The Strategist

Uber Gets an Unexpected Ally

10/16/2015 - 18:09

Uber taxi service has got an unexpected and unusually influential ally. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, speaking in Tokyo with a lecture about startups, urged his colleagues around the world to stop fight as it is doomed to failure, and do create a rule under which taxi services and a traditional taxi would function equally.

johnhemming via flickr
johnhemming via flickr
- If the pasta has already squeezed from a tube, consider that this is over" - said the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, speaking on Thursday at the British Embassy in Tokyo with a lecture dedicated to start-ups. According to him, the attempts of city authorities around the world to fight the Uber Technologies and similar companies are doomed to failure: destroy of pre-existing system of urban taxi is inevitable, and we should not go about trying to prevent it, but put the efforts to manage the process.

- We have issued Uber license a few years ago, knowing full well that it will complicate the work of the activities of ordinary taxi. And the task we are now seeing is to provide the convenient black cabs services with opportunity to compete (with Uber),"- he said. According to him, it is meaningless to stand in the way of customers who wish to use the application on their smartphones. "(People) want to use Uber, because it is very cheap and very, very comfortable", - said Mr. Johnson.

Uber has experienced problems in many countries. Some of its services are prohibited in Germany, France and Belgium, its Netherlandish and Chinese offices were searched, and in Indonesia, local authorities confiscated vehicles belonging to Uber drivers. In London itself, it must be said, the company has not it too easy as well: local control of transportation requires from Uber a number of conditions, applied for normal taxis, including mandatory examinations for the knowledge of the city and the English language for drivers, mandatory five-minute waiting for delivery of the car (even if a free car is around the corner) and several others.

However, Uber is extremely popular among investors and customers. Thanks to investments from a number of the giants of the Internet industry, such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft, the company is now valued at $ 50 billion, and allows itself to consider options for expanding in the direction of providing more services (courier, for example), and towards the perception of innovative technologies (development of cars that do not require a driver).