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TFL consulatation "Smartphone displays Uber app London taxi rules would 'end Uber'"

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Friday 9 October 2015 9.45am
I use Uber regularly. I like staying out with friends at night during the weekend, and even if Elephant has an incredible number of night bus connections, there are some areas where there is no direct link to E&C, that means that sometimes it can take up to 1h30 to go back home at night.

Am I contributing to kill the black cab business? I don't think so, because I'd rather wait for a night bus rather than spending 20-30 on a short ride home. So, if my choice is really damaging a business, is rather TFL business.

And Uber doesn't have a reserved lane at airports, nor it can use the taxi lanes; and the business people coming to London will anyway use a black cab.

I never had any problem with Uber, always found friendly and good drivers, and I can afford it without spending a fortune for a 15-20 minutes ride.

I agree on the fact that the rules should be the same for all the competitors, but it seems to me that the direction TFL is trying to take is the wrong one: less competition and more constraints for everyone, rather than a better market with a variety of choices for any budget.
Friday 9 October 2015 1.45pm
mickybar wrote:
... I agree on the fact that the rules should be the same for all the competitors, but it seems to me that the direction TFL is trying to take is the wrong one: less competition and more constraints for everyone...
Mickybar, in what what way do you think TFL's direction is at odds with the level playing field that you approve of?
Friday 9 October 2015 5.44pm
Jules62 wrote:
theedy wrote:
"this organization exploits its drivers"

Not sure about that, they seem happy enough to do what they do.

I am referring to these instances:

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/jul/14/hillary-clinton-criticises-the-uber-business-model-for-exploiting-workers

https://www.reddit.com/r/uberdrivers/comments/2putou/uber_gets_away_with_blatantly_exploiting_drivers/

http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17201/uber_s_business_model_screwing_its_workers

I could go on, and on, and on.

But you too could do the same if you took a few minutes out of your busy schedule and undertake some research.

Some of those links are true eye-openers, but unfortunately they matter little to the consumer.
If one shop is selling bread at 1.00 per loaf, and another shop starts selling it at 95p per loaf, Joe Public will form a line around the block at the 95p shop, he wouldn't give a toss how the 95p shop can do it, he'd just see that he is saving 5p per loaf.
The same is true of Uber, who cares if the guy at the wheel is earning shirt buttons, I'm getting from A to B for less than a black cab's metered price, result!
Maybe eventually the black cab trade will have to fold its tent and steal into the night, for that is the way of the world, no one cares that you studied X years, and had to prove that you were a fit and proper person to be granted a London Cab Driver's licence, in my case by the assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, now by T.F.L., which I am reliably informed is an acronym for Totally Failing London.
It is often bandied about that with the arrival of SatNavs there is no need for The Knowledge, personally I don't think that's true, but as Mandy Rice Davies once famously said, "He would say that, wouldn't he."
I've never used a SatNav, neither in the U.K., nor abroad, but I understood that you had to input the postal code of your destination for the machine to guide you to it.
How many punters know the p.c. for Nobu, either the one in Old Park Lane, or the one in Berkeley Street?
I don't know, maybe the new generation of SatNavs will respond if you punch in Nobu, and not need a p.c., but will they also tell you that there has been an R.T.A. five minutes ago in Conduit Street, and how to get around it?
Even if they can, the black cab driver will be pulling up outside Nobu, whille the Uber guy is still asking you how you are spelling Nobu, so that he can enter it into his SatNav, everyone willing to sit there waiting to save 3.00?
To sum it up, even though I'm not in "the game" any longer, I have lots of friends and family who still are, so I hope that Uber get well and truly kicked into touch.
I understand that there are people who see black cabs as expensive, then they can use minicabs or buses.
I don't agree with Uber virtually using a meter via their app to arrive at a fare, when by law only a black cab can be metered.
Friday 9 October 2015 7.31pm
electro.gal wrote:
The very idea that any self-respecting Londoner would dream of using anything other than a black cab astounds me. Those guys are part of our community (5 on my street alone) and train long and hard to serve us all and for that they reserve respect and support. I will gladly pay them the money they deserve because I know they will get me to my destination the safest and most efficient way.

I'm with you electro.gal, well for the most part anyway.
I've never been in a minicab, and I'm sure that I'd never go in one, I've used black cabs all my life, and even living in deepest, darkest Rotherhithe, no black cab driver has ever refused to take me home, but the old south of the river thing is a boon for amateur comedians.
However, I imagine lots of self respecting Londoners use minicabs, that is their prerogative, as long as I don't have to use one then I don't care.
To me it's not rocket science, you walk to the nearest main road, turn to face oncoming traffic, and within minutes you see a yellow light coming your way.
I have to say though, that phoning or using an app for a black cab can push up the ante.
They'll arrive with maybe 3.00 on the meter, (perfectly legal), and if you're not immediately ready to go, the meter is ticking while you're putting the finishing touches to your war paint.
The upside is, that unless you ask for some obscure side street in Vauxhall, they'll rarely say, "Where?" When you give them your destination.
Saturday 10 October 2015 8.52am
Vauxhall ?

I thought that was a make of motor car.
Saturday 10 October 2015 10.16am
I just tapped Nobu into my Uber account, and it offered me two London options, Berkeley Street, or Nobu London, Old Park Lane.
The Uber app shows me the route the car will take, and the driver can follow directions on his phone.
The fair estimate is 7-10, and I can see an Uber car about half a mile away on their map.
It seems like a sensible way to use the mobile phones, meaning drivers can learn about London, while they earn a wage, rather than having to devote years riding around on a moped.
Monday 12 October 2015 9.15pm
Tom Pepper - I find it confusing that you are criticising the efficacy of SatNavs/Uber when you've admitted that you don't know how they work (as evidenced by Graham's anecdote above).

The point is that the user types in the destination on their smartphone and that gets sent to the driver. Therefore there is no need for the driver to ask you how to spell "Nobu" etc, as it's all pre-loaded by the time he or she picks you up. In addition, free smartphone apps like Google Maps have live traffic updates (let alone paid-for apps like TomTom).

The other difference is that Uber drivers come to YOU wherever you are. You don't have to walk to a main street and pray that a black cab will pass by (especially late at night). I'd rather know that cab was on its way for certain (and being able to see it visually on your phone is fantastic).

In addition, you don't need to pay by cash or ask for a receipt - it's all automated. You can even use your account abroad!

If people want to pay extra and use a black cab then that is their choice. But let's not pretend that they are affordable for most Londoners. I sometimes use them for work (where I don't have to pay) but my heart still goes into shock when I see the meter rack up!

If it wasn't for the likes of Uber, then black cabs wouldn't be forced to innovate and do things like offer 10 flat-rate fees (like the app Gett). Isn't that what competition is about?

Lastly, almost ALL the black cabs I see lined up alongside Victoria station (near where I work) have sat navs so let's not see them as bastions of virtue. The Knowledge is all very well but I guess it's not bad to have a safety net as back up, right?
Monday 12 October 2015 9.29pm
What made me chuckle the other night was a phone call on LBC with some leader of the taxi drivers' union where the previously sworn enemy of the London taxi driver - Addison Lee - was held up as an example of best practice which Uber ought to replicate - a volte-face by the taxi drivers!
Monday 12 October 2015 10.32pm
dharle wrote:
Tom Pepper - I find it confusing that you are criticising the efficacy of SatNavs/Uber when you've admitted that you don't know how they work (as evidenced by Graham's anecdote above).
The point is that the user types in the destination on their smartphone and that gets sent to the driver. Therefore there is no need for the driver to ask you how to spell "Nobu" etc, as it's all pre-loaded by the time he or she picks you up. In addition, free smartphone apps like Google Maps have live traffic updates (let alone paid-for apps like TomTom).

The other difference is that Uber drivers come to YOU wherever you are. You don't have to walk to a main street and pray that a black cab will pass by (especially late at night). I'd rather know that cab was on its way for certain (and being able to see it visually on your phone is fantastic).

In addition, you don't need to pay by cash or ask for a receipt - it's all automated. You can even use your account abroad!

If people want to pay extra and use a black cab then that is their choice. But let's not pretend that they are affordable for most Londoners. I sometimes use them for work (where I don't have to pay) but my heart still goes into shock when I see the meter rack up!

If it wasn't for the likes of Uber, then black cabs wouldn't be forced to innovate and do things like offer 10 flat-rate fees (like the app Gett). Isn't that what competition is about?

Lastly, almost ALL the black cabs I see lined up alongside Victoria station (near where I work) have sat navs so let's not see them as bastions of virtue. The Knowledge is all very well but I guess it's not bad to have a safety net as back up, right?

Hands up, you got me, I had no idea of how Uber's system worked, I know no one who uses their services, but if that's how it works then I maligned them in saying that they'd say, "How do you spell Nobu?"
I was going on anecdotal evidence from people using other minicabs, or my own experience in using taxis in Paris, or Washington D.C.
There, you had to tell them what to punch in to their SatNav in order for them to find it.
Obviously, I can't speak for every Londoner, but I can afford to use black cabs once or twice per week, and I'm a retiree, plus I know for a fact that you don't have to pray that one will come along, the longest wait I've had was around eight minutes.
As for SatNavs in black cabs, yes, lots of guys who worked Heathrow had them, it wasn't unknown to get jobs to Northampton, or Stafford, the knowledge doesn't extend that far.
Once, I was hailed by Bermondsey station, and the guy leaned in my n/s window, and reading from a piece of paper said, "SE15 xyz", or whatever.
I said, "Go on, I give up, what's the name of the street you want?"
He said, "That's all I've got, can't you punch it in your SatNav."
I said, "This is a black cab, my SatNav is between my ears."
He made a phone call, it materialised that he wanted Trafalgar Avenue, off the Old Kent Road.
Tuesday 13 October 2015 11.26am
Sandgrown Dave wrote:
mickybar wrote:
... I agree on the fact that the rules should be the same for all the competitors, but it seems to me that the direction TFL is trying to take is the wrong one: less competition and more constraints for everyone...
Mickybar, in what what way do you think TFL's direction is at odds with the level playing field that you approve of?

Well, some of the rules are nonsense and it's clear they are meant to be an obstacle for Uber or similar apps. What's the benefit, from my point of view (client) of the cab driver having a landline phone? And how this is going to increase the standard of the private hire market? Same objection for the minimum wait time or the possibility to book a cab 7 days before or the fact that you can't see where your cab is on a map (this technology is used by GetTaxi, Hailo etc.).

Those are just obstacles and there is no other rational reason other than the intention to restrict the market.

As said, I am not at all against black cabs. I used them and I find them a good and useful service; black cabs can use reserved lanes, they have reserved lanes at airports and stations, they are the preferred way for business travel; the market segment is not the same, although there is some overlapping. I just want to be able to choose, and these rules are just making this harder.
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