Last week, it was reported that Uber, the car service app, is potentially going to be banned in London after the TfL (Transport for London) announced that Uber’s London licence is not going to be renewed upon expiry which ran out at the end of last month, taking the decision on the grounds of “public safety and security implications”. Uber has responded by announcing that it would appeal the decision with drivers still operating in London until the matter is taken up by the court.
This decision comes not only because the new wave of cab drivers in London taking all the business from the black cab drivers that have worked tirelessly in London since long before modern technology allowed us to book a taxi via our smartphones; but also because of the many incidents that have occurred in Uber cars since the service started in the capital in July 2012.
Although the company hasn’t had the best press, it still manages to maintain its customers that continue to use the service even after the scandals it has been hit with. So, what makes Uber so appealing to its customers? It’s cheaper than a regular taxi and you can order it from the comfort of your own home or wherever you are and it will be there within minutes, waiting for you.
Uber has proved to be such a success across the pond in London and also in 632 cities across the world, but why hasn’t it taken off here in Dublin?
Irish law requires that anyone carrying passengers for money must have a taxi license. This defeats the whole purpose of Uber as they market themselves on the fact that they have drivers that can earn money in a flexible way and still maintain their everyday lives and other jobs and essentially they are not taxi drivers.
The ride-sharing apps barely have a market share in Ireland because of this. In Ireland, Uber drivers must be taxi drivers, unlike other countries where anyone can become an Uber driver.
Niamh Keaveny, a Dublin woman living in Austin, Texas uses the service almost daily to get from A to B. “It’s much cheaper than getting a taxi here, they regularly run promotions where you can get a ride for as little as 2 dollars. The price and feeling secure in the Uber is what keeps me using the app”.
“If Uber took off in Dublin, I would certainly use it. Since I’ve been living abroad, I’ve heard Hailo has been taken over by MyTaxi and the prices have gone up. If people were allowed to drive Uber cars and not need a taxi license, providing the were screened like Uber drivers need to be, then I think it would work really well in Dublin”.
When asked if she thought this would take away from the Taxi drivers business in the city, Niamh said “Maybe to an extent but you will still have people pulling taxis over on the street no doubt. They say there are too many taxis in Dublin, but I still struggle to find one when I’m at home so I think this might be a good solution. Perhaps a trial might be a good idea“.