Monday, December 15, 2014

Uber To Go After London's Airports.

After decimating the London Taxi and Private hire trade's business model, it seems Uber have now set their sights on London's airports.

Already in place is a holding system which is being used (illegally of course) at Gatwick. Cars are booked in automatically as the enter the parameters of the system.

The driver is then given 15 seconds to accept. After acceptance, they are allocated a queue position number. 

The company boasts that because of the amount of PR, publicity and advertising planned, drivers won't have to wait long, unlike the Feeder Park where drivers often do four hours. 
Plus don't forget, many of these travellers already have Uber accounts.

Airport Cabbies will obviously point to the fact that minicab firm Addison Lee, have been doing this for years, but let's remember Addi Lee's prices are considerably higher than Uber's rate unsurged.  

It's also no good sitting back saying "doesn't affect me, as I don't work the port," but cast your memory back to the period when the air space was closed due to the ash cloud. 

This week, Uber drivers received an email from the company which states:

We know that airport pick ups and drop offs can be a headache for drivers: it’s not clear where to pick up from, it’s often difficult to reach your passenger and explain where to meet, there’s no queuing system and sometimes it has felt the flat fares aren’t fair. 

Good news! 

We’ve listened to your feedback and worked with our engineers to bring you a number of improvements to the airport pickup experience that will make life better for you, our valued partners!  Key changes include:

Clearer and fairer flat rates
Reimbursement for parking charges added to the fare
Airport queuing system
Better pick-up locations
The changes will go live for X and XL on Monday 22nd December. We’ll send you a reminder next week!

Airport Flat fares to Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport and London City Airport are going up for all car types. On average, fares are going up by 5% to 15%. Plus, flat fare zones will now be more intuitive: an E postcode is East London, a W post code is West London, etc. 

We will email you with a link to the full schedule of fares next week.

Please note, there is no flat fare for Luton or Stansted airports. 

The typical Uber system of matching a rider to the nearest driver works well in the city centre, but can be frustrating at the airport.  We have worked with our engineering team to bring you a better option, designed just for airports! 

To make things fairer, we’re introducing a queueing system . When you come into airport area, you’ll be told your position in the queue. When you reach the front, you’ll be sent the next request - you’ll have around 15 seconds to accept so make sure you’re ready! This means that the driver who arrived first will get the first request - no one will spend a long time waiting while watching other drivers get all the requests.

There has been some confusion as to where it is safe to pick up passengers, and airports are closely watching for drivers picking up where they shouldn’t be. From Monday 22nd December, when collecting from the airport, you should park your car in the short stay car park at the terminal and make your way to arrivals to meet your passenger.  

We will also provide you with an Uber sign to hold up so your rider can find you. Read on for information on when and where to pick up your sign. 

We’ll be notifying all passengers coming into London Heathrow, London Gatwick and London City Airports of the new airport pick up system so they will know to meet you in arrivals. 

Editorial Comment:
The BBC have announced that Uber have hit a major road block this week. Numerous countries around the world have banned its service, after the alleged rape of a female passenger in New Delhi. Attorneys in California are currently suing the app, for improper background driver checks and illegally servicing airports.
French Taxi drivers are planning to block the main roadways into Paris on Monday 15th December, after a court rejected a bid to ban the amateur car service UberPop, while the minicab company continued to battle lawsuits in several other countries.

Its been suggested we should flash demo the French Embassy in support of tomorrows French taxi drivers strike v Uber.

If you are on Twitter, please look out for tweets from @Flash_Demo 

Don't forget, when we had our demo against Uber, the French Taxi drivers sent a delegation over to London in a show of solidarity.


Anonymous said...

There is only one way to stop UĆ¼ber and that is to make TfL enforce the terms and conditions of your licence.

Otherwise the KoL will be redundant and the London Taxi a thing of nostalgia.

Anonymous said...

I'm not an airport face but if I was I would be very very worried
The system at the airports cannot be stopped BUT the whole concept and operations of Uber MUST be stopped immediately (as it is illegal)-otherwise it is "Good night London taxi trade"

Anonymous said...

There is no way back, even if TFL enforce rules around how the app calculates journeys. Google have enough data collected to be able to give a fixed price from a to b.
There is no point in looking back of how things were. The world moves on and so does technology and what it brings to business. TFL want a cashless system --- they have it with Uber. They want the black cabs earnings fully accounted, via them so they have control.

Anonymous said...

Black cabs need to fight back somehow, perhaps just do fixed fare deals for passengers who want to haggle, negotiate, people want deals in every thing they buy now, the internet generation expect this. It's change or die i'm afraid. Not a perfect solution but we need to start talking ideas, perhaps the trade can get involved with parcel deliveries somehow. The days of relying on a meter for a living are rapidly diminishing. Old school wont like my thinking, others may agree, but let's swap idea's at least.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:23
Yes you are correct, old school doesn't like it.
I didn't do the knowledge to become a postman.

I did the knowledge to give me the skill to ply for hire.
This right is now being sold off to the apps
Yes sold off

Corruption is rife at TfL

Plus until TfL say I can legally charge more than the meter, I will not chRge less than the meter.

If I want to do fixed price rides, I can alwYs become a minicab driver.

london_boy said...

And Helen Chapman says we have to be in our sector as a yellow badge driver to take bookings How come UBER can go where ever they want and pick up its a farce .

Anonymous said...

Until green badges agree to us picking up in town on the apps all the work will be going to uber. How thick and greedy can you be.

The Reverent Chin Waggy said...

Uber are busy, and we are not, the public love them. I have been driving a Taxi since 2000, had my head in the sand for a fair bit of that time, but this blog has finally woke me up.I will be turning my back on the Taxi trade, and in the new year will be looking for a new job. Also a member of my family due to start the KOL has now had second thoughts. This trade isnt worth a cup of cold p*ss.

Anonymous said...

I was doing the knowledge with a view to driving a black cab. Have been studying London for over 3 years, not earning any money in the process. I was very keen to get licenced but stopped appearances to buy a Merc and earn some money working for Uber. It works well, I earn and learn at the same time. NO time has been wasted as all I learnt at knowledge point is used every day.

Anonymous said...

That's it Anon 10.41,

You just bury your head in the sand and pretend nothings happening. meanwhile those with forward thinking brains will come up with an idea to keep you in work. As for your remarks about postmen, i see no reason why black cabs can't do light parcel deliveries or courier work or even supermarket deliveries like crate of wine or something via an app, could offer same day delivery service by taking advantage of bus lanes and congestion charge exemption. Offer fixed fee mileage, Might be some mileage in that idea, unless the Dinosaurs object. Adapt or die lads, adapt or die.

Stuart Spindlow said...

A very educative post that indeed revamps my perception on the same.