UBER should not come to Liverpool

taxis

Hachney Taxis are safe, driven by people with knowledge and you know how much you will  pay for a ride

I have been concerned for some time about the possibility of the UBER ‘taxi’ service come to Liverpool. I listened to a presentation by one of their senior staff at a local government meeting in Washington in January and was appalled at their unregulated and to my mind dangerous approach.
I know that throughout the World many cities are either refusing or withdrawing Uber licences for this reason.
Rather than putting my own thoughts down I repeat below the thoughts of our Party President. She applies them specifically in the context of London but alklthe questions she raises here are equally applicable to London.
I believe that the Liverpool City Council should make every effort to resist UBER and if they are unable for legal reasons to do so should publicise the need to use registered Hackneys because they are reliable, regulated, knowledgeable and safe.
This is what Baroness Brinton says. What do you think?
1. All the adverts about never using non-registered minicabs for personal safety reasons fly out the window because Uber take no responsibility for minicabs being registered. In the event that an unregistered driver managed to access the App, and a passenger were attacked, they wash their hands of the problem. Minicab drivers do not have to have criminal records checks, unlike Hackney drivers. Would you want your teenage daughter to hail one late at night with no access to a reliable minicab firm taking the booking?
2. The fares are unregulated. Uber take 20% of the fare price, but you won’t be paying the TfL regulated rate that Hackneys charge, as – for the first time ever – a deal has been struck allowing them to set their own rates. I’m not aware that this is highlighted to the passenger at the start of the journey.
3. Worse than the unregulated fares, Uber are the first non-hackney company to be permitted to set a meter. This is a fundamental part of the regulation of hackneys since they were first licensed in the 19th Century, and there has been no public debate about this key change. And the rate is not regulated, so they can set it at the level that they want.
4. The minicabs are not subject to the same vehicle safety checks as hackneys, nor do the drivers have to do “The Knowledge”, so their knowledge of London can be minimal.
5. Uber is registered as an offshore company, so, guess what? They will pay as little tax as possible in the UK. Preferably none. Why on earth did TfL not insist that they operate through a UK subsidiary and pay tax locally? This will be a highly profitable business with minimal overheads. Given the high profile of private companies not paying tax, one that is regulated in the public realm should surely be asked to pay taxes.
6. And finally, a selfish note. I use a wheelchair, so I can’t risk using it (even if I wanted to most minicabs are saloon cars, and you won’t know until the minicab appears whether it can take you or not. With black cabs you are reassured that 99% have ramps, most of which are built in.

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About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. UK representative on UCLG Finance Committee, Executive Bureau and World Council. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperon on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and three grandchildren.
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7 Responses to UBER should not come to Liverpool

  1. Hi Richard. You are repeating a strange stance on Uber. Many of these points are plain wrong and others make little sense to anyone who has ever used the service. Here’s a quick summary. I can see you have merely reposted what was erroneously published somewhere previously:
    1. Uber drivers in London undergo the enhanced DBS check
    2. Uber has price tiers and are routinely cheaper than black cabs in London – the idea the customer has no price details highlighted at the start of the journey just doesn’t make any sense. You can only flag an Uber car through the mobile app and if you sign up for the service, download the app and then input your bank card details, it really shouldn’t take a nannying public servant to tell you you are a grown-up and are responsible for determining the way the pricing for a service works
    3. The system is run via GPS and an app. You see when you open the app what pricing level is in place (busy times are more expensive, which does get on some people’s nerves, but makes total sense and ensures you can always actually get an Uber, even if it is sometimes more expensive). True, there is no meter, but again, nobody ever gets into an Uber car without downloading the app to their smartphone, signing up for the service and inputting their bank card details first – it’s all very clear.
    4. All cars are fully documented and insured. Indeed, safety is better than with black cabs because you get full details of your driver and car in advance in the app: their name, their photo, their star rating from previous customers. It’s far less problematic than the oddballs you can get driving you in a black cab (there’s a bunch of safety info here from January this year: http://newsroom.uber.com/london/2015/01/prioritising-safety-at-uber-london/)
    5. agreed and they should be put under public pressure to change
    6. agreed, this is why it’s good to have competition – black cabs offer some things Uber cars don’t – but are we seriously saying this is a reason to ban them?

    I should point out, I have no vested interest in Uber and frankly don’t even much like the company. I find their buccaneering approach pretty elitist and distasteful. But the service is extremely good and I can’t stand seeing all these mistakes being repeated ad infinitum.

  2. But none of this stands true for Alpha or Delta who über will be identical to and still, 2/3s the price of a Hackney.

    As a young adult brought up on the technology boom I can’t wait for the opportunity to have my fare set in stone and paid for by card prior to leaving. I’ve taken hackneys (thankfully not recently) where I’ve been taken round the block charged ranges of £5-£14 for the same location.

    Hackneys are a tad old fashioned and in emergencies are probably useful, but in the young tech-dominated market audience (that Liverpools taxi services rely on) – they’re just shy of Stone Age.

    • richardkemp says:

      Barney, I have always found Hackney drivers in Liverpool to be well informed about traffic from their knowledge and conversations not because of an app. I have never been taken on a poor route without an explanation based on that knowledge and my permission sought in advance.

  3. Uber Driver. says:

    What a load of rubbish. This article is embarrassing beyond belief.

    Uber currently only partner up with Sefton Licensed Private Hire Drivers. This means that every driver they add to their systems have gone through exactly the same checks as drivers of Delta and SRC. They have CRB checks, Vehicle Compliance Checks, Insurance Documents and DVLA checks.

    Whether we agree or not as to how UBER operate is irrelevant. They went to Sefton for an Operators License because Liverpool where dragging it out. Anybody with any sense would of gone to Sefton in the first place as everybody knows Liverpool Council is stuck in the dark ages when it comes to progress.

    UBER will in time offer a better service than the incumbent operators and that’s why people will use it. It goes live in Liverpool on Friday 7th August 2015. The only people who will lose out is the owners of the likes of Delta and SRC because they will lose market share.

    How irresponsible to write an article that is so factually incorrect its embarrassing to read. If I was you I would delete it and apologise to UBER before they take legal action against you. Is this the standard of Leadership that exists in Liverpool’s Political jet set….no wonder the City is in such a mess.

    No doubt this comment wouldn’t see the light of day.

    • richardkemp says:

      Thank you for this. I never reply to anonymous postings but am happy to let people see this and judge for themselves. I am afraid you are totally missing the point of much of what I said.

  4. eddy barrett says:

    its called competion , if asda moves two streets away from tesco is that not allowed, ubers safe an freindly service exels all others taxi firms , fullstop

  5. harry draper says:

    people want cheaper,cheaper,cheaper transport,what they dont think about is the fact that this leads to drivers FORCED to work longer hours to make a living,so next time you take a cheaper option,your driver is probably working 80 hours per week (or more) you get what you pay for!!!!

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