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United Kingdom Transportation Technology Your Rights Online

London Black Cabs Threaten Chaos To Stop Uber 417

Bruce66423 (1678196) writes in with news about a planned protest by London black-cab drivers against Uber. "London black-cab drivers are planning to cause gridlock in the city to protest against car service Uber. The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association complains that Uber's drivers are using a smartphone app to calculate fares despite it being illegal for private vehicles to be fitted with taximeters. Transport for London has declined to intervene, because it disagrees that there has been a breach of the law. LTDA now plans to force the issue by holding the action in early June. 'Transport for London not enforcing the Private Hire Vehicles Act is dangerous for Londoners,' Steve McNamara, LTDA's general secretary, told the BBC. 'I anticipate that the demonstration against TfL's handling of Uber will attract many many thousands of cabs and cause severe chaos, congestion and confusion across the metropolis.'"
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London Black Cabs Threaten Chaos To Stop Uber

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  • Unenforceable (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08, 2014 @11:29PM (#46956339)

    Yet another Streisand fighting the free market. Thanks for putting me onto Uber.

  • Re:Buggy whips (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mx+b ( 2078162 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @11:35PM (#46956361)
    I came here to say essentially this -- I do not really see the big deal, even if it is true that people are using fare meter phone apps. So what? As long as both people are happy with the transaction, I don't see the problem. I think there are many times when government and regulations have their place, but this one seems like one that protects certain jobs at the expense of new ones.
  • Re:Buggy whips (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @11:44PM (#46956389) Homepage

    Uber has been operating in my city for many years now (we were one of the first to get it) and if there are any dark spots, I sure haven't seen them. You get a clean, polite driver driving a clean, well-maintained car. If for some reason you don't get a clean, polite driver driving a clean, well-maintained car you can give feedback to Uber letting them know this. I would imagine that they axe any problematic drivers fairly quickly, because reports of bad ones are rare and I haven't had any (nor has anyone I know personally). It does cost a bit more than a cab (with a $15 minimum where I live), but it's very quick, friendly, polite, and clean (and in many areas they have a lower-cost UberX option).

    The one thing that gets people is that they go to a supply / demand bidding system during ultra-high-demand periods like New Year's Eve. They put warnings all over the place when they do this, but prices can get VERY, VERY high.

  • Re:Buggy whips (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @12:04AM (#46956469) Homepage

    The government could of course get them used to idea and allow them to economically adapt by auctioning off cab license on say a three year term with strictly one licence per bidder and the bidder (a person, an actual human being) must prove themselves capable of operating a cab. The number of licences defined by the lowest bid achieving a minimum defined value a portion of which should be returned upon successful completion of the cab licence period so that a skilled and well behaved cabbie can use it for the next licence auction. This is using licences to provide a quality service to the public, rather than using licences to create an employment monopoly to inflate charges and cut wages, serving greedy lazy middle person psychopaths rather than serving the public.

  • by JDAustin ( 468180 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @01:06AM (#46956691)

    In NYC, that medallion will cost you over $1million. Figuring that there are only 10-20% more medallions now (~13,500) in NYC then in the 1930s, you can see that supply has artificially been restricted.

  • by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @01:24AM (#46956753)
    hardly a fair comparison.The argument here is actually quite valid, Black Cabs and cab drivers have significant government license, knowledge and regulations imposed on them which are quite expensive I understand. If Uber are bypassing those requirements then they are operating at a considerable cost advantage that no matter how good Black Cabs operate will not be able to compete price wise. I am not from the UK but having travelled to London I do find it rather nice getting in a Black Cab and actually having a driver that knows where he is going. When travelling to the US I have gotten in Cabs in Seattle and San Fran where I have had to give the driver directions from the Airport to major hotels.
  • Benefits of Uber (Score:1, Interesting)

    by jklappenbach ( 824031 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @01:38AM (#46956813) Journal
    - Both driver and rider can view each other's history / ratings. If a rider doesn't like the driver, they can choose a different car.
    - Both driver and rider can see each other's location, in real time, up to the point of pickup.
    - Both driver and rider can contact each other either by phone or SMS (I've moved location, I've forgotten a bag / phone, I can't find you).
    - Both driver and rider can rate each other after the experience.
    - No need for carrying cash, or dealing with post drive transactions -- just hop out, it's all handled.
    - Several levels of quality, ranging from eco, black car, and suburban / limo.

    Uber provides a safer experience for both driver and rider, with accountability and communication.
    If you've never ridden Uber (or similar), it's a vastly superior experience to old fashioned cabs.

    When you've been disrupted like this, it's either evolution or extinction.
  • Re:Awesome!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ash Vince ( 602485 ) * on Friday May 09, 2014 @06:28AM (#46957643) Journal

    Does that mean the entire LBC can be defined as a terror organization and placed in whatever Britain's equivalent of Guantanamo Bay is?

    This could be a doubly pointed demonstration: Uber becomes the defacto 'taxi' service of London, and the government shows exactly what will happen if anybody things to provoke demonstrations which might infringe upon the steady operation of infrastructure :)

    The problem with the uber drivers though is that they may have no clue where they are going. These cabbies doing the protesting are Londons black cab drivers, that means they have passed "The Knowledge" know london pretty intimately:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]
    http://www.theknowledgetaxi.co... [theknowledgetaxi.co.uk]

    This does mean I entirely agree with their protest, but comparing them to any other taxi drivers elsewhere is not a great comparison because no other Taxis in the world are expected to pass such a ridiculously difficult exam first.

    You might say this is pointless now that Sat-Navs are so ubiquitous, but I would still say it is useful to be able to ask for a destination by something like "that pub off chancery lane with the yellow sign" and he instantly names it and drives you there. It is also useful if you get the road name you are going to slightly wrong and can't find it with Google maps, just jump in cab. I have actually done this one night when I had been drinking and the cabbie had a right laugh about taking me somewhere that was only two minutes away, but I had already spent 20 minutes cluelessly walking around so was more than happy to pay him the minimum fare.

    Most of the time London Black Cabs are pretty awesome, if a little expensive.

  • Re:This (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @07:04AM (#46957831) Journal
    Ex cab driver, Australia late 80'. Drivers here are not anonymous, passengers are. Drivers are more much more likely to be bashed and robbed than passengers. One thing though, driving a cab may not pay much but it teaches you a lot about people, it taught me there are a lot of snobby, rude, cunts in this city dressed as respectable people..

Mausoleum: The final and funniest folly of the rich. -- Ambrose Bierce