Uber, the app-based, ride-sharing hire-car application company, has seen a lot of resistance from a number of private and governmental organisations around the world. Some don't like its competition, others don't like that it circumvents traditional licensing fees and some suggest its driver registration bar is set too low. One proposal to make it less competitive in London has been to ban pick-ups under five minutes, which Uber is now calling a “huge mistake.”
This idea came out of a Transport for London consultation, and suggested that by adding a minimum pick-up time of five minutes, traditional taxi companies would be able to compete with Uber's service. Considering much of Uber's appeal is that it can be far faster than this, especially in busy cities, it's not a fan of this idea and even suggested that any such scheme would mean Uber drivers losing out on close to £1,000 a year from missed customers.
Although not mandated as of yet, the idea for a minimum wait time followed on from Uber winning a court case where the TfL tried to block its ability to court business using an application. However beyond taxi firms struggling to compete on service, the TfL said that the influx of Uber drivers was leading to congestion and parking issues in London, as well as worsening air quality.
However Uber has said that under TfL suggestions for a mandatory wait, these issues would be even worse.
“Cars will be forced to hang around, clogging up streets before being able to start trips,” said Uber's UK GM, Jo Bertram (via the Guardian). They also highlighted how the waiting cars cold cause safety issues and that the idling would increase greenhouse gas emissions.
The TfL said the idea was to encourage drivers to create an appropriate route. It has also suggested some form of registration and test for Uber drivers, requiring them to know English to a high standard and be able to read London maps.
The consultation on what to do about Uber's impact on London traffic and the car-hire industry will run until the 23rd December.
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KitGuru Says: While it seems understandable wanting to put some form of legislation in place for Uber and similar services to bring them more in line with the protections offered by other car hire systems, a restriction on how quick a service they can provide is ludicrous.