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Uber - A Loss to the City?

The loss of Uber in the city will have a terrible effect on millions of Londoners, or are we being uber dramatic?

On the 22nd September 2017 Uber’s license renewal to drive in the city of London was rejected by TfL because it was in breach of “public safety and security implications.” Uber has built strong relations with the public because it’s easy to use, reliable and above all, affordable. Per mile an Uber cost £1.25 with the TfL alternative being anywhere between £6 - £9.40 for a black cab.

It’s no surprise that the 3.5 million Londoner’s who use Uber find the rejection of the license a bitter pill to swallow. Let us also not be blindsided by the fact that TfL operate black caps and regulate their prices. I appreciate some people may say Uber is undercutting other cab firms by monopolising the taxi firm industry, thus leading them into the prime position to increase their prices tenfold when appropriate. It is however hard to find the rejection of the license anything other than an undiplomatic vote by TfL who are the only ones losing out on Uber’s advance in London.

Uber have been making big corporate mistakes and not paying correct tax which is something nobody can condone. It’s easy for TfL to use tax avoidance as an excuse to bar Uber from operating, but let’s not forget Starbucks, Google, Shell, Lloyds Banking Group, Vodafone, Philip Green and HSBC to name a few, have also avoided paying tax. These companies are relied on by millions of people, like Uber, but they haven’t been banned. Someone will write an article, people complain and then forget and life goes on.

Uber have made TfL’s black cab drivers life a misery, but in 2017 it’s understandable that technology has advanced so much that you only need a Sat Nav to drive someone home. It isn’t important for me to have a cab driver know London like the back of their hand and charge more than I can afford for this knowledge. Other people clearly concur, which is exactly why over 850,000 people signed a petition to back Uber’s renewal of the license.

Are we making a mountain out of a mole hill? Do we really care about Uber’s loss? Are we moaning for the sake of moaning? Maybe this is what is needed for other taxi firms using the same technology as Uber (who will pay correct tax) to flourish in the moment. My feelings towards Uber are only this strong because they’re affordable, easy to book and get me home safely. In a city where people can’t afford a comfortable living and we have TfL demanding more money every year for busy, delayed, slow train services and white collar priced cab journeys it’s no surprise I feel this way.

Maybe the possible end to Uber is going to be an exciting start for new smaller business which I support entirely. I won’t however be encouraged to spend £40+ on a black cab from central London to Forest Hill at night when I can find a cheaper alternative. No thanks TfL.

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