As Uber hires yet another political heavyweight to back its causeHere at GoMo Towers, we can’t help but think that what London cabbies really need in their fight against the fast-growing Uber mobile app is better technology. Rather than legal victories or greater political protection. In a sign of the way things are going, the folks at Uber have hired another political heavyweight in the shape of David Plouffe. An American, he is widely accredited with helping Barack Obama being elected US President not once but twice. Uber is, of course, fighting a global battle and what happens in the USA will undoubtedly affect Europe, for example. We can’t help but think that what London cabbies [taxi drivers] really need, however, is better technology in their apps.
Here in the UK, London a classic city where taxi drivers are highly regulated.
Firstly, taxi drivers (both the Black cab and mini cab varieties) have to go through background checks to prevent criminals from getting behind the wheel.
Then, taxi drivers have to prove they know the area by taking a test which is widely known as The Knowledge.
Even mini cab drivers in the leafy Surrey town where GoMo News has its HQ need to pass a mini Knowledge. Not a lot of people know that.
So, why would the general public chose to employ the Uber app rather than take the safest option?
The answer lies with the amount of information which the Uber app can provide.
For starters, using GPS technology those with the Uber app can track exactly where the driver is – and therefore how far away he or she is.
It is also even possible to chat with the Uber driver before he or she arrives.
The most important feature, however, is that Uber tells users exactly how much they will pay to travel from A to B.
Now, it’s been a while since GoMo News was last treated to a demo of the mobile app created specifically for London black cab drivers – Hailo.
However, we are pretty sure that being able to talk to the Black cab driver – using existing cellular telephony, isn’t part of it.
Then, there’s the thorny question of providing a pretty accurate estimate of how much the cab fare will cost.
GoMo News would argue that if you integrate traffic information with a navigation facility, then Hailo could be configured to give more than just rough estimates to potential cab users.
Fight disruptive technology with new technology is our suggestion.