Uber arrives in Southampton
They’re cheaper than normal cabs
Pass the AUX cable, Uber hit the roads of Southampton city yesterday.
The service went live as of 4pm on April 8th ,which is good news for us but potentially bad news for conventional taxi companies. Uber fares are 10 to 15 percent cheaper than other taxi services, making profit margins for drivers lower.
Uber already operates in over a dozen other UK cities, providing low-cost rates. All you need to do is download the app, which instantly reveals your approximate pickup time and fare estimate. Once booked, you can see the driver’s photo, name and car registration as you track the car’s arrival.
Uber operates as a cashless system so PayPal is the most popular method of payment; otherwise, money is debited from your account from the app. Many drivers feel positively about this system of payment, as they feel less targeted by robbers.
Fred Jones, Uber’s general manager announced: “We’re really excited to be launching in Southampton. Over 27,000 people in the city have opened the app in the last 90 days, so we know that there is a real demand for the service here.”
Uber approximated that a journey from Highfield Campus to Bedford Place will cost around £5.40. The Daily Echo calculated the trip using a conventional taxi would be around £6.20 or £6.95 between 11pm-6am.
Mr Jones has confirmed that Uber has had interest from around 200 potential Southampton drivers. There is, however, opposition from the traditional, long-established operators in the city, as well as concerns that they could lose many of their experienced drivers to Uber.
A local private hire driver told The Tab: “There will be drivers who join, but it’s still early days. Maybe its time the taxi industry joined the 21st century!”
In London and Paris, Uber has been met with demonstrations from angry taxi drivers who have brought cities to a standstill whilst protesting in a bid to secure their livelihood.
Branch secretary for GNB professional Drivers, Steve Garelick, warned Uber drivers: “It’s great for consumers but in reality consumers don’t care how much the driver earns but some are having to work 70 to 80 hours just to cover their costs.”
Mr Garelick also said areas without Uber should be cautious of the firm: “If the market for taxis already exists what value do they bring? All they do is destroy what is already there by driving down rates with an over-supply of drivers.”
So far Uber dominates the taxi business of London, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Sheffield, Bristol, Merseyside, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Portsmouth, Leicester and Belfast.
The firm is currently offering its standard uberX service but Mr Jones suggested it is likely introduce its XL, 5+ seaters, and Exec, which offers Mercedes E-class and similar cars in the near future.
Last year the firm’s value was estimated at around £44.3bn.