Uber – Everyone’s Private Driver, when I’m not on my bike and need a car service to get around London, Uber is always my first port of call.
Personally, I have been a huge fan of Uber for many years, because as well as being functional, when I fancy a bit of luxury they are my knight in shining black Mercedes. I’m delighted this innovative, competitive and luxurious service is here to stay.
Today a High Court judge ruled that Uber is legal and no changes are to be made as per the TfL plans to restrict and limit Uber’s reach and usage in the capital – once again Londoners have defended their right to luxury and a free market. Mr. Justice Ouseley backed Transport for London’s claims that the smartphone app does not break the law in the way it calculates fares.
GPS vs. Taximeters
The 1998 Act regulating taxis bars all private hire cars from being “equipped” with taximeters while Uber uses GPS technology. TfL and San Francisco-based Uber had argued at a one-day hearing earlier this month that the app was not a meter and therefore not unlawful.
Jo Bertram, Uber’s UK general manager, said outside the court today, the ruling was,
“Great news for Londoners and a victory for common sense. Now the High Court has ruled in favour of new technology, we hope TfL will think again on their bureaucratic proposals for apps like Uber.
Compulsory five-minute waits and banning ride-sharing would be bad for riders and drivers. These plans make no sense. That’s why 130,000 people have already signed our petition against these proposals. We hope TfL will listen to Londoners and let Uber keep London moving”
Londoners can sleep well tonight knowing London’s thriving economy, its unrivalled cultural scene, its thirst for change and the ever so important mantra that anyone’s dreams can come true in its open market are safe once again – at least for now.
History & Heritage
Obviously, this is not the last time Uber will come under the spot light. I’m sure TfL will find another way to protest even with such a clear vote towards Uber; are black cab drivers and TfL fighting for a system that is now so out-dated it’s becoming redundant in the eyes of Londoners?
The heritage of the black cab and the knowledge test required to become a driver aside, why not force cabbies to be more innovative, invest in better technology and provide a better service which actually competes rather than complain like toddlers, and throw their toys out of the pram saying it’s not fair?
As much as the black cab is a part of London and its history, it is a history that has continued to evolve and has contributed to cabbies being able to continue to survive, all thanks to thanks to London being the top dog attracting tourism, business etc.
The free market ideal they are essentially crushing with their crusade is actually their lifeline to being even more successful and showing what cabbies are really made of, because we all know it wasn’t easy to get a licence in the first place.
Lastly, and its just a thought but if TfL introduced mandatory card payment rules for cabbies (without the insane fees we are currently having to pay for the convenience) like they did in New York a few years ago, do you think Uber would have been as successful?