Transport for London has decided not to give Uber a new license, though its app (Uber requires drivers and users to have a smartphone) will still be operational in London while Uber appeals against the decision.
More information about its problems and bans in several cities and countries may be seen on the West Midlands New Economics site.
The New Economics Foundation has called for a mutually-owned, publicly-regulated alternative to Uber, providing better working conditions for drivers and higher safety standards for passengers.
“Digital platforms are here to stay and technology cannot be reversed. The question now is how they should be controlled and by whom, as well as the standards they set and how they treat people. It is time to develop alternative models which put people back in control”.
As NEF points out, drivers in different parts of the UK are developing their own platforms.
In 2015 Cab:app was co-founded by London taxi driver Peter Schive, who said: ‘Cab:app draws on the heritage and expertise of the black cab industry and translates it for the digital world.
Other early examples included the Bristol Taxi App – abbreviated to Braxi – which will only employ drivers licensed by Bristol City Council. Farouq Hussain, ‘one of the brains behind the app’, described it as being “just like Uber, only local”, with no surcharge and 25% pay cut. He added: “Our app takes the best of Uber and makes it local”.
The most recent: in June Anlaby-based 966 Taxis in Hull designed and launched its Uber-style app which they believe could transform the service. Alice Martin (NEF: Lead for Work) said: “TFL’s move will send ripples across the country where there has been a recent surge in private hire licenses given out to support Uber’s growth, particularly in the Midlands, Yorkshire and the North West” adding:
“We’ve been working with drivers in different parts of the UK who are developing their own platforms. The time has come for the Mayor to back a better alternative to Uber and lead the way for other local authorities to do the same”.