Check Chauffeur Company Licence – When safe travel matters
Check Chauffeur Company Licence. Most importantly, this is the number one thing you must do before even considering making a booking.
All 3 Licenses must be valid.
Private Hire Chauffeur Operator Licence
Private Hire Chauffeur Driver Licence
Private Hire Chauffeur Vehicle Licence
If either the Driver the vehicle or the Chauffeur Company are not licensed, you will be uninsured for your journey.
An unlicensed Chauffeur Company can be fined between £5,000 & £100,000 and in the event of a fatality, even face jail.
Check Chauffeur company Licence – Operator Licence
This is the 1st thing you should check before making a booking to ensure you do not end up with an unlicensed company.
There are two places to view this. That said, option 2 is always recommended.
The Operator’s Licence number usually begins with ‘PO’. For instance, Junction 21’s Licence is PO0178
1)-View on the Chauffeur company’s Website
2)-View on the relevant licensing Authority Website
Check Chauffeur company Licence - Driver Licence
This is not as easy to check before making a booking as normally you would not know the name of the Chauffeur until the evening before your travel.
However, there are two places to check this. That said, once again, option 2 is recommended, as checking when the driver arrives would leave your travel plans in disarray should the driver not be licensed.
1) On the day of travel – Chauffeur will be displaying his Licence.
2) In advance – View on the relevant licensing Authority Website. Most importantly, all licensed Chauffeurs & Taxi Drivers are listed.
Check Chauffeur company Licence - Vehicle Licence
Once again, this is not as easy to check before making a booking as normally you would not know the Vehicle details until the evening before your travel.
However, there are two places to check this. That said, once again, option 2 is recommended, as checking when the Vehicle arrives would leave your travel plans in disarray should the Vehicle not be licensed.
1) On the day of travel – Chauffeur Vehicle will have a licence displayed.
Chauffeur Vehicles will display a discreet window shield licence, usually displayed where the old Tax disc used to go (Bottom left in front window)
Do not be confused by a Taxi that displays a fixed plate outside the rear of the vehicle, as Taxi & Chauffeur insurance are 2 different things.
2) In advance – View on the relevant licensing Authority Website. Most importantly, all licensed Vehicles are listed.
MANAGING ROAD RISK WHEN TRAVELLING ON COMPANY BUSINESS
If making a booking for an employee travelling on Company business, it is imperative that the above are checked.
The Corporate Manslaughter Act, which came into force in April 2008 and the new Offences Act effective from January 2009, raised the focus on Managing Occupational Road Risk for everyone.
Most businesses have heard of the phrase “Duty of Care’’. Indeed, the majority of businesses are now fully compliant. Most importantly, they have addressed the major requirements in relation to employees travelling on company business.
Be aware that both the Booker and Director of a company can be prosecuted if it is seen that the above checks have not been adhered to.
In addition, Corporate Clients, in the main, request a copy of the Chauffeur Companies ‘Operating Conditions’ Policy document.
Paying by Card
The most secure way to make a card payment for Chauffeur Driven Car Hire is directly through the website.
Like most major suppliers in the service industry, Chauffeur companies are Merchant Bankers, and take payment through a secure payment gateway.
Firstly, the card payment gateway industry will not accept a company as an online merchant until they have verified the company.
Secondly, the website is checked to make sure it is secure.
Thirdly, the operating system used by the Chauffeur company has to be scanned. Initially, at start up, and then at least every 3 months for an ongoing security health check.
Finally, the website is checked to make sure it contains a verified Geographical address. This is usually found on the contact page. Moreover, the website has to have clear Terms & conditions and refund policy pages including a section on refunding card payments.
Then, and only then, will the Chauffeur company be allowed to process card payments securely through their website.
Are you taking a risk?
Every company has the responsibility to ensure their staff are working in a safe environment, but do you know if your preferred Chauffeur company or Private Hire Taxi company is cutting corners and costs and therefore taking unnecessary risks with their clients?
In times of austerity prices have become lower and lower whilst quality tyres, servicing, insurance and fuel have gone up. Drivers were making a better profit on airport transfers 20 years ago than they are today, why?
In the last century, 1999 to be exact, the cost of a 25-mile transfer to Manchester Airport was on average £50, and running costs were more than 50% cheaper.
What is the cost now?
Many companies still charge the same £50 today, but should you risk it? Here are the figures:
- Driver pays 20% commission to the hiring company = £10.00
- Fuel for 50 miles round trip in an average car is = £8.80
- Driver wages, in rush hour there & back, 2 hours at 7.50 per hour = £15.00
- Tax & National Insurance contributions as self-employed approx. = £2.85
- License fees to RMBC £450 per year so approx. = £0.75 per job
- Running costs excluding fuel = £8
- Vehicle Finance = £9
Total cost to driver minimum £54.40
Balance left for vehicle maintenance and your personal safety is £50.00 minus £54.40
= Loss per airport journey of £4.40
How do drivers survive?
As the driver and owner of the vehicle is making a loss. When a driver is struggling to make a living, he will start to cut costs. I.e. budget tyres can be £20 each instead of £150 for quality tires like Continental or Michelin maybe even cutting back on the number of services per year.
It is an industry known fact that Chauffeurs and private hire drivers, on average have increased their working week by as much as 30 hours to earn the same as 20 years ago. So, what is a “safe” amount?
As a licensed company we believe in fair reward for our drivers. Moreover, we would expect them to make a profit of around £15 per journey as opposed to a loss of nearly £5 pounds.
If you think the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
Police & Licensing officers stopped 38 so called Licensed vehicles in December.
19 (Half) of the 38 vehicles were found to have defects and taken off the road immediately.
11 of the 38 drivers stopped had their licenses suspended for failing to meet all licensing regulations.
Junction 21 will never jeopardize safety by offering clients a price that is uneconomic for the drivers to sustain a living whilst maintaining their vehicles to a legal standard.
Change in the law
Companies or organizations booking Hire & Reward transport for employees/clients are responsible for their safe transfer.
It is now the directors of a company that have to ensure the transport company they use have a corporate safety policy.
Moreover, if not, and there is a serious accident, the company organising the transport as well as the ‘Chauffeur/Taxi company’ can be fined between £5,000 & £100,000, and in fatal incidents even face jail.