Happy ‘I Heart Unions’ Day

Hundreds of unionised Luddites in black cabs bring Millbank, Whitehall and Parliament Square to a stand still this afternoon. Doing Uber’s marketing for them…

Uber Tries To Kill Hailo

App War

Uber have offered black cab drivers the chance to use the ride sharing app for no fee for the first twelve months. It’s a move unlikely to placate all the irate cabbies, 5,000 of which plan to protest in the capital on Wednesday over the deregulation of the industry. But could this “olive branch” actually be part of an attempt to kill off the black cab apps Hailo and Gett?

The most telling part of the press release states:

While both black cab and licensed Uber drivers go through exactly the same background checks, taxi drivers have additional hoops they have to jump through. The Knowledge, for instance, is rightly legendary. But it means memorising 25,000 streets and 20,000 landmarks – a skill that can take up to four years to master.

In the age of GPS and live traffic apps, is such an onerous test still needed? Could a modern version of The Knowledge that took advantage of new technology and only took a year to complete be just as effective? And when a black cab typically costs more than £40,000 to buy and thousands a year to run, shouldn’t taxi drivers be given a broader choice of cars, including green and hybrid vehicles?

Somehow Guido doesn’t think that Uber suggesting abolishing the knowledge is about altruistically helping out the cabbies and leveling the competitive playing field. It looks like bringing Black cabs onto the app is more an attempt to standardise the qualifications required for Uber drivers and cabbies, and destroy Hailo and Gett in the process. We wait to see how many cabbies will be tempted…

French Cabbies Protest Uber With Smoke Bombs and #JeSuisTaxi Hashtag

Uber Je Suis

Paris taxi drivers have brought the French capital to a halt in another protest against Uber. Some 300 taxi drivers blocked major roads, lit fires and threw smoke bombs during the ugly scenes. Even worse, the Luddites are protesting under the banner “#JeSuisTaxi”:

Such bad taste is reminiscent of London cabbies’ exploitation of the Leytonstone jihadi incident last month. Stay classy.

Victory! TFL Scraps Silly Uber Crackdown

Uber Wait

Victory for progress as TFL climbs down and drops the most punitive regulations imposed on taxi firm Uber. Gone is the dangerous stipulation that customers would have to wait five minutes for a ride. As is the proposal that locations of Uber cars should not be visible in the app to customers. Making private hire vehicles pay the congestion charge and raising minicab license costs is being considered instead. Boris has embraced technological progress, too:

“There were some ideas consulted upon that did not find widespread support and I think are not sensible. They’re trying to turn back the clock on technical progress, we cant disinvent the internet or apps, they’re making things much easier in our city”.

Increasing regulations on Uber was never the solution, relaxing rules for cabbies is the only sensible way to level the playing field…

Taxi Union Weaponises Leytonstone Terror

The anti-progress Licensed Taxi Drivers Association are really angry about the Leytonstone stabbing… because it seems the knifeman may have once been an Uber driver:

Who knew cabbies had such advanced Photoshop skills?

H/T @jimwaterson

UPDATE: The LTDA probably shouldn’t be so pious:

Uber Victory: High Court Rules App Not Illegal

The ruling clarifies that Uber’s smartphone app isn’t breaking the law as it isn’t operating in the same way as the regulated meters used  by black cabs to calculate fares. The cabbies will be furious…

UPDATE: The luddites have already appealed

UPDATE II: Uber have responded

“This is great news for Londoners and a victory for common sense. Now the High Court has ruled in favour of new technology, we hope Transport for London will think again on their bureaucratic proposals for apps like Uber. Compulsory five-minute waits and banning ride-sharing would be bad for riders and drivers. These plans make no sense. That’s why 130,000 people have already signed our petition against these proposals. We hope TfL will listen to Londoners and let Uber keep London moving.”

Uber Appoint Ex-Balls Spad as Head of Comms

Uber have appointed former Ed Balls SpAd Alex Belardinelli as their new Head of Communications for UK and Ireland. Wonder if he turned on surge pricing during the contract negotiations…

Let’s hope their drivers don’t go too far, too fast…

Drunk Tory Delegate Accidentally Takes £311 Uber Back to London

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A Tory delegate woke up in London this morning with an epic conference story. He accidentally took a cross-country Uber ride back to London…

The delegate, who until recently worked as a researcher for a Conservative MP, told Guido the midnight ride was a costly accident:

“At the end of the day, drank too much with friends. Stupid. Got in an uber. And accidentally must have put in my home address. No money left now – thank god I worked over summer!”

Apparently he fell asleep and the driver didn’t wake him up to question the marathon journey home. No word on whether he took his suitcase with him. Lad.

Taxi Lobby Slapped Down on Newsnight

City AM editor Christian May gave the London Taxi Drivers Association’s Steve McNamara a schooling on Newsnight last night:

The cabbies’ spokesman finishing up with a pretty defamtory conspiracy theory. Taxi for Mr McNamara…

London Tories Tell Boris to “Think Again” on Uber

boris taxi

Seven London Tory councillors have written to Boris urging him to “please think again” about Transport for London’s proposed crack down on Uber:

“we are worried by Transport for London’s proposed regulations on Uber. Red tape will hit Londoners who want to get a taxi without paying the higher prices that black cab regulation generates… We are sympathetic to black cab drivers who feel TFL’s existing regulations are onerous. The answer is to cut black cab red tape and leave Uber alone.”

The councillors who signed the letter are Paul Church, Thomas Crockett, Peter Cuthbertson, Tony Devenish, JP Floru, Richard Holloway and Gotz Mohindra. Will Boris regret paying lip service to the cabbie lobby?

Boris Forcing Uber Drivers to Speak English

boris cab

Following the launch today of  Transport for London’s consultation on measures that would seriously damage Uber if implemented, Boris Johnson’s team are distancing the Mayor from some of the more draconian proposals. Boris is not keen on some of the crazier ideas. He is however sympathetic to drivers having to pass an English language test for drivers and a cap on the the maximum number of private hire vehicles because they are bringing congestion, circling and pollution. On the pollution point Uber is planning to go all-electric in the next few years.

Capping the number of cars is still very East Germany circa 1984…

60,000 Flock to Back Uber

uber prius

Following the news that Transport for London are launching a consultation today on proposals to kneecap Uber’s business, over 67,000 people have signed a petition to TFL demanding that they back down. If the proposals go ahead passengers would be forced to wait five minutes before they could get into a car and Uber would be banned from showing the available cars on their app.

Techno understands Number 10 are furious with Boris for allowing the consultation to go ahead and are actively seeking ways of forcing him to back down. You can sign the petition here

Leaked Documents: TFL Cracks Down on Uber

Documents obtained by Techno show Transport for London’s plans to crack down on taxi hire app Uber.

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The proposed rule changes for minicabs specifically target Uber’s operation. The most damaging rules include a ban on showing available cars for hire on an app, a ban on drivers working for more than one company; devastating news for drivers working part time for Uber, and controls on “ridesharing” that would scuttle Uber’s plans to bring their ridesharing UberPool service to London. The most bizzare proposal stipulates that passengers must wait 5 minutes from booking a ride until they can get in car; a rule that could lead to vulnerable passengers being artificially forced to wait on street corners late at night before they could get a ride.

Why are TFL listening to the Taxi lobby Luddites?

Taxi Drivers Shut Down Mayor’s Question Time

Taxi Drivers descended on City Hall today to protest Transport for London’s stance on regulating Uber. It was all going so well untill Boris called them “Luddites”

A member of City Hall staff was reportedly knocked out in the ensuing melee. The Taxi drivers rather proved Boris’ point…

GMB Union Sue Uber

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Union heavies GMB are taking legal action against the increasingly popular private driver app Uber, because it doesn’t cap how much money their drivers can earn. They want Uber to force their drivers to take breaks, introduce a maximum number of hours they can work and make them take holidays.

Drivers who use Uber are self-employed, earning as much or a little as they please. There will be around 42,000 Uber drivers in London by next year, as drivers take the no-brainer decision to use an app that reliably provides them work at the touch of a button. Onwards comrades…

How Much Would Bercow’s £172 Trip Cost in a Taxi?

Even less in an Uber

Uber Suspend Services in France

Uber have suspended their UberPop service in France following recent protests by unionised taxi driver thugs and the arrest of two of their executives…

UPDATE:

Here’s Uber’s statement

In the light of last week’s violence, we have today decided to suspend uberPOP, our ride sharing service, until September’s Constitutional Court decision. It’s a tremendously sad day for our 500 000 French uberPOP passengers, as well as the drivers who used the platform. However, safety must come first. Our regular UberX service, which uses licensed cars and makes up a majority of our trips each day in France, will continue to operate as usual…

It is heartbreaking to see the violence in the streets when we know that taxi drivers can earn more on the Uber platform…

Uber Chiefs Detained in Socialist France

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In scenes more reminiscent of Caracas than mainland Europe, AFP reports that the CEO of Uber France and the General Manager of Uber (Europe) have been arrested:

“The spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor says two Uber managers have been taken into custody for questioning over “illicit activity” linked to the ride-hailing company’s low cost service.”

Like in an Ayn Rand dystopia, arrested for providing customers with a better, cheaper service at the behest of unions.

Uber-La-La! French Taxi Drivers Attack Courtney Love

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Lazy French taxi drivers are rampaging today  in protest against Uber. They accuse the taxi app of creating an “unfair competitive situation”…

Aside from their usual past time of flipping cars and burning tires, the taxi drivers have for some reason attacked Courtney Love and have taken her driver hostage.

Vive la révolution!

UPDATE:

Courtney Love is demanding François Hollande comes to rescue her.

UPDATE II:

Courtney escapes

Uber Bans Drivers From Carrying Guns

uber gun

Taxi app Uber have quietly slipped out an update to their legal policy, banning their driver and passengers from carrying firearms.

UBER FIREARMS PROHIBITION POLICY

We seek to ensure that everyone using the Uber digital platform—both driver-partners and riders—feels safe and comfortable using the service.

[…] Read the rest

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