Wednesday, 24 June 2015

"It is only a matter of time before Uber arrives in Exeter."

"Would you let your car or your flat or your lawnmower to a complete stranger on the internet?"
Futures Forum: The 'sharing economy' in the news...

But not everyone's convinced about the 'sharing economy':
Futures Forum: The 'sharing economy', 'resilience' and 'nudging': Evgeny Morozov on "The rise of data and the death of politics"
Futures Forum: The sharing economy "monetizes the desperation of people in the post-crisis economy while sounding generous—and evokes a fantasy of community in an atomized population."

In the United States, the Peer-2-Peer economy is under threat:
California Government Puts Uber on Blocks : Anything Peaceful : Foundation for Economic Education

Meanwhile, the Mayor of London has been upsetting London hackney taxi drivers:
Uber is overwhelming – London black cabs’ only future is tourism and tetchy Tories - Comment - Voices - The Independent

This relatively liberal climate seems to be spreading:

Comment: Big changes heading for taxis in Exeter

By EdOldfield | Posted: April 03, 2015

Taxi cabs in Exeter

Cab drivers in Exeter are angry about a decision by the city council to lift the limit of 66 hackney carriages. I'm not surprised, because more cabs competing for fares is likely to reduce their incomes, unless there is unmet demand. The city council thinks there is, the drivers want to see the proof.

It is only hackney carriages that can be flagged down in the street or pick up from the 10 taxi ranks around the city. The fares are set by the council. Meanwhile private hire taxis have to be pre-booked, and their fares are not controlled, although the drivers must be licensed.

The council says it is putting the customer first by increasing the number of vehicles.

But the hackney carriage drivers are right to be worried, and not just by this change.

The whole industry has been changed dramatically by technology, specifically a mobile phone app called Uber. It launched in London two years ago and allows private hire cars to compete for fares. Users just input where they are and where they want to go. The pre-approved private hire firms then compete to give you the best price.

The Hackney Carriage drivers say the app works like a meter, charging by distance, and should not be allowed.

But Uber, and other price comparison taxi apps, are expanding rapidly. Uber has extended its luxury taxi services to Manchester and Leeds.

It also operates in Birmingham, and has plans for more cities. It is only a matter of time before Uber, or a similar phone app, arrives in Exeter. And at that point the Hackney cab drivers are going to see a big increase in competition which will make the current changes seem a minor distraction.

Comment: Big changes heading for taxis in Exeter | Exeter Express and Echo
Exeter taxi drivers threaten to take city council to court | Taxi News

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