Evidence supports Uber, not the Left (or TfL)
Uber has been wildly successful as a global firm, not just in the UK, but all over the world. The app averages around 40m customers per month, and supports the livelihoods of over 160,000 drivers. In London alone, around 40,000 drivers give lifts to 3.5m customers — making ride-hailing more affordable, more accountable, and more reliable.
Before Uber, the main rival to the Black Cab was the Minicab — many of which operated entirely unregulated, with TfL campaigning hard back in the noughties for people to stay away from them due to concerns for public safety.
The fresh competition brought by Uber to the cab-industry in London meant lower fares for consumers, quickly leading to Uber replacing minicabs as the number one rival of Hackney Carriages. This change largely did away with the risks of potentially unaccountable minicabs, with the new platform introducing cloud-stored information on journeys, GPS tracking, and a centralised ordering platform.
The evidence available supports the idea that Uber makes people safer, with the number of accidents, assaults, and DUI’s declining after the app’s introduction to a new city. Roads become less congested, threatening situations occur less frequently, and less people decide to drink and drive. Not only are the users of the service safer, the population at large is too.
Uber has also given 40,000 people a well-paying job, helping support the livelihoods and families of Londoners themselves. In contrast to the anti-casualization railing from the economic left, evidence suggests that the average driver earns over the Living Wage, as well as most drivers currently being satisfied with their position.
Whilst Trade Unions and Labour MPs rejoice over the decision taken, it seems hard to understand why 40,000 people losing their job overnight is in any way a ‘victory’. Perhaps they were working for the wrong people. Who knows.
To conclude, nobody is saying that Uber isn’t without its problems, and TfL should certainly make an attempt at helping resolve them. However, the evidence here clearly supports the case for Uber staying on in London for the time being — not only for consumers and drivers, but also for Londoners in general.