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Greenwich borough

Greenwich Council launch mini-cab service

Maybe take a cab here? They don't want you to walk, cycle or take a bus

No, this isn’t bollocks. Nope, your screen doesn’t say April 1st. Greenwich Council are launching a minicab service. As just about everyone moves to Uber, this happens.

So how many will be calling Denise’s Cabs? It’s not exactly a growth area and there’s no shortage of local cab firms who won’t be happy. It raises a whole heap of conflict of interest issues too.

Here’s a screengrab of an advert:

Now it’s not technically Greenwich Council who are running it but their spin-off subsidiary GS Plus, who provide many council services.

Spin-offs aren’t a bad idea in principle. I’m not too familiar with GS Plus to comment specifically on them, but have advocated a far greater use of Greenwich Council’s housing developer named Meridian Homes which can help bypass central Governments severe restrictions on house building.

But there’s a severe housing need and as council’s are legally obliged to house certain individuals, it works out cheaper for the taxpayer for an authority to build their own stock than using private rentals or B&Bs. It’s hardly comparable to minicab services.

One element that makes a bit more sense is hiring out vans and buses but again, there’s no shortage of alternative options there. Initially I thought that must be it, but adverts do state cars too.

The biggest danger in all this really is taking staff attention and time away from the severe issues seen in various departments. Aside from that, it all seems a bit of a tragi-comedy given the problems with £9 million holes in the parking budget and numerous planning failures leading to severe criticism from the Planning Inspectorate.


  1. Indigo

    More anti-competitive behaviour? (After killing off local print media by sucking up all the newspaper advertising.) Very hard for someone to earn a crust as a mini-cab driver, as it is.

  2. Can’t see the council expenditure data as the website is down, but I’d imagine that this is an attempt to try to keep some of the cash spent on regular trips to/from schools, care homes and all that in house. If you’ve got a kid going to/from an SEN school the other side of the borough, it might help being able to have the same driver/s doing the job each day. Bad news if you’re Data Cars (or whoever the council suppliers are), mind, but on first sight this doesn’t look hugely anti-competitive. There’s a separate, wider issue about the council’s subsidiary companies, but that’s for another day. One question that does leap to mind, though – these will be zero hours contracts, surely?

    • Plumstead Resident

      Isn’t all they are doing insourcing an activity that is performed by private firms? All organisations. particularly large ones, do this. It’s a procurement decision. If it saves taxpayer money and provides the same/better service then I have no issues with it.

      • Indigo

        It won’t save taxpayer money. On the contrary. Think about it. Insourcing a mini-cab service is not like insourcing photocopiers. Council would have to run it as a business (anti-competitive) or subsidise it from Council Tax. Subsidising: purchase of vehicles, road tax, insurance, MOT, garage costs, valeting, repair costs (and processing insurance claims paperwork) when vehicles are involved in an accident.

  3. anonymous201486

    Greenwich Council continues to get lost around its own u-bend. Incidentally, the London Assembly is pressing Mayor Khan not to renew Uber’s licence.

  4. Indigo

    Losing the school-run business (once or twice daily, five days a week for 9 months of each year) would adversely affect a lot of mini-cab drivers and be extremely anti-competitive, obviously.

  5. CDT

    My understanding is that it is for people attending medical appointments at Health Centres, Hospitals, Day Care Centres and Home to School Transport, It is not for Joe Bloggs to use to go to the pub.

    As Plumstead Resident said they are insourcing this activity previously provided by private firms. I hope the drivers will have proper terms conditions and pay.

    Of course I hope this will be more cost effective for Greenwich Council and us Council Tax Payers.

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