4 years of passenger service in our great city Nottingham

4 years ago we decided to start up a company focusing on passenger service that takes passengers from A-B. We did not want to be labelled as a typical private hire company which many of us label as taxis when in fact the correct term is Private Hire Vehicles (PHV’s), also known to you and I as minicabs. We felt the “label” minicab was not in keeping with the level of service we wanted to provide. 

On our many journeys around the city and travelling to other cities such as London we knew our great city wanted to be, and is beginning to be so, a first class “eco” city but we felt that the ‘green taxis’ did not give the impression to travellers of a first class “eco” city.

As a result, the concept and the birth of Cloud Cars arose; a PHV company providing a premium, high-level service, that gives a passenger a chauffeur type service at but at a fair, balanced and transparent price close to that of the traditional taxi tariff.

Since August 2012, we can say that we have experienced an incredible journey. To all our passengers, clients and partners thank you for trusting us and travelling with us.  We appreciate all the support you have given to us.

Nottingham now has a car service that is safe, fair, reliable, fresh and environmentally friendly – answering the needs of an eco-approach to improving the city.

In our four years, we have assisted hundreds of people in our early days to thousands in the latter years.  As the numbers of passengers and businesses continue to trust us and to feel confident to allow their staff to travel with us, it has enabled Cloud Cars to grow. We look forward to the challenge of innovating the Nottinghamshire taxi industry.

To say thank you for 4 great years of support, we will be offering a *15% discount on all fares above £10 for the month of August, our birth month. (T&C apply)

Thank you for making CloudCars part of your year.

 

This time of year marks a time to look back and to move forward. As we reflect on 2014, we’re proud of what CloudCars, our friends and clients have accomplished this year together:

Fleet size doubled.

Our fleet grew to help with the ever increasing workload that our friends and clients are sending our way (keep it coming).  We’ve covered many jobs, from London to Manchester and everywhere in between.

Female ambassadors.

We have two female ambassadors who have joined us and delivering our high service levels to clients.  We’ve had some very positive feedback so watch this space for the New Year.

Innovative Cloud creating change.

We are slowly disrupting what has been the norm for such a long time and innovating a sector which has become tiresome.  We want to create a #Safer #Better #Cleaner ground transportation for all.

Transparency.

We are the only firm that will give you a fixed and advance fare on all bookings.  Time to get rid of dockets which can be abused and open to leakage. The innovative CloudCars system is 100% transparent.

We have got a stellar line-up of exciting things in store for you in the coming year – so stay in touch. "Like us" on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, to ensure you keep up with the latest news and developments from CloudCars. We’d love to hear from you.

As we look to 2015, we continue to be inspired and energized by the work ahead and by the brilliant things that you continue to say about us. Thank you for being a part of CloudCars, and allowing us on your JOURNEY. We sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed a wonderful past year and are looking forward to a marvellous 2015. We at CloudCars most certainly are.

The price of good SERVICE

We tell you the truth not what you want to hear.......

Every so often we here at CloudCars will get a phone call or an email from individuals or corporations which at times are very positive and at times negative. However, one thing we always do is read these communications and take feedback from all, as without this feedback we could not deliver the service of the CloudCars Experience.

Over the past two years, much of the negative feedback concerns the issue of price. 

The cost is paramount to everyone, you as the passenger and CloudCars the business. We are no different from any other business always looking at the bottom line, which anyone in any organisation knows is difficult.

Where we think we are different from those in our industry, is our desire for sustainability. 

Such a notion as sustainability may raise the question "what has this got to do with the taxi industry?" Our view is; everything.  For us sustainability is being able to continue what we do to the highest standards and delivering an unparalleled service that is safe. It also means simply looking after our passengers (you), our CloudCars team and our planet.

So now you are probably wondering what this has got to do with anything concerning private hire vehicles and the cost of the fare.

We received a telephone call from a prospective client who saw one of our cars and requested further information.  They informed us that they were having many issues with their current supplier, from lateness (a factor that can have a significant impact on business meetings and appointments) where time is money, to drivers who were falling asleep at the wheel! Upon hearing this horrific situation, we talked about CloudCars and what we could do for them. We believed the call had been very positive and productive.

This was followed up CloudCars providing a quotation email with most frequent journeys travelled by the enquirer. A few days later, after a series of emails, we received and email saying that they "love the cars and service that we provide but would only use us if we could match the current supplier’s prices"!

It was agreed that a face to face meeting was needed, to discuss this issue of the prices that they wanted us to match. 

The initial feeling that I had about the cost and need for a good and reputable service and realising what this big organisation was asking us to match was absolutely ridiculous.

As an illustrative example let us take a Nottingham to Heathrow journey: price quoted was £118.80 vat inclusive; Nottingham to East Midlands Airport: price quoted was £18 vat inclusive. However, because most drivers don't make over the VAT threshold, it’s the operators that are charging the VAT, so the true price to the drivers is £99 and £15 for each of the respective journeys. It is hard to see and believe why private hire companies are driving prices down so low and major business were paying those prices without no cause for concern or impact on the driver or on their own safety.

By looking at the quoted prices it is possible to understand as to why there was such bad service being delivered?

If we break down the £99 Nottingham to Heathrow fare this will help to understand this important issue. A very high percentage of Nottingham taxis are diesel cars over 5 years old. A vast majority of drivers rent their cars at a cost to them which varies from £270 - £320 per week.  So if we take the medium between the 2 numbers, say £300per week divided by 7 days = £42.85 daily cost. At the start of a driver's shift he is on minus (-) £42.85. Then he has his petrol cost to Heathrow of £42.09 (journeyprice.co.uk). He now has a minus amount of (-) £84.94.

As this is account work the driver will not get paid until the next Monday, once his docket is handed in to the operator and verified. He now has to pay a commission of 10% to the operator for giving him that work, thus £99 x 10% = £9.90. This now shows the driver as having an initial total loss that amounts to £94.84. In addition his journey to Heathrow, which in good traffic could take about 5 hours minimum to complete, begs the question is this journey of any worth to the driver?

The driver has now worked for 5 hours and made a loss. In order to recover from this he now works a further 10 hours to compensate for his bad day.  We now have a driver in his car and driving you around, who has been on the road for 15 hours plus.

If you were in the drivers shoes in such a situation;

Would you be prepared to deliver great service?

Would you care about the cleanliness of the car?

Could you afford to keep the car properly serviced and roadworthy?

Would safety be paramount to you?

The above scenario is not how CloudCars operate. We treat our drivers, our cars and our clients fairly.

It is why we at CloudCars believe in sustainability, believe and enforce our service credentials, take the safety of our clients as of prime importance and will never under sell our service and drivers.  

That is why we believe ours is a Fair Fare Policy.

Taxi Safety from a woman's perspective!!!

This was sent in by one of our female passengers and felt it was something to mention and ask if we could add it to our website blog.

As a women I have on many occasions used taxi’s to get home as I assumed it was the safest way to travel after a night out,.

In recent weeks I have read 2 cases where taxi drivers have sexually assaulted women in their cars when suppose to be taking them home.

This is a very scary situation to be in as a women because you now don’t know who you are getting into a car with and if they have been properly checked.

This is now why I have taken steps to try and make my journeys a little safer.

1.        Always book my taxi so there is a record of the journey and the driver.

2.    Stand in a well lit area so there is more chance of people seeing me get into a taxi.

3.      Try to make sure that someone knows that you are in a taxi and on your way home and if            possible talk to someone for the duration of the journey.

4.    This may not stop an assault but it will lessen your chances if you have to travel alone.

 

Call around your local firms and ask them the questions, which can put your mind at ease.  

For example:

Are all your cars and drivers licensed?

Have any of your drivers been convicted/charged by the authorities?

Ask any questions, that you feel is appropriate!

 

What our customers/clients/friends should expect......

To be driven by a professional licensed and insured driver.

A driver who does not use his mobile phone whilst driving (all our cars have Bluetooth).

A driver that is courteous, safe , is a good communicator and has a good knowledge of the area.

Travel in a car that is clean, in good condition and passed all required licensing inspections.

Receive a quote from our dispatcher, web-booker and app which is fixed. (unless there are changes)

A smoke, food and scent/odour free journey.

Air conditioning and heat upon requests.

Working seat belts for all passengers. (please use them)

A relaxing and comfortable journey.

 

A few ways to selecting the Best Car Service for your Companies needs

If you are responsible for planning transportation services for your boss or executive team, colleagues and clients! Where do you start?

With so many options out there, it can be a major task determining the best car service to employ. Things like price, quality, convenience, sustainability and green credential are all things that can play into the mix.

With that in mind, here are five factors to consider when choosing the best car service to meet your needs:

Proven Track Record

In the age of the internet, virtually anyone can jump online and in a few days can have professional looking website up, but many do not. However I think far too many of us have been fooled by appearance in the past. Look for a company with a proven track record in providing great service.

When shopping around, make sure to note any testimonials provided (or lack thereof). The proof is in the pudding: people have good things to say about good companies, and the best car service providers should have no problem sharing them.

Quality of Service

Quality of service can mean different things to different people. From professional staff, to clean low emission vehicles, sustainability and more, there are many factors that come into play. The big question is, if you’re looking for the best car service, shouldn't you expect quality from start to finish?

Simple question to ask!  What makes you different?  This should be an easy question to answer if not, then it’s time to look elsewhere.

Timeliness

How many hours have we all spent waiting on a side-walk for a taxi, or pasting around an airport due to flight delays. When it comes to chauffeur services working for you, your executive, colleagues and clients, your scheduling needs should be of the utmost importance.

How many times have your heard/witness or experiencing a cut-rate/ cheapest car service leaving a client waiting/stranded or acting inappropriately or unprofessionally. 

Sure, they might be a bit cheaper, but I'm sure if you asked your executive, colleague or clients what is worth more to them, you already know the answer. This leads us to the next factor…

Total Overall Cost

Normally, cheaper is better, right? Let’s not be so hasty in this regard, without first weighing things out. While price can definitely be an important factor, the key focus should be on value itself.

Sure, the best car service for you needs may be a bit more expensive than that of other service options, but the quality of service provided, its sustainability and values is almost always well worth the extra few pounds.

Service Guarantee

While all the things we've listed above would be great in a perfect world, how can you know you’ll be receiving what you've paid for? Just because a company can talk a big game, doesn't necessarily mean they will deliver on their promises.

One thing to look for in your search for quality transportation is a service guarantee. The company truly worthy of “best car service” should provide some type of guarantee on their product. Ask them about this before booking your trip.

Expectation

What this all boils down to is expectation. Your colleagues, client, even you all have expectations. When all of those expectations are met, everyone comes out the other end satisfied.

The best car service for you and your team should meet all of your expectations throughout each step of the process. From booking to transport, the service you choose should leave all parties feeling satisfied. If at any step along the way you find yourself saying “this just doesn't sound right”, maybe that company isn't the best car service to fit your needs.

Do your research and ask questions. After all, you, your executive, colleagues or staff and clients deserve the best.

Staying Safe this Xmas

The dark nights are truly here and the festive season is about to start, with work parties and family gatherings.

Everywhere has the potential to be a crime hotspot, even in taxis and minicabs.

But there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent falling victim.

  • know the difference between a Green Cab and a Minicab

A Green Cab legally allowed to stop when hailed by you, but with a (#CCwordofCaution) be very vigilant in-light of recent activities here in Nottingham. We ask that you make a note of the Registration and License number.

A minicab, all should be license by the local authority and plated, but can only be pre-booked, by phone, website or app.  They can't be hailed off the streets and if you do so, 1st the drivers is breaking the law and 2nd he has no insurance protection in the case of an accident.

What also confusing here in the Nottingham, is that there are a few minicabs, that displays a TAXI top sign, these cars are only taxis in their respective borough, as soon as they enter the city, they are minicabs so therefore needs to be pre-booked.  Many drivers are taking advantage of this, which is unsafe for all.

  1. Make sure you only travel in a licensed cab. This should either be a "Hackney Carriage" (the London style green cabs) or a private hire vehicle (like a CloudCar.  A private hire vehicle can be either a family size car or a people carrier, but it must also have a licence plate.
  2. An unlicensed cab will not have a licence plate, so look for this before you get in the vehicle. The licence plate will also have Rushcliffe Borough Council or Nottingham City Council logo on it.
  3. You should never flag a car down in the street, you may be getting into an illegal, uninsured vehicle which could be potentially very dangerous. A hackney cab that is for hire will have an illuminated (usually orange) sign on the roof of the vehicle which indicates that it is for hire.
  4. If possible pre-book your taxi and ask for the call/text back facility, if it is available. When the taxi arrives, always make sure that the vehicle is from the taxi company that you called. It should have the company's logo clearly displayed. Check the driver is wearing an identification badge, there may also be one on display at the front of the vehicle or on the partition between the driver and passengers.
  5. When ringing for a taxi make sure no-one can overhear you give personal details such as your name and address, because anyone could turn up and pretend to be your driver.
  6. Make sure you have enough money to pay for your journey or pre-book using your credit/debit card or via app. Ask the driver how much the fare will be before you start the journey to avoid any difficulty or embarrassment. It is a criminal offence to hire a taxi without the means to pay the fare. The taxi driver is within his / her right to take call the police if you are unable to pay the full fare.
  7. Let someone know you are in the vehicle and on your way. Let them have the taxi licence number and if possible, make sure someone is waiting for you at your destination. The number of the licence will be on display in the vehicle, as well as on the plate on the rear of the vehicle.
  8. If you chat to the driver, make sure you don’t give out any of your personal details.
  9. Never share a taxi with a stranger.
  10. If you feel threatened or uncomfortable for any reason, ask the driver to stop in a busy area, pay your fare and get out of the car and report to the police.

 

Don't get in a strangers car!

Never get into an unbooked minicab, not even if...

  • You're approached by a driver on the street
  • It's offered to you by someone with a high vis jacket and clipboard
  • The minicabs are lined up outside a pub or a club as they are still breaking the law if they accept your fare directly without a booking (i.e. by phone) being made legally through a licensed minicab operator
  • You’ve flagged it down
  • The driver says his booked passenger hasn’t turned up
  • You get in with a group of friends

Do not get in an unbooked minicab. It's illegal, dangerous and puts you at risk of attack including sexual assault and robbery.

Don't risk taking an unbooked minicab

Always use a booked and licensed minicab, taxi or Night bus.

Be Cabwise.

 

What most important, Safety or Reducing transport cost

At Cloud Cars we are of the belief that all companies have the responsibility to ensure that their staff are always working and travelling in a safe environment.

When it comes to your preferred taxi company,  used to take your staff/Clients to the airport/train or to that very important meeting; can you be assured that the taxi company has not cut cost, corners and taken unnecessary risk?

In the past few months and years we have seen, where companies seriously underbid for work, just to win that contract and in the end its your clients/staff and drivers that are put at risk.

Why do we make such claims: In the past few years, (recession years), taxi/minicab prices have either remain the same or lower, whilst everything for the driver, the rental money, tyres, servicing, insurance and fuel have sky rocketed.

Example:  There are companies charging as little as a £105 to Heathrow Airports, but is it worth the risk

Here is the breakdown of the £105.

 • Drivers can pay up to 15% commission to their company: £15.75

 • 260 miles round trip fuel cost: £45

 • Tax, NI, self-employed approximately £3.12

 • Running cost approx.  £6

 • Car plating and licensing approx.: £0.50 per job

 Total minimum cost to the driver for doing that airport job is: £70.37

At these rates the only ones making money/profit is the hiring company, as the driver and owner of the vehicle struggles to break even.  

When a driver is struggling to make a living he will start to cut costs. i.e budget tyres can be £10 each instead of £90 for quality tyres like Continental or Michelin maybe even cutting back on the number of service per year.   It is an industry known fact that taxi and private hire drivers, on average have increased their working week by as much as 30 hours to earn the same as 10 years ago.  So, if many drivers are doing as much as 80+ hours a week to gain an affordable standard of leaving, when does it become the responsibility of all.

Cloud Cars will never jeopardise safety by offering clients a price that is uneconomic for the driver to sustain a living and more importantly the safety of the vehicle.

So again, what is your most important factor when booking a taxi, Staff Safety or reducing transport costs?  Realistically you should be paying a reasonable and fair price to ensure you are getting true value for money and safety for your staff.

Hackney Carriage (Green taxi) versus Private Hire Vehicle

All Hackney Carriages (Green taxis) are required to display an illuminated ‘TAXI’ sign. On licensed cars the sign is fitted to the roof and the word ‘taxi’ is visible from the front. During hours of darkness all taxi signs are illuminated when the vehicles are available for hire. Private Hire Vehicles/Minicabs are not permitted to display any sign on the roof of the vehicle.
 
All taxis and Private Hire Vehicles have to display licensed plates, one fixed to the rear and in many instances to the front. There is also an internal sticker on the front windscreen, top left corner.  The plate displays the licence number and the number of passengers that a vehicle is allowed to carry. The exterior plate affixed to a Hackney Carriage (taxi) are white, whilst a yellow or white plate is affixed to the rear of a Private Hire Vehicle., except in the case of some 'executive hire' vehicles where an exemption may have been applied for and granted. Hackney Carriages (Green taxis) can be hailed directly from the street or hired from taxi ranks, which are situated in each town. Private Hire Vehicles must by law be pre-booked. A Private Hire Vehicle may also include a Stretched Limousine, which will not be permitted to carry any more than 8 passengers and will also be required to display a plate on the rear of the limousine unless exemption has been granted.
 
All Hackney Carriage (Green taxis) are fitted with fare meters, which should be used for each journey. Fares are fixed for each vehicle by the District Council, and a fare card must be displayed inside the taxi.

Always look out for the Drivers ID Badge.

CloudCars love blogging

At CloudCars, we really do try harder than our competitors. We champion blogging in the taxi/cab and car service in Nottingham and we aim to make our blog much more than just an information source. You can use our blog to ask questions or tell us what’s important to you when you book a taxi/minicab. We always try harder because we care what you think, so we really do value your feedback and comments.

Our blog gives you tips and advice on getting the most out of your CloudCars experience. You can find information about booking your car, safety tips, and related news.