Brexit, a pandemic, workers’ rights, the cost of a new electric vehicle, charging problems, congestion and ULEZ charges have all massively impacted on public hire drivers and now their prices are equal to, and sometimes, above that of a metered fare in a black cab.
Social media is awash with Uber supporters who used to wax lyrical about the ‘Wonderful Service’, and ‘Convenience’ are now complaining about the unavailability and high prices.
The irony is that it’s these same people who used to tell the world that their choice of transport was based on helping those less privileged, but now Uber’s prices have risen are all screaming, to be fair many of them are Millennials who have only ever known a time when a Prius was waiting to take them home at all hours for virtually no money, and they are struggling to comprehend why it’s changed.
Uber needs to recruit and get licensed, tens of thousands of new drivers prepared to work long hours for low pay. They also have to persuade recruits to undertake increased regulatory standards such as English language requirements, a topographical test, HMRC registration, a requirement to buy electric cars (which many PH drivers cannot home charge) and ULEZ. In short, it’s no longer cheap and easy to become a private hire driver.
It goes without saying that the last thing any of the big apps want is any more rules or requirements and are doing all they can to bring political pressure and gain support from politicians of all parties.
The Adam Smith Institute, an oh-so liberal free-market think tank, has published a report arguing for less regulation. Rather cleverly their press releases referenced ‘scrapping The Knowledge’ which secured them some great media coverage.
So if we take their hypothesis for replacing London Black Cab Drivers with numpties, we could employ long-distance lorry drivers as short-haul pilots (planes fly themselves don’t you know), and pharmacists could perform appendectomies, after all they know a thing or two about the human body.