Drivers of Uber taxis could lose as much as £19m a year if new proposals by Transport for London come into effect. The proposal means that operators of taxi apps would be forced to wait five minutes before a pick up.
Research published by Uber found that it’s drivers will be out of pocket by as much as £1000 a month. According to the company, over 43% of trips in London last month began within five minutes of the car being summoned to pick someone up. The average trip was around 22 minutes and cost £14. They said:
“If partner drivers had been forced to wait a full five minutes before starting these trips they would have wasted more than 52,000 hours a month of sitting and waiting instead of making money driving on trips.”
TFL underlined the new rules aimed at limiting the functionality of taxi apps. Among the proposed rules was the five minute waiting time, a ban on ride sharing, banning apps which showed positions of cars for hire nearby and forcing apps to allow cars to be pre-booked up to seven days in advance.
Uber’s regional manager said that the new rules would be a ‘big mistake’, stating:
“We agree with any measures that improve the way people can get about the city and public safety, but this proposal does neither. These plans would take money away from hard working partner-drivers and also create a safety issue with people banned from getting into their car, even after it’s booked and waiting right there. And they would add to congestion as cars will be forced to hang around, clogging up streets before being able to start trips. Let’s keep London moving, not slow it down.”
However, TfL’s chief operating officer disagreed, saying:
“This is a public consultation to inform and improve the regulations around the Capital’s private hire trade. Technology has developed rapidly, but it has also triggered an exponential growth in the number of private hire vehicles on our roads – there are now over 90,000 drivers today compared to around 59,000 in 2009/10. This new technology is clearly very beneficial for customers, but it has also given rise to a number of wider issues. These include rising traffic congestion, illegal parking and an impact on air quality. No final decisions have been made and the consultation runs until 23 December. We’re keen to hear a range of views from the trade and from Londoners.”