Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Irish taxi regulator gives Uber app green light

As a German injunction against Minicab app Uber enters its second week, Ireland's taxi regulator says it has no problem with the service.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, the taxi regulator said Uber appears to be operating within the confines of the law.

Uber's core service, an app which pairs minicabs and consumers using GPS technology and uses its own metering service to calculate what it claims are lower fares, has enjoyed runaway success since its launch four years ago. The San-Francisco based company is valued today at $18bn (€14bn).

Its expansion into Europe has prompted large protests from taxi drivers in cities such as London and Milan, as well as legal tussles in some jurisdictions.

Many oppose Uber's use of its own metering technology, arguing that government-regulated taxi meters are the only appropriate method of calculating fairs. Insurance issues have also been raised; last week a German court approved an injunction application against the company taken by a taxi driver lobby group, alleging that it breached local taxi insurance rules.

But the Irish taxi regulator has ruled out similar concerns. here.

"Irish law only forbids taxis charging more than the metered fare," a spokeswoman said. "Uber's own fare calculation service does not appear to do that, and they have given us assurances to that effect."

Uber claims that its system charges between 10 and 30pc less than metered fares.

The regulator is monitoring the situation, the spokeswoman said. Uber only uses licensed cars and licensed drivers, she added.

Uber carried out a soft launch in Dublin several months ago. It has been in the top 10 travel app downloads in Ireland since launching and has experienced double-digit month-on-month growth since its Irish launch.

Unlike most of the markets it operates in, Uber faces serious competition in Ireland from a strong incumbent, Hailo.

Hailo was founded by London cabbies and launched in Dublin, its second-ever market, two years ago.

It uses existing taxi meters to calculate fairs, so has received less criticism.

While consumers are benefiting from this enhanced competition, traditional taxi and hackney companies are thought to be losing out badly.

Some have responded by launching their own in-house apps.

  Irish Independent 


mickab99 said...

Doubt it will make much difference over there, deregulation, Irelands a free for all, it will be the biggest race to the bottom you'll ever see

Anonymous said...

Yep, Ireland full of half finished building projects, it's just a sweatshop.

Anonymous said...

These are carefully placed news items from Über's PR dept.

No mention of 'Yield Pricing' over the meter, as Ireland has untold cabs due to deregulation and it's a disaster for both driver and public.