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Monday 4 March 2019

TfL And The Private Hire Cribble

[Update at end of post]

After driver and rider matching service Uber managed to insert itself into the taxi and private hire marketplace in London and elsewhere, more services using Apps have started up. One of the latest is called Cribble, or more correctly, in London, Pro Transfer Limited trading as Cribble Pro Transfer. Unusually, it is the driver who sets the fare here, and the punter can then select one driver’s offer from three or more presented via the app.
The website tellsThe app that makes booking a ride like buying on Amazon … The seller (driver) sets the price and the passenger picks their preferred vehicle … Since the process to order and accept was fully transparent everyone is happy … The Cribble platform has been adopted by Pro Transfers [sic] Limited, a TFL licensed operator who will offer the service under the Cribble brand in London … Online registration is now open with a formal launch scheduled for 11 March 2019”. But you can look at that platform right now.
And it’s intended to be fair to drivers. Under then heading “TFL Licensed drivers sign-up for fair pay”, the website tells “Cribble will be the preferred way to go once the people of London realise that they can get a fair deal without exploiting the drivers. Drivers are now registering with the latest taxi app in London”. That suggests all drivers are TfL licensed.
So far, so different - let’s see how this operates in practice. Someone wants a Cab or Private Hire vehicle to take them from Stansted Airport to Gatwick. Straightforward journey, down the M11, clockwise around the M25, then off at the M23 junction. The example provided to Zelo Street shows three driver offers, ranging from £156 to £250.
Which, though, to choose? Ilko Mirchev with his 2016 Mercedes at £250? Togay Kemal with his 2018 Mercedes at £192? Or the bargain basement choice, Mohamed Takar with his 2010 Skoda at £156? This matters. Because, according to TfL’s Private Hire Checker - and all the drivers should appear there, as Pro Transfer Limited is based in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets - only one of those three drivers is licensed.
Well, licensed by TfL, anyway. As someone once said, can you guess who it is yet? The answer is that Togay Kemal is the right answer: he and his 2018 Mercedes (a black one, natch) are the safe bet. A search for Ilko Mirchev and Mohamed Takar returned no matching records. It must be assumed that they are not licensed Private Hire drivers.
It has to be asked, what action is TfL taking to find out what is going on at Pro Transfer Limited? So far, so many crickets. And that’s not good enough: the evidence shows that apps like Uber are riskier to punters than black cabs, and for a variety of reasons. TfL has in the past worked hard to warn the public about using unlicensed minicabs. Yet here we have what looks like a platform offering drivers who are, er, unlicensed.
So, TfL, what are you going to do about it? This game is, as one of my sources has put it, becoming a joke. But for the punters, it could end up as no laughing matter.
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[UPDATE 5 March 1150 hours: Cribble has asserted that all their drivers are TfL licensed, and has given details of this in a comment which has been submitted on this post.

No direct accusation of malpractice was made in this post, and I am happy to point out their assertion]

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Nice Article until it "wrongly" claimed that two of the drivers are not licensed by TFL which is absolutely not true. As the software provider for Cribble I would therefore demand an apology and an updated article that puts matters right.

The fact is that Cribble software matches the TFL licences with DVLA licences and the Operator performs additional manual checks before a driver can use the platform.

It isn't clear what you typed into the TFL Licence Checker which is a pretty poor piece of software that requires upper case input and a * at the end of each name to make it work but the fact is that between you and the TFL software you were unable to find the two licence numbers in question.

On the contrary, the Operator with the help of the Cribble software fulfilled their duty perfectly by identifying the licence numbers in the TFL database and checking them against the Licence copies provided by the driver.

The contested numbers are :
184658 expiry 09/01/2021
210200 expiry 02/12/2021

We look forward to a prompt apology to all concerned.