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United Kingdom Transportation

London Regulator Says Uber Is Operating Legally 105

An anonymous reader writes London's transportation regulator has ruled private-driver provider Uber is operating within the law. Licensed taxi drivers in London last month staged a protest urging Transport for London to find that Uber's mobile app acts as a taximeter, which is illegal for use by private-hire vehicles. "TfL said in a statement: 'In relation to the way Uber operates in London, TfL is satisfied that based upon our understanding of the relationship between the passenger and Uber London, and between Uber London and Uber UV, registered in Holland, that it is operating under the terms of the 1998 PHV(L) Act.' The decision was welcomed by Uber's general manger in the UK and Ireland Jo Bertram as a 'victory for common sense, technology, innovation — and above all, London.'"
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London Regulator Says Uber Is Operating Legally

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  • Backfire (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TWX ( 665546 ) on Friday July 04, 2014 @03:19AM (#47381973)

    However, the protest seems to have massively backfired, with Uber reporting a colossal 850 per cent rise in the number of people who had downloaded the company's app in wake of the protest.

    I wonder how much of this is attributable to the Streisand Effect. I expect that with the generic name Uber it didn't stand out as meaning anything to most non-tech consumers (or even many tech-types for that matter) but the protests made the news and made taxi service harder to come by, planting the name in consumers' minds and giving them a reason to use it.

    The smartest thing that the cabbies could have done was to step up their game as far as their service, doing as good a job as possible to show why they're professionals and deserve to be paid as such, compared to any-random-driver that Uber could deliver. Unfortunately hindsight is 20/20...

  • by Threni ( 635302 ) on Friday July 04, 2014 @03:43AM (#47382029)

    the fat, racist, overpriced cabbies happy! "They come over 'ere, with their apps and technology... you can't beat the knowledge". Turns out, you can; you just need to know where you are, where you're going, and how to get there. Works fine when I'm travelling abroad; why do you suppose it should stop working in London? (North London at that; they don't like driving South of the river...too many darkies, right fat boy?)

  • Cabs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Friday July 04, 2014 @04:00AM (#47382073) Homepage

    I avoid using cabs, despite the fact that two of my family members drive them for a living.

    Sorry, they are expensive, inflexible and provide little advantage in somewhere like London. When you do need them (Tube strikes, etc.,) they are impossible to use.

    I've spent an evening walking home from the theatre with a lady with severe knee problems trying to hail a cab. We'd had to help them them to the underground station before we found one that would stop (even when they were showing as available). We were sober, well-dressed, just stepped out of the Royal Albert Hall, had a lady in obvious pain on our shoulders, had waited 20 mins to avoid walking / crowds and in the end made it to our destination before we could hail one.

    The last time a train of mine was cancelled, I was on my way to a filming of a TV show in the afternoon. I came out of the train station 30 mins after I should have been on a train further into London, and there were four cabs waiting. All refused to take two people deeper into London because "they'd have to drive back" - it was the middle of the afternoon, so it wasn't like they wanted to get home. In the end, we ran home, got in our car, drove to the place and got there just in the nick of time.

    I just don't see the cab in the future of a city like London. We're famously rude as a nation, and cabbies are probably among the worst. They are only there for gullible tourists, from what I see. Sure, there will be exceptions, but the fact is that I've avoided cabs for 15 years and when forced to use them, haven't been able to.

    Last time I used one was when my boss was paying for me to come to a meeting with him and we went about 800 yards in one. I'm just glad I wasn't the one paying, and if I remember, we walked back.

    There is a distinction between "Hackney Carriage" and just a private mini-cab in terms of service - the mini-cab will generally turn up when you book them and will know where they are going to and not refuse it. But London taxis? Forget it. All this is is confirmation that some guy who wants the job tries harder to help you than someone who has a protected living and specialist privileges.

Loose bits sink chips.