The decision to strip Uber of its license in London is politically driven nonsense. TFL and the mayor may as well put a sign up saying “London is closed for business”.
The official statement from TFL cites “public safety and security implications” as the key driver behind this decision. We all know however that Sadiq Khan and his Labour administration have been under a huge amount of pressure from the United Cabbies Group (effectively a union of black cab drivers) to act against Uber. These are people annoyed that someone has come along, found a way to improve their service and the old way of doing things is slowly being killed off.
Any politician worth their salt, should be resisting this pressure. This is how the free market works. Competition forces businesses to continuously innovate in the interest of consumers or find themselves made redundant.
The numpties at the TFL office and city hall may not realise this but Uber has revolutionised the taxi industry. We should celebrate and embrace this. When the state intervenes to prop up an out of date business models it is us the ordinary consumer that is hurt. Ubers’s technology has driven down fares and delivered a vastly more efficient service. It is living proof that the free market delivers. The consumer, which should be the ultimately decision maker, has taken to Uber. Hundreds of millions of journey’s are taken via the app every year, providing over forty thousand drivers with jobs.
When Khan came to power in London he promised to be a business friendly mayor. This is the opposite of being pro business. Indeed this is a classic manoeuvre of economically illiterate politicians the world over, intervene in the free market to stop it working properly, then complain that the free market does not work, then use this as justification for further intervention. Ultimately you end up with a slow sluggish economy, devoid of innovation, with consumers getting a raw deal.
A petition has been set up by Uber, which has at time of writing amassed over seven hundred thousand signatures. We should all be signing this and sending a message to the Mayor of London and TFL that they should get their hand off the free market.
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)