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Addison Lee – A Driver’s View in 2014

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Addison Lee – A Driver’s View in 2014

Posted By Cab4Now

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.

Customer Appreciation Tweets Cab4NowThe 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.

Addison Lee Driver BraveryOn 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.

AddLee_CarI 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.

Customer Appreciation Tweets Cab4NowThe other big plus is that you can add amendments during the job and even after it is completed. Straight from the XDA. A huge and much appreciated improvement.

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.

Customer Appreciation Tweets Cab4NowThe 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.

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45 thoughts on “Addison Lee – A Driver’s View in 2014

  1. Hi
    Speedy recovery with your back problem, a common complaint we all tend to suffer with doing the job we do.

    Hailo cancellation fee of £5 was introduced and has dramatically halted the amount of customers who are not at the pick up point on arrival.

    In the early days of Hailo before the cancellation fee was around, it was annoying driving to pick up and no one was there, especially cash customers, luckily those days are gone.

    Your job differs to ours greatly, you have to rely solely on work given to you by one employer, sorry operator.

    We of coarse have our regular work, as well as additional work such as Hailo, so we have to take into consideration whats good for the customer as well as the drivers.

    1. I’m not sure my point came across properly regarding Hailo £5 cancellation fee.

      Because it only takes on average in real time 3 to 4 minutes for a Hailo taxi to arrive, the cancellation fee of £5 after one minute of confirming your booking is relative. If it took longer for your taxi to arrive you could give the customer longer time to cancel.

      1. Nice piece in The Spectator, check it out. Reminded me of the British soldier I picked up recently, gave up using black cabs after a £40 fare from Victoria station to King’s Cross. Some short cut that must have been.

  2. If you do a full 60hrs with Uber on Exec or LUX i would expect you to make decent money regardless.

    You get a printout of the exact hours you are on shift and the busiest times kf the week historically are marked to help you adjust to maximise your earnings.

    After commission i made £526 last week. But also made £112 from subbing jobs.

    No of hours worked was about 25 in total.

    That included driving into London from Essex(M25area)

    Losing a Gatwick into town everyday with AddLee is something to consider.

    I know UberX are busy almost all the time. But rates are lower so not sure about earnings.

    Wendex will rent you an E Class from £170+vat. Aston Scott do full comp chauffeur insurance from £1000. Though most pay around £1800/2000.

    To be classed as Exec you vehicle needs to be the current shape E Class or 5 series i believe, pre facelift E is fine but the older round light model is classed as X.

    Good luck in what you go with mate.

    1. Hi potato
      Your back!

      Interesting article, he echoes your own thoughts on the London cab trade. Study the article carefully and you will see a view of one individual with a huge dislike to London cabbies with exaggerated stories. A keen cyclist with a chip on his shoulders who knows nothing about the cab trade a bit like you. If the cab trade was as bad as some people wrongly portrait, it would have gone long ago. Fortunately London still has the best taxi service in the world in the form of the London cabbie. Maybe I will start linking in bad articles written about the mini cab trade, but I was warned off by cab 4 now.

      £40 Victoria to kings cross, funny that, do it all the time for around £12.00 even at peak time. It’s funny how you keep getting people in your rented cab who tell you all there woes about London cabbies.

        1. Around fifteen pounds he is not the same as exactly fifteen pounds, but if your as good as me i good shave a couple of quid off that.

          if you are self employed and are not an employee of Addison lee whilst driving in your rented car, how can they then be the biggest employer in camden.

          Camden council are the biggest employers.

    2. I thought this was a fair but slightly inaccurate post in response to the biased spectator magazine article.

      Imran Raja ran over a vagrant in his Addison Lee minicab,with passengers on board, he then reversed over the poor soul to be sure he had killed him. I wouldn’t start setting bars of criminality and depravity with minicab scoundrels in your remit, or then we’d have to start writing lists of convicted rapists.

      Pray do tell which part of Hammersmith do cab drivers struggle to find that the collective genii of Addison Lee can. I hope it sits well on your conscience that most of these polyester suited minicab fellows work a 60 hour week to earn about £ 300 a week whilst lining Addison Lee’s pockets with 75% of the revenue they generated. That’ll be free school meals for their kids, Housing Benefit for their landlords and Tax Credits to make it that little bit more bearable. A false economy if ever there was one, all good for keeping the jobless figures down and hiding the scandalous shame of the voluminous amounts of unskilled people living on scandalously low wages. HMRC really need to investigate this self employment scam that PH firms run when in reality, their drivers can only receive jobs from them in the vehicle rented to them and I insured by them. The source of everything is the PH firm, yet they don’t offer them holiday pay, NI contributions, pensions, health benefit schemes, as by any other set up or name these drivers are employees?

      Still save that money, consolidate it into one great bung and give it to the Tories.

      Boris knows it, David Camoron knows it, cousin to the author of the original piece and all that, Bullingdon Eton mess and all that.

      As for cabbies obligations to do something about sexual assaults, where does that come from? Surely a Police and TfL licensing issue.

  3. Croydon council have around 11000 employees, Camden being a larger and more densely populated borough have a much higher employee ratio, so i am interested on your stance on why or who are the largest employers in Camden, as in the past on occasion you have said Addison lee are the biggest.

  4. So far no luck with finding out if Addison lee are the largest employers in camden, apart from camden council and other similar government bodies and services like Education. I think you should rewrite it as maybe one of the largest businesses in Camden.

  5. I suspect the NHS trumps AddLee significantly. London Ambulancd Service alone employs more than 5000. Maybe more.

    Nice to see admission that AddLee employs their drivers rather than partners with self employed partners.

    Pretty big bill for the unpaid tax and NI!

  6. I’m not Simon John.

    And that is 5000 in London.

    AddLee don’t employ as many as you may think.

    I would suspect that 90% of the “employees” are indeed the drivers and riders.

    If you include them then i would say yes they do “employ” lots of people.

    Wether they are potentially illegally regarded as self employed is something else.

    If you aren’t able to freely work for other clients then you fail the self employed test.

    AddLee drivers and riderr drive branded vehicles fitted with gps sensors.

    You buy the H&R Insurance from them which covers you to do their work.

    You hire the branded vehicle from them.

    Get your branded vehicle servicing by them.

    Get your branded vehicle washed at the car washes they say. And you have the money for this taken regardless of if you want to use their carwash.

    John Griffin bailed, in part, i think due to the multi million pound liability that the Co will have due to unpaid tax and NI contributions from AddLee drivers.

    If i was a driver their and got claimed by the revenue i would use that as my defence. If a Co employs somebody that fails the self employed test and they don’t deduct Tax & NI then they become liable for the money involved.

    When did a Driver last submit and Invoice?

    How many are registered for Vat?

    How many drivers use a ltd Co for work purposes. And draw a wage and dividend?

    1. Most of the points you make are valid.

      HMRC regularly reviews self employed status of sub contractors. Currently, HMRC accepts that drivers pass the self employed test at Addison Lee.

      This may be incorrect at law for the reasons you state. However, the self employed status of Addison Lee drivers is unlikely to change.

  7. If you look at your post above. Feb 8th. You never mentioned Camden.

    But did say they were the biggest employer in London.

    1. Ahh. Apologies. Meant Camden. Sorry for the name too Justin. I was tired. I’ll address your other comments tomorrow. Tad busy currently. Working on the post for March which will take this blog in a new direction. 😉

  8. Probably will change now that political contributer Mr Griffen is gone

    Drivers should be free to do other work

    Something that a Co WhistleBlower has posted about may well do just that

  9. Hello. I m 21 years old and I just apply for my PCO licence. I m a begginer and I don t know a lot of things,but I want to learn. Is there any chances to work for Addison Lee?
    Thanks

  10. Hi, thanks for the article.

    I am looking to do some minicab work part time, and am in the process of applying for a PCV license. What would be your advice on hours to work and would it be worth while at 20-30 hours a week?

    Do AL allow you to clock in and out when you please?

  11. Any idea how hard the topographical test is? As far as I can see that might be the only barrier for me? I am a Londoner but I don’t live within the M25 anymore. Is there any resources available you can use to revise for it?

  12. Just joined your forum, excellent insider information of the trade. Very informative topics which I enjoyed reading. It is different from LTDF for sure, kind of hybrid Anderson shelter.

    Spent 9+ years driving london buses, decided to switch fields … so did a bit of KoL. Learned all blue books, missing pieces and 2k points then as family expanded struggled to progress further.

    So this is final push for me to get it going. From what I see AddLee is a good solution towards my progress. Interesting to see the rise of MiniCab apps too. Its a bit scary to leave “secure” job into something wild as a MiniCab driver, but I guess one needs to sacrifice / risk to see new life*. I understand its opportunity for me to study further KoL whilst getting paid for it so hopefully it will be enough financially to meet ends.

    Passed AddLee tests, obtained PCO license, time to resign and join ranks of MiniCab drivers.

    Once again, big thank you for nice blog/forum, it describes how it is from the other side. Excellent work.

  13. Right, PCO license will be through very soon, as I would like to get cracking can anyone make a 2nd recommendation beyond AddLee? They would be a good option for me as a company car would be easier for me to start with but I am not sure I will get through their tests. I am a Londoner but I don’t know the whole place brilliantly. One of the attractions of AL for a beginner is knowing the destination before pick up

    So any other recommendations to help me cut my teeth if AddLee show me the door?! After 12 months I hope to have other options but I need to start somewhere! Any and all advice is useful, thanks in advance.

  14. Thank you Cab4Now, I love this site, thank you!

    I will give the others a spin if AddLee say no. Ultimately I want to migrate onto UberExec but I reckon I will need a good 2 or 3 years under my belt to make that the best option for me, and I’m a Londoner!

    BTW, I think Green Tomato require 6 months experience?

    Please keep posting and tweeting and I will be looking to hire an E Class in a couple of years from you! Cheers fella.

  15. David Bean, to pass AL map test you could join their free school or study blue books to give you general idea of direction in London. AL exam isn’t really like appearance in palaestra house, but they want to see if you actually know which direction to go.

    I had questions of : -Take me from Berkeley SQ to London Bridge, London Bridge – Arsenal FC, Grosvenor SQ – Lambeth Bridge and Notting Hill – Euston. AL official was looking into my sense of direction instead of road names etc. He himself, was rather good … he had Google maps open in front of him but not good enough to know about -no right turns- from particular roads. So that IMO indicates that test itself isn’t that stern as others point it out.

    BlueBook** runs are very good to start your knowledge of London, they will help you no end in your driving career. Visit Wizann free seminar to see the scene, after you choose what you want to do in future.

    I’m about to start at AL to achieve my targets etc, their honeymoon* incentive is very good too for a new starter (£250 per week X4 times = £1000 4 weeks free rental). I had few friends who came from Green Tomatoes, and all migrated to AL as currently AL is most flexible at jobs in and outs. You need to realise that 60hour shifts are the norm to cut it.

    I’m not saying AL is absolute best, who knows maybe Crawfords are … but I’m about to experience it myself in a short time.

    p.s. If doing 4 BB** runs a day 3 times a week, you will clear 1BB** in no time (it will help you pass AL test) The more you learn, the more you will want to learn as it gets interesting. You might surprise yourself how much you didn’t know about London being a Londoner.

  16. Hi,
    I am new to this blog and enjoy reading it regularly, so I joined today to get some honest advice! No negative just honest advice! So I recently singed up with Addisson Lee – West One, will be driving a Prius: on to my questions;
    1- I am up for work 6 days a week 12 hours plus if possible! How much could I realistically earn after all expenses supposing I clear points for free car at end of week??

    2- How much money, on average, should I set aside for Petrol each week?

    3- What is a split shift?
    I am thinking as follows:
    Mon= rest day) (Tue+We’d= day shift) (Thu+Fri+Sat+Sun= night shift! In any case can I cohos my work rota as above? And could this be called a split shift?

    4- I am good experienced London Driver, for Back up just in case things go pear shaped; What is your best recommended SatNav system for survival on the job??

    Cab4Now + anyone with good insight please advise to your best knowledge!

    Thanks a million.

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