Uber's Dream Has Starting To Crumble....And We Are Still Here.
The plan was, by mid July 2016, Uber would have expanded to 42,000 drivers. Using their own brand of predator financing subsidies and free give-a-way bonanzas, they would swamp the Iconic London Taxis out of existence.
Well it hasn't quite gone to plan. Uber are actually desperate to fill the void created by drivers who have 'seen the light' and departed and are now having to advertise on national radio for replacements. A landslide of bad PR on social media, has done Uber immense damage.
To Travis's surprise, we "the best Taxi service in the world", are still in there fighting our corner.
Which proves the old saying, 'cream will always rise to the top'.
To add to Uber's problems, we are now seeing a reversal of attitude at the top of TfL.
Directors who thought they were invincible have gone, or moved sideways, with remaining top brass on close assessment.
• John Mason pushed out in the cold.
• Sir Peter Hendy survived an adulterous affair by saying he was no ones moral compass, but then jumped from the top job like a rat deserting a sinking ship. (Did he really jump, or was he pushed?)
• Matt Bell quit the top compliance appointment after just a few weeks.
• Peter Blake, allegedly unsuitable from day one, punching way above his pay grade.
• Leon Daniels, who told lies to the GLA, lucky our representative orgs are so weak, they didn't press for him to be prosecuted for malfeasance (carries a custodial sentence). The evidence has clearly always been there!
This new slimline administration are there to oversee the implementation of certain so called new PH regulations (actually they're nothing new!!! just old reg's, dusted off and finally being enforced).
The first of these regulations, mandatory hire and reward insurance, started yesterday with the mythical on/off policies, finally kicked into touch. No new PHV will be licensed at passing stations without the required paper work.
TfL stated yesterday their compliance teams now have full access to the MIB data base to check compliance on the fly.
It must be a massive victory for our trade, as both Uber and Steve Wright are up in arms.
It's alleged Steve Wright already had the right hump after being given the old heave hoe from TfL's board because of conflict of interest....along with Bob Oddy and Peter Anderson.
Peter Anderson -to those who don't know- was chair of the board of TfL who, after being responsible for our April fare hike, then announced he actually use's Uber, because we were too expensive.
But now he's gone, KARMA at last.
Apparently half the board are now gone through alleged conflicting business interests to TfL projects.
Boris promised us protection but then stabbed us all in the back. The new Mayor has again, like Boris, promise to protect the trade....but to be serious, I won't be holding my breath. I want to see a dramatic change in TfL's attitude towards the London Taxi industry.
The new regulations (or should we say the regulations TfL have decided to finally enforce) are having a marked effect on PH. Their representatives have asked for immediate suspension, which shows us they are having the desired affect.
In the run up to the implementation of the new H&R regs, over 600 new PH vehicles were being licensed every week. Last week, in light of the new hire and reward insurance requirement the figure suddenly dropped to just over 100.
Last month #Action4Cabbies, attended a meeting with deputy Mayor Val Shawcross. The informal pressure group bought up the major issue of the increasing number of road traffic accidents involving Uber drivers. Too many PH drivers with absolutely no experience driving on London's streets, continually taking their eyes off the road to check their sat-navs. Everyday on social media, we see images of horrendous crashes and Uber cars driving the wrong way down one way streets. This is a serious issue as there has already been loss of life.
The Deputy Mayor told the group that a new topographical test was definitely on the cards and would soon be introduced. She also hinted that in future prospective PH drivers will have to take an advanced driving test, similar to the one undertaken by Taxi driver applicants.
Action4Cabbies bought up the need for PH accidents to be recorded separately from Licensed Taxi sets. We are currently witnessing escalating premiums due to the increasing number of Uber smash ups.
Also bought up at the meeting, was the requirement for warranted cab enforcement officer patrols, foot soldiers who have the power to stop/arrest/move on errant PH touts. Benign compliance teams who only have the power to harass Taxi drivers are a waste of budget. Deputy Mayor Shawcross said this is an issue she would be bringing up at her next meeting with police commissioner Hogan Howe.
At the meeting with Val Sharcross and in the presence of Helen Chapman, the deputy Mayor mentioned, the only people at TfL who will be dealing with Taxi and private hire in future are;
Commissioner Mike Brown,
Director Garrett Emmerson and
General Manager Helen Chapman.
Leaving the meeting, I came away with the distinct impression the new administration is fully behind our trade and will be working towards its survival. It appears that many bad decisions made by previous TfL directorates, are to be revised in the coming months.
Interesting times ahead. It seems the light at the end of the tunnel has finally been turned back on.
As far as a modernisation of the regulations for Taxis and Private Hire for the rest of the UK, the Parliamentary Under Secretary Of State, Lord Ashmad has said, "The government has no current plans to introduce primary legislation to modernise the regulation of taxis and Private hire vehicles"