back to article London cabbies to offer EVEN WORSE service in protest against Uber

As if London didn't have enough traffic on its streets, the capital's cabbies have vowed to bring the city to a standstill in a protest against the taxi-booking phone app Uber. The big smoke's grumpiest drivers are furious that minicabs are now using Uber to calculate fares and tout for business. Union bosses claimed the use …

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  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Flame

    Cancer. Cancer everyhwere!

    Union bosses claimed the use of Uber is tantamount to installing a taximeter – which is illegal in minicabs.

    And why is it illegal, there must be a good reason for ... oh!

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      Pirate

      Brigitte Grouwels

      Brigitte Grouwels needs to understand that to Americans, being called a "cowboy" is a complement. To Americans, being called "European" is an insult.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cancer. Cancer everyhwere!

      Not trying to rain on the parade, but I seem to recall the reason minicabs can't have taximeters is because they're not subject to the same rigors as full cabs, which require certain specifications, licenses, etc.

      IOW, are minicabs held to the same standards as full cabs? If not, then there's at least a valid reason for the restriction.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: AC Re: Cancer. Cancer everyhwere!

        ".....which require certain specifications, licenses, etc....." Too true!

        Firstly, the London cabbie has to learn The Knowledge, a test that covers the 320 main routes through London, all the street names involved, and landmarks and important/popular buildings on the route. To pass the test, they have to be able to answer questions about a random route in an 'interesting, informative and cheerful manner'. I had a mate doing The Knowledge when I was in my first year of my degree and I think I had the far easier learning job! He took six attempts to get his license, failing once because he could not tell the examiner what year the Battle of Trafalgar took place whilst talking through a route past Nelson's Column. Your average cabbie knows more about London and it's history than the majority of the tour guides in the city.

        A London cab has to be in good order or the cabbie's license can be revoked, which means they are usually cleaner than your own car, well-serviced, and the design is spacious and comfortable. Your London cabbie also has to be 'of good character' and not have a criminal record, something which Über in no way whatsoever guarantees about their random driver. In short, you could place an order for Uber for an important meeting for your team of four, get a nice pic of 'Ted' and his Merc on your phone, only for the reality to be some guy called Abdul, driving a clapped out Nissan Sunny, with an A-to-Z and a cheap Android phone as his navigation tools. Abdul then proves to speak very limited English, have SFA idea where anything is in London, and you will have to sit on his stained cloth seats whilst he gets lost and you miss your meeting.

        Sorry, but after using cabs in places like Eurpoe and the US, it is a relief to come back to the massively better service provided by the London Hackney cabbies. As a cabbie might put it, Uber can go shove their cut-price offering where the sun don't shine, sunshine.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: AC Cancer. Cancer everyhwere!

          I don't care if the cabbie knows about history. I'm not paying him to talk.

          …Could this be yet another barrier to entry set up for the purpose of limiting competition? Hmm…?

        2. jonathanb Silver badge

          Re: AC Cancer. Cancer everyhwere!

          As long as he can type "Paddington Station" into his satnav and follow the instructions on the screen, I'm happy, because even if he takes a sub-optimal route, it will still be a lot cheaper.

        3. Down not across Silver badge

          Re: AC Cancer. Cancer everyhwere!

          Sorry, but after using cabs in places like Eurpoe and the US, it is a relief to come back to the massively better service provided by the London Hackney cabbies. As a cabbie might put it, Uber can go shove their cut-price offering where the sun don't shine, sunshine.

          So, regardless of the new competition you would welcome the current cabbies. So what is wrong with having the competition? Let the paying punters choose which service they want.

          If the current cabbies are providing such excellent service and value for money then surely they should have nothing to fear from the upstart?

        4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: AC Cancer. Cancer everyhwere!

          As a cabbie might put it, Uber can go shove their cut-price offering where the sun don't shine, sunshine.

          Must be the most self-defeating addie for QUALITY cab services ever.

          But thanks for the astroturf.

        5. micheal

          Re: AC Cancer. Cancer everyhwere!

          London Taxi's run their meter from the engine so charge based on revolutions, hence sitting still clocks up 60p a minute

          Mini cabs charge per mile plus a bit for waiting time

          Also, try getting a black taxi outside central London of an evening, they're all full of suits on company accounts and wont want to take you or I home

          Mini cabs have plenty of uses filling in where black cabs wont or refuse to go "not worth my while mate" often cited when I want to go from city to harlow at night (I have 2 black cab driver relatives, neither of who I would ant to get into their taxi's)

      2. Squander Two

        Re: Cancer. Cancer everyhwere!

        > the reason minicabs can't have taximeters is because they're not subject to the same rigors as full cabs, which require certain specifications, licenses, etc.

        What utter bollocks. That may well be the given reason, but if it were the real reason, we wouldn't see meters in minicabs in any of the UK's other towns or cities, either, because the cars aren't of a high enough specification to have them installed. But of course we do.

        Have to say, this article was the first I'd heard that minicabs aren't allowed meters in London. What the actual bucketing fuck? So London minicab drivers just haggle any old price with you, or what? A meter is just a sign that you're not being overcharged. Everywhere else I've been in the UK, the lack of a meter is a big red flag that the driver can't be trusted and you shouldn't get in the car. Which I suppose would be why London cabbies have successfully banned their competition from having them, the bastards. What a blatant and appalling bit of protectionism. A plague on whichever politicians caved to it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cancer. Cancer everyhwere!

          "A meter is just a sign that you're not being overcharged"

          Oh really?

          When that thoughtless twat jumped under a train on valentines day I spent hours trying to get home in time to go out for a meal with my wife (don't know the details so if it was an accident I apologise for any offence caused - if it was deliberate then we're well rid of such a selfish cunt).

          At one point I was desperate enough to ask a cabbie for an estimate of how much it would cost to get me home (this was from Stratford to Colchester).

          £200 quid. Wouldn't budge an inch, and actually got quite rudely dismissive after I offered him £100.

          If this new model offers a better service and more in line with what the customer wants, then all they [the cabbies] are doing is trying to keep a hold of their monopoly. A pox on them.

          1. Squander Two

            Re: Cancer. Cancer everyhwere!

            > this was from Stratford to Colchester

            That's an unusual journey. Above a certain distance, the meter doesn't apply and they're free to negotiate whatever fare they want with you.

            > If this new model offers a better service and more in line with what the customer wants, then all they [the cabbies] are doing is trying to keep a hold of their monopoly. A pox on them.

            Agreed and agreed.

  2. Yugguy

    /Eastenders mode on.

    FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFACKIN CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANTS!!!!

    I suggest they leave it. It's not worth it. Unless perchance he's out of order.

    1. Mike Smith

      You wha'?

      Bang aht of ordah, me ole china. Cammon, you can rabbit on abaht it being only a bladdy app on the dog an' bone, but it's taking bread orf us Lahndan cabbies, innit? Ow we going to pay for a pig's ear dahn the rub-a-dub if these bleedin' septic tanks are trying to muscle into our manor? Bit of decent cockney twatting's wot they need, mate, I'll tell yer. When I was a saucepan, we knew 'ow to sort geezers like them aht.

      I 'ad that Reggie Kray in the back of the cab once.

      1. WraithCadmus
        Trollface

        Re: You wha'?

        Are you perchance suggesting a dry slap?

      2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: I 'ad that Reggie Kray in the back of the cab once.

        Reggie's a ginger beer? How would you like both feet nailed to the floor this time?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You wha'?

        Yoof Acker....

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      I say old chaps. I'm awfully sorry, I'm afraid I didn't catch a word of that. Would you mind repeating it in the Queen's own? Top-hole what!

      For some unaccountable reason, El Reg doesn't have a twiddling moustache icon! Well I mean, dash it all! What a total shower!

  3. Ian 45

    Change is not fair!

    Surely GPS means we dont need drivers with the "knowledge" anymore. Massive cost saving for consumers. Shame for taxi drivers but if we blocked everything that put people out of work we would still be living in mud huts.

    1. DrStrangeLug

      There's a difference

      "if we blocked everything that put people out of work"

      Nope, we don't do that in this country - ever.

      See Margaret Thatcher and the Closure of the Mining Industry.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There's a difference

        Ah yes, the miners strikes. The go-to for anyone who wants to make a political point, has nothing to say, but thinks they should talk anyway.

        They're a great lesson in historical subjectivity. On the one side you had a chancer willing to exploit the miners for personal and political gain, only to abandon them the moment they no longer served purpose; and on the other you had Margaret Thatcher.

        Or vice-versa.

        The truth is that our political class turned the people of this country against one another so they could score points, and all you bloody idiots fall for it time and time again, picking sides, proclaiming yourselves right and the others wrong, and all the while they take another sliver of control from your life and claim another penny from your pocket, and pat you on the head and tell you it's the other lot that did it.

        1. Mike Smith
          Pint

          Re: There's a difference

          Spot on. Have an upvote. And a pint 'cos it's Friday.

        2. Haku

          Re: There's a difference

          @Anonymous Coward, the first one in this reply 'thread' (hey what happened to the timestamps of posts to identify which AC you're referring to??)

          Too damn right, companies love to do this to divert the attention away form them, like getting their users to blame each other for the service being bad, especially ISPs who have been using their users as scapegoats for their lack of bandwidth since the dawn of 'unlimited' internet access...

      2. smartypants

        Re: There's a difference

        I too wish for the glory days when if you were young and born in the wrong part of the country then the there was a great career for you digging heaps of black shit out of the ground half a mile out under the seabed... for as long as your lungs lasted at least.

        But never mind the miners. What about the dockers? That evil bitch Thatcher did for them too by allowing container ports.

        Yes. In the glory days, when you were born in the wrong part of the country, there was a great career for you offloading endless sacks of rice and flour and bananas by hand and wheeling them around the dockside... until your back gave in of course.

        Spare a thought too for the millions of women who, born into the wrong part of the country, had a great career as a working mum scrubbing the black shit out of clothes by hand half the day. All lost thanks to whichever evil politician at the time decided to allow the use of 'electricity' to power washing machines. (and all sorts of other evil labour-displacing devices).

        Solidarity with the masses! Down with Thatcher! Up The Revolution! Etc.

        When will we ever learn?

    2. Conor Turton

      Re: Change is not fair!

      "Surely GPS means we dont need drivers with the "knowledge" anymore."

      Actually you do. One thing that I learned over 10 years of using Satnav, half of that as a lorry driver doing 100,000 miles a year, was that it was only really any good for someone driving as a living for the "last mile" or so and that even with things like Tomtom Traffic IQ it couldn't route for certain times of the day as good as someone with knowledge of road conditions could. There were plenty of times it'd route me a way I would never ever consider given the time of day I would be at a certain point.

      Satnav will 100% get you from point A to point B, that there is no doubt. Whether or not the route is the best that it could be is a different question entirely and usually the answer to that is no.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Change is not fair!

        Works both ways, Google nav managed to show almost exactly to a few tens of metres the level of congestion on different sections of the M4 yesterday and the prediction for arrival time was spot on.

        As it can now re-route based on whether it is going to take longer to go through the congestion than around it and it stores historical congestion data for times of day, days of week and location it also has the potential to route based upon that - even accounting for how many others have been advised of a less congested route.

        Links in to social can also highlight accidents or hazards on the way far quicker than the traffic updates on the radio can.

      2. badgames

        Re: Change is not fair!

        As far as satnav (GPS, etc.) goes, much as Conor says, you still need to exert your own intelligence and knowledge.

        I did a trip over the holidays, and in order to allegedly save a few minutes in larger cities (Cincinnati, St. Louis, Denver) it seemed to go into 'tour slums' mode (old highways predating the interstates). I still haven't found where I can undo that setting. Had to put up with interminable suggestions to get off the interstates and on to surface streets, sometimes for as much as 60 miles (coming into St. Louis it was advised to go through East St. Louis on surface streets). Neighborhoods where if you get a flat you keep driving " 'cause rims are cheap."

        1. jimbo60

          Re: Change is not fair!

          Were you going through these cities or to some destination within them? I've done both in all three cities you listed, and never had that happen. On routes through I got routed on the best highway through (not always staying on the interstate route, often the big cities have beltways that are a better through route - straighter, more lanes than the old interstate route). On routes into the cities it used the best nearest main highway as close as possible to the destination, then surface streets. I've used TomTom and several smartphone satnav apps. Makes me wonder what awful heap of satnav you were using.

      3. jimbo60

        Re: Change is not fair!

        Umm...not any more. With smartphone satnav with live traffic awareness and the ability to consider traffic when routing, the phone can actually be better than human experience, because the phone knows about the accident 5 miles ahead that has jammed up everything on what would normally be the best route. It still doesn't always figure the best way, but it gets better every year. And it's way better than the dumb disconnected satnav of the past.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tried a similar thing 10 years ago but ran into similar problems.

    It's a shame that it's taken an American company to really get the black cab drivers' backs up - Could have really used the publicity that Uber are now getting.

  5. Eradicate all BB entrants

    Maybe the cabbies in London ....

    .... should ask themselves why Uber is proving popular?

    Could it be due to the fact that in an Uber cab they will not be subjected to a torrent of abuse because it isn't a nice fat £50 fare? Such wonderful responses as 'Get out, use the f***ing bus' when stating your destination is exactly what customers using your stupidly overpriced service wish for.

    1. DryBones

      Re: Maybe the cabbies in London ....

      Well, I was going to say that "So, this means that the opinion of cabbies not open to using Uber is going to plummet, right? Nice own goal there, lads,". Looks like you got there first, though. :)

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Maybe the cabbies in London ....

      Could not care less about the torrent of abuse. Torrent of attempts to deliberately defraud the customer by giving him the scenic route if the customer has an accent, well that is a different story. London cabbies are nowdays as bad as the Paris and Moscow ones which are probably some of the worst in Europe.

      As far as Uber - I would never use them because as some other people have noted you do not know what you are getting. There are plenty of private hire companies, get the phone of one that is big enough to always have a car in your area and use it. Excellent service, comfortable cars (instead of that abominable tourist bait on wheels which the cabbies drive) and ~ 50% of the price. Vetted too.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Maybe the cabbies in London ....

        As others have said - never, ever use a cab anywhere, unless you know the route like the back of your hand and are willing to argue the toss when - not if - the driver deviates from the route. If going somewhere you don't know:

        1) Find the number of a couple of private hire companies (if on business, ask someone at the place you are going who they use), and book ahead (which can be as you are getting to the destination if there could reasonably be a delay - e.g. Edinburgh to London).

        2) If you got the number from the place you are visiting, say so when you book - no private hire company wants to lose the good opinion of regular customers.

        3) ALWAYS get a price for the journey when you call.

        4) Use a trip-logging program on your phone to make a record of the route for comparison later.

        4) Be sure to get a receipt, even if not on expenses - it makes complaining easier if you need to do so later.

        I can't remember if I have told this before: had to go to Glasgow on business last year. I hadn't formulated my above rules at that point (only recently started using the car less and public transport more). Got a cab outside the station - took almost 15 minutes to get to the main hospital, cost about £12, but was shown lots of Glasgow's "main tourist attractions". Three other people attending the same training who were on the same train (didn't know then at that point, so couldn't share with them) also got a cab outside the station - 25 minutes' journey and £16. On the way back we asked the organisers to book us a private hire car - 10 minutes, £8.50, and I didn't recognise a single road after leaving the venue and arriving at the station.

        I don't trust cabbies - they might not rape you, but they will certainly screw you ...

    3. hoola

      Re: Maybe the cabbies in London ....

      Err, there is one major point that I have not seen addressed:

      A minicab, privateh hire or London taxi are all licensed, as part of the the vehcle is also licensed as well as the driver. This enforces safety and more importantly, insurance. It would appear that any oik with a car can join this and decide to run a business, without the overheads that professionals have. If that is the case then Uber should not be permited. You cannot ran a business on domestic car insurance. If you do, you are NOT INSURED. Uber drivers and vehicles must undergo the stringent checks. At the end of the day it is for the safetly of the customer. But of course that appears not to matter to many posters as it is cheap.

      1. Squander Two

        Re: Maybe the cabbies in London ....

        > It would appear that any oik with a car can join this and decide to run a business, without the overheads that professionals have. If that is the case then Uber should not be permited. You cannot ran a business on domestic car insurance. If you do, you are NOT INSURED. Uber drivers and vehicles must undergo the stringent checks.

        You're not following this, are you? Uber meet all local regulations, including the requirement to have proper insurance. TFL have looked into the complaint that Uber are breaking the law and ruled that they are not. In other words, they are regulated.

        Try looking stuff up instead of making it up.

  6. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Gets worse before it gets better. But who said it'll get better

    So, you are faced with a competitor who undercuts you, actually turns up, is prepared to take you where you want to go (sarf ov the river????) and has a more flexible business. How do you challenge that?

    > the demonstration ... will attract many many thousands of cabs

    Obvious, innit. Withdraw ALL of your services, leaving the other guy to be the only game in town.

    Maybe what London (well, OK: what everywhere) needs is a taxi service who's only barrier to entry is the servicabillity of the vehicle and the lack of criminality of the driver. After that, let anyone with the right insurance in on the game - and let them charge whatever rate they please.

    1. Dan Paul

      Re: Gets worse before it gets better. But who said it'll get better

      Exactly, who says that any cab company or person should have a "territory" for life (like NYC)? If the competition has a better mousetrap, let them catch mice. Protest yourself out of a job.

      By the same token (pun intended) there soon will be no reason to be a taxi cab, bus, subway or tram driver because Google's driverless cars will soon take over the entire market whether it be a bus or a cab they will drive themselves by GPS and all you will have to do is tell the "driver " (computer) where to go. Subways would benefit from automation right now because properly designed controls don't fall to sleep and drive twice as fast as conditions allow. Notice I said "properly designed".

      I envision something like the "Johnny Cab" from Total Recall becoming the standard. Trouble is the computer has to recognize the voice commands. SOME customers are going to have trouble with that just like they do today. Should leave some jobs in the maintenance of such systems.

      1. Steve the Cynic

        Re: Gets worse before it gets better. But who said it'll get better

        "Subways would benefit from automation right now because properly designed controls don't fall to sleep and drive twice as fast as conditions allow. Notice I said "properly designed"."

        Come to Lille. The Lille Metro has, for *over*30*years*, operated a fully automatic driverless metro service. The driverless nature of the system means that the "headway" of the system (technical language for the spacing between consecutive trains) is one minute at peak times, which is a lot of trains per hour, and beyond the capabilities of human-operated trains. Lille operates the world's first system using VAL (Véhicule Automatique Lèger = Light Automatic Vehicle, originally standing for Villeneuve d'Ascq à Lille) trains, although there are now many such systems in cities around the world.

        The headway of a metro / underground / subway system is strongly influenced by the nature of the control system, and automatic systems are always able to have a shorter headway than human-driven systems. The main cost-increasing aspect is the need for gates on the platforms to prevent people falling onto the tracks, as the automatic system cannot see obstacles that have fallen on the tracks.

      2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Gets worse before it gets better. But who said it'll get better @ Dan Paul

        Do you really think the taxi-mafia will allow Google cars? Driverless taxis will have a lot of "accidents", from four punctures all the way to mysterious dousing in petrol near naked flames.

        The buggy-whip manufacturers didn't have a clue ...

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Charge whatever rate they please?

      That's fine if you're calling taxis with an app, so you can book the lowest bid or set a maximum price you're willing to pay.

      But how's that supposed to work for flagging down taxis? Are you supposed to flag down one after another and ask them the cost for your trip? Or do you just get in and hope they don't tell you its a hundred pounds when you get to your destination that was only three blocks away (tourist trap special!)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Charge whatever rate they please?

        Well you seeing as you 'flag them down' using an app you can know the price in advance.

        Wait 50 minutes for the cheapest cab or use the one just down the road for a little bit more...

  7. emmanuel goldstein

    you're having a tin mate...

    "most of which will never see a penny of tax paid in the UK"

    priceless, coming from the LTDA.

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      Re: you're having a tin mate...

      > never see a penny of tax

      Even if a cab driver did manage to avoid having their fares recorded, they still pay a significant amount of tax (as we all do).

      There's tax on fuel: 58p per litre - tax on the fuel tax (VAT) - making UK diesel the most expensive in the world¹. Then there's VAT on buying the car, car tax and tax on the servicing costs. Do Uber cars have to pay the congestion charge? - another tax!

      Even when a cabbie does get home with his (or her) untaxed wad, pretty much everything he/she buys will have 20% VAT to pay on it, too - plus any "sin taxes" like booze & ciggies. Now you might think "it's only VAT - everyone pays that" but bear in mind that VAT is the government's second biggest earner and that you pay the same rate (unlike income taxes) whether you are on minimum wage or £1million a year - and it's easy to realise that even cash in hand will never escape the clutches of the HMRC.

      [1] Daily Telegraph, May 6

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: you're having a tin mate...

        Taxis and registered private hire vehicles are both exempt from congestion charge.

      2. Clive Galway

        Re: you're having a tin mate...

        So the minicab driver working for Uber will not be paying UK fuel levies?

        He will not be spending his earnings in the country he lives?

        Your arguments are no different for the competition, so you make no point at all...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: you're having a tin mate...

        And LTI loves Londoners so much it moved to India so it's workers will feel at home.

        Oh, and the fact they protested against being able to use comfortable Mercedes taxi's instead of overpriced "heater? that's an optional extra at £2,000" Indian made London taxi's, well that worked, don't see any Merc taxi's do we.

        Protest away and end up like so many Unionised jobs, outsourced to people willing to work and put up with no monopoly

  8. Hollerith 1

    When it's rush hour in the rain...

    ..you will find your Uber fare has shot up. When sunny and not crowded, the fare will drop down. I prefer knowing that i have a level playing field -- I don't want to be standing under an umbrella discovering that they've priced me out of an Uber-ride.

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: When it's rush hour in the rain...

      "rush hour in the rain... "

      So you can get a regular taxi then?

  9. kevjs

    "Union bosses claimed the use of Uber is tantamount to installing a taximeter – which is illegal in minicabs."

    Is that just a London thing? Round here all the "private hire" taxis have meters in them...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Same here, what about insurance for passengers with Uber.

    2. Clive Galway

      AFAIK, A taxi with a meter is a "Hackney Carriage", no matter where in the UK it is.

      Only hackney carriages are legally allowed to be flagged down on the street for business. Other cabs (Mini cabs) MUST be pre-booked (eg via the phone).

      Hence the meter - a pre-booked cab is a pre-arranged price with base. In a hackney carriage, the price is determined by the meter. The other giveaway is the light. If it has a "for hire" light that indicates availability, it will be a Hackney Carriage.

      Next time you get in a taxi with a meter, even if it is not an LTI taxi (The classic london taxi design), check the license and it should say "Hackney Carriage".

      This is probably why they are pissed - they know that their monopoly is going to be gone soon.

      All Uber need to do is put a QR code on the side of it's minicabs and suddenly you can legally "Hail" a minicab. Scanning the QR code will pre-book a SPECIFIC minicab and legally allow him to pick up someone he passed.

      1. Squander Two

        I think you may be conflating two separate things here: whether a taxi can be flagged down in the street and whether it has a meter installed. This whole dispute is centred on the fact that minicabs aren't allowed meters in London -- which was news to me. As the other commenter said above, minicabs have meters everywhere else in the UK -- but they still may not be flagged down in the street.

        1. Clive Galway

          Ah right. I was pretty sure on the "No hailing" rule, but wasn't quite so sure on the "No meter" rule.

          Thanks for setting me straight.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    London Taxis are a rip off, they are driven by mostly racist, sexist twats who think they know better than anyone. Telling them to shut up almost gets you kicked out and certainly gets and extra couple of quid added to the bill. The ride is awful, the cabs stink and for the size of them you can't fit many people in them!

    Whenever I've used a London minicab it has been an Indian chap who barely speaks English (bonus) who calls into his boss before we move off to get the price for the trip, never charges more than the agreed fare no matter what the route taken, has nice new people carriers instead of old crappy smog machines and generally gets there quicker and with less fuss.

    Tell me again why people still use black cabs in London?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "London Taxis are a rip off, they are driven by mostly racist, sexist twats who think they know better than anyone.

      ...

      Whenever I've used a London minicab it has been an Indian chap who barely speaks English"

      Irony is dead, eh?

      1. Squander Two

        Irony

        That would only be ironic if the claim was that hardly speaking a word of English was a bad thing. Saying that Indian drivers are brilliant is not racist.

        1. Atonnis

          Re: Irony

          Positive discrimination IS discrimination...

          1. Squander Two

            Re: Irony

            Yes, but racism is not merely discrimination. It is also, by definition, negative.

            "The Irish are great fun." Discuss.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "They have threatened to clog London's already congested streets"

    As if anyone will notice the difference.

  12. frank ly
    Happy

    " ... the hackneyed cab industry."

    I see what you did there.

  13. Deano2099

    Yes, what you need to do when faced with a competitor is take action specifically designed to ensure the media talk all about that competitor.

  14. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

    Bronze Orientation Day

    That is all.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cabbies days are numbered, better get on that apprentice scheme soon

  16. loser

    Viable competition? They don't like it up 'em do they?

    Tough luck cabbies, this is going to happen, so you need to do what everyone else does and move with the times.

    Odd these guys talking about Uber not paying tax in the UK, coming from a load of people who are doing their damnedest to keep working in a cash based economy. I wonder what % of their takings the average cabbie actually declares for tax purpose? hhmmm...

    Best wishes to Uber.

    1. Conor Turton

      "I wonder what % of their takings the average cabbie actually declares for tax purpose? hhmmm..."

      All of them other than tips as they're recorded by the meter.

      1. Atonnis

        That's actually a fallacy, and I'm pretty sure it's perpetuated by the taxi drivers themselves for just this very reason.

        I've seen taxi drivers skip around the meter plenty of times.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    French cabbies took a traditional approach to their Uber protest

    Namely smashing things up and setting them on fire. Plus ça change...

  18. ybessaih

    Has anyone heard of www.minicabster.co.uk that actually work with Minicabs operators in London??

  19. harryb

    Since Uber always pick a route at time of booking, then I can't see why they can't forecast time taken on the route and come up with a fixed price a that point. If they do that then they can work under the existing minicab legislation and can compete with minicab firms on the same basis.

  20. Mattjimf

    I was looking at the cost for a taxi from central London to Watford for a wedding. Uber were quoting £30-35, a taxi fare website was saying a taxi would cost £53. Given that difference in price, I'm not surprised the cabbies are spitting the dummy out.

    My local cab company have an app that does pretty much the same as Uber https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.autocab.taxibooker.dean.newcastle so it looks like they are ahead of London when it comes to technology.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      I don't know about London, but some cab companies (particularly in the US where taxi services are usually private and compete with each other) have wised up and set up their own Web systems for requesting services. They can use GPS both to track the cabs and the hails, the hail knows where their cab is and how much longer they have to wait, and no matter what the address, a cabbie will know just where to go (plus the hail can check the route and note it's fair--it need not be shortest if it's avoiding traffic).

      If not for the rumors I hear that London cabbies intentionally take roundabout routes, I'm surprised they haven't decided to fight fire with fire and wire up the cabs.

  21. Tim99 Silver badge
    Coat

    London

    Ah, but do they "Don't do South of the River" in the rain?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Passing the Knowledge is a proven way of moving up and into the middle classes (or even staying in it when your well paid white collar job has been superceded). So reforming or tinkering with the profession will always be unpopular, but that doesn't mean that it should be left unreformed.

    While London cabbies are popularly thought to be well to the right politically, they earn their living in a publicly run and administered system. Competition among Hackey cabs is artificially restricted by limiting the number of London wide licences to 28,000 or so. It takes 3 or more years for most people to pass their Appearances or give up because there are simply not the licences to hand out.

    The quickest way to liberalise the system would be to increase the number of available licences. Applicants would still have to study the Knowledge and pass their appearances but there would not be the artifical log jam of the lack of licences.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ever thought that perhaps there's a limited number of cab licenses for a reason? Namely they don't want to fill and crowd the streets with cabs? New York does the same thing: they only keep a limited number of taxi medallions (these are the operating permits essentially) issued out. Sounds cruel until you realize just how crowded New York City is: especially in Manhattan.

  23. blade-runner

    London roads clogged...

    I actually think they have a valid argument, and there are many benefits to having licensed London Taxi drivers that are properly regulated.

    However I doubt anyone would notice if they tried to clog the roads, as they are pretty much in that state already...

  24. JaitcH
    Happy

    Fancy that, Luddites alive and well in London

    There are so many positives for using Smartphones.

    For the driver:

    1. A map showing where the fare is;

    2. Security - user is identifiable, reducing potential robbery/assault;

    3. Assured payment - with credit card;

    4. Potential for building a long-term business relationship.

    5. Business accounting;

    6. Fare retention - disappearing fare can get penalty charge.

    For the user:

    1. Direct contact with assigned driver;

    2. Assured driver attendance;

    3. Security - knowing your driver + cab is locatable;

    4. Fare invoicing for business purposes/expense reclaim.

    For society:

    1. Reduced pollution;

    2. Reduced 'cruising' traffic.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: JaitcH Re: Fancy that, Luddites alive and well in London

      "For the driver:

      1. A map showing where the fare is;" - Due to the knowledge, the cabbie doesn't need the map, therefore has full attention on the bust London streets, unlike the Uber driver.

      "2. Security - user is identifiable, reducing potential robbery/assault;" - reverse is true seeing as Hackney cabs have armoured windows between the driver and passengers, whereas as most minivans do not. Most Hackney cabs also have security cameras, a plus for both passengers and drivers, especially for female passengers worried about being assaulted or raped by minivan drivers.

      "3. Assured payment - with credit card; "and nobody ever buys stuff online with stolen credit card details, right?

      "4. Potential for building a long-term business relationship." So how do you do that with individual customers? What, are the drivers supposed to wait around all day, turning down other business, just in case you call? The truth is with Uber you will not what quality of driver or vehicle you are getting as the pic of the car could be years old. And will Über be following up on their drivers after they join? How will Über know if they are subsequently convicted of a crime that would see a cabbie's license revoked? How much faith can we put in Uber's ability to sift out fake IDs or those hiding criminal pasts?

      "5. Business accounting; "cabbies work for garages with accountants or are private owners and use professional accountants.

      "6. Fare retention - disappearing fare can get penalty charge." Yeah, so the driver can't be arsed or misses the appointment because he got lost following his satnav, but claims the customer never showed. Of course, the customer claims the opposite, even in the cases where they were actually changed their minds and want to screw the driver out of a fare. How does Uber umpire disputes?

      "For the user:

      1. Direct contact with assigned driver;" - So what happens when Ted, the registered Uber driver, is a fake, Bob turns up instead and says he is a replacement as Ted has had an accident. Only Bob created Ted because Bob is a registered criminal, maybe a sex offender, and Uber offers him a great way to pick up unsuspecting victims....

      "2. Assured driver attendance;". How? What happens if the driver decides he can't be bothered with the job, it's too far from home or it's nearing the end of his shift, but he claims it was the passenger that didn't show? How does Uber umpire disputes?

      "3. Security - knowing your driver + cab is locatable;". Again, how? Does Uber provide a tracking device to each driver? Because the passenger has a mobile phone? People get mugged carrying mobes every day.

      "4. Fare invoicing for business purposes/expense reclaim." Cabbies use meters for every ride and accountants for business purposes. Their meter systems are regulated and checked. How will Uber's systems be overseen?

      "For society:

      "1. Reduced pollution;". So the lost Uber driver that has to drive twice as far because they don't have the Knowledge, in a vehicle that does not necessarily have regular servicing like a Hackney cab and could therefore pollute more than a cab? That reduces pollution how?

      "2. Reduced 'cruising' traffic." Don't be silly - where are the Uber cabs going to park in London? They will have to cruise about waiting for a call, which they will have to take whilst driving. You think they are going to park up miles from the busiest part of London, the City? You obviously have never lived in London.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: JaitcH Fancy that, Luddites alive and well in London

        http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9126692/the-case-against-london-black-cabs/

        Such law abiding fellows the Black Cab drivers

      2. Squander Two

        Re: JaitcH Fancy that, Luddites alive and well in London

        > Most Hackney cabs also have security cameras, a plus for both passengers and drivers, especially for female passengers worried about being assaulted or raped by minivan drivers.

        Er, why would a woman feel reassured by relying on a camera operated and maintained by the guy who might be a rapist? If he is, he'll just turn it off, surely.

        > and nobody ever buys stuff online with stolen credit card details, right?

        And nobody ever buys stuff using counterfeit cash, right?

        > So how do you do that with individual customers? What, are the drivers supposed to wait around all day, turning down other business, just in case you call?

        Er, what are you on about? I suspect, if someone were to suggest that, say, Microsoft couldn't possibly develop a long-term business relationship with a customer without making sure that one and only one member of Microsoft staff ever had any contact with that customer, you'd see that that was bollocks.

        > Yeah, so the driver can't be arsed or misses the appointment because he got lost following his satnav

        If this were actually happening, London cab drivers wouldn't be threatening industrial action. The reason they're losing business is that Uber are doing well, are popular, and that is because they're providing a good service. If they were shit, they wouldn't be able to do very good business without, oh, I don't know, some sort of state-enforced protectionist monopoly.

        > So what happens when Ted, the registered Uber driver, is a fake, Bob turns up instead and says he is a replacement as Ted has had an accident. Only Bob created Ted because Bob is a registered criminal, maybe a sex offender, and Uber offers him a great way to pick up unsuspecting victims....

        If you're going to bring up the subject of criminals lying, then surely you must acknowledge that they could lie about being black cab drivers or they could lie about being Uber drivers. Mind you, if you were a criminal predator, buying a second-hand black cab and just driving around in it would be a hell of a lot easier than going to all the trouble of creating a fake ID and would be less risky than registering with a firm like Uber.

        > What happens if the driver decides he can't be bothered with the job, it's too far from home or it's nearing the end of his shift, but he claims it was the passenger that didn't show?

        Again, if Uber drivers were doing this, the company would be failing, not succeeding. Furthermore, I can hear a million hollow laughs from everyone who's ever tried hailing a black cab late at night to get back home to South London.

        > Cabbies use meters for every ride and accountants for business purposes. Their meter systems are regulated and checked. How will Uber's systems be overseen?

        Well, the black cab's meters are regulated, and Uber are consistently much cheaper than black cabs, so it looks like they're being regulated pretty well by the market, doesn't it?

        > in a vehicle that does not necessarily have regular servicing like a Hackney cab and could therefore pollute more than a cab?

        A modern saloon car that pollutes more than a black cab? What planet are you on? Have you ever stood behind a black cab? If so, could you see it through the black cloud?

    2. Slabfondler

      Re: Fancy that, Luddites alive and well in London

      There's an app for that, Hailo.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wot? Sarf side of the effing river THIS time of night, mate - you gotta be kidding, guv!

  26. Stephen 2

    Philippines

    They're also trying to ban Uber (recently launched) and other similar offerings in the Philippines.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Philippines

      Just plain DRIVING in the Philippines is a nightmare. Especially in Metro Manila. Shoddy roads, missing road marks, improvised barricades, and drivers for whom traffic laws are only recommendations. In such an environment, cabbies and hired drivers (two separate classes in the Philippines) need to be a hardy breed.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    is dangerous for Londoners

    any public announcement such as "x is dangerous for y" is a fail-safe sign that it's a lie.

    mad cow... well ;)

  28. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Pirate

    "Nice commute you got there"

    "You know, a man should take care of his commute. Make sure that nothing happens to make it longer."

    (With apologies to "The Untouchables")

  29. thedarke

    Clear most people commenting here haven't used Uber (or a black cab in recent memory). Issue is the cabbies don't even get why Uber is successful- and that it actually could work in their favour. I use Uber in NYC in place of minicabs- but I still use yellow cabs as well.

    Uber doesn't lead to cheaper fares in general- what it does have is immense convenience (I don't have to stand in a taxi rank, on street corner in the snow, fight with others for the only cab running) and it's mini-economy fluxates the pricing based on the demand for that time of day. Mutual reviews between drivers and passengers that persist (yes the drivers review you too- this is the key difference with minicab web apps- those reviews count as well, get good reviews and you get better cars and cheaper fares), and that I don't need to carry cash make it an excellent service- I pull up the app and I have a private car that I can take to go to this place, wait for me for 10 minutes, then go on to here- all without compliant or bargaining. Roughly the fares work out the same as yellow cabs, but talking to the drivers they get a smaller cut when compared to standard minicab dispatch (in the order of 20% going to Uber).

    But- I also loved using yellow cabs, and it's same in London. My biggest issue with London cabbies is their steadfast refusal to provide decent customer service unlike their US counterparts. Every yellow cab in the US accepts credit & debit cards- few in the UK do. US drivers don't say 'not going there mate'- they take the fare end of story. As such- Uber hasn't dented the yellow cab business- it's just swallowed the minicab business whole. So if the black cabs pulled their socks up, got into the 21st century- stopped charging your left testicle to go less than a mile- Uber could be one of the best things that happened to the black cab since the invention of the combustion engine by eliminating the Addison Lees of the world.

    Black cabs still have all the natural advantages of the road in London- access to lanes that minicabs can't, prime locations at major transport hubs, the entire brand of the Black Cab. If they learned to use that, and not punish the rest of London and curbed their extreme left knee jerk reactions of 'Strike! That'll show them!' and actually raised their game- they'd probably get a good deal out of this.

    1. Gaspergomez

      I,m a london black cab driver. There are some basic & plain inaccuracies on here but also some sound knowledge & assessments.. Firstly the planned demonstration is not only regarding Uber, but a culmination of issues with our regulatory authority TFL..TFL also regulate the private hire/minicab business & we have a unique situation whereby the trade bodies of both taxi & private hire are united in their dissatisfaction... Uber is exploiting the grey area of pre-booking/operator licence.. Without getting too legal, that is why they are banned in some cities & working in others..our issue isn't with Uber but the way that TFL have not abided by the legislation in place..

      It's interesting to read some of the public,s thoughts on black cabs in London...I probably shared those thoughts before I did the knowledge !

      Let me give some truths from the other side of the partition...I can honestly say that the 'long way round/scenic route' myth is just that...firstly, it is better for us to get you there ASAP. Moving onto the next job quickly produces higher revenue...secondly, I go 'strange' routes most days because I know something is blocked, accident, poor lights sequence etc..thirdly, if a cab driver is deliberately fiddling people you won't last long..he will be reported & lose his licence..fourthly, strange accents & overseas features mean nothing in London. You have probably been living here for years..Tourists have usually been here before so again, not being an indigenous Londoner mark you out..

      Cost ! In some instances we may be more expensive than PH but not always...addison Lee have a minimum charge of £12.. Other PH firms £10.. That gets you quite a way in a black cab..you will get there quickly, safely in a vehicle fully insured & a driver who knows where he,s going..

      There's lots more I could say but I reiterate the uber app is just one aspect of the demo...in fact if you want an instant hailing app try the ultra successful HAILO app. A black cab will pick you up at home with a free 5 minute wait & no run-in charges...no driver attitude either !

      Oh ! Before you all think uber is the second coming, what is the deal with Surge Pricing ? A black cab will never charge you 2 or 3 times the fare just because it's busy..

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        @gaspergomez

        I'll accept your assertion that you are an honest bloke just trying to do a job. Would you then support a screen readable by the customer that shows the ideal quickest route between current location, any blockages/congestion etc in real time and the corrected route, and any deviations from that? The problem at the moment is that the customer does not know when you are using "The Knowledge" to avoid a problem, and when the mythical (according to you) dishonest cabbie is taking the scenic route. My suggestion would level up the playing field.

        Regarding tourists - it is fairly easy to spot at least a proportion of tourists, and so the unscrupulous cabbie can take advantage. There are enough complaints circulating to suggest that not all are lacking in evidence.

        A point you didn't answer is the refusal of your colleagues (I'm sure you never do it) to take people where the cabbie doesn't want to go. If you want special treatment, then the customer should not be refused transport merely because it doesn't suit the cabbie. There should be an automatic suspension of the licence of any cabbie that refuses to go "south of river at this time" - which could be easily proven/defended by evidence from the recorders in the cabs.

        If your profession started considering itself a service, instead of each taxi being a small fiefdom of its own, and there might be a change in our attitude towards you. As it is, Uber starts to look like a good thing (except for surge pricing, which I think is atrocious).

        1. Gaspergomez

          Re: @gaspergomez

          Hi,

          That screen facility is already available to passengers who can follow the route on their smartphone ( and many do).. But what defines the best route ? London is not a grid system..look at a map of central london & see the random way the city has grown..

          Sorry to be firm on this but ripping people off will cause you to lose your licence ! You won,t last...routes are subjective & just because a driver takes a different route to what you expected does not mean they are taking advantage.... If you favour a route ask the driver at the start (many,myself included, have a sign saying this)

          I answered the tourist question on previous message.. What complaints circulating ? Was the driver reported ? What was the complaint ? ..it's a tired & erroneous comment

          You are quite right on the issue of refusals...it is wrong & a slur on the many drivers who serve the public well...if you are sober & non abusive, hail a cab & are refused, then take the licence number & report the driver...a copy of your complaint is sent to the driver for comment (your details are blocked out)... Persistent refusals (3 or more) the driver will have his licence suspended or revoked..

          However, be aware that drivers can legally refuse people if they are drunk, abusive or going a distance of more than 12 miles..I refused a guy Saturday night who was drunk..it's legal..

          In terms of the comments on 'monopoly' I don't quite see that ! The public in london have choice of what transport they want to use...private hire has been here since the early sixties..if you want to use a private hire vehicle you can..if your talking about 'ply for hire' then It is quite right that anyone getting in a taxi off the street knows the the driver/vehicle is licenced, knows where he is going & is accountable..the cost is visible on a meter..deregulate that & every chancer in london will be driving a car on a Friday & Saturday night charging you £60 back to the elephant from soho & having a grope of your girlfriend

          The london taxi service is regularly voted the best in the world..as I said it's the administration of TFL that the demo is regarding. Uber just happens to be the straw that broke the camels back..

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: @gaspergomez

            Thanks for your reply, gg.

            I know about the legality of refusing drunk and abusive potential customers, and I have no problem with that. I didn't know about the 12 mile rule - is that just London? That seems to be wrong to me, but there well may be a justification somewhere.

            The screen idea is one that doesn't require the customer to use gps and data (bearing in mind that it would cost a lot on data for overseas travellers). The screen would have the same information displayed as you, the driver, have. Delays, roadworks etc - all displayed in as near realtime as possible. Satnav is fairly good at working out the best route on the fly these days - the days of The Knowledge are reaching their end (plus, let's face it, nowhere else requires taxi drivers to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of their patch - maybe it was always over-rated).

            Fair comment about the complaints - the only complaint I know of was from a friend who lives in London, who realised he'd been conned by the "round-about-route" dodge soon after he'd moved there only after he'd got more familiar with the city. He discovered it when another cabbie took him the "proper" route, 15 minutes shorter, and several quid cheaper ... Arguing that there aren't complaints when people haven't a clue who it was that took them, and didn't realise they had been conned for days or weeks is a specious argument. As I said in an earlier post - the customer should always get a receipt, and I'll add another rule - make sure the name and licence number are legibly printed on it. In fact, it should be made mandatory that a card with the details of the driver and cab are supplied to customer when they get in the cab.

            I haven't actually argued that there shouldn't be any regulation of ply for hire - you are quite correct in arguing that it has a purpose. It isn't perfect, and could do with tweaking in line with some of the comments I've made in order that honest cabbies can be seen to be honest, but it isn't bad. However, I don't see that Uber are causing that much of a problem - a journey and a rate negotiated and agreed before the two get together, and not at the kerbside, is going to be good for all. If Hailo is as good, it should have the backing of cabbies and be pushed widely to compete with Uber. On the other hand, if you are simply buggy-whip makers trying to resist progress that empowers the consumer, then good riddance.

          2. Squander Two

            Re: @gaspergomez

            > The london taxi service is regularly voted the best in the world

            Voted by whom? People who've tried all the taxi services in the world? Surely all such a result really shows us is that London has a huge population and a lot of visitors.

            Value Cabs in Belfast are far better than the London hacks, but how many people are going to vote for them?

            > if you are sober & non abusive, hail a cab & are refused, then take the licence number & report the driver...a copy of your complaint is sent to the driver for comment (your details are blocked out)... Persistent refusals (3 or more) the driver will have his licence suspended or revoked..

            Hmm, let's see. It's late at night, it's raining, I want to get home... I know! I'll somehow record the small number on the back of the vehicle that's speeding away in the dark and then get involved in a long-drawn-out bureaucratic process! Or I could just phone a minicab. Tough call.

            Successful organisations realise at some point that they have to make complaining as easy as possible, because complaints are (as you have recognised) an opportunity to make your organisation better. If you don't get a complaint, the problem is still there but you don't fix it, and this is manifested as lost sales to a competitor. Which is in fact what's happening. You and your colleagues need to realise that every time someone uses Uber, that is a complaint against you. Your problem is that you have to try and get hold of the specifics of those complaints so that you can improve and not lose the sales. However, whenever anyone mentions any of the very well known faults with your service that, let's face it, most of the complaints are about, you develop siege mentality and claim none of it could possibly be true. And now you have a cunning plan to piss off as many of your customers as possible while giving maximum publicity to your competitors. Brilliant!

            > In terms of the comments on 'monopoly' I don't quite see that !

            Really? Let me remind you: it's the thing you're about to take industrial action to protect.

            > if your talking about 'ply for hire' then It is quite right that anyone getting in a taxi off the street knows the the driver/vehicle is licenced, knows where he is going & is accountable..the cost is visible on a meter..deregulate that & every chancer in london will be driving a car on a Friday & Saturday night charging you £60 back to the elephant from soho & having a grope of your girlfriend

            This scaremongering is ridiculous. Ply-for-hire and meters are two separate things that have SFA to do with each other. No-one is suggesting that ply-for-hire be deregulated. You are about to take industrial action to protect your bizarre monopoly on meters, which only exists in London. Minicabs throughout the rest of the UK have meters installed, even in areas where they're not allowed to ply for hire, and the things you're claiming are inevitable just aren't happening. It takes a special kind of obtuseness to argue, as you do, that allowing minicabs to have meters installed will make it more likely that they'll overcharge. Overcharging is precisely what meters prevent -- which is why, in most of the country, the rule of thumb is "If you can't see the meter, don't get in." But of course you know that: the fact that the lack of a meter makes the cab look untrustworthy is precisely why you and your colleagues have successfully denied meters to your competition.

            Meanwhile, if you will insist on dragging ply-for-hire into the debate, John Worboys provided a pretty good demonstration that regulating it doesn't actually stop predatory violent criminals from operating long-term as black cab drivers. So maybe you should not go there.

  30. CCCP

    Never trusted cabs. Black or otherwise. In any country.

    It's the perfect example of an asymmetric market. Cabbie knows everything locally. You may or may not know route or short cuts.

    The idea that Black Cabs in London are somehow "special" is ridiculous. They all have GPSs anyway, just like other cabs.

    Get used to it.

  31. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    When will the metrocentric London-based media get it into their heads that anything London-based is an exception, *NOT* the rule. London has its own London-specific taxi licensing system completely different to civilised places. Plenty of places outside the M25 already have taxi firms that do internet booking, it's just a logical extension of telephone booking.

  32. Sirius Lee

    Most comment miss the point. That certain modes of transport have a monopoly creates a market distortion. In this case the consequence is that the licenced taxi cab business has no need to raise its game. As a result an upstart has found it can offer a service that is attractive. I'm guessing most posters on here are men who, for the most part, do not worry about being attacked or molested. But some will have daughters.

    So is it not comforting that when your beloved daughter is going to get in a taxi - regardless of who operates it - she can let you and her friends see who it going to be providing her with the service, the route they are going to take and how long that journey will take, etc.. Seems like an excellent idea to me. It just a real pity the licenced taxi cab service did not offer this level of service years ago and that it takes a US company to make the investment to try to offer it. Then instead of embracing it - perhaps offering it as a premium service - they resort to industrial action.

    If Uber were my idea the licenced business would be my first port of call so one can only imagine the businesses would have been contacted first. Presumably the licenced businesses said 'No', 'Non' and 'Nein'.

  33. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Uber has been banned in <city>

    Seems to me that that is a sure sign of monopoly disruption (since we're not talking about criminal or immoral activity), and I don't see how that can be a Bad Thing (tm).

  34. Maryland, USA

    It's a choice

    Yet another group who have a problem with capitalist acts between consenting adults.

  35. Atonnis

    F'kem

    Between having a black cab driver half knock me down by driving off whilst I had my head in his window as I asked him to take me across London Bridge for about 1/2 a mile...when I was on crutches with a cast around my leg...

    ...and the fact that they always want to give you their opinion on something, usually in a bullish tone...

    ....and the sorry whinging they throw out about 'the knowledge' and huff-n-puff attitude about any sort of competition..

    .....they can all go ferk themselves.

  36. melswife

    i've spent an awful long time reading many media reports over this and much more time reading the comments sections. i realise as a cab driver i am not going to be popular but would like a chance to correct some inaccuracies if i may.

    firstly the LTDA, and i'm not a member, have called for action against TFL's lack of enforcement of existing rules. these rules are being breached by uber. it is not a demo against uber and in actual fact the same action could have been called for over many of TFL's other failings. also it is not just london's black cab drivers that feel let down by TFL. steve wright, chair of LPHCA (licensed private hire car association), has tabled a motion of no confidence in TFL over this. he also wrote a letter to taxi drivers asking us to join him in the fight against TFL. i won't bore you with the legalities of this uber app nor the many other concerns we have with TFL's lack of enforcement.

    i would also like the chance to debate with many of the readers of this article. i have only been driving a cab for 2 years. it took me 3.5 years to complete the knowledge and unlike many cabbies i tell all my passengers that anyone can do it. it's not hard. it is however very very boring. you put your life on hold till it's finally done. you revise every moment you are not sleeping and your sleep gets less and less the further you get. the knowledge isn't the cab driver's idea. it is a requirement steeped in history and laid in law to one day legally drive a hackney carriage on the streets of london. to me driving a cab is just a job and the knowledge just something allowing me to do so. the vehicles we drive are not our design. if you think the back is uncomfortable try sitting in the front for an hour :) they have a huge steel chassis which the body is wrapped around. they are incredibly safe for all inside, though TFL don't think a front airbag is a necessity. they have to be partitioned with perspex, have an expensive turning circle and be wheelchair accessible. this all costs and is not optional. they also require two MOT's annually and are only allowed 15 years in service.

    the taximeter is a requirement by law. unlike minicabs we can not price our own journeys. the meters are tamper proof and are set and controlled by the mayor of london. the meter works in both the driver and the passenger's favour. being on view the entire journey eliminates arguments at destination.

    when i started driving a cab i had a card machine in the back of the cab as i wanted to be the most professional i could be. unlike paying for tube and bus journeys or items from shops for that matter, in a cab you pay at your destination. far too many times when a customer tried to pay by card the machine would decline. after several attempts and many cards later we would then start looking for working atm's with my meter switched off. still trying to be as professional as i can, i eliminated that issue and removed the machine.

    many say competition is a good thing and i agree. there are over 70,000 minicab drivers in london to 22,000/25,000 black cab drivers. it's not however a level playing field as the odds are stacked up against us.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and still you say monopoly?

    the knowledge of london is open and available to everyone. it doesn't discriminate and has been the required entry for driving a black cab since 1851. hackney carriages have been roaming london streets since 1636 (no wonder we all look so tired and fed up). i chose to do the knowledge as it was a career that i needed. minicab drivers chose their path either to fill a gap or because they didn't want the financial burden that the knowledge dictates. uber have chosen their path because they believe law shouldn't apply to the wealthy.

    there is a high turnover with minicab licenses. many don't renew when their license expires. others do and except that not doing the knowledge allows them less advantage on where and when they can pick up clients. there are many professions that require different levels of qualification and driving a cab is no different. i find it absurd that it should be ridiculed or suggestion of it being a cartel.

    from charles I & oliver cromwell to the met police and tfl, we have been the most regulated taxi service in the world. whilst we still willingly jump through hoops will tfl uphold the law for others?

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