Nobody disagrees that it is great to have a cheaper option in the cab trade to cater for people who cannot afford black cab fares. Our Mayor and fair minded black cab drivers are all for it! But if that cheap fare is achieved through criminal activity such as avoidance of safety regs. and breaking of TfL regulations and immoral activity such as tax avoidance, and exploiting Uber drivers, who are treated like rubbish, that cheap fare doesn’t look like such a great idea.There is abundant evidence that many Uber drivers have not been through the proper criminal checks. Some of them don’t have proper insurance. Many Uber drivers shouldn’t even be in charge of a vehicle, from their appalling parking skills, (often illegal.) and sketchy knowledge of the Highway Code. Uber treat their drivers so badly, they take 20% of their pay. Since the pay is low, many drivers are sleeping in their cars to make ends meet, because they are working 18 hour days. Some are so tired, they fall asleep at the wheel.
Black cabs are 100% reliable regarding insurance and their criminal checks are impeccable. Their driving standards and knowledge of the city are second to none. Black cab drivers have extra costs than PHVs, which is why they were granted the right to be hailed down in the street. Londoners who call black cab drivers “greedy” are showing their ignorance. Black cabs do not set their own fares, their fairs are set by TfL. That hailing advantage was granted for a reason.
Black cab drivers therefore have a right to be annoyed if PHVs usurp the right to pick up passengers in the street. If they skimped on safety checks and insurance, TfL could charge cheaper fares too.
Just as serious is the criticism of Uber’s tax affairs. The cab trade magazine TAXI reported this week “Uber only paid £22,134 in UK corporation tax last year despite raking in £11 million, accordingt o the latest published accounts. The UK arm of the US firm made a total £866,302 in profit in 2014, most of which should havebeen liable for tax. The revelations about Uber, and several other tech giants,caused outrage, particularly given that the average UK worker pays £3,180 in income tax and £2,213 in national insurance payments.”
Tax avoidance is not illegal, but morally, it’s a different matter. For the rest of the TAXI article, please click here.
If Uber did everything properly, they wouldn’t be able to charge such cheap fares either but their free wheeling way of cutting corners is costing them a lorry load of legal fees over three continents.
The Mayor has been itching to restrict PHVs forever, but so far Osbo has said No. How long is the Chancellor prepared to play Russian roulette with Londoners’ safety before even he realises cheap and mouldy foreign hamburgers will kill you? Why eat rubbish if you have sirloin steak at home?