London After Uber: Readers Speak Out

Some people seem to have forgotten just how much of a game-changer it has been for the city. Before, you had a terrible system of insanely overpriced journeys by notoriously surly black cab drivers, which no young people could actually afford to take, so they didn’t (they rely on Uber now). London is a more open, vibrant and prosperous place largely because of Uber. — Rory Briggs, 24, sports journalist, Tooting

And Those Who Hate It

Added to congestion, particularly near stations where Ubers are waiting for a job. Made a mockery of London’s licensing laws for drivers and companies. I agree with TfL — not one of my favorite public bodies, but they are right. — T. Harlow, 60, Southeast London

Uber is a pretty despicable company. They shouldnt think they’re above legislation. A competitor will thrive and life will go on. — Will Baker, 28, I.T. manager, Kingston-upon-Thames

If a driver’s independence of actions are severely restricted by Uber and they are not totally free to work or not, and to work for other similar companies in the same activity, they are not self-employed and are de facto employees … Those who sign a petition supporting Uber are in fact contributing to the exploitation of its people. They should think again more broadly and outside their own personal interests. — Mike Parsley, 73, outer metropolitan region

The Drivers

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Mo Azad

I’ll be out of a job! Londoners will be less safe, especially women or young ladies. As a father myself, I’m worried about the impact it will have on my kids coming home safe at night or evenings. The economy will suffer. The school run morning rush hour will be a nightmare. People forget Uber is a way of life in London, not just a minicab app. — Mo Azad, 46, Northwest London

I drive for the Uber X platform. I have a top 4.87 rating after over 1,000 ratings and over 2,000 trips. My motivation is in no way from earnings, because earnings are too low to suport a decent life in London. Very long hours of extremely low pay makes any driver a dangerous driver. — Alexandru Daniel Niculae, 28, Cricklewood

Mixed Reviews, Dependence and Guilt

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Ian McKenna

Some of their drivers are awful, but the company are quick to remedy poor service. Improved pre-vetting of drivers and greater transparency of action taken would improve their case. … This decision is politically motivated, driven by the same xenophobia that has lead to “Brexit.” It demonstrates that London Mayor Sadiq Kahn is not up to the job of leading a global supercity. — Ian McKenna, 59, chief executive, Highbury

There is a highly valid claim by London black drivers that they were cheated out of their legal monopoly unfairly. They pay a fortune for their cabs and are required to take the Knowledge test, which consumes years of effort. And then one day TfL just says, “Right here is a new alternative with none of those conditions that provides almost the same service for half the price.” Shocking. On the flip side, the innovation has pushed London black cabs in the right direction: They are often using similar app-based technology for hailing, are adjusting rates for prebook unmetered rates, and finally have functioning credit card payment systems. — Matt Semi, 47, Notting Hill

I have been unhappy with the way the company has been run, and the rampant sexism and general mismanagement that has been reported on in the press recently. I even tried to find another, similar app to use in an effort to boycott Uber. But none exist! I can’t bear to pay for a black cab when I know I can get Uber for much cheaper. — Abbie MacKinnon, 29, museum curator, Streatham Hill

As a passenger, I have always felt very safe in an Uber. You have the reg. number, driver name and number, and you can share that and your location with someone if you want. I feel 50-50 about whether Uber should be allowed to operate in London. I’ve grown to rely on it hugely, it’s convenient and cheap, but I do feel the drivers don’t get paid enough. I would prefer a slightly more expensive service that paid its staff more and paid its fair share of taxes in Britain. I do feel guilty for being so reliant on a service that’s so cheap. You know someone is suffering for it. — Rosie Holtom, 35, Northwest London

If there was an ethical alternative to Uber at the same competitive pricing, I would go with that option. Every time I ordered an Uber after reading the 10th Guardian article about a misuse of conduct, an ill treatment of drivers or a tax avoidance scandal, I would have so much guilt for choosing cheap flexibility over principle. Though I think it will result in less options for consumers, I think we should suck it up and welcome Uber’s exit from London with open arms. It is an important move to tackle the monopolizing power of large corporations in the tech and transport industry, to prioritize workers’ rights over a C.E.O.’s paycheck. — Ruby Reding, 21, student, Walthamstow

Rules Are Rules

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Catherine Bean

I’m hopeful that this is a precedent that Sadiq Khan is going to continue with and effectively punish companies that evade regulation, so that London isn’t seen as a playground for the rich where companies can do as they please. We have had far too much of that already. There is space for Uber, but only once they’ve cleaned up their act. Can we have Lyft, too, please? — Catherine Bean, 20, student, Greenwich

London is open to innovative firms and the black cab and private taxi industry in London would definitely benefit from competition. But there is no reason why Uber should get preferential treatment and not be forced to adhere to the rules. It should have made more of an effort to follow them, not ignore them. If they do come back, they should follow the rules, employ their drivers properly and give them a London living wage. — Caroline Morgan, 36, North London

What Would an Uber-less London Be Like?

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Kavita Dattani

It would affect people who take Ubers a lot — high earners, primarily in the corporate sector. Rich people. It wouldn’t affect the majority of people who take public transport on a day-to-day basis. — Kavita Dattani, 27, student, Bow

The Tube and public transportation in London are very comprehensive, so it will still be possible to get places at an affordable cost at all hours. It will be less convenient, but not impossible. I’ve deleted the Uber app multiple times because I don’t support the company, but never broke off for good — now I won’t have the option! May be better in the long run. — Sarah Cook, 30, Walthamstow

Night buses, Tube, minicabs, Crossrail (soon!) I have no shortage of substitutes; I will be fine. — Mina Shankar, 27, quantitative analyst, Islington

There are other ride services I could use, such as Kabbee, Taxify, Addison Lee, etc. There’s also TfL. So life will go on. I’m more concerned about the thousands of existing Uber drivers who now have to look for a new job. — Karen Chui, 35, designer, Battersea

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