An open letter to the manager of Streamline Taxis, Brighton

I really don’t like using my blog for personal stuff, but on this occasion I feel I have no choice…

Driver complaint – for the attention of the manager

Dear sir/madam

My partner and I have just used one of your taxis to return home from town. We got in a cab at the pedestrianised area at the bottom of East Street and travelled back to xxxxx. We arrived back at approximately 1715hrs.

On the short journey home, the driver (of foreign, possibly eastern-European descent, with a heavy accent) not only jumped a red light at the bottom of Eastern Road, nearly causing a collision with oncoming traffic, but persistently accelerated at unsafe speeds around narrow streets with pedestrians in close proximity. On one occasion this led to him nearly knocking one pedestrian down, and on the other occasions it meant he had to break as swiftly as he had accelerated.

The driver’s conduct during this very short journey was extremely worrying, not to mention nerve-wracking. Both myself and my disabled girlfriend were shaken by his unsafe driving.

Upon arriving home, I immediately called your office as the driver had your business cards on his dashboard. I was told very abruptly that because I had not noted the registration or car identification number that there was no way you could track which driver it was, as it had not been pre-booked. Aside from the fact that I find it very difficult to believe it would be that difficult to identify the driver, your phone operative’s tone was very aggressive and insensitive. On your website you state that Streamline taxis offer “Great service, great prices and great staff”. Our experience is at odds with the first and third of those suggestions.

The driver’s behaviour was not just a little unsafe, or limited to one incident, but was consistent throughout the entire journey. I dread to think what his driving would be like over a bigger distance and I fear for the safety of both pedestrians, passengers and other drivers while a taxi company continues to employ individuals who drive this way. The final insult is that your phone operative was abruptly and rudely unwilling to look into this matter.

I am not satisfied with the service we have received from Streamline and will not be using your company until this matter is addressed. I have also posted a copy of this letter online publicly at https://aguynamedguyuk.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/an-open-letter-to-the-manager-of-streamline-taxis-brighton/, where I will post updates on your response. I invite you to reply both privately and publicly, using the comment facility on the blog if you so wish. I have also mentioned this to my 200+ followers on Twitter and 300+ Facebook friends.

I look forward to receiving your response.

Yours faithfully,

Guy Walsh

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7 thoughts on “An open letter to the manager of Streamline Taxis, Brighton

  1. Well done for naming and shaming ! Quite often the mention of going to the local press with your stories moves them in to action too ! xx

  2. Les Paine says:

    8th June

    Dear Mr Walsh

    We very much regret that you have had a bad experience with a Streamline driver and having had the matter brought to our attention are, of course, investigating.

    Unfortunately it is the case that, unless the job is prebooked, we will not have a record of the journey or of the taxi involved. Identifying the vehicle and driver when a taxi is hailed or taken from a rank is very difficult, if not impossible. The only sure way is if the vehicle or driver badge number is noted.

    For reference, every one of our vehicles (taxi and private hire) is licensed by Brighton & Hove City Council as are the drivers. Each vehicle is identifioable by the number allocated to it by the Council; this appears on the rear doors and on the back of the vehicle. While working, a card with the vehicle number and another with the driver’s badge number should be mounted on the windscreen and visible. We can also trace a vehicle from its registration number.

    Any of these details, along with the time and date of the incident, will allow us or, indeed, the Hackney Carriage Office to trace the car and/or driver in order that proper investigation may be made. We aim to provide a quality service and welcome any comment that allows us to improve.

    We note that you have used us previously and with no identified cause of complaint – which is as it should be. The issue raised now is of great concern to us and we shall investigate to the full extent possible – but trust that you may begin to appreciate the difficulty with the sparse information we have. We shall, however, contact you further to keep you informed.

    Yours sincerely

    Les Paine
    Director
    Brighton And Hove Streamline Ltd

    • Guy Walsh says:

      Les called me this evening and explained the intricacies of the situation. I am satisfied that that he is taking this situation very seriously and is doing everything he can identify the driver responsible. He has also apologised for the attitude of the telephone operator.

      I would like to encourage anyone else who experiences an incident like this to note the vehicle number and/or registration as Les has suggested above. Of course, when you are shaken after a situation like this, it is can be the last thing on your mind. On this occasion I just wanted to get out of the cab and in to the house, but have noted this advice for future reference.

      I would like to thank Les for taking the time to look into this on a busy Friday night.

  3. Les Bangs says:

    You didn’t even get the reg number? COME ON!

  4. Cassandra Fantastic says:

    Good on you Guy! You addressed this in best possible way. Great usage of social media to alert the company AND all your followers of the situation.

  5. Les Paine says:

    I spoke with Mr Walsh last evening to give an update on our investigation.

    Unfortunately, with the limited information available, we’ve been unable to trace the taxi involved in this incident. A note of the taxi number – as indicated previously – would have enabled us to find the driver and take appropriate action.

    Streamline will always investigate complaints directed to us, preferably in writing – by email to admin@streamlinetaxis.org or letter to 5 Clifton Hill, Brighton BN1 3HL – giving us a vehicle or driver reference and the date and time of any incident.

    Les Paine
    Director
    Brighton And Hove Streamline

  6. Anne Thompson says:

    I have just had a similar journey with what must be the same man. He behaved exactly the same way and charged me £9.00 for a journey that cost me £4.60 on the way back. To me he seemed dangerous. I was frightened. Streamline responded but not very positively.

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