Monday, November 16, 2015

Lib Dem Councillors To Support Minicab App's Circumvention Of Current Jim Thomas

                 Caroline Pidgeon and Daniel Carr

TfL have recently proposed new regulations to take into account new advances in technology. The proposals have been welcomed by both the licensed Taxi trade and the majority of PH drivers and operators across the capital. 

But to everyone's surprise, the Lib Dem's mayoral candidate, in line with her party policy has come out against these new regulations. 

It appears that the Lib Dem's are in favour of a certain smart phone app being allowed to breach PHV act legislation, by showing cars in real time that are available for immediate hire (illegally plying for hire).

They are also against the introduction of a 5 minute  period before customer request and passenger pick up. Their reason is that people will be put at risk waiting in the street for the envisaged extra 90 seconds (based on the average arrival time of 3.5 mins).

If this app complied with current PH regulations and had a booking facility, passengers would not have to wait in the street at all. But again, the Lib Dem's feel this company should be given preferential treatment, in regards to the regulations every other PH have to abide by.

At a regional conference on Saturday, London Lib Dems debated private hire regulations, and how they should get it right.

There are three proposals Liberal Democrats should be most concerned with. The first, a mandatory waiting period between requesting a private hire vehicle and pick-up, is hard to square with any consumer interest rationale. TfL is proposing a mandatory 5 minute wait, about 1.5 minutes morethan the average time it takes for an Uber driver to arrive. Apparently this would reduce the risk of a customer getting into the wrong vehicle, a problem TfL provides no evidence to suggest actually exists. Even if it does, it appears not to have been weighed against the risk of extending the time in which people may have to wait alone on a street corner late at night. 

Taken together with another proposal to ban the in-app visualisation of hire vehicles, the impact on ride-sharing services will be severe. As Uber’s popularity among customers revolves around the app’s visualisation function, low fares and short wait-times, killing two of these off smells suspiciously like an attempt to cripple a black cab rival.

The most concerning is the proposal to lock drivers into working for just one licensed operator at a time. It seems innocuous enough, but looking forward this risks significantly decreasing the take-home income of drivers who work for ride-sharing platforms. Why? If you use Lyft or Uber in the US you will notice most drivers have a dashboard of smartphones on the go. This enables them to play-off operators like Uber, Lyft and SideCar, accepting rides from whoever is offering the highest rate.

Locking drivers into working for one operator will also risk entrenching the position of today’s largest operators. New entrants, who usually begin with a small customer base, will find it hard to entice drivers to jump platforms if rides are likely to be less frequent. Back in Australia, fears Uber might unilaterally lock drivers to their platform prompted Uber Vice-President David Plouffe to insist his company would not go down this road. That TfL is considering a proposal that risks decreasing driver pay and cementing Uber’s dominance of the London ride-sharing market is troubling.

So what principles should inform the Liberal Democrat stance on the private hire market? As the motion suggests, we should back robust regulation on customer safety, payment of due taxes and the provision of disability compatible services. However, we also need to recognise that regulations which inhibit competition do a disservice to both customers and drivers. Other cities are already seeing a more vibrant ecosystem of operators emerge by following these principles.

New Lib Dem member Dan Carr proposed a motion that they should oppose controversial changes. 

Mr Carr argued that Merton has few black cab ranks and the growth of services like Uber will increase choice.

Editorial Comment: 
The Lib Dem's support was given the day after this so called trendy minicab app surged prices to 500% to the people in the midst of the terror attacks on the Parisian streets, while the local licensed Taxis ferried the walking wounded, lost and bewildered to safety, free of charge.


Anonymous said...

How many times have I said that NO Members of Parliament are to be trusted ?
I despair when I read that this MP or that MP has vowed to help us. None of them are our friends ! Their views and priorities swing like a pendulum in a longcase clock !
If ANY MP appears to offer our trade wary ! It is more than likely a ruse to gain something else in the future of their career !

Anonymous said...

You cannot restrict drivers to one operator on grounds of human rights/right to work.

Anonymous said...

They're all the same , maybe it's me but the 5 minute rule worries me to me it's just legalising the way uber work . At the moment what they do plying for hire is illegal but bringing in this 5 min rule to me brings some sort of legallaty to the way they operate . You should still have to book them through a central booking office .Theres already rumours that they will get round this by offering the next job before they drop off .Lets face it if they had to obide by current legislation they couldn't operate . Cameron and TFL doing whatever they can to help them TFL for the money and the PM to bring down the jobless figures, any other ph operator would have had their license revoked

Anonymous said...

Ubers got the money if they want the London market buy us off,as for the Liberals they have never been able to be trusted hunt with the hounds run with the hairs comes to mind,that's why they only have a handful of Mp's.

Anonymous said...

You could tell of the turn around at the most recent transport commitee.
The gla were against most of regs.caroline pigeon can say goodbye to cabbies vote.
Even george galloway who said he would get rid of UBER had a canvaser at the recent protest at uber offices at uber practices,claiming he will protect the uber drivers.
We all believed caroline to be sincere but the liberals have also been misled by the uber propoganda machine.
We are being stuffed .
As some one who didnt think demos were working,i strongly believe that if these regs are not done properly and it is all a smoke screen for uber to carry on as they are then we must and should bring london to a standstill every week (not that boris's cycle highways hasnt).
Lets see what the orgs have to say as the biggest is backing a 5 minute wait!!!
Oddy in their pockets.
London is a shambles,run by idiots and policed by no one,god help us all!!!!

Anonymous said...


Brian said...

The Perfidious Pidgeon, no longer our bird.
What a surprise, a politician who turned out to be something else.
Taxi drivers, 25,000ish votes, and shrinking.
Phv drivers 100,000ish votes and growing.

Anonymous said...

She has all of the attributes to make one hell of a Mare.

Anonymous said...


who told us to keep faith with the Judas ....... ?

Anonymous said...

She has just worked out that the majority of taxi drivers live outside London so do not have a vote ,what a cow.

WardOfAll said...

Uber and the Black Cabs of London...

With all due respect, Uber are not just hurting the trade in London, they are hurting the trade everywhere.

Do the Lib Dems actually know what this industry is about, how much the drivers are on their knees, or were they even awake during the hearings with regards to the Deregulation Act 2015 ? you know, the act that said the whole country would have a standardised system for PHV and Hackney, have the same tests and vehicle spec, or, have give the extra powers to local licensing officers to police ?

Or did they simply make it easy for Uber to open offices everywhere and then let the drivers work where they wanted ? you can ask the Uber PR lady Mrs Whetstone these questions, but beware, not only did she used to be the spin doctor for the Tories, her children also have David Cameron as a god parent.....

Uber buy their way into a market, they dont work their way in, thats a blatant attack on unfair competition, and no one does anything about it...

Mark my words, Uber are bent, and the powers that be like them for it.