back to article Uber wants UK gov intervention over TfL’s '5-minute wait' rule

Uber has indicated that it would seek an intervention from the UK government if Transport for London was to force the controversial taxi/app company to introduce a "five minute wait" rule. The proposals for a forced delay time were suggested in September, as part of plans that would amount to a clampdown by the regional …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Bunch of communists

    "Uber floods the market and undercuts prices,"

    That's your typical commie, socialist anti-capitalist London cabbie speaking

    1. Mark 65

      Re: Bunch of communists

      Maybe. How would you feel if they opened the immigration floodgates to people with your particular paid for skillset and thus totally fucked your income? Not saying I agree or don't agree, but people do tend to have an "it doesn't affect me negatively so who cares" attitude. First they came for the cab drivers?

      1. big_D Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Bunch of communists

        Wow, Godwin's Law in 2.

        Is that a Birdie or an Eagle?

      2. Sirius Lee

        Re: Bunch of communists

        @Mark 65 No, first they did not come for the taxi drivers. You are commenting on an article in post on site focused on a market that it in many ways has been outsourced to India. My guess is that being under cut is the name of the game for many of the readers on this site. Has adding more competition been terrible for UK IT? For some individuals the answer is definitely 'yes' but the UK economy probably does better because of the use of outsourced IT skills.

        Has the economy benefited from by cheaper good from China or Bangladesh? Probably yes and again to the detriment of some individuals here. Are we better off as a result of farm mechanisation though many individuals were affected at the time? Definitely, yes. So why should London taxi cab drivers be immune from the winds of change?

        1. Mark 65

          Re: Bunch of communists

          Read the post again dude. I specifically said I didn't agree or disagree but noted that people seem to have a don't give a fuck attitude when it doesn't directly affect their income detrimentally. Incidentally, as you mention offshoring, they are also pretty bloody quick to whine about shit like that on here. That's the point I'm trying to make to the OP - instead of just labelling them communists they might want to consider how they'd react to their job being handed over to a cut price end-run around the visa system in a slack labour market as an equivalent action.

          1. Robert Grant Silver badge

            Re: Bunch of communists

            Actually most people only worry about the practical difficulties of outsourcing - language barrier, quality control, the back and forth of requirements refinement over long distances and between timezones.

            The standard thinking here is if you want to survive, add value. And that's what we do :)

      3. Smooth Newt Silver badge

        Re: Bunch of communists

        Taxis don't exist to protect the earnings of taxi drivers.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Frankly we were puzzled as to why you expect us to obey the law", Uber’s UK head of policy Andrew Byrne told MPs today.

    1. desht

      Which law(s) are they currently not obeying? Genuine question, so I'd appreciate a genuine answer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Uber have a habit of bending (or ignoring) laws wherever they operate and then whinge mightily when they get slapped, demanding said laws are changed to favour them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > Uber have a habit of bending (or ignoring) laws wherever they operate and then whinge mightily when they get slapped, demanding said laws are changed to favour them.

          You're not wrong.

          In this case, however, a new explicitly anti-Uber law is being proposed to enter the statute. That's pretty mean, and we have a right to expect more mature behaviour from our legislators.

      2. jonathanb Silver badge

        There are loads of apps you can use to book private hire vehicles in London. Über is not unique, and it wasn't the first. With other apps, you get quoted a price for the journey, or in some cases, you get a selection of quotes from different hire companies that you can pick from. That's how private hire is supposed to be different to taxis. Über have this thing-that-is-not-a-meter to calculate the cost of the journey as it is in progress.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > "Frankly we were puzzled as to why TfL are introducing laws explicitly designed to damage our business model and make customers wait an artificially long time for their ride so that traditional taxis don't seem so God awful", Uber’s UK head of policy Andrew Byrne told MPs today.

      There, FTFY.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "said the biggest impact Uber was having is traffic congestion"

    Yeah, right. That's the only reason the black cabs don't like it, more congestion, absolutely nothing to do with taking business away.

    [N.B. I am no fan of Uber as a company or the founders, however I think inventing rules just to try to force a company from operating rather than a rule because that company is doing something wrong is not reasonable. If they feel Uber is unsafe then address that, if they think that using a GPS is not effective as a means of route finding then address that but don't introduce a rule specifically to penalise a company due to lobbying by another company.]

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      "said the biggest impact Uber was having is traffic congestion"

      Not as bad as those buses - get rid of them and level the playing field for cabs.

      Why are buses allowed to drive in cab lanes ?

      1. Richard Plinston

        Re: "said the biggest impact Uber was having is traffic congestion"

        Introducing a forced 5 minute delay will increase the average trip time (though by less than 5 minutes). To achieve the same number of trips per day will thus require _more_ cars. This will increase the congestion.

        In theory the Uber mechanism should decrease wait time, and thus average trip time (when calculated from customer starting to want to make the trip) compared to other mechanisms. Thus there should be a decrease in the number of cars required for a given number of trips. However, having a more efficient system increases the demand. For example, if the service time drops below the time taken to walk to the destination then more will take the service.

      2. LaeMing
        Alert

        Re: "Not as bad as those buses - get rid of them and level the playing field for cabs."

        You should have (probably could have, even over in the UK) heard the screaming of the local taxi drivers when the free every-10-minutes intra-city bus loop was started up in my city.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too much taxing goin' on...

    > "Richard Massett, chairman of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, said the biggest impact Uber was having is traffic congestion."

    Have there been any news stories about all this new congestion brought about by Uber?

    Seems to me the real biggest impact is on the taxi cartel itself. (cue world's smallest violin...)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    However, Richard Massett, chairman of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, said the biggest impact Uber was having is traffic congestion. He said in 2013 there were 50,000 private hire vehicles on the road, with that number now reaching 91,000

    Do you remember the Black Cab drivers association spouting similar when the number of taxi badges was increased

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Taxi badge?

      Not in London.

      Anyone can apply here.

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      There isn't any restriction on the number of taxi licences that can be issued. Anyone who passes the very difficult exam can get one, and you can't sell it or rent it out to anyone else. It takes longer to study for it and is more difficult to pass than a university degree, but the restriction is based on ability, not numbers.

  6. Rol Silver badge

    Damn those new fangled weaving machines, they'll be the end of us.

    "Ooh! Nice shirt."

    "Yeah, I got it from Ye Olde Primarketh for a couple of Groats"

    "A couple of Groats, you must be kidding. Weaver Bob is charging two Crowns and buttons are extra"

    "What can I say, except, welcome to the modern world"

    "You know, I think going about bare chested will soon be going out of fashion."

  7. Havin_it
    WTF?

    Eh?

    Sorry, but wtf is actually meant by a "five minute wait time"/"delay"? Maybe I'm a halfwit (it's been said) but I clicked on this headline hoping it would explain this. That's the one thing it didn't mention.

    Bad Reg!

    1. Rol Silver badge

      Re: Eh?

      A Black Cab can be flagged down in the street and instantly engaged.

      A private hire taxi must be prebooked. This historically meant a phone call and a wait, however technology has reduced this wait to virtually nothing, effectively a Uber car has similar privileges to a Black cab.

      The 5 min rule is a way to redress this.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Eh?

        A Black Cab can be flagged down in the street and instantly engaged.

        Once you've hung around for 20 minutes looking for one that isn't already engaged.

        What's the bet that if Uber agrees to a 5 minute wait it will gradually creep up to 15, 30, etc. ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Eh?

          "Once you've hung around for 20 minutes looking for one that isn't already engaged."

          Only for them to say that they aren't going that way and you need to find yourself a minicab office.

          1. Mark 65

            Re: Eh?

            I have many fond memories of a night out in London whereby every black cab travelling past after about 7-9pm had the light off with nobody in them (except the driver). If they didn't think you looked too pissed, or you wouldn't cause any issues the light would quickly flick on and they'd pull over. You were then subjected to the "I'm headed back to Hounslow mate" test. If there were two or more blokes you were likely shit outta luck.

    2. Midnight

      Re: Eh?

      That's part of the plans which would amount to a clampdown, which is all in the second paragraph cunningly hidden behind the link labelled plans that would amount to a clampdown.

      "The proposals include stricter controls on insurance and tighter controls on private hire bookings, such as forcing operators to provide booking confirmation details to the passenger at least five minutes prior to the journey."

      1. phil dude
        WTF?

        Re: Eh?

        Ironically, in London it might take 5 minutes to get an Uber because of the congestion of , y'know, cars!

        If you have never used Uber you can sign up online, with a fake name, and throwaway debit card, and just watch the uber cars in your area.

        I was recently on a trip and the Uber driver overshot my hotel by 4 miles (long roads etc..). I made a note in my feedback, and got a credit *immediately* for the difference which they recalculated back to my hotel.

        If anyone reading here knows of *any* cab firm that can do that, we would all love to hear about it.

        Uber isn't the problem; it is the historical govt over-regulation to protect a narrow financial interest, with artifical scarcity.

        I don't like them flaunting the laws either, but taxis are a generally an *awful* experience.

        P.

        1. Triggerfish

          Re: Eh?

          No I have to say I was all for cabs and disliking Ubers practices I still do think Uber needs some things sorted.

          But my last two cab rides:

          Overcharged on one, when reported basically got an ah well.

          Got charged (metered) for a 3 mile journey £13.00

          Might actually try Uber next time,

          1. jonathanb Silver badge

            Re: Eh?

            Try any of the other private hire apps, for example Addison Lee or Kabee. You will get a price before you confirm the booking, so you know where you stand.

            1. Triggerfish

              Re: Eh?

              Never heard of them but will have a look. Live a bit in the sticks so don't use cabs much. Tried to avoid using uber for their business practices, and odd though it may sound have had some very nice encounters with black cab drivers when living round London. But the cabbies round here haven't done themselves any favours.

      2. Havin_it
        Thumb Down

        @Midnight Re: Eh?

        Thank you for being needlessly rude. I've no doubt that the link "cunningly concealed" in the second paragraph would have answered my question, but I have this quaint notion that an article should adequately explain the meaning of its headline within its own rubric, not require the reader to traipse off elsewhere to reach understanding. It might be called journalistic courtesy, if you will.

        Now, you may argue (and I might myself, with respect to other articles on this very site) that there is an exemption to this convention where topics upon which the paper's baseline readership may be considered more knowledgeable than the lay-person are concerned. However, it seems to me that this particular nugget is more likely to be well-known by regular users of taxis and/or private cabs, which hasn't to date struck me as a precondition of Reg readership, though I don't doubt it intersects somewhat. Personally, I ride the bus or my bike because cabs of any species are a luxury to me.

        Thanks to you and other commentards for doing the reporter's job for them, though. You are awfully good. :)

  8. BigAndos

    What if the uber driver was actually only a minute away? Do they have to drive round the block for 5 minutes? Or park and clog up the street and ignore you until the timer counts down?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Apparently, yes. :S

      TfL really are that stupid.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How would it be legally determined that the 5 minutes was properly observed? What's to stop Uber drivers and passengers from silently colluding to avoid that wait?

      Oh yeah, sting operations. It's just like when female cops dress up like hookers and stand on the corner, and they'll want the same thing as well: To get in the car, fast.

      Burn rubber, baby!

      1. Mark 65

        To be honest I think that TfL should leave this all to the market by establishing a set of rules that apply to everyone and mandating just how big a cut they want of each fare and be done with it. That way at least everyone can compete based on service.

      2. Velv Silver badge

        "How would it be legally determined..."

        Oh FFS, Uber's big claim is they are a tech company, not a taxi company. You put a <wait 300> in the booking routine so that the driver isn't despatched for the pickup for five minutes. If a tech company can't implement a solution to confirm their legal compliance with the rules then what chance has anyone got.

        1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

          You put a <wait 300> in the booking routine so that the driver isn't despatched for the pickup for five minutes.

          Erm, I don't see how that would work.

          As far as I am aware, the process is:

          - You request an Uber in the app

          - The request is sent to taxis which are not in use, which see where you are and where you are wanting to go

          - The driver either confirms they will take the job or not

          - You are notified that the driver is on it's way

          To insert a 5 minute delay would probably mean they have to just delay the time when they are allowed to "start the meter" until 5 mins after they accepted the job. So, the taxi would turn up, you would get in, then have to wait another 3 minutes before they are allowed to set off. I'm sure that would help London's congestion problems, wouldn't it?!

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. beirtipol

    Wait - math?

    "However, Richard Massett, chairman of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, said the biggest impact Uber was having is traffic congestion. He said in 2013 there were 50,000 private hire vehicles on the road, with that number now reaching 91,000"

    So, Uber accounts for 20,000, or a little less than half of the 41,000 increase in private hire vehicles, many of which do not work exclusively for Uber.

    Arrrrrgh, there's just so much wrong with all of those statements.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrong target

    Seems like the insurance and other regulations which uber don't want to apply to them as they aren't a taxi service are a much better target to pursue them on.

    Historically the monopoly for black cabs exists because they have more rules (and therefore higher costs) to follow and many of those rules are deemed worth having (disabled access, safety regulations etc.)

    This 5mins is just a misguided attempt to tilt the playing field back in the cabbies favour when they Should be arguing for a level playing field, same regulations and costs for all.

    1. Mark 65

      Re: Wrong target

      I may be entirely wrong here, but I always thought that your insurance company would not cover your car if you used it for private hire unless you'd specifically taken out a policy geared for such. Does Uber truly enforce this insurance requirement or can drivers get away with just having normal personal use insurance, in which case occupants would likely be uninsured in the event of an accident?

      1. graeme leggett

        Re: Wrong target

        For the UK, they say there is a document review before you can start http://www.driveuberuki.com/standards/

        It might depend on how good you were at faking a letter from an insurance broker.

        1. jonathanb Silver badge

          Re: Wrong target

          Apparently they don't check the insurance very carefully - http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jun/12/uber-whistleblower-exposes-breach-driver-approval-process

  11. zebm

    Short termism, surely?

    In a few years time we'll be taking self driving cabs so what's a little trouble at the moment?

    1. Havin_it

      Re: Short termism, surely?

      You can make a lot of cheese in "a few" years. Or, at minimum, a good sales pitch for some gullible idiots like Yahoo or Justin Timberlake...

      Besides, self-driving cabs are likely to have a human at the where-the-wheel-used-to-be for a good while thereafter, what with labour protectionism, safety concerns and such. They just won't be paid as much.

      "Hi! I'm Johnny Cab. Please say your destination, not that I give a monkey's since you already told SiriNowCortana before you got in. Do you mind if we stop at the charging-station for a pasty and some haemorrhoid cream?"

  12. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Compromise

    5 Minute wait unless going sarf of the river?

  13. graeme leggett

    high ideals

    "Byrne said the "big picture ambition" of Uber was to end car ownership make a shitload of money"

    Fixed that.

    Obviously ending car ownership is not about environmental issues and efficient public transport but Ubers tithe.

  14. andrewj

    Uber can easily rectify this. A timely financial contribution to the appropriate politicians will make it all better.

    1. Blank-Reg
      Holmes

      Allow me to paint a picture: Imagine if you would that when the complaint went to politician x, it was delivered over dinner in a very fine restaurant and, when said politician visited the bogs, he found quite a large over-stuffed brown envelope.

      At least, that's how I pictured it, but I am brutally cynical about politicians in general...

  15. phil dude
    Boffin

    anecote *with* data...

    I was in Texas last week, and got stuck at an airport due to an aircraft malfunction.

    While waiting for the travel dominoes to fall into place, I hit the "uber" button to see how much it would cost to get from Killeen, TX to Knoxville, TN.

    The answer? Approx $1800-2200.

    Google maps tells me this is about 1000 miles, and there are 2 interstate routes!!! (Thank you FDR). I am sure someone has taken such a trip, as I *know* taxis occasionally get windfalls that make the news, but don't you all find it interesting that is possible?

    For everyone else here who knows London, on multiple occasions get a black cab taxi to go 4 miles out of its way "because shift over".

    Uber should follow the rules, but there should only be one set of rules.

    P.

  16. batfastad

    Congestion?

    Black cab drivers are worried about congestion all of a sudden? Interesting. In my experience they love it, aiming straight for the middle of it, suddenly unable to hear you when you tell them a less-used alternative route. Got to keep that meter ticking over!

    Don't know about you but I'd rather have streets jam packed with silent emission-less Priae than all those black diesels belching out.

    Oh and by the way Uber's about 1/3rd of the price. Moar Uber pls.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Congestion?

      I'd also appreciate it if they wouldn't park on the crossing, block up the lorry access from the ramp between Paddington station and the underground station. I'm assuming black cabs have some kind of permission to park on double yellows.

  17. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Waiting 5 minutes will cost drivers £19 million quid. Really? Isn't it waiting 5 minutes will cost Uber £1900 million quid cos of the crap rates they offer drivers?

    But don't worry HRMC, it won't affect our tax returns because we'll still pay sod all in taxes because we don't earn income in the UK.

  18. dan1980

    "Byrne said the "big picture ambition" of Uber was to end car ownership in London, whereby people either took taxis or rented vehicles through services such as Zipcar."

    What?

    First, Uber insist that they aren't taxis, right? If they really don't consider themselves taxis then their "big picture ambition" is a little odd as they have not included themselves in this Utopian vision for the future. Of course, if they do consider Uber cars to be "taxis" then that's a refreshingly frank admission.

    Second, if there are no car owners in London then who do they expect will sign up to become Uber drivers? Kind of thins the employment pool if no one meets the most basic requirements (owning a car).

    It's just a guess, but I reckon that Andrew Byrne might just be taking a few liberties in order to paint themselves as some grand beneficent change makers, heralding in a new era rather than a company backed by gigantic, money-guzzling companies, several of whom love shunting their money around the globe to avoid paying tax.

    I've got no problem with businesses wanting to make money but maybe lay off pretending you're something you're not.

    1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

      First, Uber insist that they aren't taxis, right?

      I guess it depends on your definition. In Leeds, all Ubers are registered Private Hire vehicles, which most people would count as taxis. I believe it's the same in London.

      Also, Uber generally insist that they are not a taxi company, they are a technology company offering a (booking & payment) service for independent taxi drivers and/or companies.

      Second, if there are no car owners in London then who do they expect will sign up to become Uber drivers?

      There would be no taxis at all if there were no car owners. I presume he meant no private car owners, as in people who own their own car for personal use. There would obviously still have to be businesses (including self-employed people) who own a car for the purpose of their business.

  19. dan1980

    What I love about Uber (and other big interests take a similar tack) is the way they argue that laws that didn't anticipate them and their technology platform shouldn't apply to them but then turn around and say that it is unfair to make laws and regulations and rulings with them specifically in mind.

    The situation with London is this: taxis are highly regulated but private hire cars are very loosely regulated. Well and good, and I think there is a certain consistency there. (Really.) The end result of this, so far as this question is concerned, is that taxis can pickup hails on the street and charge via a metered rate while hire cars must be ordered ahead of time and cannot have a 'taximeter'.

    The recent High Court ruling in favour of Uber boils down to a ruling that the following definition:

    ". . . "taximeter" means a device for calculating the fare to be charged in respect of any journey by reference to the distance travelled or time elapsed since the start of the journey (or a combination of both)."

    does not cover the Uber app.

    The problem is exactly as Uber have argued in Australia about GST applying to drivers: the law was made before this type of technology was created or even anticipated.

    And that's a problem because laws are (generally) made to achieve some purpose; there is a reason why the Private Hire Vehicles Act (London, 1998) specified that:

    "No vehicle to which a London PHV licence relates shall be equipped with a taximeter."

    Of course, I can't know with 100% certainty what that reason was but from the plain language of the Act, it seems fairly clear that the purpose was to ensure that private hire vehicles had to quote a fixed price that would be agreed to ahead of time.

    And then looking to the reason they might want to do that it would seem logical that this way to ensure that the otherwise loose regulation applying to PHVs would not result in passengers being gouged or faced with far higher charges than anticipated, given that the fares would not be regulated and set as is the case with 'black cabs'.

    And this pre-quoting goes hand-in-hand with the pre-booking requirement and, again, while one cannot be sure, the plain language would suggest that the concern was again, that requiring everything to be arranged and agreed ahead of time would work to prevent passengers being gouged and ripped-off. After all, there is nothing in the law that says that a PHV operator can't charge £2 for the first mile and then £20 for each subsequent mile.

    So, bringing it back, there was a purpose in writing the law in that way and either that purpose is still relevant or it isn't. If it isn't then get rid of it. If it is still relevant then it's time to go back and amend the law to ensure that it is accomplishing the intended purpose.

    This 5-minute wait idea seems to imply that the powers that be DO think that purpose is still valid and are trying to adjust things so that it is still served in the modern era.

    The question then becomes: if one rules that the Uber app counts as 'hailing' a taxi because it is effectively the same thing from a customer perspective, then surely one should also rule that the Uber app counts as a 'taximeter' because, again, it accomplishes the exact same purpose so far as the customer and indeed the operator are concerned.

    1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

      The question then becomes: if one rules that the Uber app counts as 'hailing' a taxi because it is effectively the same thing from a customer perspective, then surely one should also rule that the Uber app counts as a 'taximeter' because, again, it accomplishes the exact same purpose so far as the customer and indeed the operator are concerned.

      I would argue that using the Uber app counts as ringing to book a taxi for immediate use, as many people do. "I want a taxi now from A to B".

      As for the taxi meter argument, I would say it does (or should) count as that. It calculates the fare based on distance & time. If Uber want to be treated as private hire, under the common-sense interpretation of the rules as I have seen them, they would need to adjust their business model to state an up front charge.

      Although, to be honest, I don't know of many private hire vehicles round here (Leeds) which do that unless you insist on it (forcefully) beforehand. When you ask for a price, they say "it'll be about £X" then the driver charges you what he wants at the end of the journey. At least with Uber, I know the driver won't gouge me because I've had too many beers, and any "surge multiplier" is given to you up front. I used to keep £40 hidden away for a taxi home from the centre on nights out for what should have been a £10 fare, just because the taxis would charge a shed load extra because he could get away with it (and I was too drunk to care by then).

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Private hire operators include things like stretch limos and wedding cars, and they will charge a lot more than a black cab for the same journey. They are also generally booked months in advance.

      [edit] Stretch limos sometimes are classified as mini-bus hire if they have enough seats, but you get the idea.

  20. Tsiklon

    I literally cannot afford to go out in London during the evening and take a taxi home, doing so would cost more than the drinks i would have embibed. using Uber for the journey from Islington to Ealing during non surge pricing is 20 quid (expensive, but not obscene). a black cab for the same journey would be 60-100. which is absurd.

    Prices from: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/taxis-and-minicabs/taxi-fares

    1. Sprezz
      Thumb Up

      Alternative to Islington

      Or you could stay in Ealing and spend the money in Charlotte's Place.

      1. Tsiklon

        Re: Alternative to Islington

        I've never been there! I'll give it a nosey later this evening :)

  21. BenR

    Cabs everywhere are just as bad. Uber is so much better it's untrue. I haven't used a black cab or a minicab since Uber became available where I live.

    Price estimate up front - check.

    Knowing who is turning up for you - check.

    Knowing what car to look for - check.

    Notifications when they arrive - check.

    Tracking so you know when they're likely to arrive - check.

    Cheaper than a normal cab, even during surge pricing - check.

    And, having spoken to a number of Uber drivers, Uber seem to pay (round here at least) a much better rate to the drivers than the usual minicab suspects. Maybe the other taxi firms should invest in some updated technology rather than assuming the gravy train will continue for ever.

    1. phil dude

      @BenR , you missed one...!

      @BenR Rating of the car, driver and *route taken* after the trip.

      I have had more than one refund when the GPS sent the driver on an incorrect route (not sure how!).

      Oh and for all those complaining of the surge pricing, it is avoidable if you walk a 100m (or so). The surge is set by Uber in response to a large number of hailers in a given area. The drivers can see each other and *choose* to go to that area. If you walk away from the area, the surge no longer applies.

      Thank you Mike (Uber Driver) in Miami for explaining that...;-)

      P.

  22. JHC_97

    The rule seems a little daft, but i see nothing wrong in aiming laws specifically at uber. After all they are the ones who say, all over the world, the rules don't apply to us, we are a distruptive technology etc. Whereas all they are is a big huge private hire taxi company trying to use legal semantics to get around taxi laws.

    1. Richard Plinston

      > Whereas all they are is a big huge private hire taxi company trying to use legal semantics to get around taxi laws.

      Not at all. A 'taxi' is a vehicle with a taximeter. Uber does not use taximeters.

      Uber operates under the 'private hire' laws and uses technology to get around the limitations of those laws. Using this technology, and staying within the bounds of 'private hire', they can provide a service that is as good as, or better than, taxis.

      The solution is not to cripple Uber, but for taxis to adopt similar technology. For example by creating a 'hail taxi' app and feeding the data into the taxis so that clients can get taxis faster than just waiting on the curb for one to randomly drive past.

      1. Havin_it

        @Richard

        This was largely my take too. Canute would have a thing or two to say about the cabbies' (and their cheerleaders') opposition to Uber. When PHVs came along, a 2-tier system was forced into being when the contemporary state of technology meant there were two reasonably distinct customer bases/use-cases, each with their own pros and cons for the consumer. That's arguably no longer the case, and the most efficient model for legislators and customers alike at this point might be for the best business model to be supported in law. And I'm sorry, but the Hackney Cab is no longer it for an overwhelming majority, as far as I can tell.

  23. Matt Siddall

    Missing the point

    Never mind who the rule is aimed at. Who does it benefit and who does it hurt?

    An enforced 5 minute wait would benefit the black cab drivers who can pick people up straight away. It would hurt the punters who have to wait longer for a reasonably priced ride home, and it would hurt the Uber drivers.

    Call me old fashioned, but I reckon the needs of the customers should be put first, which is why I think this is a bad idea.

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