Not that I tend to defend the BBC but…..

Newly unveiled figures show the BBC has spent a staggering £21million on 830,000 taxi rides for staff in three years.

Is that spending on taxis for staff or spending on taxis?

Because if you go on a show as a guest (radio or TV) they will send around a car to pick you up and one to take you home again.

20 thoughts on “Not that I tend to defend the BBC but…..”

  1. There’s also the issue of how many using the taxi. When I started my present project for a Government department 5 of us had to go to an industry conference inside Zone 1. We couldn’t claim a taxi back because the Civil Service can’t claim for taxis but we could all claim individual underground travel, which would have been more. (We walked as it was a pleasant day and that’s the best way to get round central London anyway.)

    When I was in the Army we’d have been bollocked for not using a taxi, but then again we didn’t have the Daily Mail hounding us.

  2. Well if it’s staff using them that’s enough spend to have them all cruising around 5 to a cab for their entire working lives. Which makes me suspect, as Tim, that this includes non-staff expenses.

    Some of those are going to be London-Salford trips as well, which is nowadays probably cheaper by taxi than train.

  3. Friends of mine who do the occasional 5 minute slot on BBC TV or radio programmes are always amazed that instead of using a taxi the BBC often sends round a driver who is booked to look after them all day, even if not needed. “Can’t I just hop in a cab and send you the bill ?”

    The train tickets are always ordered at the last minute and so are the most expensive tickets.

    I believe though the the thank you bunch of flowers biked over after a two minute slot with John Humphrys seems to be on the wane.

  4. @Shinsei

    You should mention Milton Friedman’s dictum as to the four ways to spend money to those amazed friends of yours.

    It would cure them of their amazement.

  5. Shinsei: when I was in London and occasionally doing interviews at Broadcasting House, the Beeb used Addison Lee drivers, which was a hell of a lot cheaper than hopping a black cab would have been.

  6. Isn’t the “looking after” to make sure they actually make it to the studio, on time, and not too far the worse for wear? There’s a certain amount of sense in that.

  7. @BiG

    If someone is being paid by me, to publicise himself at me, then I resent paying even more just to help him avoid getting lost/pissed on the way.

    Still, if the BBC spends £4bn a year then £21m is a rounding error, and getting people where they need to be, when they need to be there, is a core activity. There’s not story here.. just big numbers being used out of context to spin an agenda.

  8. How many of there trips prove useless because last minute changes mean that the person transported does not appear on the show?

  9. £25 taxi rides, okay – especially in London (and BwaB’s point is noted.)

    760 taxi rides per day? Over 30 per hour? Combination of staff and guests? Including the late night stuff where there isn’t always appropriate. Seems a bit high to me, but what would I know …

  10. @TTG

    ‘Still, if the BBC spends £4bn a year then £21m is a rounding error,’

    I know what you mean, but once you add in the flowers, and the fruit baskets, and the biscuits, and the green room riders, and all the other shit then at the very least it’s a big rounding number.

    Thing is, as someone above says, most of this frippery is unnecessary.

    A giant egotist like John Band (above) would crawl on broken glass to get to the BBC to give the world the benefit of his opinions; he doesn’t need a cab (Addison Lee or otherwise).

  11. @SSE, I think that actually sounds quite plausible. There’s the big TV stations and national radio mostly in London and Salford, then loads of local radio all over the country. All the otherwise cheap to produce radio talk shows could easily account for a fair amount of that. 30 trips an hour is also just 15 return trips.

    Just noted they’ve also reported 3 years worth, so a 7 million cab bill out of turnover of 5 billion. I bet their train and plane bill is an order of magnitude higher. They probably also spend far more on roadies and crew transport for out of studio shows, the orchestras, and so on. The Bridgewater gets totally miked up every time the Beeb phil plays, which must cost a five-figure sum.

    So it’s atotal non story.

  12. Just to note, I had already factored in that the figures were for three years in calculating the 30 per hour.

  13. Since it was originally a Sun FOI request (which the Daily Mail omits to mention) I’m sure we can expect Sky’s taxi bills to be served up for comparison.

  14. @SE, I know that, but the wail writes deceptively if it can give me the impression that the 3-year figure is for 1. There’s actually no need to because the average reader, with no appreciation for scale would be equally outraged and infuriated to read “Beeb spends 7 MILLION of YOUR MONEY on taxis!!!!”

  15. They once sent a cab to pick me up from home to take me 20 miles to the studio; got me there nearly half an hour early to make sure we weren’t late; it then waited with the clock running while the interview was delayed by nearly an hour (someone had died) to take me back again.

    There was nearly £200 on the clock, 10 years ago.

    Next time I said if they gave me £100 I’d drive myself in, but apparently that’s a different budget.

    It was Humphrys, but I didn’t get any flowers.

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