Upon the announcement of taxis becoming the sole private provider of transport in London after Uber’s contract expires on 30th September, there seemed to be a wide vocalisation of support for the service. Whilst the traditional black cab service boasts a longer tenure, the creation of Uber seemed to occur due to a gap in the market, with the service ultimately paying dividends for both its drivers and passengers; whilst for the former it enabled a fresh influx of jobs to become available, with often flexible hours, it more poignantly offered travellers an alternative to night transportation, and the offer of door to door service. As such, whilst politicians have vocalised their support of traditional taxi services, it seems the population has prioritised extending Uber’s contract, and in utilising social media these activists may enable a wider breadth of people to be impacted by, and ultimately form an opinion on, the situation.
With Uber operating in 633 cities across the globe, it seems the company may have acted as pioneers in revolutionising the travel industry. Yet, it’s crowning glory may be its response during challenging predicaments, most notably in the aftermath of the situation at Manchester; the company offered complimentary rides away from the vicinity, ultimately enabling a wide array of people to remain safe during the repercussions, also pledging to donate fares to the One Love Concert. Thus, they may have proven their overarching desire to productively impact the British population, and it may be this response, alongside their meteoric rise across the globe, contributing to its credibility.
Yet, whilst Uber seems to have showcased its ability to function at a high standard, a wide array of high ranking influencers, both in the political and transport industry, have vocalised their support of more traditional forms of transportation. Amongst these seems to be London Mayor Sadiq Khan who, considering a prominent focal point of his election campaign was his desire to revolutionise public transport, he may be aiming to attain support for his recently implemented night tube. In addition, with Khan’s father a bus driver, he may also understand the importance of this industry, therefore drawing upon this knowledge to consolidate his quest further. Yet, whilst there seems to be vehement agreement between politicians, they may also utilise this situation to their advantage; by adopting a stance which both represents their party’s ideologies and appeals to the Uber supporters, they may gain an influx of votes. Thus, while Labour’s stance may be pro-taxi, earning increased safety precautions for Uber may be a medium in which the party may enhance their quest for Number 10.
As the escalation of the debate seems to have occurred at a rapid rate, it seems the sole priority of the campaigners may be to quickly attain support for their goal via their utilisation of the internet. With a petition having reached over 790,000 signatures, it may reemphasise this suggestion, and also prove London’s desire for equality and solidarity. Yet, whilst these levels of support may prove the high regard in which the service may be held, it may have a more important snowball effect on other industries, most notably for universities; if students, often the main users of Uber, may continue to travel at a fair price, they may be able to continue to productively balance academic life, therefore achieving superior grades in tandem with their standard of life increasing.
With the conclusion of the contract rapidly approaching, this time period may be pivotal in potentially extending Uber’s right to remain in London. With the service boasting 3.5 million users, it may therefore be beneficial for all parties for this conclusion to occur, and if they opt to alter their stances in key areas in order to abide by TFL rules, they may further productively impact passengers. Uber’s response seems to have therefore been important, as in offering to continuously improve to enhance its service, it may prove their overarching desire to re-establish themselves as an integral mode of transport for Londoners and, if successful, their achievements may motivate other innovative companies to similarly productively impact the world.
How may Uber ensure it establishes itself as an integral part of London transport?