Transport for London recently decided, despite significant evidence that driver and rider matching service Uber had not cleaned up its act on safety - or the behaviour of some drivers towards woman passengers - to give the firm a two month extension to its London operator’s licence. I have to tell the people at City Hall that, on the evidence provided, the situation is not improving. If anything, it is getting worse.
The litany of potentially lethal driving, and the inevitable increase in the number of creatively bent Toyota Prius vehicles adorning the capital’s streets, shows no sign of abating. It does not help matters that Uber drivers are likely to be distracted by their app going off and taking drivers’ attention off the road ahead. Worse, the drivers are also likely to be distracted by their SatNav, as they don’t do The Knowledge.
All of this leads to one place, and while the heaps of twisted metal might look amusing to those not involved, it isn’t funny for the punters, or the Metropolitan Police, the latter having to attend and clean up, along with the emergency services. So what do we have on offer this month? How about this not at all pristine 66 plate Prius, on its roof on the New King’s Road, in Wandsworth? All reasonable salvage offers considered.
That was on Sunday 6th October. Six days later, we have “Westbourne Grove tonight”. A different Prius, a different colour, a different crash. Nearside stoved in. Not fun for the unsuspecting punter. Early the next morning, “Two [TfL]Ubers have had a tear up and are smashed to bits at The Angel. However they are cheap and what Londoners want”.
A white one and a silver one. Three hours later, a black Prius does an Alfresco U-Turn on Vauxhall Bridge road, and, you guessed it, another metal bending display. So, two days later, some wise safety advice. “Handbrakes are there for a reason. “After driving into the van in front, this [TfL] licensed minicab driver got out of his car without applying the handbrake, resulting in the car driving into the van again”. Prius. Uber. Wallop!
Just to show a little diversity, the Tweeter known as Matt Black Taxi had a medley of shunts from mid-October. One clearly shows a dark coloured 12 plate Prius which has abruptly become seriously unroadworthy. Then there’s a white one having an Off into some scaffolding. And another white one, which has managed to not see a motorcyclist: one hopes that the rider was not seriously injured. And yes, there is worse to come.
Caught on video is one (most likely Uber) minicab drawing up in a Mews terrace, the driver switching on the hazard lights before getting out. Has he applied the handbrake and put the transmission in Park? Ah, but you know he hasn’t. So off goes his car, smashing into three other vehicles before coming to rest. TfL’s problem in one 90 second vid.
As Matt Black Taxi points out, this is the predictable result of some seriously bad driving: “There it is in a nutshell, one thinks he’s a taxi and parks on a rank and another, drives the wrong way through Aldwych, hard to believe”. Who would be so sodding stupid as to drive the wrong way round the Aldwych? But there it is. Prius. Uber. Take cover.
When Uber fans told the world it was disruptive technology, maybe they didn’t mean it in the sense of disrupting so many Toyota Prius. Licence renewal? Think again, TfL.
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