Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Black Cab Dying

Richard Branson has weighed into the Uber debate, that any attempt to clamp down on the popular taxi-hailing app will hurt UK consumers. The Virgin billionaire told London’s traditional taxi businesses to “accept” that there is a new model in the industry, and they must either “embrace it or change what they are doing”. “cannot stop progress and you can’t turn the clock back,” he said, speaking at the Virgin StartUp Foodpreneur event in London. “Once you’ve let the genie out of the box and people are benefiting from something, you can’t put it back in.” Claimed that taxi lobbying groups who are fighting to curb Uber’s expansion in the capital should either “accept Uber and embrace it or change what they are doing”. He added: “The moment somebody creates something that’s better value for the consumer, you just have to accept it.” Would anyone pay more for something than the minimum they’re allowed to? It’s a question that goes to the heart of who we are as ‘consumers’. Do you see the inherent value in something and believe you should pay what an item or service is worth? You’re probably at least vaguely socialist, even if the word conjures up images of bearded men printing pamphlets nobody will read. Or do you think the value of an item or service is not somehow built within it but decided by ‘the market’? You probably have a giant portrait of Margaret Thatcher in your house, and it's a long time since that was OK. Drivers will have been through rigorous background checks, to make sure he hasn’t complained to any previous employers about working conditions or attempted to join a union. He could be a champion fiend in other ways of course, the criminal background checks are questionable at best, but what’s a cab ride without an edge to it? Boring, and who needs that at the end of a great night out with the girls? You don't know Londoners very well if you think we don't anticipate the howls of anger that will greet such a viewpoint. People will invoke Amazon to defend the tax point, because Amazon is the new Santa. They'll claim cabbies earn a fortune, which is bollocks. These people will yell at us for being against progress, but what we're against is blindly stumbling towards a worse London than we have now, for no other reason than we might be able to save a few bob. Black cabs are fighting back, but without the support of the people of this city we are going to lose a fine service that is doing everything it can to keep up with the terrifying march of modernity. Give black cabs time to adjust to the Age of Cheap, and eventually you'll come to appreciate their solid, dependable service. Black cabs will die, an honest occupation will go with it, Uber put their prices up immediately, and the moment driverless cars become a reality they’ll be all over it like Cameron on swine (because you think Uber cares about their drivers, you're way off). And when your boss calls you into his office and tells you you’re being replaced by Sergei, who can’t speak a bean of English but by Christ, spare us the whimpers that your skill and experience make you worth that extra couple of quid, because you brought this on yourself with that little app you love so much. taxi weybridge taxi walton on thames

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