Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Uber hits back at London critics, says it gives ‘consumers more choiceand drivers better futures’

With just over two weeks before a planned protest by London taxi drivers, Uber has issued a statement defending the way its private car service is operated in the capital.

“London cabbies are iconic – arguably the best taxis in the world,” Rose Johnson, marketing and community manager for Uber said. “However, there is room for all and there is room for more and better. We are bringing competition to an industry that hasn’t evolved in years.”

The London Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) has taken issue with the way Uber calculates its fares. The company is licensed as a private hire operator in the UK which, unlike the taxi industry, means they’re banned from using meters.

Uber negotiates passenger payments through its smartphone app, but, in addition to the hardware used inside the vehicle, there’s confusion around whether the set up should be classified as a ‘meter’.

“The driver uses a specific device,” Steve McNamara, general secretary of the LTDA said in a recent interview. “It’s not an app on a smartphone. It’s a specific device that’s programmed to be a meter.”



Transport for London (TfL) has already published fresh guidance around the use of smartphone apps by private hire operators such as Uber. “Smartphones used by private hire drivers – which act as GPS tracking devices to measure journey distances and relay information so that fares can be calculated remotely from the vehicle – do not constitute the equipping of a vehicle with a taxi meter.”

The LTDA also argues that all of Uber’s drivers should be licensed – not just the company itself. In an interview with Wired, McNamara compared the situation to buying a saucepan with PayPal. Customers are buying the product from a seller, rather than PayPal, and the LTDA believes the same should apply for new Uber bookings. “The guy taking the booking is the operator and so needs a licence and a licensed operating centre which can’t be a car,” McNamara added.

In today’s response, Uber clarified its position: “As a licensed operator, Uber London accepts the bookings and manages the dispatch of drivers through its dispatch system, monitored and controlled by our local operations team here in London.” It then proceeded to explain the various safety features built into the app, in a bid to reassure passengers about its drivers.

“All drivers are thoroughly screened, carry full commercial insurance, and at the end of every trip, a rider anonymously rates his/her driver, to help maintain and improve the Uber experience,” Johnson argued.

Rival service Hailo was recently targeted by London protestors, following backlash against Uber in France and Belgium. Details of the demonstration in June are scarce, but it could put further pressure on TfL to clarify the regulations around services such as Uber, and in doing so threaten the way it operates.

     Source: Washington Post

EDITORIAL COMMENT:

Smart phones used by private hire drivers - which acts as a GPS tracking device to measure journey distances and relay information so that fares can be calculated is illegal, it states as much in the Private hire vehicles act 1998 section 11 subsection 3, where a clear and concise definition of taximeter is given.

Private hire vehicles act 1998

11.        Prohibition of taximeters

(1)No vehicle to which a London PHV licence relates shall be equipped with a taximeter.

(2)If such a vehicle is equipped with a taximeter, the owner of that vehicle is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

(3)In this section “taximeter” means a device for calculating the fare to be charged in respect of any journey by reference to the distance travelled or time elapsed since the start of the journey (or a combination of both).


TfL's argument is that the vehicle is not equipped with a Taximeter, as it's a mobile device, it's the driver that's equipped. 

We believe this argument would not stand up in court, taking for instance the many burglars who have been prosecuted for going equipped, having had breaking and entering tools found in vehicles they have been stopped in by police. 

It's not the burglars that were equipped, as the tools could be argued are mobile and found in the vehicle.

If TfL were to win their case, then every burglar who had been found guilty of going equipped would have a case to appeal against their verdict. 

This could start a new plague of cold calls

"Good morning, going equipped lawyers for you: Have you ever been found guilty of Going Equipped? Were you in a vehicle? Then our lawyers can help you claim"


Apparently Uber Doesn't Trust Its Own Drivers!


So children traveling in an Uber Car have to be accompanied by an adult to protect them from predators. All nicely licensed by TfL.



6 comments:

Anonymous said...

i just cant believe that they believe what they say, what a rubbish, of course its a meter coz it meters the fare. If something looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then its a duck, in it???

Anonymous said...

As a licensed operator, Uber London accepts the bookings and manages the dispatch of drivers through its dispatch system, monitored and controlled by our local operations team here in London.”

So where is this office in London? Simple ,tfl are allowing ph to ply for hire. Demo on and on and on.

Anonymous said...

Complete lies by Uber
They says they accepts the booking , that's contractual Uber to passenger!

But Uber T&Cs state it's passenger to driver.

Anonymous said...

So Uber don't trust their own drivers with children?

Anonymous said...

They say they have "commercial insurance for drivers"
What does that mean?
Only cabs can have public liability insurance
Uber drivers accepting accepting money for hire or reward must surely be licensed as private hire drivers?
Currently that is not the case and makes a complete mockery of legislation to protect the travelling public
TfL not fit for purpose

Anonymous said...

Payback Day is Wednesday June 11th 2pm till Late at TRAFALGAR SQUARE.

DO NOT APPROACH FROM THE MALL

DO NOT APPROACH FROM THE MALL

DO NOT APPROACH FROM THE MALL