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Comment No sympathy for the black cabs (Score 5, Insightful) 114

Hi All,

Rare post from me, but this is close to my heart, being a long term (South) London resident. So... fuck the black cabs, really, they are truly shit in comparison to Uber. It's not just the card payment issue, it's the attitude you get from most of the drivers. They're not really interested in providing a cab service for London. They want to take bankers and tourists on short journeys around central London, and drive people to the airport and back. It can be difficult to find a black cab that will take you any distance "south of the river", so much so, it's even a cultural catch phrase here "Sorry gov, I ain't going south of the river".

Then, even when you get one, they really do cost. An Uber from central London to my place is about half the cost of a black cab. They're also not that comfortable a ride. Bumpy and cold usually. The only plus point is that they do take 5 passengers as standard, so there is that, minor, minor point....

Now, due to the black cabs being over priced, and really a bit shit, in true British fashion, rather than face actually making some kind of meaningful change to the system, a fudge has been added. Something called a "mini cab", or more accurately a "private hire vehicle". This is a just a car, no taxi meter, that you can hire to take you from A to B for a fixed price, but you can't hail it on the street, you have to call for one, or go to a pick up location. These vary wildly, from a professional, almost Uber like service such as Addison Lee, mentioned in a previous post, to a banged up, probably non street legal piece of crap driven by someone who looks like they've been awake 72 hours. Often they tout for business on the street (illegally) and, factoring in how late it is/cold the weather/drunk you are, a price is agreed... then often later disputed.

Anyway, mini cabs are licenced to operate as they do, although there are some totally illegal ones running around. The point is, black cabs never really served their purpose, so the mini cab system just kind of evolved into the cracks. It's the only type of cab most Londoners would have ever considered using.

Now we have Uber. Clean new cars, professional drivers, cheap, payments sorted in advance, phone app, the works. It's heaven. Actually, I find it interesting, all the US commenters on here talking about Uber being less professional, and operating illegally. The situation is totally different here. It is a superior cab ride in every way, and they are licenced private hire vehicles, so it's all legal. The black cab industry is trying to say that the Uber app on the drivers phone is effectively a taxi meter, and allows what is effectively street hailing, not sure how that is going, is there a court case?

Anyway, just wanted to get it off my chest. I will be so fucked off if a great service is killed, simply to protect a highly dysfunctional industry that has previously felt no pressure at all to improve their level of customer service. We all hate them anyway. This is an almost perfect "buggy whip manufacturer" situation, please let the black cab just die.


p.s. I did see a protest by black cab drivers, about Uber, in central London recently, trying in vain to whip up some public support... they're delusional.

Comment Re:Borlaug's invention only delayed a problem. (Score 1) 227

The interesting thing about population is that its rate of growth (excluding immigration) falls as societies become more developed. The best way to achieve a stable, or even falling, population, is to promote development in currently underdeveloped countries. I'll probably get a [citation needed] comment at this point, but the data is out there.

No need for Malthusian doom and gloom. Development will solve the "population problem".

The problem is the environmental impact of our current path of development. A steady move to a more environmentally sustainable development model, combined with a development push will (well, "may" is a probably a better word) lead to a better, more viable, planet for all.

Comment Re:Some people who CAN afford it, can't get it! (Score 1) 925

Mate, your story is truly a fucking disgrace. How anyone can be defending the system you are having to operate in is truly beyond me. From a Euro perspective, the anti state health care position seems delusional. How can it possibly be in the wider social, moral and economic interest to be placing a family such as yours into such a situation?

It's only words, but I feel for you.

Comment Re:You mean they'll actually have to pay.... (Score 1) 1505

Yeah, but the extra tax take means the government can afford to create MORE JOBS. Does this sound like a bad idea? It's a circular flow people, taxation doesn't create or destroy, its redistribution. Which, just happens to prop up aggregate demand, put more income in to working people's pockets and they spend it. It's good for the economy. Think of it as fiscal stimulus. Does that taste better?

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