Uber Remains The Easiest Way To Get Home Tonight
The Debrief: The Night Tube’s been delayed, and Uber’s just won a landmark court case. All in all, the cheapest way to get home - if you live in London, at least - is to get an Uber…
Oh, to live in London. To pay more than half your income on rent and live in a shoebox, to get patted down entering a club and to face the dreaded night bus home, which, more than likely is a) late b) full c) only half full but always containing at least one person to terrify the shit out of you.
The solution to the last few problems, for so many young Londoners - especially young women - is to get an Uber. Cheaper than a black cab, or a private taxi hire, they’re also incredibly easy to book, via an app. You can also complain really easily if your driver is untoward in any way.
And despite Transport for London (who represent black cabs) taking Uber to court - the High Court, even - to argue that Uber contravene rules (you can’t have a meter in a private hire, and TfL argued that the app, coupled with the GPS it uses, counts as a meter) a landmark ruling has found that, yes, Uber is lawful. Justice Ousley declared your phone is not a meter.
Black cab drivers are, understandably, dismayed: Uber drivers don’t need to do anywhere near as much to qualify to ferry people around (including background and safety checks) as black cabs do, and they’re taking business from under black cab drivers’ noses. Plus, the surge charges aren’t entirely fair on customers, are they?
Meanwhile, a representative for Uber has shown how delighted they are, telling the BBC: 'This was not a marginal call; it is quite emphatic. In fact, it is contemptuous of the case brought before it.
'Uber will continue going about our business and making sure customers have choice.’
This news comes the same week that public transport union workers have informed the public that no, the Night Tube won’t be coming to London this year, pushing the deadline back from September, when the all-night service was slated to run by Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
Perhaps, once the Night Tube is established, and proves itself to be both a cheap and safe way of getting home after a night out - to places further and further out of the city as young people are squeezed out by high rents - TFL will see people deleting Uber and returning to its services.
But until that day comes, and until TfL help inform black cab passengers that, yes, there is an easy way to complain about drivers if they refuse to take you/go a long way/spout racist/homophobic/sexist nonsense as they’re ferrying you about/drive way too close to bicycles, Uber - with anonymised cars - will still be the go-to for a quick, cheap way home.
And for all you who don’t live in London? Uber’s success in London is catching on - very slowly, as many Uber drivers go to London from all over the country to cash in each weekend - elsewhere. And you can bet local cab drivers won’t be happy about that.
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