In September, Transport for London announced that it would not be renewing Uber’s license to operate in the UK’s capital. The news came as a shock to many and thousands of Londoners including Uber employees protested the decision. Uber have appealed, but the news still raises the question – what is the future of the UK taxi industry?
The App – There’s No Turing Back
One thing seems certain, the new business model that Uber have been responsible for introducing will change the industry for good. Many would agree that before Uber developed an app, the taxi industry in the UK and elsewhere had become tired and to a degree inefficient.
What the Uber model has done is breathe new life into the industry. The app allows users to order, track and pay for their ride using their mobile phone. In addition, the model means that users share their ride and this enables Uber to charge less for the service.
Overall, the technology underpinning the Uber model makes getting a cab, easier, cheaper and in many instances quicker.
Adopting New Technology
Other taxi companies have started to develop their own versions of the Uber app in a bid to win back some of the business that they have lost to the now well-established company. In fact, such was the success of the technology that it has also been adopted outside of the taxi industry. Private jet brokers, for example, are now using apps and the results have mirrored those seen by Uber – profits are up and business has taken off.
The UK taxi industry then has technical innovation as part of its plan for the future, but what else can it learn from Uber?
An Improved Experience
Part of Uber’s vision is the type of cars used to ferry around their customers and the various services they have in place are testament to this. UberBLACK for example offers luxury vehicles like SUVs, while UberX uses regular cars.
Taxi companies and drivers who are looking to improve the quality of their vehicles are using companies such as Cab Direct who offer a specialist service to the industry.
As to the future of the UKs taxi industry, it is one where only those who look to innovate, providing a service that makes good use of digital technology and that offers customers a twenty first century experience, will prosper.