Uber has been on London’s roads for a very long time. It is a taxi service which is available on call and works with the help of self-employed workers. The freelance taxi drivers will receive you from the address using a mobile phone app. It is as simple as it can get because you don’t have to make a phone call or even text, just use the app and get yourself anywhere in London. Uber has been in many controversies since past two months, and it was a surprise for almost everyone. It was even announced by TfL (Transport for London) that Uber’s operating license would not be renewed.
Services and Performance
According to an estimate, the Uber app is downloaded to 30,000 different devices every week and these people experience first time their ride with Uber. The taxi service was first launched in 2010, and since then it has come to 400 different cities around the world. According to the Guardian stated that Uber makes it to a new market after every five days and eight hours. It has been found out that any hindrance to Uber’s operations will affect almost 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million customers.
Uber has been a reliable source of traveling within London, and most of the users expressed their satisfaction over its performance in result of a survey posted on The Sun. In December, it was even suggested by the European Union’s top court that Uber should come under the label of a transport service as it is not only a means of connecting drivers and passengers but it operates as taxi/transport service.
Uber has been under various controversies in London. All these controversies led to the court putting a ban on it. Since its launch, Uber has had to face legal difficulties not only in London but almost everywhere in the world. The Guardian has reported that Uber has faced around 170 legal problems since its launch. One of the problems with Uber is the competition it has created for fellow cab services. In London, it has been accused of causing many regulatory problems by other cab services companies and traditional black taxis. Low prices and relatively better traveling conditions make it competitive which is causing other cab companies’ demand to go lower. However, Uber mostly emerged from these problems and started its operations again. There are still a few legal issues faced by Uber because of its weak management and regulation of drivers. There are a few controversies, and their respective solutions by Uber are given below:
Different Routes and Overcharging
It has also been observed and reported by the general public that sometimes Uber’s drivers take different or strange routes. These routes take the rider to home but the rider is overcharged due to the route being a longer one than the usual route. The strange and unknown routes for the customer can also be a security problem, and most of the customers showed their concern over it. One customer reported it to the company’s top management and it was also one of the many controversies Uber has been in. The problem was due to the upfront pricing system used by Uber. However, now Uber’s head of product, Daniel Garf has announced that now the prices will be determined using the artificial intelligence.
London Terror Attacks Controversy
Uber also caused massive outrage on social media when it came under fire due to a price hike in fare right after the terror attack. It was mentioned by the social media users that Uber was profiting from the London Terror attack. The knife attacks killed seven people, and caused 48 more to be hospitalized, and Uber was accused of upping the travel cost in that specific area. However, this was denied by the Uber and stated that prices were restored to normal when the company came to know about the attack.
This has been one of the controversies which have affected Uber’s reputation the most. Uber has claimed that the app only works as the intermediary and do not work as the employer. Uber drivers reportedly do not get employment benefits such as sick pay, breaks or holiday pay. There were two drivers in October 2016 who won a case against Uber to recognize them as employees and not self-employed workers. Although the decision ruled in the favors of driver, Uber decided to appeal against the decision.
Aggressive Work Environment
It also came into the general public’s eyes that Uber’s higher-ups do not treat the drivers very well. In a video, which went viral on social media, it was shown that Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick was being angry at a driver who was complaining that Uber is making him go bankrupt.
Uber has been declared “not fit and proper” by Transport for London (the license issuing authority) to give a license to continue its operations in London. However, Uber’s operations will continue in London till the final decision.
Uber has also been accused of using software which does not give access to the app and its functions to the regulatory bodies. It was one of the reasons for which Uber’s request for renewal of its license was rejected by the TfL.
How Uber is responding?
Despite all of the problems and allegations that Uber is now facing the company has revolutionized the cab system. The monopoly of black cabbies is also axed. The company has started services which allow users to add tips to fares. It has also started making efforts to provide benefits to its employees like access to pensions and insurance. As much as the decision of banning Uber is appreciated by the Mayor of London, customers were disappointed by the decision.
Even though Uber has faced hundreds of controversies the demand is still on the raise. According to a survey on The Sun.co more than 62% of users have claimed that their lives will be worse off after the ban on Uber in London. These results showed that Uber still remains a popular cab service across London.