back to article Uber is killing off iconic black cabs, warns Zac Goldsmith

London's iconic black cabs could disappear from the capital's streets in a few years due to an unfair playing field created by Uber, Conservative mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith has warned. "The tragedy is that black cabs’ days could soon be numbered. If trends continue, I do not think that there is any doubt that they will be …

  1. Stuart 39

    It's bloody chinese owned now anyway so who gives a hoot!

    Once upon a time they were best of British. Now owned by some Chinese company ^H^H^H government. The same government that is basically screwing the entire western world whilst we do nothing about it.

    It is no longer British. It is like Cadbury take over part 2, no longer anything to do with day to day British stuff.

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: It's bloody chinese owned now anyway so who gives a hoot!

      The cabs may be made by a foreign owned firm, but the drivers themselves are largely self employed

      1. mythicalduck

        Re: It's bloody chinese owned now anyway so who gives a hoot!

        Self employed? Do they do other work too, because this:

        its drivers earn far less than the London living wage; in some cases, they earn a lot less than the minimum wage

        1. Nigel Whitfield.

          Re: It's bloody chinese owned now anyway so who gives a hoot!

          Goldsmith's claim about the low wages was referring to Uber drivers.

          The people I referred to as self-employed are the black cab drivers.

          1. dotdavid

            Re: It's bloody chinese owned now anyway so who gives a hoot!

            ...although there is also some controversy around the employment status of Uber drivers too; Uber would describe them as self-employed, some beg to differ.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: It's bloody chinese owned now anyway so who gives a hoot!

              well, it's the corner stone of uber profitability, right? All the perks of self-employed workforce (low pay), and no burden (tax, social insurance, legal accountability, etc). Totally, like, perfect business model, man!

          2. Planty Bronze badge

            Re: It's bloody chinese owned now anyway so who gives a hoot!

            The Uber drivers I have spoken to think Uber is great for drivers , just as its great for consumers.

            It seems this is yet another shitstorm created by those that just woke up from their complacency sleep.

            I don't live in London, but on a recent us trip I used Uber at Heathrow and stateside, and the experience was superb, a million miles away from a expensive grubby black cab that still smells of the cabbie's bacon butty he just finished.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's bloody chinese owned now anyway so who gives a hoot!

        "The cabs may be made by a foreign owned firm, but the drivers themselves are largely self employed"

        Nigel, how many cabbies are actually British ?

        1. Nigel Whitfield.

          Re: It's bloody chinese owned now anyway so who gives a hoot!

          Honestly, I can't say I've undertaken a statistically relevant survey.

          Equally, I can't see why the nationality of the drivers should particularly matter. Black cab drivers are, pretty much by definition, self employed people, working in London.

      3. Planty Bronze badge
        FAIL

        Re: It's bloody chinese owned now anyway so who gives a hoot!

        #failoftheday

        Uber do black cabs too...

        http://newsroom.uber.com/london/2014/06/introducing-ubertaxi/

    2. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: It's bloody chinese owned now anyway so who gives a hoot!

      "Once upon a time they were best of British"

      Their problems began when the best of British designers designed the best of British steering system for the Black Cab, and there was a massive safety flaw found with the best of British steering system. So they had to be recalled. And because of their best of British mistake, they then went bankrupt because of it.

      So, Stuart 39 if that's you're real name, NIGEL FARAGE, I request you get a black cab to Brighton Pier and take a long walk off it.

  2. ratfox Silver badge

    Is that a tragedy?

    I doubt people come to London to visit its iconic black cabs. Now, if the double-decker buses were to disappear, however…

    1. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

      Re: Is that a tragedy?

      Indeed. Once on a business trip I took a Black Cab from Heathrow to downtown London, the bill from that killed my transport budget for the rest of the week. Took Uber on the way back ended up with a bill less than a quarter the cost, plus it was easier to get to my destination as I typed it rather than tell my destination to some guy who sounded like he was trying to swallow a bag of marbles...

  3. hplasm Silver badge
    Meh

    No black cabs?

    What will Britain London do?

    As a wise man once said:- "Oh dear. How sad. Never mind."

  4. Preston Munchensonton

    I've read the article three times and can't understand for the life of me what Goldsmith has to complain about unless he's attempting to protect the monopoly power of the black cab trade union (obviously). Shouldn't consumers be getting what they want, how they want it, when they want it, at the price they want it? Silly me for thinking it was the "public good" with which politicians were supposed to be concerned.

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      And what if "the price they want" means that ever increasing numbers of people aren't earning the minimum wage, let alone the London Living Wage?

      Disruption appears to mean that we ditch a regulated system of drivers that are definitely insured, and knowledgable, for one with far fewer checks, a company syphoning as much cash as it can out of the country, and people working for a pittance.

      Once the black cab trade dies, and local minicab firms are struggling, we can all relax in the free market joy of Uber and their surge pricing which will - I would take a bet - become more frequent once they have a near-monopoly. But it'll all be ok because it's disruptive, and internet connected and all sorts of other Brave New Bollocks.

      Black cabs aren't for everyone; nor are minicabs. But at different times, and for different reasons, they do all fulfill different needs. London (and other cities) is best served by having a range of options, not by a race to the bottom that mostly achieves and offshoring of profits and a growing class of people who can barely afford to live here.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Meh

        "London (and other cities) is best served by having a range of options, "

        So by that very argument, Uber should be allowed then.

        1. Nigel Whitfield.

          Well, there's certainly an argument for choice. But if we have regulations about safety, or insurance, or even a minimum wage, we shouldn't simply allow a company to sidestep all those just because they've got an app and some clever accountants and lawyers.

        2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          "So by that very argument, Uber should be allowed then."

          So long as the drivers & cars meet the same standards of training, insurance/liability, and working wage limits etc, that other cab companies are bound to operate by, yes.

      2. James Micallef Silver badge

        "Disruption appears to mean that we ditch a regulated system.... "

        And yet, Uber is apparently operating under a 'pre-booking' taxi license which, while not as heavily regulated as 'hail-at-the-kerb' taxi license, should still ensure that drivers are insured and cars pass minimum safety standards.

        If this is not the case, then the 26 authorities who have given Uber some sort of license to operate are not doing their job. As to the future of black cabs, the answer is in the part of the article where it says that with the rapidity of the Uber app (but really could be any taxi app not just Uber), 'pre-booking' a cab is now almost equivalent to hailing one. So the answer is to scrap the regulatory distinction between the two, which will make the regulatory burden to be borne by black taxis equal to that borne by Uber.

        The black taxis can in any case band together and develop their own technology to compete (they know that, right?), or join Uber, or join an Uber competitor...

        1. Preston Munchensonton

          The black taxis can in any case band together and develop their own technology to compete (they know that, right?), or join Uber, or join an Uber competitor...

          If only this were true. The special interest behind black cabs won't seek to do anything more than perpetuate their current monopoly status on other players, thereby further entrenching the control and power of their special interest among politicians.

      3. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Disruption appears to mean that we ditch a regulated system of drivers that are definitely insured, and knowledgable, for one with far fewer checks, a company syphoning as much cash as it can out of the country, and people working for a pittance.

        20 years ago, knowing the best route from Marble Arch to London Bridge was a useful skill. In the days of sat-nav, is it still? People are voting with their wallets to say that it is not.

      4. Hugh Barnard

        Yes agree. This is the promise of TTIP too, lower standards and concentration on profit above every other consideration. Happily I'm pretty old, so I won't have to live with this kind of world . I'm not against profit but I am against 'abuse of dominant position', predatory pricing, zero hour contracts etc. etc. There's a reason that previous generations fought for this stuff.

    2. captain veg

      Re: I've read the article three times

      Read it again. He is worried that they are using predatory pricing to kill the competition. Once in a quasi-monopoly position they can then gouge as much as they like.

      -A.

      1. Preston Munchensonton

        Re: I've read the article three times

        "Read it again. He is worried that they are using predatory pricing to kill the competition. Once in a quasi-monopoly position they can then gouge as much as they like."

        Who's to say that their pricing is predatory when the State fixes the prices for the highly-regulated industry? If anything, the State has been in a true-monopoly situation for too long and then the little guy comes up with a better widget or service that topples the monopoly power.

    3. Anomalous Cowshed

      Shouldn't consumers be getting what they want, how they want it, when they want it

      "Shouldn't consumers be getting what they want, how they want it, when they want it, at the price they want it? Silly me for thinking it was the "public good" with which politicians were supposed to be concerned."

      In a country populated only by consumers, that might be correct. But a country is not made up merely of consumers. There are also workers, who in a normal country, earn the money used to consume, or make the things that are consumed.

      I reckon that the "public good" need to be considered in a balanced manner, especially when the new operator that enters the market and disrupts it doesn't create any new value, but instead merely channels the profits formerly earned by the workers / the people making the products or providing the services, into a new and single pocket: it's own.

  5. AceRimmer

    Speed of hiring

    I frequently catch a mini cab from a south london station to the hotel I use mid week when working in the area.

    The station has a black cab rank at the front who will want about £10 to get me to my destination

    There is a mini cab office at the back of the station and almost always has cars waiting. It takes 10 seconds to tell the dispatch guy my destination and then i take a few steps to the waiting car. They charge £5 for the same distance.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Speed of hiring

      Yes, it's the synthetic distinction between cabs and mini-cabs that's the real problem. Level the playing field for everyone so that people can get cabs more easily, and parasites like Uber can piss off until they come up with some real added value.

      Given how much tax avoidance runs through the London institutions I would be careful about complaining about its use: glasshouses, stones and what not.

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Speed of hiring

      And Über would probably charge about £20 if the sample comparative quotes I've taken are anywhere near representative.

  6. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Uber drivers can buy a black cab (any colour really), second hand quite cheaply. It'd make them look legit as well !!!!

  7. Lallabalalla
    IT Angle

    Goldsmith is trying to get elected mayor

    that's the only thing he cares about. Why the hell is the reg helping him campaign anyway?

    He's a Tory, he should leave it to "the market" and stop pretending he gives a stuff.

    As far as I'm concerned black cabs can survive as a £20-a-go tourist thing or whatever. Who really cares anyway?

  8. RISC OS

    Why should I care?

    I don't get paid enough to be able to use one... unlike goldsmith

    1. Andrew Taylor 1

      Re: Why should I care?

      "I don't get paid enough MP's expenses to be able to use one... unlike goldsmith" There put that right for you

  9. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    Can't get rid of them quickly enough

    Last week an unsuspecting German colleague took a black cab from Heathrow to our Bracknell office, mid-morning, and got charged 126 pounds. We make that journey all the time and the normal fare is about 40 quid. It's legal but black cabs please just die.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. tony

    Cabs,

    If every black cab had at least a card reader, I'd be happier to take a cab

    1. Stuart 39

      Re: Cabs,

      Well you will mysteriously find is that the card reader suddenly "doesn't work". It does but they claim it doesn't. Frequent occurrence in the US. It is very much a cash business and people paying with card don't do "keep the change".

      Sad but true.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Cabs,

        I remember one taxi trip in Chicago, going to the airport. In Chicago, the taxi drivers are required by law to always accept card payments - if they can't, I think you get the ride for free. I didn't mention I was paying by card until we got to the airport, at which point the genial polite taxi driver from the past 30 minutes disappeared, and I got called all kinds of names under the sun

        He then gets out an old credit card imprinter - the ones with carbon paper! - and scrunches through my debit card. I was going to give him a cash tip, but instead I gave him a literal one - don't call a Welsh man an "English motherfucker", especially when he's hungover.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cabs,

        This is where you say "OK, who can I phone at head office to give my my card details to?"

        Then the card reader miraculously starts working again.

        They were just hoping to siphon off a few cash jobs into their own pocket.

  11. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    "Uber is killing off black cabs"

    Don't care. Don't live in London. Or go there if i can avoid it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Uber is killing off black cabs"

      Outside London, mini cabs have meters too that run from the mileage, not the journey time like Black Cab's

      A ride of 2 miles, Blackfriars to Fleet Street cost me over £20 because of the roadworks, I could have got out and walked but it seemed impolite

      Haven't taken a black cab since

      PS I have 2 Black Cab driving relatives, both are utter arseholes!

    2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: "Uber is killing off black cabs"

      Round our way they're black and white, and contrary to London area usually only a pound or two dearer than calling a minicab.

      Which is helpful when you've got two kids to man handle and can't be arsed trotting to the far side of Leeds train station to wait for traffic to clear long enough for the cab to turn up.

  12. bluesxman

    Two Different Issues

    On one hand Uber may be dodging tax and screwing their drivers.

    On the other hand, to paraphrase Darwin, evolve or die (can't guarantee you won't do one then the other though).

    Can't say I'm thrilled with the former, the latter sits fine with me.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: Evolution

      Uber and their ilk are the clear future here. As soon as the first self-driving car hits the street, all independent taxi drivers will be consigned to the history bin.

  13. Valerion

    Too expensive

    I got a black cab home from Heathrow once - about a 45-60 minute journey. It came to £180. £180 for an hours work ain't too bad.... of course, I had no idea what the cost would be beforehand. Luckily the company was paying, not me.

    Next time I'll try and hail an Uber. It'll tell me in advance what the price is likely to be and will be a fraction of that.

    Even last week I got an Uber from my house to the tube station. It cost £6. On my return there wasn't an Uber close enough for me to want to wait for it so I got in a waiting black cab. Same journey (Actually slightly shorter due to one-way systems, and quicker due to no traffic) cost me £10. The Uber car was clean, modern and comfortable. The Taxi was dirty and noisy. The Uber car driver asked me if I wanted the temperature changed to increase my comfort. The Taxi driver seemed annoyed I'd interrupted his newspaper.

    Both have a place, but for me Uber provides the better, cheaper service. And as a consumer, that's what I'll choose.

  14. Silviu C.

    They're also killing off iconic shitty service. Good for them.

  15. Afernie

    "Uber is killing off iconic black cabs, warns Zac Goldsmith"

    Good. And incidentally, isn't Mr Goldsmith a member of that party who are apparently all about the free market and competition and such?

    1. Pat 11

      It's almost as if free markets are fine for other people but if it's messing up something he cares about...regulate!

    2. CM
      Childcatcher

      > isn't Mr Goldsmith a member of that party who are apparently all about the free market and competition and such?

      Such as expanding the very successful busy local airport?

  16. zebm

    Won't matter soon

    Google cabs will be here before they can change the legislation

  17. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    Open Uber...

    I wonder if you could do a kind of open source uber: cabs have a q-code on their doors, and you point your phone at it to hail going straight to the taxi's own booking site bypassing the mitte-men....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Open Uber...

      Yeah, I can see that working until the first chav with some black electrical tape converts the qcode into a link to redtube.com.

      1. ZanzibarRastapopulous

        Re: Open Uber...

        Damn you have technically savvy chavs round your way...

    2. AceRimmer

      Re: Open Uber...

      You could do something similar but at popular static locations... point phone at qcode or even better, use NFC and the uber app automatically books the car and driver for you

  18. Down not across Silver badge

    Tragedy ...not really

    "The tragedy is that black cabs’ days could soon be numbered. If trends continue, I do not think that there is any doubt that they will be extinct in a matter of years," he said, speaking in a Westminster debate.

    The number of minicab drivers in London has increased by 46 per cent to 86,500 compared with five years ago and is increasing by 1,000 every month, said Goldsmith.

    Not that much of a tragedy. All you seem to get from the black cabs in London is through the nose pricing and rather rude drivers who really seem to dislike their customers who after all are the ones paying their wages.

    And whose fault is that the number of minicab drivers are rising? They all need a license so surely the ratio of black vs minicabs can be controlled by whoever issues the licenses?

    Zac, you seem to think the black cab vote is enough to get you elected do you?

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Tragedy ...not really

      In London there is no limit on the number of people that can have either sort of licence. The exam you have to pass to get a black cab licence is very difficult, so there are a limited number of people who can pass it.

  19. Drem

    if $car !="Taxi" then sleep(900)

    I think that the best method that I've seen suggested for solving this is to ensure that the difference between a Taxi and a Mini Cab is to do with pre-booking.

    Taxis should have a higher threshold for driver training, checking, licencing and insurance, etc, and in return they get the benefits of being a registered taxi. This would include the use of bus lanes, and the ability to pick people up instantly, whether hailed in the traditional on-street manner, or via an app.

    Mini cabs get to have a lower threshold for those things, but can't use bus lanes, and have to be booked at least 15 minutes in advance.

    This helps to distinguish between the two services, and ensures user choice is preserved. If you can wait 15 minutes (or book knowing your train/flight etc arrival time) then you get the benefit, if you need something now, you may have to pay more.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: if $car !="Taxi" then sleep(900)

      I think that the best method that I've seen suggested for solving this is to ensure that the difference between a Taxi and a Mini Cab is to do with pre-booking.

      In the Uk it is illegal to hail a mini cab or for one to stop and collect you if it has not been pre-booked

      Black cabs can be hailed, stop on zigzags of crossings, U-turn in busy main roads, stop in the middle of a junction, stop at green lights, basically any thing they like to pick up a fare

      1. Drem

        Re: if $car !="Taxi" then sleep(900)

        Yes, but if that pre-booking can happen within seconds (and lets be honest, that's what the Uber app essentially is attempting to do) then that distinction is weakened. And the minicabs that I've seen are quite willing to do all of the things that you've mentioned Black Cabs being able to do anyhow.

        Thus, giving a fixed time period that ensures that the pre-booking is genuine (and I'd suggest 15 minutes) helps to ensure the distinction between the two services.

        If Uber then wanted to offer a service to run both Taxi's and Minicabs, I couldn't see anything stopping them from doing so, and it would give you, the consumer choice in the market.

        1. James Micallef Silver badge

          Re: if $car !="Taxi" then sleep(900)

          Why the additional complication though? The major difference I can see is that the black cab drivers have a far stricter exam to get a license, to do with 'the knowledge' which nowadays does not need to be contained in a driver's head once a cab has satnav. And I see no reason why cabs and minicabs should have any difference in requirements for vehicle roadworthiness and insurance.

          It would be simpler to just scrap the distinction and have one type of taxi license, whose requirements are somewhere between the current cab and minicab ones. That way, current cabs automatically qualify, threshold for minicabs will be a bit higher (thus guaranteeing a better minimum level of service) and current minicab license holder can either recertify to the new, higher level within a reasonable time (say 12-18 months), and those unwilling or unable to meet a higher standard can just go do something else.

          1. Nigel Whitfield.

            Re: if $car !="Taxi" then sleep(900)

            It may be hard to justify, if you were starting from now, the various differences in terms of roadworthiness and insurance, but those aren't the only things. In London (and some other cities), some vehicles are required to be wheelchair accessible. For the capital, that's all the black cabs.

            The latest also have induction loops, though I don't know if that's mandatory or not for new vehicles.

            It would, I think, be impractical to have a single licence that enforces those requirements on both cabs and private hire vehicles, so some sort of distinction is probably necessary in that regard. To an extent, by mandating such strict vehicle requirements, which for people to spend a lot of money on a cab - hence the way in which some are now shared between day and night drivers - you also end up creating the logic that says "we've hit these people with extra costs, so we'll give them some specific privileges that may help make up for it."

            Whether or not that makes sense in the modern world is arguable. But I do think it would be a massive setback from an accessibility point of view if we were to lose a whole fleet of accessible vehicles from London's streets. Sure, some enterprising Uber drivers and private hire firms would buy some accessible vehicles, but it would be nothing like on the scale of what we have now, would it?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: if $car !="Taxi" then sleep(900)

        Not sure you are quite right there on your last sentence.

        Black cabs can be hailed, they do stop on zigzags and they do do u-turns in places where they shouldn't. This doesn't mean they are allowed to! Surely they are supposed to obey the law of the country just like everyone else.

        To be honest it's the price that gets to me. One hour walk, £1 for bike hire, £12 for a taxi. I'll stick with the bike hire thanks. Best thing my town ever did.

  20. Wilco

    It's minicabs not black cabs that are at risk

    if you need to be somewhere in a hurry in central London black cabs are probably the best option. I suspect there will continue to be a market for a cab that you can hail on the street at a premium price (like now).

    What seems more likely is that existing minicab firms will go to the wall, If everyone is driving for Uber who's going to drive for your local minicab firm? I know I haven't phoned for a minicab since I first got the Uber app, and I don't imagine I ever will. Most minicabs are a bit shit, so I can't say I'm heartbroken, but it is bad for competition - once it's just black cabs and Uber, prices are bound to go up. Saddiq Khan appears to understand this - Goldsmith, and the Reg hack who wrote the piece, don't seem to.

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: It's minicabs not black cabs that are at risk

      I've never used Uber, and I don't intend to start. We have a local minicab firm (<a href="http://www.premiercarsandcouriers.com/>Premier Cars</a>) that gives good service, and has an app of their own.

      Most of the time, I can go where I need on public transport. If I'm arriving at the Eurostar late or after a long trip, I book with the local firm to come and get me, in advance. I'm sure there must be other operators in different parts of London, and elsewhere, who have the same ability.

      If I'm in town and need, for example, to get my mother from a museum or restaurant back to Waterloo for her train, I'll hail a black cab.

      Perhaps Uber would be cheaper; I don't know. I've never looked. But then I also buy my real books from the local bookshop rather than online. Sometimes, price isn't the same as value.

      1. Wilco

        Re: It's minicabs not black cabs that are at risk

        Glad that suits you, but you do sound a bit like my 6 year old, who won't eat anything he hasn't tried before. Uber is very convenient, cheaper than a black cab and provides much better service than any of the minicab firms I have ever used. There's no waiting for them to answer, no "sorry mate we've got nothing for at least 40 mins", no anxiety about whether/when the cab will arrive - you can see it in realtime on the app. I hope that some of the better minicab firms will survive, but I'm not optimisitic

        1. Nigel Whitfield.

          Re: It's minicabs not black cabs that are at risk

          I'm sure the service from individual Uber drivers (notwithstanding the various complaints of gay passengers being harassed or thrown out of cabs in London) is often ok. I don't see any equivalence with a six year old just deciding, on no evidence, that something is nasty.

          It's a principle for me of not wanting to support a race to the bottom that sees huge numbers of people - not just in transport - de-skilled and existing on less and less money, and not feeling comfortable supporting a company that, in my personal view, has dubious ethics, as reported in numerous pieces about Uber.

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: It's minicabs not black cabs that are at risk

      How does a proper mini-cab firm respond when you are involved in an accident? This is how Über responds - http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/uber-crash-victim-offered-35-refund-after-minicab-crashes-on-m4-and-bursts-into-flames-10370220.html

  21. The Axe

    Taxi drivers are luddites

    Proof that they are against progress, just like the Luddites of old.

    "Taxi Drivers descended on City Hall today to protest Transport for London’s stance on regulating Uber. It was all going so well untill Boris called them “Luddites”…

    A member of City Hall staff was reportedly knocked out in the ensuing melee. The Taxi drivers rather proved Boris’ point…"

    http://order-order.com/2015/09/16/taxi-drivers-shut-down-mayors-question-time/

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh they can fuck right off... Black cabs should be renamed "magical mystery money makers". The amount of times I have been in a black cab and off he trundles, talking to fuck knows who (not to me), going on some marvellous joyride around London whilst the meter is clocking up. I am sick of paying over the odds for a shit service. When I have to explain(!) which way to get to my destination, there's no fucking point to the dim fucks driving. I may as well get myself a car and drive myself!!! Bring it on Uber and everyone else.

  23. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

    I always found the distinction between Hackney Carriages and Private Hire pretty bizarre. Maybe it's time to simplify and deregulate the sector, rather than implementing new rules for the internet era. If the purpose of regulation is primarily the protection of the public, then it's rapidly becoming pointless, as there's enough information in the public domain for people to make an informed choice for themselves.

  24. browntomatoes

    Google Maps is the real disrupter, not Uber

    It's not Uber that will kill the Black Cab "industry". It's decent quality sat nav which works properly in London taking account of traffic conditions and blockages like traffic lights and junctions. Google Maps is getting better at this every day and arguably is now good enough - most minicab drivers I see use that these days on their smartphones even if their firm (eg Addison Lee) provides its own separate sat nav unit for them. The value of "the knowledge" in that context is close to zero (if the driver has a smartphone anyway, there's almost no marginal cost for them), so why would anyone pay a premium for it?

    Black cabs still have a slight edge in central London as they are allowed in many more bus lanes than minicabs are. But that edge is only relevant in very heavy/disrupted traffic and is probably not enough to keep them anything close to the size of the current fleet when their pricing is regulated so that they can't take full advantage of it during periods of peak traffic.

  25. SunBoy
    FAIL

    Black cab drivers are the scurge of the London roads!

    On crutches - I had to get from Liverpool St. to my office, SEVEN (7) black cabs in a row refused to take me.....

    Waiting at a bus stop with an ill due to diabetes girlfriend - FOUR(4) black cabs in a row refused to take me.....

    Doesnt make them enough money.....

    They can all go and get knotted.....they act as if they are entitled.....

    Note to cabbies everywhere - take the rough with the smooth and never refuse a ride.....

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019