchair accessible service, some vulnerable passengers no longer have the hassle-free taxi service they once had available to them.

This is greatly affecting the livelihoods of thousands of people, so it is imperative that voices are heard and changes are made to not only keep the public safe, but to allow black cab drivers to carry out their services with as little interruption as possible.

What can you do to help?

Many London black cab drivers must do their bit to ensure that the industry can survive during this time, whilst still ensuring all passengers remain safe during the pandemic.

We ask that you write to your local MP to express how these updates have affected you. This will provide the vital evidence needed to encourage change.

Contact Your Local MP

If you head to the members of parliament website and find your local MP, you can email them using this template.

If you are still in operation and are looking to renew your black cab insurance, then contact us to receive a free competitive quote here: https://www.quotax.net/london-taxi-insurance/

Important Information regarding our Deptford office

In response to the government’s latest Social Distancing measures, we have taken the tough decision to no longer meet with our valued customers face to face. With this in mind, our office based on site at Ascott Cab Company, Blackhorse Road, Deptford will be temporarily closed.

Please rest assured, we have a comprehensive business continuity plan to ensure we continue to support you through these difficult times.

We want to reassure you we are very much still open for business and will work tirelessly to offer you the same professional advice and guidance during these uncertain times. Please feel free to contact us in all the normal ways;

  • Contacting us via phone: 0208 691 9691
  • You can send us documents to us via our business whatsapp on: 07853 411043
  • You can contact our administration team (and forward requested documents) via email on: admin@quotax.net
  • You can chat with our experts on our online chat facility on our website
  • You can request a call back on our website
  • If you have had a claim please contact our claims line on 0203 928 7337. If you would like to contact your insurer directly, a list of our insurers’ claims numbers can be found at www.quotax.net/how-to-claim/

We remain as always committed to the health and wellbeing of our employees and the people and communities we serve. We will continue to keep you informed using the best information and guidance available to us.

Important Information following the Covid-19 Pandemic

The current Coronavirus outbreak has placed the Nation in an unimaginable and worrying time, with unprecedented pressures being placed on the NHS, businesses and individuals. The country is facing the prospect of extended restrictions to our movements; the dedicated NHS staff risk their own lives to save others on a daily basis. Whilst all this is happening it is having a huge impact on our clients and their livelihoods. Please be assured we are doing everything possible to support you during this time.

How Quotax is supporting our clients during this difficult period

In response to the government’s latest measures we have taken the decision to temporarily close our offices to protect both our staff and customers. Please rest assured we have a robust business continuity plan in operation which has enabled all of our team to work successfully from home and you are able to contact us in all the usual ways.

A number of our clients have called to discuss options to reduce their monthly outgoings at this difficult time. Please see below a list of frequently asked questions with answers that may give some guidance.

Your Questions answered

If I pay by Direct Debit can I defer my payment whilst the current crisis is ongoing?

If you pay by Direct Debit your Premium Funding will almost certainly have been arranged by Close Brothers Premium Finance. At Quotax we are able to make minor changes to your plan (we can sometimes alter a payment date by a few days). Any significant changes you require to make will need to be directed to Close Brothers Premium Finance. They can be contacted on 0333 321 8566, please quote your reference number when calling them, this can be found on the documentation that they sent you when the loan was arranged.

I paid my policy in full; can I now get my money back and pay monthly?

If you have already paid in full we are unable to now move you onto a monthly direct debit scheme mid term.

I am unable to make my Insurance payment what can I do

If you have an annual Insurance policy which is due for renewal and you are unable to meet that expense please talk to one of the Quotax Customer Service team about setting up a monthly plan with Close Brothers Premium Finance.

If you are already paying by Monthly Direct Debit and you are unable to make the next payment call the Quotax Team, they may be able to change the payment date, alternatively call Close Premium Funding on 0333 321 8566 and remember to have your reference number to hand.

I want to cancel my policy can I do this?

If you are taking your vehicle off the road you can cancel your Insurance Policy. Please remember that some charges are made when a policy is cancelled, therefore the return premium may not be exactly pro-rata to the time that you have had on cover. If any incident has been reported during the policy year the Insurer may decline to offer a refund. Please be aware that you may lose some of your No Claims Bonus if you have not completed a full year of Insurance cover. You must also declare your vehicle SORN if you are keeping it off the road and uninsured.

If you are paying your premium by Direct Debit (with Close Premium Finance) and you cancel your policy we will obtain a refund of premium from your insurer (subject to no claims having been made in the policy year). The refund will be calculated in accordance with your policy wording and terms of business. We will use this refund to offset the outstanding balance owed to Close Brothers Premium Finance. In some instances, the refund from the Insurer (please refer to your policy booklet for scale of return) may not be sufficient to settle the balance to the Premium Finance Company. If this is the case you will be responsible for the outstanding amount.

Before you decide to cancel your policy please carefully consider the following

All vehicles are required to be insured that are taxed. It is possible to declare your vehicle SORN as long as the vehicle is not on a public road; it is however a requirement that any vehicles kept on a public road must have minimum levels of cover.

It is also a Public and Private Hire licensing requirement with most Councils that your vehicle should be Insured for Hire and Reward for the duration of plate, please therefore check with your Licensing Authority or TFL before cancelling.

If you are paying for your vehicle on finance/lease or a similar scheme most finance providers stipulate that the vehicle must be insured comprehensively for the duration of the finance agreement, before deciding to cancel please check with you Finance provider

Are there any alternatives to cancelling my policy?

Some of our Insurers will give the option to reduce cover to Social Domestic and Pleasure only if you are not using the vehicle for Hire and Reward, please speak with your local Plating Council first as it is usually a requirement that the vehicle is covered for Hire and Reward whilst plated.

Can I freeze my Insurance?

Insurers have not traditionally allowed cover to be frozen or premium holidays to be taken.

Are you still able to offer a 24/7 claims service?

Yes – all of our providers have comprehensive business continuity plans in place which have been implemented, please contact our claims departments in the normal ways.

We have been working closely with our insurer panel to support our Taxi Driver clients whilst they look to diversify their activities in order to maintain some level of income during this difficult period.

We have negotiated the following extensions in cover with our Insurer Panel for the duration of the crisis and in the case of Antilo Insurance for one month only (this will be reviewed at the end of one month)

Markerstudy, we can now confirm that, on a temporary basis during the Corona Virus crisis, policy cover is extended to cover all Taxi policies to deliver fast food, collection and delivery of prescriptions, food/grocery shopping and small parcel delivery. This extension of cover is provided completely free of charge.

Haven Insurance, we can now confirm that, on a temporary basis during the Corona Virus crisis, policy cover is extended to cover all Taxi policies to deliver fast food, collection and delivery of prescriptions, food/grocery shopping and small parcel delivery. This extension of cover is provided completely free of charge.

Antilo, we can now confirm that, for one month only during the Corona Virus crisis, policy cover is extended to cover all Taxi policies to deliver fast food, collection and delivery of prescriptions, food/grocery shopping and small parcel delivery. This extension of cover is provided completely free of charge.

ERS, we can now confirm that, on a temporary basis during the Corona Virus crisis, policy cover for Taxis can be extended to cover journeys delivering fast food, collection and the delivery of prescriptions, food/grocery shopping and small parcel delivery. This extension of cover is provided completely free of charge. You will need to call our office in order for us to notify ERS that you intend to carry out this type of work so that they can endorse your policy to cover this.

Allianz, we can now confirm that, we are able to extend cover for the Carriage of Goods.
. You will need to call our office in order for us to notify Allianz that you intend to carry out this type of work so that they can endorse your policy to cover this.

In all cases we must advise you that the goods that you will be transporting will NOT be insured but the journey itself will be. This means, if the goods transported are DAMAGED or LOST during transit, no cover will be in place.

Should you wish to insure the goods that you are transporting, please contact us and we will be able to quote for a separate “Goods in Transit” policy.

Finally

Please remember we are here to offer help and support to you. We can only make changes to your policy that the Insurer has agreed. The Insurers are reviewing what changes can be made to their policies regularly and the options may change. Our staff are working from home taking large volumes of calls so the wait times may be longer than you might ordinarily expect. Thank you for your understanding with this.

We hope that you and your families remain safe and well.

Kindest regards,

Daniel Fosker and all of the Quotax team.

Dean Richardson Southern Title First Defence

London Taxi Driver Dean Richardson makes his first defence of his Southern Area Title

Dean Richardson First Defence

London Taxi Driver Dean Richardson makes his first defence of his Southern Area Title against Konrad Stempkowski on 14th March at York Hall, Bethnal Green.

Richardson, from South Ruislip, is returning to the ring for the first time since winning the title back in September, with a second round knockout of Nathan Graham.

Stempkowski has an impressive record to date, having had 11 bouts with 9 wins and will be his first crack at a professional title which Richardson is keen to hang on to.

All of the Quotax team wish you the very best on the 14th Dean!!!!

quotax office thumbnail london taxi toy

Quotax Anniversary: 15 Years in Insurance Broking

This year, we’re celebrating our fifteenth anniversary! Since 2004, we at Quotax have kept a steady momentum to become a leader for Commercial Vehicle Insurance in the UK.

We’ve come a long way since our beginnings and that’s thanks in large part not only to our amazing clients but our fantastic team of dedicated staff.

Over the course of our fifteen years, we like to think we’ve fulfilled our founder’s original vision and then some. Read more below to find out more about our fascinating history. Read more

London Taxi Driver Dean Richardson wins southern area boxing title

Dean Richardson became the new super welterweight Southern Area champion with a two round destruction of Nathan Graham at York Hall on 28th September.

Richardson, now 11-0 with 8 knockouts, finished the fight with a single right hook at close range early into the second round. The first round was cagey, with both fighters feeling their way into the fight but a few bursts of combinations from Dean edged him the round.

Both fighters came out for the second and Richardson took the centre of the ring. Graham lunged in with a right hand to the body and as he wound up for an uppercut, Richardson landed his own right hook. Graham landed face first on the canvas but managed to get to his feet at the count of six. His legs were unsteady and as he wobbled backwards towards the ropes the referee waved it off 27 seconds into the round.

It was the 24 year olds first title as a professional and with the English belt being contested for on the same night, Richardson hopes to defend his Southern Area title or have his own crack at the English early next year.