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Bits: Uber loses its London licence – or does it?, £5 off a 16-25 Railcard

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News in brief:

From April 2018, please use our new Uber sign-up code UBERHEADFORPOINTS via this link, or download the app and add the code via the promo code box on the ‘Payment’ tab.  This gets you £3 off your first ride.

Uber loses its London private hire licence

Yesterday’s breaking news about Uber losing its taxi licence in London was a surprise for many.

Transport for London has announced that Uber’s current five year licence, which expires on 30th September, will not be renewed due to the company’s operations not being ‘fit and proper’.

It is true that the company has had some negative press lately regarding the drivers working conditions, but no one expected Uber to be banned from London’s streets.

Uber will, however, appeal and until a final ruling is passed, drivers are allowed to continue working for the app.

If you look at the Transport for London statement:

“TfL considers that Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications. These include:

Its approach to reporting serious criminal offences.
Its approach to how medical certificates are obtained.
Its approach to how Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are obtained.
Its approach to explaining the use of Greyball in London – software that could be used to block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to the app and prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties.”

….. there is nothing here that Uber cannot fix.  It seems more likely that TfL is taking the licence renewal window, which only comes around every five years, to force change from the company that it has not been rushing to make.

If you’ve redeemed your Tesco Clubcard vouchers for Uber credit, you might want to use it up in the next few weeks – just in case.  You can read more about the Tesco Clubcard / Uber partnership in this article.  It is actually one of the best uses of Clubcard vouchers, arguably better than Avios, giving you 3 x their face value.

£5 off 16-25 Railcards this weekend

If you know anyone heading off or back to university, you can pick up a 16-25 Railcard for them this weekend at £5 off.

Code 5offsep takes the price down from £30 to £25 for a year.  You need to buy on the official railcard website here by Sunday night.  You need to enter the code on the first application page (it will say ‘code accepted’) but the discount will not show until the payment page.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

Comments (43)

  • Michael says:

    O/T: I signed up for zipcar along with my partner, and although I have a full clean licence and have done for ten years I got instantly rejected! And my partner with a foreign licence was approved almost immediately. They haven’t given me a reason why and blocked me from applying for ten months.

  • Garry says:

    Involved in the industry (no I don’t work for Uber) and the level of driver checks performed by Uber is very comprehensive. Additionally, TFL perform their own checks before handing out a PCO licence. There has been a concerted effort from the Black Taxi lobby to get this to happen and to undermine Uber since day one. If this were to happen, it would push some drivers back to the unlicensed and uninsured dark market (waiting outside clubs and bars) or back to mini cab offices (if the Unions are worried about how Uber treat their drivers, they should look at some of these models!). However, even if Uber can’t find a compromise with TFL, they will drag them through the courts for 3-4 years and keep trading while they do.

    • Alex W says:

      I’ve no link to the industry but it sounds like some good points there. I remember coming out of clubs and being harassed by loads of dodgy unlicensed taxi drivers. Having these people registered and checked by Uber is surely an improvement.
      In my opinion the black cab is obsolete. That’s the harsh reality which is dawning on the drivers. It might seem unfair, but life is unfair and you have to move with the times or get left behind. It’s a wake up call to be on the lookout for threats to our own respective industries and have a backup plan if a game changer like Uber turns up.

      • MarkH says:

        Same – I remember all the dodgy cabs we used to take from outside clubs as the official cabs were a rip-off. So much better now with apps like Uber and Kabbee.
        I never take black cabs as they are just too expensive and everyone has a satnav now so in the vast majority of cases you don’t need the driver to know all the streets by heart.
        The last time i used a black cab they were still covering up the card machines and insisting on cash – presume that must have changed with the competition from Uber but it seems to me they spend more time trying to protect their once dominant position rather than adapting and moving with the times

  • Craig says:

    Uber is (generally) cheaper than black cabs/taxis because they are subsidising fares with significant VC money to grab market share. As competitors give up/go bust so Uber prices will go up… Happened in China, will happen elsewhere. My experience of using Uber is generally very positive, but I’m not sure I’d want them establishing a monopoly, given some of their aggressive business practices – I don’t believe it will end well. Challenging them to improve is a good thing in my opinion.

  • marcw says:

    I´ve just came across an interesting observation. This might be extremely useful for those travelling without a 2 for 1 or without an upgrade voucher, BUT MUST be travelling from the regions.
    This is just an example: Manchester to New York in J.
    -If you choose to book with BA with Avios: 100.000 Avios + 733 GBP (Cheesus)
    -If you choose to book with IB with Avios: 108.000 Avios +346 GBP. The only problem (ok, first world problem) is you have to give up your sandwich and drink + empty middle seat between MAN/LON/MAN. But hey, you will still have access to the lounge in Manchester (outbound) and London (inbound), AND save almost 400 GBP. Ok, you need an extra 8.000 Avios (but 400 GBP are 400 GBP). It´s up to you. (Iberia Plus won´t give you the “free” connection to the regions, but it will save you around 400 GBP).

    Digging deeper in this study, the real saving of a 241 is actually massively overvalued by all of us, when flying from the regions. In this case, two people flying Business would need 100.000 Avios + 1466 GBP + voucher.
    If you choose to book the flight with Iberia Plus (and accepting flying economy between MAN-LHR-MAN) the “value” of the voucher is around 41.200 Avios + 22 GBP (and not 100.000 Avios). Let me explain you why. The reason behind this is the Avios&Money options available at Ib+: 70.600 Avios + 744 GBP, so very close to the 100.000 + 733gbp BA is asking you to pay (this x 2 = 141.200 Avios +1488gbp).
    And I haven´t even considered the fee you have to pay for the premium card (195 gbp).

    I´m not the best one to explain this, but I guess you get the idea.

    You may consider booking via Iberia Plus your trip with Avios, the next time you fly with BA (if you´re happy flying economy between London and the Regions).

    • Rob says:

      There is something wrong with BA’s regional tax calc. That route should be around £500 (which doesn’t explain the £346 either). Did you actually click to the payment page where BA.com recalculates?

      • Rob says:

        Just priced this and the tax is £544 from MAN to JFK.

        • marcw says:

          Forget about my “maths” then. I think IbPlus somehow doesn´t charge the correct fees. But atm is 200 gbp cheaper than BA (good for solo travellers or no 241 holders or upgrade voucher)

          • Cate says:

            I’ve booked MAD->Tokyo on Iberia’s website @59,500 plus £96.27 fees (biz). With living near LGW and regular IB reward flights to MAD Iberia is a steal.

          • Gavin says:

            Cate – interesting, looks like even with adding on a BA / JL redemption either side I could get from LHR to ICN for less than CW in avios / tfc

  • Mr Dee says:

    Like the articles mentions, it sounds to me that TFL don’t like being pushed around by big companies and want to use this opportunity to finally get something done.

    The mainstream media likes to make a big deal when a disruptive technology or company is involved as that is what people want to hear, the reality is these issues with TFL could be resolved in a matter of days if they wanted to work out the issues.

  • IslandDweller says:

    It’s easy to forget that using uber or taxi of any sort is a minority sport. Only about 2% of journeys in London are made by Uber / mini cab / taxi.