I thought this was worth reposting from The Taxi Shop website
November 24, 2015 3:18 pm
by Rob Breuilly, owner, The Taxi Shop.
I’ve been in the taxi trade 30 years and have seen a lot of changes. I am not naive about the impact Uber is having. We know Uber is a player in this market and we aren’t ignoring it. But that doesn’t mean we have to roll over and let it destroy a trade with a strong, proud tradition, standards, and which always has the customer at heart.
A trade worth protecting
We want to protect our trade: the drivers who have good knowledge, who pay their subs every year and have invested in cars and minibuses while building up their business through hard graft and good service. Small businesses are the backbone of Britain and the taxi industry is made up of tens of thousands of hardworking people providing a good service to their communities.
When I meet the big taxi fleet owners and managers, they say they are desperate for drivers. But the councils take weeks and months to process the drivers applications. Yet with Uber any Tom, Dick or Harry can sign its Ts and Cs and they are out on the road. It’s not a level playing field.
Yes, Uber has a smart app and people like using the technology. But they don’t have a monopoly on using apps to create a better experience for customers. Uber may well be available in many cities. But people hate the surge pricing. They hate the anonymous drivers, desperate to get to the next fare.
Uber is sophisticated, it has used modern technology to great effect. But it leaves fares open to risk and poor service, as practically anyone with a driving licence can be an Uber driver without facing the same vetting, the police checks and safety measures the mature taxi trade does. Uber drivers simply don’t need to go through the same red tape that private hire drivers do. It’s not a level playing field and the end result is that customers have no protection.
Service breeds loyalty
Everyone in the trade, from suppliers like us, to the taxi firms and the drivers, we all need to raise our game and prove that you cannot beat good, old-fashioned service. Loyalty is everything. In our business we have customers returning year after year when they need new vehicles. They do this because they are loyal; and that loyalty is based on the excellent service we provide them. There is no loyalty with Uber. It is all about price at the expense of customer safety.
We will not supply Uber vehicles
We get 10 calls a week people wanting Uber vehicles. We refuse. Uber is destroying the taxi trade. Yet some dealers are selling direct to Uber drivers. Drivers and taxi firm owners need to understand that these dealers — who’ve taken your money for years now — they are now selling to your biggest competition: Uber. Yes, they are selling to you AND to Uber drivers and rental companies supplying Uber drivers. They are stabbing you in the back. We cannot agree with this.