Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Saturday 15 July 2017

Uber Police Seizure Shame

The usual suspects on the libertarian right were up in arms after Labour’s shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey passed adverse comment on driver and rider matching service Uber, denouncing their business practices as “morally unacceptable”. She told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme “I don't like the way they treat their workers”. She was particularly severe on workers’ rights, or in Uber’s case, the lack of them.
The Spectator’s Steerpike column was especially sniffy about Ms Long Bailey’s intervention. The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog sneered “Freedom-Hating Socialism Is Back”, ensuring readers knewThis morning Guido was driven in an Uber”. Not for the Fawkes mob the shame of using the public transport that takes most Londoners to and from work. What would their press pals say, eh?

But all those who had eagerly reported Ms Long Bailey’s remarks were, by complete coincidence you understand, silent yesterday morning when the gloss came off the Uber wagon big style on Brighton’s Grand Parade. Not only was a BMW being used as an Uber car involved in a traffic accident, it was subsequently seized by the Police. It transpired that the driver had been running the vehicle without insurance.

The Brighton Argus had the story. “A BMW driver has had their vehicle seized after a two car crash … Emergency services were called to Grand Parade at 9.45am on Friday to a collision between two cars … A Sussex Police spokeswoman said no-one was injured … One of the vehicles, a BMW, was seized for having no insurance … PC John Winter, of Sussex Police, said the vehicle was being used as an Uber car”.

What the Argus missed was that the BMW had not been licensed in Brighton. This will be familiar to Zelo Street regulars: this blog has already noted how Uber is encouraging drivers from as far afield as Manchester and Liverpool to come to Brighton, and not just for the sea air. The BMW seized yesterday had been licensed by Transport for London. How TfL gave it the OK, despite the lack of valid insurance, is an interesting one.
Thanks to TaxiLeaks

And what is also familiar to Zelo Street readers is that the local taxi trade has caught several Uber drivers visiting Brighton from out of town having to sleep in their vehicles. Billions of US Dollars have been pumped into Uber, yet its drivers make so little money that they are reduced to sleeping in their cars. That much is merely eyebrow-raising - what happened yesterday morning is plain unforgivable.

But there has been no word from the rest of the press, or their hangers-on. No acknowledgement that proper background checks would have picked up on the vehicle having no insurance. No criticism of Uber for not doing its own checks. No admission that having out of town vehicles come to Brighton is a way of circumventing the high standards that local vehicles have to meet - like CCTV in all taxis and minicabs.

Part of the silence is the tacit admission that there is nothing to defend here: Uber has been caught breaking the rules again, and potentially endangering its customers. The shockingly poor standards exhibited and encouraged by Uber are bad enough, but the inability of the press to hold them to account is far worse. I’ll just leave that one there.


Anonymous said...

The Spectator?


Oh my aching sides.

Unknown said...

I put the blame for all this in Brighton and elsewhere in the once Great Britiam squarely on Knobhead David Cameron's weak shoulders he should be strung up !!

Anonymous said...

They have paid big bucks to circumvent the taxi laws.People in high places are the biggest crooks.

Anonymous said...

It's one thing not doing background checks on the cars, wait till it turns out they haven't done background checks on the drivers and something serious happens to a passenger. The currently silent media will be down on them like a ton of bricks.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

There is, of course, this:

Uber drivers accused of 32 rapes and sex attacks on London passengers over the past year

Thank you, Boris.

Unknown said...

What do you wait until something serious happens to one of their passengers. It has many times over already. Have you not seen the stats with regards to Uber drivers and rape. This company along with their many friends within Parliament and the media know how to deflect the numerous examples of law breaking by this company and it's drivers!

Anonymous said...

What's all this whingeing about Uber?

It's the free market in operation.

People are free to use it or not use it.

So some of the drivers sleep in their cabs and get less than the minimum wage, no holiday pay and no pension coverage......So fucking what? They don't HAVE to do the job.

All this moralising - and that's all it amounts to - is all my arse. Only profits matter. Fuck fairness.

Anonymous said...

Now that Tesco is joining forces with Uber, Both the Licenced Taxi Trade and the Law abiding Car Hire Trade, should Boycott Tesco Nationally. "Consumer Power works" The next on the list should be Barclay,s