In recent weeks, regulatory authorities in at least two major North American cities - Toronto and Vancouver - implemented serious taxi driver training programs, largely in response to heavy duty concerns from local service industries, representative Tourism Industry associations and airport management authorities.
Some time ago, (3 years?) Dr. Ray Mundy, Executive Director of the Airport Ground Transportation Association, publicly cautioned about a growing trend where regulatory authorities were being relentlessly pressured into becoming the personnel department for the taxicab industry. There was a time when the taxi industry itself was the one selecting, training, supervising, controlling, disciplining, and rewarding taxi drivers. Somehow a role reversal is emerging where many of these responsibilities appear to have shifted to regulatory agencies.
How did this ever happen? Is it not an employer responsibility to do the necessary training? What price continued retention of this independent contractor status? Seems we now have in far too many cities a situation analogous to turning loose thousands of puppy dogs and now it's up to the regulatory authority who must somehow round them up, supervise them, train them, and somehow get them all pulling together for the good of all, a seemingly impossible task.
Where is this trend taking the industry? Who's in charge?
Thoughts of others?
A major supplier to the taxicab industry kindly offered to make a significant donation to a charity of my choice as a gesture of "Gee Thanks" for my efforts in providing an InterNet based resource centre for the world wide taxi industry.
First thought that comes to mind is a training film, or a series of driver training films on such topics as Customer Service, Marketing Opportunities, Wheelchair Handling, Driver Safety, Safe Driving, etc. And of course, in every one of them, the London Cab is the vehicle of choice throughout.
The principal sponsor might be LTI, but within the vehicle we might see other products such as meters, radios, roof lights, tie-down equipment, GPS dispatch, etc., all emerging from suppliers other than LTI. Perhaps a joint effort spearheaded by LTI could have world wide impact, with resulting tapes available in VHS, PAL or whatever format is most common in target country.
Driver training is becoming a critical issue worldwide. Suppliers who sell products to the industry could become significant beneficiaries of increased market share and market size, as a consequence of better trained drivers. I note that ITLA is focusing considerable importance on Driver, Recruitment and Retention.
If TAXI-L should emerge as a significant force in helping this industry grow and improve, I perceive it be equally helpful in encouraging various merchants to seriously consider supporting such initiatives as driver training. It may take catalyst organizations such as LTI and ITLA to make it all happen.
Not quite sure, Jamie, if your kind offer was perceived to evoke a response such as this. I sincerely do not want to put you and LTI on the spot, but your offer was indeed quite provocative. Perhaps others might join in this discussion and see where it takes us. Think positive folks!
From an InterNet discussion 20 November 1997
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