2 years have passed since I wrote Addison Lee – A Driver’s View in 2012. Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun? In 2012 I worked with Addison Lee as a self employed London minicab driver for only 4 months in the middle of the year. The 2012 post relates to my time spent as a self employed London minicab driver in 2011. Last year I spent around 6 months with Addison Lee as a self employed London minicab driver. The rest of the time in 2012 and 2013 was spent in Asia and at my home in Malta.
The last two years have seen many developments at Addison Lee. There are many challenges ahead for self employed London minicab drivers working with Addison Lee and all minicab companies and the many new minicab booking apps that have launched since I wrote about my experience at Addison Lee in 2012.
Addison Lee featured in several media reports last year concerning entry in to bus lanes, cyclists, crack smoking drivers and, of course, the sale to Carlyle amongst many other notable stories. Addison Lee was even mentioned in a song in December 2013 called Midnight Memories by One Direction.
My focus here today is what it’s like working with Addison Lee now as a self employed London minicab driver so I will look at changes in income, operational matters and touch a little on how I see the future for self employed London minicab drivers in general.
On a special note, Gordon ‘Grayson’ McRae and Alan Egan received Bravery Awards in 2013. Only 12 bravery awards were handed out last year and two went to Grayson and Alan, both Addison Lee drivers. Congratulations gents.
In 2013 Addison Lee launched a great new initiative for self employed London minicab drivers working with them. It was the Addison Lee Driver’s Portal. A web interface easily accessed on desktop, tablet or mobile.
The Addison Lee Driver’s Portal allows self employed London minicab drivers working with Addison Lee access to the PreBook site which allows you to select a job to start with at the beginning of your shift. Living in Brighton as I do when I’m in England I have never made use of it but many drivers do. It is very popular with the self employed London minicab drivers who have completed the Addison Lee Diploma because they are allowed early access so can access a better choice of work. New systems were put in place which allowed for an additional 66,000 bookings to be taken in the last 7 months of 2013.
The Addison Lee Driver’s Portal updates in real time so all self employed London minicab drivers working with Addison Lee can get up to date information on their income and points status. When I’m working I leave my old Google Nexus 7 on a 1 minute refresh so I don’t get logged out which works very well.
I was the first to receive the new XDA software which became available in November 2013. Thank you Tony. Most self employed London minicab drivers working with Addison Lee are still using the old software which has a few issues that most self employed London minicab drivers working with Addison Lee are not aware of. The main issue is corrected in the new software so sadly another Cab4Now angle passes and is consigned to history. I may reveal what that was one day. But I promised not for now. Perhaps when all self employed London minicab drivers working with Addison Lee are on the new software? Then again, maybe not. 🙂
There are two major improvements in the new software. The first is that when you join any airport rank the screen automatically updates with your position on the rank but, and it’s a big BUT, the XDA is wonderfully silent until you get a job. Bliss. No more beeps as the rank status changes.
Addison Lee now has professional videos which are accessible from the driver’s portal and you have to watch them as they’re publshed if you wish to use other parts of the site. A very good way to get information to all drivers who use the site.
Last year cash job cancellation was introduced. It took a burden off the controllers and benefited self employed London minicab drivers working with Addison Lee as well because we could clear the job and get another quickly. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. In the old software there is a way to do that still which I won’t share here as most drivers are still using it but, sadly, that has gone in the new software too.
The delay in clearing cancelled jobs is, I am sure, unacceptable to Addison Lee and at busy times costs self employed London minicab drivers working with Addison Lee dearly too. A wait of five or ten minutes during a busy period to speak to control is common on both the radio and telephone and seems like a lifetime as a driver. I’m confident that this will be addressed in the months ahead because it is so severe that it does cause self employed London minicab drivers working with Addison Lee to prematurely end their shift and go home. This is a ludicrous situation at any time let alone the busiest periods when it arises most often.