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Black cabs animosity towards London hotel employees

Dublin
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Black cabs animosity towards London hotel employees

Leaving London on the 23rd of December, I asked the hotel concierge to get me a cab to take me to Green Park (where I intended to take the Piccadilly line out to Heathrow). He immediately hailed a black cab and - when I explained to the cab driver that I was only going literally a mile up the road - the driver ranted that the hotel staff were "a bunch of crooks" and that, if I had been going directly to Heathrow, they would have called a private car instead. And that the pre-Christmas period had been bad for him as a driver and that the £5 sterling fare to Green Park was "barely worthwhile". He also said that he thought all black cab drivers should get together to decide how to combat this alleged "crookedness" on the part of hotels.

Though I could understand his anger, I'm a bit of a free marketeer and I didn't explain to him that hotels can do what they like (subject, of course, to any overriding wishes of their customers). If they want to use the services of other drivers then (provided they are properly licensed), that's their prerogative.

But I just wondered whether my understanding of the situation was a bit too simplistic. Is there anything intrinsically wrong in not engaging black cabs on behalf of your guests for longer runs to the airport. I can see how the guests might lose out in the sense that the private car might cost them more money. But I can't see where exactly black cab drivers have any rights in relation to this issue.

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London, United...
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1. Re: Black cabs animosity towards London hotel employees

*You* can book whatever you please.

If you ask the concierge, they will do what they do.

If the taxi driver doesn't like being a taxi driver he should join a private car company.

I never use cabs or cars. I wouldn't give any of them tuppence.

Plymouth...
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2. Re: Black cabs animosity towards London hotel employees

I've booked cabs from central London to Heathrow on two occasions through the concierge. Not sure what your cabbie was on about.

Dublin
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3. Re: Black cabs animosity towards London hotel employees

I think he mistakenly believes that black cabs should have a monopoly in relation to airport runs from London hotels. He also intimated that hotel employees might be on a percentage from the private car drivers they use. I do not know whether or not there is strong substance to this allegation. But, if that's the way the market operates, and if the customer ultimately can choose his/her own mode of transport to the airport, then tough luck so far as the black cab drivers are concerned.

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4. Re: Black cabs animosity towards London hotel employees

I wouldn't surprise me at all if concierges received commission from all manner of cars, clubs and everything else under the sun.

You weren't put on this planet to keep a cabbie in business.

U.K.
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5. Re: Black cabs animosity towards London hotel employees

IMO I'd find it surprising in any self-respecting concierge of a big hotel doesn't have favourites and

is suitably rewarded for 'customer loyalty'.

I think a lot of it can be blamed on cab fares and cabbies being greedy. IMO they should re-calculate long runs outside of London confines particularly, not just click the meter. Long distance is far too expensive in a Black cab, so they have opened the door for well priced competition.

Stoofer

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6. Re: Black cabs animosity towards London hotel employees

Sounds as though he was just having a moan. Quite usual. Some time since I used a black cab but it cost £15 from Marble Arch to Liverpool Street at 3am when there was no traffic about: outrageous! Black cabs are more expensive than minicabs, so it's quite possible that the traveller gets a better deal if the hotel books a minicab AND the hotel gets a premium.

Watford
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7. Re: Black cabs animosity towards London hotel employees

Cabbies have been known to offer "better" rates to take people from their hotel to Heathrow but of course the client has to get into the cab before they can do this.

Car services are cheaper and there is no doubt that hotels make money from car companies whether it be the concierge at a 5 star hotel dealing with a stretch limo company or a doss house owner using his cousin from abroad.

Those organisations representing cabbies should approach TFL (who set the rates) and discuss the matter. Some of the larger cab companies could if they wished approach hotels and offer a percentage in return for those hotels using their cabs.

Dublin
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8. Re: Black cabs animosity towards London hotel employees

Interesting insights Adam. I detect that you are a very good mediator.

Stoofer, if you take a look at the "Football Tickets" thread, you will note that it gives wings to your assertion that self-respecting concierges have to make a profit from the various services they provide for hotel customers. As Rubykeebler reveals (in her somewhat dated post), she was offered to Premiership tickets by a concierge at a price of £185 sterling per ticket. Though she was shocked at this, I believe that "you pays your money and you takes your chance". Though, having seen seven or eight Premiership matches over the past few years, I no longer believe that they're worth the exorbitant prices third parties charge for them.

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9. Re: Black cabs animosity towards London hotel employees

Insightful

I won't bore you with details by relating long stories, and certainly won't name names but 15 years ago I had a friend who worked as a porter in a well known luxury hotel in London, at a time when there where big money Arab visitors on a daily basis, in addition to the usual high rollers.

Suffice to say, he did not get wages, neither did the concierge I suspect (but don't know), because his tips and 'commissions' put him into the very high earners bracket. He actaully paid money to get the placement, I think £1000 a week for the job, and still it was common for him to retain £2000 a week. A huge figure in those days! A tidy sum now.

I'm not suggesting those 'glory days' have continued for trhe service industry but the principle remains the same IMO. Money is made outside of 'wages' and those in 'priviliged positions' probably do a lot better than we imagine. In a busy hotel, 100's of rooms spending money per night, think about the possibilities? Certainly no surprise if a black cab loses out to a local hire firm.

Stoofer

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10. Re: Black cabs animosity towards London hotel employees

Of course, the other factor, Stoofer, is that much, if not all, of these earnings were tax free. But the Inland Revenue appears to be getting wiser to these practices and - even though many concierges probably do not pay their fair share of taxes - many hotel employees are now taxed on the basis that their "cash income" is quite sizeable.