IMPORTANT NOTICE - WESTMINSTER SPECIAL
The Westminster Special needs account is now five months
into its four year contract and already drivers are speaking out about their concerns.
Service! There are many who feel that the service we are providing could be substantially
improved if our method of despatch were altered. There are feelings that a minority of
drivers are making the more lucrative journeys their own by booking into an area for a
considerable amount of time before the journeys are required. In doing this, it leaves the
less value trips and other account holders to be serviced by the rest of the fleet.
If this is not bad enough,
Westminster have expressed their disappointment to the drivers who are travelling at
speeds to reach a school before it opens. This means that the waiting time kicks in and
meter fares apply, but more importantly, the discomfort and distress being caused to the
passengers. These actions not only leave a bad taste with other drivers but also Council
staff. The direct impact of continuously changing the fixed price to a meter reading is
increasing costs to the Council.
CHANGING DESPATCHING METHODS
To alter the methods of despatching is a simple one to
resolve and actions are in place to do just that. The biggest problem we face is to find
ways to ensure the budgets that have been set by Westminster City Council for their
Special Needs Service are controlled. We have been fortunate in so far as
Westminster have asked us to re-evaluate all the journeys
to see if we can operate a service that is not only cost effective to them, but at prices
acceptable to the driver.
In carrying out the exercise we
feel that the way forward is to set time limits on the journeys. The data we have acquired
over the last five months has enabled us to set these times in excess of the actual time
journeys have been taking. There are routes which have seen drivers constantly having to
wait either in the morning or afternoon through no fault of their own. Prices for these
rides have been increased to compensate for this. No set hourly rate has be used. We have
looked at individual trips and negotiated each one with Westminster in an effort to agree
the best price possible.
In the extreme event a journey exceeds the
allocated time, then a 10p a minute waiting time penalty will be added to the fixed price.
This will then generate a revised fixed price. Journeys will not revert to a meter
reading. Before any journey is permitted to be altered from the fixed price, Westminster
will need to give their authorisation first. If this is not obtained then no additional
payment will be made. It is therefore a must that drivers continue to carry out a Code 11
when waiting more than five minutes at any pick up or drop off. When doing a Code 11,
please ensure to enter in the optional data
field. (1) Postal Zone. (2)
Number of Minutes kept waiting and put a space between the two. It is very important that
as much information is given about the trip whilst on route and it is necessary to have
alterations made before clearing the trip.
It is the drivers responsibility to ensure problems with
any trip are bought to the Control Rooms attention as soon as possible. Remember, no
journey will be altered for any reason after the event. It is also worth mentioning that
Westminster have a remote call taker terminal in their offices which is used to monitor
We are at present the preferred
supplier to Westminster for three of their taxi accounts. In total they are without doubt,
the largest user of a Licensed Taxi Service in London. Please work with us to supply them
with the service they have come to expect. The concerns of many of our drivers expresses
the importance that we, as a Society, place on their custom.
Lets keep it that way and
hopefully as each department comes up for tender it will be difficult for them to change