The Uber phenomenon is spreading fast all over the UK, with many cities kitting themselves out to provide the upgraded taxi service to customers. Apart from Uber, which seems to be the predominantly known taxi app, others include Gett, Hailo, Kabbee and CabWise. All these apps offer a similar service, with minor differences in how a customer is charged and availability in certain cities. However, CabWise merely informs you of the nearest taxi firms and offices and doesn’t actually book you a cab.
The novelty of app-based taxi services has increased in popularity due to the fact that they are quick, easy and most of all, cheap. Even though the service comes with a long list of pros for customers, it’s proving to be detrimental to the taxi driving industry.
Pre-booking is becoming redundant with the rise of the mobile taxi app, as the service is location enabled, meaning taxis are programmed to the app so you can see how many taxis are in your area in real time. This means that you will be allocated a vehicle that is close to you and will often get to you in a matter of minutes.
No need to hail. Traditionally, unless you’ve pre-booked, customers have to hail taxis on the street which can become an inconvenience in bad weather. Customers can order their cab with a few clicks within seconds from the comfort of a sheltered space without having to squint for an available taxi light.
No need for cash! A big problem that people face when taking a taxi is that they may be short on cash and there might not be a safer mode of transportation available. Some taxi drivers will oblige in stopping to find a cash machine as not many vehicles are equipped with a card payment machine.
Most taxi-apps however deal with card-only payments, which also avoids the possibility of not having enough cash due to traffic waiting times, plus the time it takes to park up and make a mad dash for the hole in the wall.
Bad for business. The main drawback to app-based taxi services is that they’re destroying the taxi industry. The major way which these apps compete with each other is through lowering their prices, which means the original black cab and self-employed taxi drivers are losing out.
This means that existing taxi drivers have to drop their prices considerably and work longer hours in order to make their desired profit. This causes a knock-on effect of other drawbacks too, as working longer hours can lead to tired drivers, which in turn could jeopardise the safety of both the driver and their passengers.
GPS vs Knowledge. When you book a taxi through a taxi firm, you’re pretty much guaranteed a local driver who knows the city roads like the back of their hand. This is not always the case with Uber drivers who may be less familiar with the local area. As we’ve discussed in a recent blog, GPS isn’t always trustworthy, and getting lost is bad for customers and drivers alike.
I spent what?! During busy periods, taxi services boost their rates, but Uber’s surge pricing has bordered on extreme and the average price of a journey can sometimes double or triple when cabs are in high demand. This can leave people feeling slightly irked when they take a look at their bank account the following morning.