Guido’s London readers will know that the capital’s rival taxi firms have descended into open warfare in recent weeks. Militant black cab drivers are having a hissy fit about being priced out of the market by Uber, who use an app to calculate the journey distance and fee, relay the information to the driver and usually offer a considerably lower fare for the punter in a much nicer car. It is an example of the market working to provide the best price for the consumer. As the Institute of Directors points out:
“When the tide of new technology is coming in fast, it’s unwise to stand still and hope it stops at your feet. It’s all well and good to say that companies such as Uber must fit into the UK’s regulatory framework, but there’s a powerful case to make that the UK’s regulatory framework has been overtaken by digital innovation and, in some areas, is no longer fit for purpose.”
Guido understands that the GMB union has infiltrated the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, the black cabbies’ trade union, to lobby politicians against Uber. Indeed it was a GMB-sponsored Labour MP, Graham Morris, who tabled the Westminster Hall debate on this issue in April.
To little surprise, Labour have sided with a closed shop producer’s protection racket against consumers. Today, Labour have officially adopted the black cab position. Shadow Transport Secretary Mary Creagh, who is also sponsored by the GMB, has launched an attack on Uber this morning:
“Labour welcome Transport for London’s decision to seek a High Court ruling on taximeters. Apps like Uber which involve a contract for vehicle hire must conform to the same high standards of safety, licensing and insurance as the rest of the taxi and private hire industry. It is neither black cab nor minicab, which is why it is vital that a court decides if it fits into the UK’s regulatory framework. The safety of the travelling public must not be put at risk.”
A Labour Shadow Secretary of State going back to the bad old days of formulating party policy based on the demands of her union paymasters. Not only that, Creagh is prioritising the vested interests of a party donor over the interests of the hard-pressed consumers her party is supposed to represent. Uber tell Guido that they go ‘above and beyond other operators in the industry in terms of safety’ and are confident that the High Court will agree with TFL. Guido thinks the rest of the industry should work out how they can bring their service up to scratch rather than trying to run a more competent rival out of town.