back to article Uber hopes to butter up Brit transport chiefs with lots of lovely data

Much maligned not-a-taxi biz Uber has pledged to hand over travel data to Transport for London. In a bid to suck up to the regulator that is currently considering whether to reinstate its licence in the UK's capital, Uber has today launched laxative-sounding Uber Movement "tool" in the capital. The move follows a missive from …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    but Uber and others make up a chunk of movement that they can’t track.

    Really? With several ANPR systems (the ones we know of) in action?

    You need to develop some abilities seen in Sci Fi movies (f.e Clingon warbird(*) cloak) to move from A to B in London without leaving a detailed record of your movements.

    (*)I do not want to even try to guess what the Congestion charge and Green Crime charge will be for that one

    1. Test Man

      ANPR means nothing without context - I mean it will tell the authorities that car A goes here but how do the authorities know that car A is an Uber car, or a Uber car that is being used as a Uber car at that point in time?

      1. ArrZarr Silver badge

        TfL don't really care that it's an uber*, they want to know traffic weight, flow, if their bus routes could be improved to reduce the former and increase the latter.

        *TfL probably do currently care as uber shouldn't be doing anything but that's beside the point of why it seems TfL are interested in the data.

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        but how do the authorities know that car A is an Uber car

        In London Uber drivers have to hold a hire car license. Every single one of these cars is on file with TfL to start off with.

        What they do not know at present is how many passengers it is carrying from A to B. There is a significant competition issue with them knowing it by the way as they can at least in theory fine tune the license fees, congestion fees and the TfL ticket pricing to ensure that public transport has a competitive edge.

        They can of course do it in an easier way - just deliver f**** working transport, but that would not be the proper way of doing things around these parts.

        As an example the distance between Barcelona downtown and St Cougat is roughly the same as between King's Cross and Potters Bar. So what does a Barcelona commuter get? Trains every 6 minutes, price of 3.10 Eu for a one way ticket and trains from 5 am to 2 am, train arrives bang downtown in 20 minutes. What does a British commuter get - trains every 20 minutes (not 6), price of EIGHT TWENTY and the train somehow manages to be slower - 25 minutes.

    2. User McUser

      (f.e Clingon warbird(*) cloak)

      That's Klingon with a "K" you honorless petaQ!

      1. tfewster Silver badge


        @User McUser - In case you've never heard it:

        What do Captain Kirk and toilet paper have in common?

        They both circle Uranus in search of Klingons

    3. Valerion

      Really? With several ANPR systems (the ones we know of) in action?

      The problem with ANPR is it doesn't know what you do between cameras. Did you go straight from Camera A to Camera B in 20 minutes? Or did you spend 15 minutes driving around side streets? Maybe you pulled over, made a phone call, had a cup of coffee in a cafe etc. I suppose they can ignore outliers in the data, with Uber they do know the details of what was going on so the data is more useful.

  2. msknight

    The question is... do they trust Uber?

    They've been caught out in so many different shenanigans over the last few years that I wouldn't trust any data they gave at me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The question is... do they trust Uber?

      No, their disruptive business model that was pro consumer upset cabbies en masse, who all told how to shill attack Uber ... Anyone that's in the business will know about the clandestine meetups...

      Personally I would trust an Uber driver more than a grubby untracked black cab any day of the week, just ask Mr. Worboys...

  3. m0rt

    "unlocks innovation and creates economic and social value"

    You know that sound created when you drag your nails down a chalkboard? (If you don't, you must be under 35 and you should go out and do it, now.).

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "ahead of licensing decision"

    Hmm. Seems like Uber is getting a bit anxious and wants to please. Might be fearing a failure in appeal.

  5. ncp


    How exactly is the data going to be completely anonymised when it is potentially identifiable data? For example, if you happen to get lots of Uber rides to a certain address / postcode late at night, could it conceivably be that you live at that location...? I'll admit, not a massive issue, but you have to carefully think things through where Uber are involved with your data...

  6. sjsmoto

    A year from now:

    "Uber regrets that the data it provided to TfL was entirely made up. We have put guidelines in place to ensure something like this will never happen again."

  7. Jove Bronze badge

    As always is the case: how is the data to be verified and confidence established that the data is not 'enhanced' as per many other enterprises?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Such openness “unlocks innovation and creates economic and social value”

    I'm skeptical of these claims in light of Uber's past criminality. Will we discover that TBL has been taking backhanders from Kalanick? Google likes to set up 'open institutes' that coincidentally reinforce its world view. Easy charity donations can be made to these institutes when courts issue fines. Uber can't be trusted ever, its filled with professional white collar criminals!

  9. The Nazz Silver badge

    "told that Uber London is the operator"


    I trust that Uber London will duly process VAT correctly in accordance with the rules and the same for NIC's, both the employee and employers contributions.

    Wouldn't want taxi users, sorry ride sharers, to be accessories to tax avoidance/evasion now would we.

  10. Jon Smit

    What next from Uber?

    Will they promise to take passengers 'south of the river' ? My brother saw a black cab in Greenwich earlier today. It must have been a cuckoo.

    There are river crossings east of Tower Bridge and most will use them, rather than get tangled up with the mess around the City.

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