1. THE SLS MAY BE DEAD, BUT IT’S STILL CHEAPER THAN A BLACK CAB
MB says goodbye to its V8 gullwing with a ‘Final Edition’ this month.
We’re not quite sure why the SLS has died so soon, but it can’t be running costs. According to CAP data, the SLS costs a piffling £3.32 per mile*, which is £2.28 less than a London taxi – a black cab’s cheapest average mileage rate is £5.60.
A Top Gear Top Tip, then: if you’re a seasonal visitor from the Gulf states wishing to demonstrate the girth of your wallet, be seen in the back of a LTI TX1 next summer.
[*based on 36 month/36,000 mile period. Price includes fuel, insurance, servicing, VED, and assumes driver won’t smear it up a dry-stone wall]
It has become a must-have app for those who need a cab in a hurry.
But Hailo could become a fallen angel after it began forcing customers to pay a minimum fare of £15 on the way home.
Some customers have questioned if its surprise price increase is even legal and Transport for London has confirmed it is investigating the company’s new rules.
One Hailo regular, Deborah Lee, told Metro: ‘I’m considering not using the app because of this ridiculous change.
‘Hailo seems to have forgotten that many customers take cabs for short journeys owing to disabilities, luggage, children and genuine emergencies.’
The company launched in 2011 and had a minimum charge of £5.
It has insisted that all customers would be warned about the increase and claimed that many of its rivals had similar rules.
A blog on the Hailo website explained: ‘Let’s look at this from a driver’s point of view. They want to spend as much time as possible with a passenger on board.
‘But we need every driver to know a Hailo job is worth accepting. It can be disappointing if the resulting journey is 200 yards down the road to the shop.’
The £15 charge applies only during ‘super peak times’ between 10pm and 6am. However, minimum fares have also risen to £10 outside of these hours.
At present, black cabs in London are allowed to charge a starting fee of £2.40.
Helen Chapman from TfL said: ‘We are investigating complaints about Hailo introducing a minimum fare policy.
‘It is against licensing regulations for any taxi driver to charge a customer more than the metered fare. Action will be taken against any driver found to do so.’