Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×
Transportation Businesses The Almighty Buck United Kingdom Technology

Pressure From Uber Forces London Taxis To Finally Accept Cards (thestack.com) 114

An anonymous reader writes: Following a public consultation that compared the service unfavorably with Uber, London's 21,000 black cabs will finally accept card payment from October of 2016, with a possible option to pay via PayPal. London Mayor Boris Johnson continues to support and defend the legendarily expensive and iconic taxi service, saying 'This move will boost business for cabbies and bring the trade into the 21st century by enabling quicker and more convenient journeys for customers'. Most Londoners feel that the move should have been made in the 1980s, and the consultation report indicates that Uber's increasing share of London fares has forced the innovation.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Pressure From Uber Forces London Taxis To Finally Accept Cards

Comments Filter:
  • Just stop now (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 26, 2015 @12:28PM (#51008491)

    Okay, this is starting to get a bit ridiculous. Can we please stop with all the articles vaguely related to Uber that have zero tech interest.

    This is a site for techies, not taxi enthusiasts.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Next Up on Slashdot: Uber CEO's favorite pastries at local shindig cause uproar!

    • Re:Just stop now (Score:5, Insightful)

      by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @12:50PM (#51008607)

      Okay, this is starting to get a bit ridiculous. Can we please stop with all the articles vaguely related to Uber that have zero tech interest.

      This is a site for techies, not taxi enthusiasts.

      I actually think this is one of the better ones with a tech interest.

      I'm not a fan of Uber and their flagrant lawbreaking, but one of the arguments in favour of them is that the taxi industry was broken, and I think this is a good example of that.

      London cabs don't accept credit cards?!?! I don't see how you can look at that fact and imagine it is anything resembling a healthy market. I still don't like Uber but this really does show how tech can be disruptive in a positive way.

      • Re:Just stop now (Score:4, Informative)

        by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @12:56PM (#51008635) Journal

        London cabs don't accept credit cards?!?!

        Most black cabs already do. Addison Lee has had an app with driver tracking, credit card payments and so on for years. This is kind of massively not news.

        • London cabs don't accept credit cards?!?!

          Most black cabs already do. Addison Lee has had an app with driver tracking, credit card payments and so on for years. This is kind of massively not news.

          I took a cab at one point late last year when Uber didn't work on my phone. The driver pretended his credit card reader wouldn't work in the hope of getting me to pay cash.

          This is, incidentally, the kind of shit that makes people hate cabs.

          • London cabs don't accept credit cards?!?!

            Most black cabs already do. Addison Lee has had an app with driver tracking, credit card payments and so on for years. This is kind of massively not news.

            I took a cab at one point late last year when Uber didn't work on my phone. The driver pretended his credit card reader wouldn't work in the hope of getting me to pay cash.

            This is, incidentally, the kind of shit that makes people hate cabs.

            I had a cabbie once that preferred to do credit card transactions via Square on his phone because it took less of a cut than the machine from the cab company. Worked better for me because I got an emailed receipt with a map of where I was for my expense claim.

            Another time I took a cab and said I would pay by credit. He said "OK, let me take out the machine"

            And he hauled out an imprint machine. This was in the 2010's, and not in the 1980's. Two months later it hit my credit card so I had to file another expe

        • The study a few links deep from the article revealed that in 2014 over 40% of London black cabs did NOT accept card payment. All this stuff is about is making card terminal mandatory for drivers.

          • The city of London tweaks the regulations for their legendary taxi industry - because Uber.
            Smells like opportunistic marketing to me.
        • You must live in a different London to me. The majority of black cabs (Addison Lee don't count in the strict definition) absolutely do not take cards. It's cash or nothing. I got in a cab today and that hadn't changed. In my London, black cabs didn't want to take people south of the river for several years. They only ended up doing it when it became a precondition for them to charge even more. If they'd hadn't been incentivised to do so then, to this day, I probably still wouldn't have been able to get h
      • Okay, this is starting to get a bit ridiculous. Can we please stop with all the articles vaguely related to Uber that have zero tech interest.

        This is a site for techies, not taxi enthusiasts.

        I actually think this is one of the better ones with a tech interest.

        I'm not a fan of Uber and their flagrant lawbreaking, but one of the arguments in favour of them is that the taxi industry was broken, and I think this is a good example of that.

        London cabs don't accept credit cards?!?! I don't see how you can look at that fact and imagine it is anything resembling a healthy market. I still don't like Uber but this really does show how tech can be disruptive in a positive way.

        Taking a credit card in the cab is a lot more difficult technologically then dinking a credit card already on file via an app. By innovating like this, the cab industry is far ahead of Uber.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Okay, you lost me. The cab industry is far ahead of Uber because they can do something Uber can also do? The taxi companies have also apparently caught up with the middle aged lady who cuts my hair. Or the small coffee shop I go to occasionally. They all have a little dongle that plugs into their iPhone. It's existed for YEARS. And considering we're talking black cabs specifically, every cab I've taken in every country (US, Italy, Spain, Sweden and probably a few others that aren't coming to mind righ

          • Uber doesn't take credit cars in the cab. The price is already arranged at the time you book it.
            • Right, and that's a problem why?

              Having a pre-set price is *better*.

              • Right, and that's a problem why?

                Having a pre-set price is *better*.

                Having a preset price is not how taxi regulations work. The regulations are based on distance. However, that was not the point. The point was that cabs taking credit cards is more advanced because cabs don't know the charge until the end of the trip. So they have to have technology in the cab to charge a credit card. Uber does not have to have equipment in the cab because they charge the card at the home base.

                • Having a preset price is not how taxi regulations work.

                  So what? Ubers aren't taxis, that's why they're not subject to taxi regulations. They're limousines, so they operate under those laws. Limos have preset prices.

                  So they have to have technology in the cab to charge a credit card.

                  Sure, and then they refuse to use it.

                  Uber does not have to have equipment in the cab because they charge the card at the home base.

                  Right, but you still haven't explained how the taxis are "more advanced". They're clearly not.

              • Uber isn't pre-set. They'll give you an estimate, but the actual charge depends on factors like traffic, distance traveled (you might have to re-route around blockages, etc.). One driver told me if his speed drops below some figure (7 maybe?) a time charge starts accumulating. For those reasons, the Uber price isn't fixed at the time you start the trip.
      • Re: Just stop now (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <me@brandywine[ ]dred.org ['hun' in gap]> on Thursday November 26, 2015 @01:40PM (#51008895) Journal

        I love uber because I live in a medium sized city (250k people in a 30-45 minute to cross by car metro area).

        How it used to work with cabs:
        I call, they ask where I am. They kind of grumble and asknwhere I'm going. Then they say, nope. Try again with company two, they agree, tell me a driver will be there in 45 minutes, driver comes in 90. Driver is a dick about the trip not being long enough, and refuses to take cards "oh, no, that's really just for the airport, that's why it's painted on our car that we accept them for all fairs". Driver also is always asking me for directions.

        With uber. Push button, five minutes later a driver shows up, happily GPSs to my location, and I give them five star rating.

        The cab industry's legality was merely a way for them to be abusively anti consumer. I'm glad a company came and skirted the law to make getting a ride something I can do and a pleasant experiance. If the cab industry's protectionism was a give and take, I'd feel different. For example the post office pretty efficiently delivers letters, and they do it cheaply nationwide, while maintaining plenty of physical presence. They're exclusive priveledge of non express mail allows them to service areas cheaply that never otherwise would be. The cab industry on the otherhand used the exclusivity to do the opposite ( only serve the absolute most profitable jobs).

        • by zidium ( 2550286 )

          In Colombia, the good cabs will take you to your destination, driving in circles or half circles as much as possible, and making sure to take the most congested streets to push up the time value.

          The not-so-good cabbies will drive you in circles, make YOU provide the directions, get aggro'd when you say that walking is faster, and show you their machete on the side of their chair.

          The bad cabbies will drive you in circles, to the freakin mountains, scream and shout when you say, "POLICIA! POLICIA!" while taki

      • If they accept credit cards they'll have to start paying tax!

      • by jrumney ( 197329 )

        London cabs don't accept credit cards?!?!

        I'm pretty sure I remember paying for London cabs by card as far back as 1999 or 2000. I also remember more recent occurrences of having to ask cab drivers to stop at an ATM on the way, so I guess what is actually happening now is that all cabs will be accepting cards.

    • As a techie I find it absolutely amazing that there is a taxi company that didn't accept credit cards. I agree the Uber angle doesn't warrant being mentioned here, but the article has merrit even without that.

      • As a techie I find it absolutely amazing that there is a taxi company that didn't accept credit cards.

        First off, many (most?) black cabs in London DO accept credit cards. TFS and TFA are unclear -- but the difference is NOT that you couldn't get a black cab that accepted credit cards before. It's just now ALL black cabs will be required to accept them.

        Second, do you travel much?

        Even in the past year, I've been asked in at least two major cities (in the U.S. and in Europe, not London) whether I needed a cab that accepts credit cards when I ordered one. Five years ago, it was still very common to be as

        • (Actually, if any city tried to do THAT, I'd imagine the discussion here would be the opposite and it'd end up in "Your Rights Online" -- "How DARE they force us into a cashless economy! Today it's forcing businesses to accept credit, tomorrow it's no cash allowed! My right to anonymous transactions must be upheld!!!")

          I'm sorry, this is BS.

          Cabs accepting credit cards doesn't mean that cash-payers are stuck having to use a card. They can still pay cash. No one is proposing to change this. Uber doesn't tak

        • Second, do you travel much?

          Yes. In the past 2 years I've been over every city in Australia, as well as China, Vanuatu, Japan, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, London too (though I arranged for a pre-paid coach).

          The only places I've paid cash for a taxi was in 2 of the smaller cities in China, and in Vanuatu, but then neither city had any credit or debit infrastructure. So that was to be expected.

          Actually, if any city tried to do THAT, I'd imagine the discussion here would be the opposite and it'd end up in "Your Rights Online" -- "How DARE they force us into a cashless economy!

          Ease up. There are plenty of places in the world that mandate that credit transactions are available. None of them have impinged on your

  • Here in Boston, cabbies would say that the machine was broken because they wanted you to pay cash and not have to send the card company 5% or whatever. So the city raised rates to compensate for that fee. Guess what? "The machine is broken" is what you will hear most of the time if you offer a card at the end of the ride.
    • "The machine is broken" is what you will hear most of the time if you offer a card at the end of the ride.

      And if I heard that, "I don't carry cash" is what the driver would hear, whether it was true or not. They can run the card or they can have an IOU. If they don't tell you about their defective equipment up front, they don't have a leg to stand on when they complain about a lack of immediate payment. Then you can watch them pretend to "try" to get it to work, the disingenuous bastards.

  • Half the London Cabbies I've ridden with have card readers in the car, at least 90% of the ones I've gotten in Zone 1 had stickers saying they accepted them.. Cellular connected card readers aren't super high tech..

    I half remember a small fee for using the card, but that's nothing new, most convenience stores charge something.

    • The question is, were said cabbies doing it out of their own pockets in order to better appeal to customers?

      Based on the article, it sounds like the overarching corporation didn't give two shits about customer-focus, thanks to their monopoly.

      • Based on the article, it sounds like the overarching corporation didn't give two shits about customer-focus, thanks to their monopoly.

        What overarching corporation?

        • There isn't one? How can a bunch of cabbies all be running under the same banner if there isn't one? Otherwise there'd be copyright lawsuits flying over cab design, etc.

          Then again, this isn't America we're talking about, so maybe people are actually able to be civil with each other without requiring contracts and money changing hands.

          • How can a bunch of cabbies all be running under the same banner if there isn't one?

            To be able to pick up passengers by hailing, use taxi ranks and taxi lanes, a license is regarded from the local council. The council sets the rules, and that includes things like the knowledge, turning radius of vehicles, disabled access, rate per mile, and so on and so forth.

    • by mccalli ( 323026 )
      The difference seems to be making it mandatory - at the moment it's optional.

      Try actually doing it though. Magically, almost every time I've asked the card reader somehow seems to be out of order and they need cash instead. Astonishing co-incidence.
  • p
    who'd a thunk it.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @12:49PM (#51008589) Homepage
    simple problem, simple fix.

    Why would you tip someone that is going out of their way to give you bad service?

    • Tip? At what arbitrary point do we decide to tip and who do we tip? Is it too much to ask that people can make a living doing work without having to rely in the generous heart of those people who they are serving?

    • don't have the cash on you ok I have to call the cops. You have to pay for your ride and my card reader is not working.

      • Perhaps you should have posted this as a reply to someone suggesting not paying as somehow legitimate.

      • Where I am from, you cant drive a cab without a working card reader. City and County ordinance. If at the end of the ride they pull a card not working trick, I just say "too bad, thanks for the ride" and walk out. They can call the cops all day.

    • simple problem, simple fix.

      Why would you tip someone that is going out of their way to give you bad service?

      The tip is the tax money they don't pay on your fare.

  • Capitalism and Free Markets work.
  • What about the London Knowledge test? who about dumping that or refund the fees to the drivers to make it more fair as the uber drivers don't have to take that test?

    • by Serif ( 87265 )

      What about the London Knowledge test? who about dumping that or refund the fees to the drivers to make it more fair as the uber drivers don't have to take that test?

      Agreed. This is another anachronism in a world where cheap, reliable sat nav is readily available.

      • Agreed. This is another anachronism in a world where cheap, reliable sat nav is readily available.

        Using Satnav in lots of parts of London, especially the older parts, is a fucking nightmare. When you can actually get a GPS signal the streets are so close together and turns so near to each other that usually you find that the voice guidance is still playing the first turn when you've driven past the next one you needed to take. Then there's the main thing about the knowledge, knowing how London traffic behaves, knowing what the effects of a problem at any given point in the city would cause not only in t

    • Either
      1) the test has value and the driver's can remain a premium service, maybe even get added to uber like cabs in San fransisco
      2) the knowledge is not if value and should be ditched.

      I hear a lot of cab advocates trying to have it both ways. "it's no fair, our service is so much better because of the specific cars and the test, but uber drivers don't". If the service was so much better, there wouldn't be an issue, it's been a while since I was in London, but in northern Delaware, Philadelphia, and NYC, ub

  • by mattrumpus ( 677024 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @01:46PM (#51008909)

    Hi All,

    Rare post from me, but this is close to my heart, being a long term (South) London resident. So... fuck the black cabs, really, they are truly shit in comparison to Uber. It's not just the card payment issue, it's the attitude you get from most of the drivers. They're not really interested in providing a cab service for London. They want to take bankers and tourists on short journeys around central London, and drive people to the airport and back. It can be difficult to find a black cab that will take you any distance "south of the river", so much so, it's even a cultural catch phrase here "Sorry gov, I ain't going south of the river".

    Then, even when you get one, they really do cost. An Uber from central London to my place is about half the cost of a black cab. They're also not that comfortable a ride. Bumpy and cold usually. The only plus point is that they do take 5 passengers as standard, so there is that, minor, minor point....

    Now, due to the black cabs being over priced, and really a bit shit, in true British fashion, rather than face actually making some kind of meaningful change to the system, a fudge has been added. Something called a "mini cab", or more accurately a "private hire vehicle". This is a just a car, no taxi meter, that you can hire to take you from A to B for a fixed price, but you can't hail it on the street, you have to call for one, or go to a pick up location. These vary wildly, from a professional, almost Uber like service such as Addison Lee, mentioned in a previous post, to a banged up, probably non street legal piece of crap driven by someone who looks like they've been awake 72 hours. Often they tout for business on the street (illegally) and, factoring in how late it is/cold the weather/drunk you are, a price is agreed... then often later disputed.

    Anyway, mini cabs are licenced to operate as they do, although there are some totally illegal ones running around. The point is, black cabs never really served their purpose, so the mini cab system just kind of evolved into the cracks. It's the only type of cab most Londoners would have ever considered using.

    Now we have Uber. Clean new cars, professional drivers, cheap, payments sorted in advance, phone app, the works. It's heaven. Actually, I find it interesting, all the US commenters on here talking about Uber being less professional, and operating illegally. The situation is totally different here. It is a superior cab ride in every way, and they are licenced private hire vehicles, so it's all legal. The black cab industry is trying to say that the Uber app on the drivers phone is effectively a taxi meter, and allows what is effectively street hailing, not sure how that is going, is there a court case?

    Anyway, just wanted to get it off my chest. I will be so fucked off if a great service is killed, simply to protect a highly dysfunctional industry that has previously felt no pressure at all to improve their level of customer service. We all hate them anyway. This is an almost perfect "buggy whip manufacturer" situation, please let the black cab just die.

    Phew....

    p.s. I did see a protest by black cab drivers, about Uber, in central London recently, trying in vain to whip up some public support... they're delusional.

    • Hell, try getting a cab to Waterloo or London Bridge (two of London's biggest rail stations, both of them just south of the Thames) during the rush hour. I've been refused multiple times on both of those, because the driver didn't want the hassle of the traffic over the bridges. This is despite the fact that the conditions under which they are granted their monopoly on the pick-up trade stipulate that a taxi driver must:

      - Accept any hiring up to 12 miles or up to one hour duration, if the destination is in

  • It had nothing to do with Uber and everything to do with the fact that this year in the UK more transactions were done by card than cash and the UK is quite quickly heading towards a cashless society and would be if it weren't for refusenik retailers. Lots of people in the UK, myself included, quite simply don't carry cash around anymore.
    • Lots of people in the UK, myself included, quite simply don't carry cash around anymore.

      Then how do you pay for your drugs and whores?

  • There are still many far better ways to accomplish this if you really cared enough about it.

No hardware designer should be allowed to produce any piece of hardware until three software guys have signed off for it. -- Andy Tanenbaum

Working...