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Uber - a fan or not?

Posted by
12 Jan 2015
For anyone that knows me, they will say that I am probably the most technology advanced of the Sellick Partnership team - ahem, maybe not. I am a dab hand on a spreadsheet though!

Uber has been in business for 5 years, and is currently operating in over 200 countries over 6 continents, and is currently valued at $18 billion.

There has been a lot in the news about Uber, their strategy, their recruitment process, and what the impact the rise has had on other taxi companies.

Strategy

Several months ago there was also a large taxi strike in London by black cab drivers, who argue that Uber is not acting lawfully. Taxi drivers have to be licensed and have strict regulations to abide by, which are being continuously questioned by rivals, and have seen several court cases.

Transport for London, who regulate the mini cab trade in London, state that taxis must use a meter, however this isn't how Uber operate - the fare is calculated using the app. The loophole is that there is a meter, it is just not being fitted to the taxi, and this is how they are acting within the law.  Regulations also require that private companies have a booking office, which Uber does not.

There have been claims that Uber do not have the most ethical approach to facilitating their rise, nor recruiting their drivers. One site (theverge.com) claims that in an effort to out do their competitors, Uber called and cancelled over 5000 bookings for a rival company called Lyft…this was done from pre paid credit cards and disposable mobile phones, shady.

What is the appeal to Uber?

For me, the appeal is 100% that you do not need to have cash on you, and the app provides a real time update as to where your cab is - jazzy.
 
Their start up promotion was also pretty good, join now and get £10 for free. Not only this but if someone you knew was with Uber and gave you a referral code, they would also receive £10 of credit. This in turn is passed onto you, and it is perfectly feasible to quickly rack up £50 worth of credit that you can use at anytime.

My experience with Uber has been great - the drivers are always really friendly, and the service is excellent. The way they work and the accessibility of the services is very straightforward, and solves the age old problem for me of no signal/no money. The regulations set out above are obviously in place for a reason, however at a time where technology is rattling along and leaving some of us behind, there needs to be change to reflect what is going on. This doesn't mean to say that Uber vs the rest of the world has to be mutually exclusive, but that older regulations need to be updated to mean that old and new alike are able to compete fairly.

What do you think about Uber? Join the discussion below...
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