Great news for consumer choice in London:
Uber will continue operating in London after court appeal verdict
agree- since I got charged £48 getting a taxi from StPancras after a delayed Eurostar arrival I’ve stopped using black cabs completely.
utter rip off
The last time I used a taxi he tried to take me the wrong way round the Circle in Regents Park. It is usually quicker by Underground anyway.
From the Evening Standard article:
Ms Arbuthnot made the decision after Uber claimed it had made “substantial changes” to how it conducts its business.
The firm has had its licence renewed for 15 months
Earlier in the hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the firm admitted the original decision not to renew its licence was correct.
It conceded a string of failings but said the licence should be renewed as it has made “wholesale” reforms.
I think that fully justifies the mayor’s actions against Uber.
Not wishing to deminish the mayor’s action in this but Uber would have been pretty stupid to have said anything else than that. Still, a good outcome for everyone. Well apart from minicabs and black cabs.
And then, churlish as ever, Khan decides “out of the blue” to begin charging Private Hire Vehicles (i.e. Uber, but also people like Forest Hill Cars) the Congestion Charge. I wonder what prompted him to do that?
Luckily many Ubers are pre-2018 low emission Toyota Priuses, and are exempt from the charge.
Filthy diesel taxis ought to be charged, but I can’t imagine Khan doing that any time soon.
Those Ubers may be exempt from the T-charge and the ULEZ when that comes into effect, but they will not be exempt from the Congestion Charge (which they currently are), so will have to pay £11.50 a day if they want to take or collect passengers in Central London
EDIT: link to consultation - https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/policy/private-hire-charge-exemption/?cid=ccyourviews
Interesting. That is, of course, very silly policy-making. Low cost public transport (including Uber) helps avoid people owning their own cars in London. If the Mayor disproportionately taxes Uber, the costs will be passed on to consumers, and there will be fewer Ubers on the road (and more alternatives - including filthy taxis cruising around inefficiently looking for fares, and idling on roadsides)
I can understand why many might fall on the side of PHVs.
First, there is a very real issue of congestion in Central London. While the number of taxis (black cabs) has remained fairly static, I gather that number of licensed PHVs have doubled in number since the CC was introduced, and the number of PHV trips into Central London has been 4.5 higher than anticipated. But I don’t need stats to know that. I can tell by how slow traffic has become… how much longer it takes for a car journey within, from or through the CC zone. Something has to give whether its taxis, PHVs or even private cars. Something has to give.
I’d be more inclined to support the plight of PHVs in this matter if there was a level playing field. There isn’t. Taxis have a slew of requirements which PHVs do not. They must be fully wheel chair accessible and quite often have to have other features for disabled customers. If you’re in Central London, public transport facilities for wheelchair users is dismal. Buses have only one space and most central London tube stations have no access, or only when pre-arranged. The consultation notes if a PHV is fully wheel chair accessible it too would be exempt from the CC.
But the other main issue is PHVs have a choice to accept a job and the route they take. Taxis do not. They are bound by their license to accept jobs (within a distance) and use the shortest route. Their license forces them to enter the CC zone.
Where the argument falls down somewhat is the diesel vs. petrol/hybrid issue. I could point out that almost all manufacturers of taxis only produce a diesel version… but if the Mayor is serious about this, then he should make it a requirement for taxis to use hybrid or electrical version. This would no doubt force the manufacturers to act accordingly, and for taxi drivers/owners to make the change.
The consultation suggests the inclusion of the CC for PHVs could increase the fare by about £1-2. Given an Uber is still almost 1/2 to 2/3rds cheaper than a taxi fare home from the West End, they won’t be losing my business over it.
This consultation also on a new Cleaner Vehicle Discount to replace the Ultra Low Emission Discount. The consultation notes that if a PHV qualifies for this new CVD then it will be exempt from the congestion charge.
The Cleaner Vehicle Discount to the Congestion Charge will be available to all eligible PHVs , and provides an option for PHV owners to receive a 100 per cent discount to the Congestion Charge.
Last year Uber promised all their vehicles will be either hybrids or electrical by 2020. Wouldn’t that mean all their vehicles get the CVD and therfore are CC exempt?
I saw the new electric black cab yesterday, Hackney number and all. Just round the corner from me in Norfolk. Must have a decent range then.
That will be an interesting one for Uber Et Al to compete with.
The new electric black cab looks very stylish - a hint of Bentley. But it will still be significantly more expensive than Uber.
Is that the new Metrocab?
There’s the Metrocab and the LEVC. Both are similar looking. LEVC is Chinese owned.
Sadly neither are proper all-electric cars, as they have a petrol engine to top up their range (to 400 miles or so). Metrocab only gets 50 miles of electric range, and LEVC, 80 miles.
It seems unlikely that this is out of the blue or a response to Uber. As has already been stated it will have minimal impact on Uber, especially if Uber already has plans in place to phase out high-polluting vehicles from their fleet by 2020. In fact this is likely to be a big boost to Uber and continue the trend of making it dominant in the PHV market in London.
On a recent visit to NY I found that there were fewer yellow cabs than there once were but hundreds of Ubers everywhere. However, journeys by Uber were more expensive than Yellow Cabs (which do not have surge pricing). I suspect that if Uber becomes dominant in the London market then they will end up costing more than black cabs (which don’t exist in South London). For people south of the river Uber will end up being the only option, and more expensive than the rates of PHV that will have gone out of business.
It has been suggested (by me and others) that this pollution charge, coupled with the disruptive technology from Uber, will reduce the number of PHV in London and reduce choice. I think this is inevitable as we now have twice as many PHV as we had in 2013. Has demand really doubled? How did we manage way back in 2013?
It looked like the new TX. Very imposing vehicle, and as Chris says, very much like a stately Bently.
Well, the shortest route that the driver knows which isn’t always the shortest. I’m reminded of a dreadful trip to Brixton when I’d just missed a P4 and needed to get to the airport so hailed a passing black cab. I cycle that route regularly so I’m pretty good on shortest/fastest route there. He definitely wasn’t.
I’ve generally had better journeys with Uber so am glad they’re still going to operate.
Black cabs do get too many perks for the amount of pollution they produce. I understand their need to be able to go into bus lanes to pick up passengers but I can’t see why they should be allowed into them at any other point. There are times when empty cabs clog bus lanes for buses which are carrying far more passengers.
My uncle did the training for The Knowledge, it was fascinating to delve into. Essentially it’s based on a dumbbell system where circular areas are connected by major arterial routes - and they are not suppose to deviate from these approved routes. The idea is that it keeps the traffic on the main streets and not cutting down through the liteny of side & back streets that a sat nav will take you. As a piece of road / traffic management it makes sense, though it can make individual journeys longer than they need to be.
I work in a very well known building in central London. I get a black taxi there 3/4 times a week from various points around town. At least once a week I get a driver try to be really creative with a route and try and do extra streets to add to the fare. I then tell them I’m not a tourist… I have heard every excuse under the sun, and normally get them to turn off the meter and pay the normal rate for a particular journey. I hate to think how much they rip off real tourists. Unless I’m in an absolute hurry in town, or locally I always use Uber.
I only use black cabs in Central London because of the Knowledge. Despite GPS systems the Knowledge raises the black cab way above and Uber driver.
I can’t recall how many times an Uber driver has taken to get to me because they missed or made a wrong turn, and then got suck in one-way hell. That is if they just don’t cancel the journey. Or how many times and Uber driver has doggedly followed their GPS driving us into traffic jams or road works. And I was often asked if I knew how to get to where I wanted to go.
There is still value to the Knowledge in Central London which ensures you get from a to b fast from a driver that knows the nuances of the streets and seems to always know where the hot spots are.
That’s really unfortunate. In 30 years I’ve hardly had a taxi take the piss… and I’ve a foreign accent.
Within Central London - back cab.
To/from Central London - uber
Airports - British Airport Transfers
And on the odd time Addison Lee for something inbetween all three.
Am not sure that this should be seen as an Uber victory. They accepted the previous ruling by TfL, that they were not fit and proper, was correct and have had to pay costs. They have now been granted a temporary licence on condition that they change their working practices. Surely a TfL victory in that case?
Meanwhile, trouble is far from over for tax avoiding Uber:
Ah Jolyon Maugham - an activist lawyer using a
crowdfunder to create a campaign against Uber, £20,000 of which comes from an organisation “connected with the black cab trade”
Uber is a service that connects drivers with customers. Drivers pay all the tax due in the U.K.
They generally earn less than £85K (less than black cabs), so Uber drivers are not required to register for VAT.
It would not make sense for an app developer to pay VAT on behalf of people that use the app.
If I’m a photographer and use a photography app, it would not make any sense for the developer of the photo app to pay the VAT on photos I sell to my customers.
But if you were also the developer of the app, then you should. Uber are avoiding billions of tax pounds.
This was a report by the Times. Rather than attacking one of the sources for it, why not address the issues?
I did address the issue. There are plenty of things I could say about Maugham but elected not to, as we’re not in @general_politics and I don’t want to lower the tone.
I’m not sure what you mean? The Uber driver is not the developer of the app. The photographer in my example is not the developer of the app.
If the app was sold for £5 to Uber drivers or customers, I would fully expect Uber to pay £1 VAT to the U.K. treasury.
But the app is free, so why should Uber pay VAT?
Because it is selling a service as a broker. Not only does the app add value but it is arguable that the business couldn’t happen without it. They could, as a licensed cab hire company, ply their business via a different channel, but choose not to.
AFAIK brokers (eg IFAs, Insurance brokers etc) are not liable for collecting VAT on the services they link clients with. It is the service provider that collects VAT if liable.
Insurance is exempt from VAT. This isn’t insurance.
Our MP asked a question in the House yesterday relevant to Uber.
What it impressed me the most was the calm and direct way she asked the question. And the calm and direct answer she received from the Minister. From each no political point scoring. No avoidance. No one-liners designed for social media. And shouting from the benches… though granted there was hardly anyone at work.
I wonder about impacts of possible govt intervention on both Uber and Black Cabs - because in both cases the drivers are self employed.
I also choose to be self employed because it works best for me and my way of working. Like Uber drivers, I have flexibility to work as and when I want to. I hope the government will not intervene and prevent people from working the way they want to.
If any Uber driver wanted to become an employee of a company, they are at liberty to find a private hire company that will offer this arrangement.
IMO it is none of our business how Uber or drivers operate, provided they offer a safe and fair service to consumers.
ETA: I just spotted this is in the main forum. Happy for mine and @Starman’s comments to be moved to #general-politics
Really the whole thread should be there. Bear in mind that the thread was started with a link to an Evening Standard article. Who happen to be paid handsomely to write nice things about Uber (and others):
Oh dear. The organiser of the Sadiq balloon and the anti-Sadiq rally (proposed for September 1st) is linking London’s violent sexual crime and terrorism to Uber drivers… and blaming Sadiq for permitting them on the streets. There’s even a t-shirt.