Sunday, 24 September 2017

Uber going Unter?

The current controversy in London regarding the new ban of the Uber taxi service stems from a complex scenario that isn't as black-and-white as might be convenient to some.

It has become evident over the years that there are some taxi drivers who commit serious criminal acts against their passengers, particularly (it seems) if they are lone females, especially younger ones. The exact distribution and intensity of these across the various service providers is multi-dimensional, so it is very easy for someone with a specific agenda to select the statistics that suit that person't argument.

Overall, though, the app-based Uber service has been shown to be more reliable, trackable and documented in a way that reduces the risks in a way that other such service providers do not and (currently) cannot equal. Does this make it infallible? No: but it is reportedly a lot better than the alternatives. It has a solid user-base of several million customers.

The seemingly sudden ban by London (Labour) Mayor Sadiq Khan on continuing Uber's licence to operate in London turns out to be a poor response to what has (I am informed by those in the know) become a significantly improved reputation by Uber. In other words: "You're getter better, better than the others in fact, so now we are going to ban you!"

Is this because Sadiq Khan wishes to pander to lower quality and hates the raising of standards? Well, that's possible – but it now seems almost certain that this was a mainly (if not entirely) political and self-serving move by the London mayor, as he is significantly dependent upon the Black Cab fraternity and their votes, as well as those of their supporting Trades Union. A number of reputable commentators have already looked into this and come to that very same conclusion.

Now, as a non-user of Uber myself, even when I am in London (e.g. at my late father's house), and without having the necessary smart 'phone to be able to access Uber, I have no personal axe to grind on this issue. Therefore I present just some aspects of this that are troubling. There are others as well, that I have not covered here, but the above is the crux, I believe.

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