Taxi drivers are very unhappy about Uber
This weekend, you may have seen a load of taxis doing the rounds, with 'Uber' branding on them. They're doing a big push to get our attentions, directing us toward their new service which is Taxis For The Mobile Generation.
Basically, you download an app and you can request a ride on your phone as well as being able to split your fare, get a quote, rate drivers and read reviews and more. It's a new way of getting a cab and, the other taxi drivers are not at all happy about it.
Uber allows drivers to start their own businesses without all the training and and licenses and you detect a driver's whereabouts thanks to GPS and the driver comes to find you by using the GPS on your phone. No money changes hands either - once you complete your journey, the fare is automatically charged to your credit card on file and you get a receipt emailed to you.
It has been reported that over 10,000 London taxi drivers are planning a mass protest over Uber, with Steve McNamara - the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association’s general secretary - saying that the problem with the app is that it allows drivers to work as a taxi without having to follow the same rules as other services, which gives them an unfair advantage.
He says: "All we’re saying is if you want to come to London and operate the business model you’re operating, you should operate within our laws."
"For me to persuade 10,000 guys to take a day off work shows you the strength of feeling," he added. "They’re not a commercial threat to us. It’s a sense of fair play."
Over in France, they weren't happy about Uber either, with Francois Hollande going after them (unsuccessfully) and cabbies staging a protest where they blocked traffic from airports. In Belgium, those using the app are subject to a €10,000 fine.
This is definitely going to be something that people will disagree on. On one hand, it does seem unfair that the UK's existing cab drivers had to get licenses and meters and all that, with this new lot not having to bother. On the other hand, taxi firms already feel a bit lawless as it is, so how would Uber be any different for the consumer?
What do you think?