London private car hire firm Addison Lee is pouring £7.5m in to driver training.
The company – which is battling against US upstart Uber for market share – claims it’s the largest ever private investment in driver training in the industry. The fresh spending follows Addison Lee plugging £17m into new cars earlier this month, purchasing 550 Ford Galaxy people carriers, as it renews 12 per cent of its 5,000 strong fleet.
Addison Lee is trying to position itself as an upmarket alternative to recently emerged private hire apps. It claims its drivers are trained to a higher standard and provide a better service.
“While our drivers already set the standard for safety and reliability, we are committed to continuously improving our service to make it even better,” said Addison Lee chief executive Andy Boland. “We care about our customers’ journeys as much as they do.”
Competition in the industry remains tough, with the traditional taxi industry rallying against Transport for London for allowing Uber to operate in the capital without the same level of regulation.
Addison Lee reported full year pre-tax profit of £11.6m in August – a drop of nearly two-thirds from £32.9m, as the rise of mobile app upstarts proved challenging.
Meanwhile, Addison Lee has come under fire for the way it treats its staff after overhauling driver contracts during the summer. The GMB union launched legal action against the company over the dismissal of three of its drivers following protests held in May over new contracts and changes to working hours.