24 February 2018

#London Taxi_Point

Sony ready to join ride-hailing wars https://t.co/xw8pQDwOlM https://t.co/dm7I7Gnvtw http://twitter.com/Taxi_Point/status/967455471702593537 February 24, 2018 at 05:45PM

Unraveling The BS. Uber Finances Spiralling Out Of Control, As They Show A Loss Of $4.5 billion In 2017

Uber trumpeted its Q4/2017 financial statements as evidence of the company's progress towards CEO Dara Khosrowshahi's goal of profitability and IPO by 2019; the company argued that despite losing $4.5 billion in 2017, its cust-cutting in the final quarter of the year was proof that they would eventually go from losing money on each ride to actually earning money.  

But a closer examination of the figures shows that nothing of the sort is going on. The company's cost-cutting came mostly in the form of cuts to driver compensation, taking $2.2 billion out of drivers' pockets, meaning that Uber drivers are increasingly losing money with every drive (something that isn't apparent until you factor in the capital costs borne by drivers).

Uber drivers can drive for other companies, or get other jobs (that's key to Uber's claim that its drivers aren't employees, without which the company would be unambiguously doomed); its rival Lyft is happy to go on paying drivers more (for now), and drivers have already shown that it's pretty easy to ditch the platform, create their own app, and pocket 25% more than the company will pay them.

So Uber's already losing drivers, and also they lost $4.6 billion -- and to become profitable, they'll have to find another $4.6 billion in cost-cutting, which is unlikely to come from drivers, whom they're actually going to have to start paying more if they want to continue to have cars on the street.

For Uber to find an additional $4.6b/year in savings, there would have to be some indication that their costs were actually going down with scale.....They're not. 

Insurance, a major cost to Uber, is rising linearly with revenue. Other costs have gone down thanks to deep cuts: 
Operations, Sales and Marketing, Research and Development, and General and Administration. 

Unless the company starts spending more on these, they will not continue to grow, and thus will continue to lose billions.

What's more, Uber's figures are totally untrustworthy. Every financial report from Uber picks a different set of accounting practices, selected to cast their dismal finances in the best possible light (and even with that cherry-picking, Uber is still losing $4.5B/year!). So things are likely much, much worse.

As ever, Hubert Horan is the best source on Uber Financial Kremlinology; since I wrote about his initial five deep dives in 2016, he's written eight more -- the latest one is where I found about about these balance-sheet shenanigans.

All previous releases of Uber revenue data were limited to the top-line “Gross passenger payments” (the total money paid by passengers) and “Uber revenue”, the 20-30% of that total retained by Uber. In past analysis, I had assumed that the difference went almost entirely to drivers, but the newly released data shows this assumption is not true, and that Uber may be inflating the top-line revenue number.

In 2017, roughly $3 billion of this revenue was “Refunds, Taxes and Fees” or “Rider Promotions.” Government charges and fares that are refunded should not have been included in the original gross revenue number. The “Rider Promotions” item is more problematic.

If Uber offered discounts, the higher fare (that the passenger did not pay) appears to be included in gross revenue, while the promotional discount is a separate offset.

These numbers do not affect bottom line P&L calculations, but inflating the top-line gross revenue number directly supports Uber’s desire to show the strongest possible passenger demand numbers. 

Uber has steadfastly refused to release any numbers (such as market-specific fare and yield trends) that would meaningfully document whether (or where) its revenue performance might actually be improving.

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£250k Lamborghini supercar slams into London cab after mishap saw it ‘roll across car park’

Statement From City of London In Regards To London Bridge Closures And Temporary Re Open Of The Bank Eastbound.

Due to emergency gas works on London Bridge, we are temporarily allowing all traffic to travel eastbound on Queen Victoria Street through Bank junction. 

But this is just a temporary measure and under constant review. 

Follow diversions and please be extra vigilant.

For more information about the situation in the City of London click link below - 


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#London Taxi_Point

@flsascot Sorry 😳 link working now! http://twitter.com/Taxi_Point/status/967367010589036549 February 24, 2018 at 11:54AM

#London Taxi_Point

Ratings: The over-reliance of subjectivity https://t.co/dTjj6J4OI0 https://t.co/oI3r2MSITx http://twitter.com/Taxi_Point/status/967328261230546944 February 24, 2018 at 09:20AM

23 February 2018

#London Taxi_Point

RT @Taxi_Point: Drivers shot dead on rank in Cape Town Taxi wars https://t.co/hciReAVs6J https://t.co/8vU1QUfgyk http://twitter.com/Taxi_Point/status/967097984122056705 February 23, 2018 at 06:05PM

#London Taxi_Point

RT @Taxi_Point: TX put through it paces at the world renowned MIRA proving ground https://t.co/1S3zgeFOHE https://t.co/1uZg8HZnkV http://twitter.com/Taxi_Point/status/967097948655046656 February 23, 2018 at 06:04PM

#London Taxi_Point

RT @Taxi_Point: Sadiq Khan: Driverless tube trains would be “madness” https://t.co/Emz7bJU2rj https://t.co/8rQGn8vkYn http://twitter.com/Taxi_Point/status/967097911061434373 February 23, 2018 at 06:04PM

#London Taxi_Point

London Bridge set to close for two weeks, but remains open for buses taxis https://t.co/h6NqcNJXYd https://t.co/tnfWIDxArj http://twitter.com/Taxi_Point/status/967087291540951040 February 23, 2018 at 05:22PM

#London Taxi_Point

Sadiq Khan: Driverless tube trains would be “madness” https://t.co/Emz7bJU2rj https://t.co/8rQGn8vkYn http://twitter.com/Taxi_Point/status/967051731753414662 February 23, 2018 at 03:01PM

In An Act Of Appeasement Uber Closes London Licence Loophole

Minicab drivers licensed in London will no longer be able to drive for Uber in Brighton after the US company makes changes to its app next month.

The multinational company announced last week that it was splitting the UK into different regions, and that drivers would only be able to use the app within the region their licensing authority was located from March 14.

Brighton is part of the south coast region, which means drivers from immediately neighbouring authorities, such as Lewes and Adur, will be able to drive in the city – but those licensed with TfL won’t. The latest available figures from TfL indicate that 78 drivers are licensed in London but have Brighton and Hove addresses.

But local union bosses say the changes have been made to pre-empt changes in the law preventing any cross-border hiring – which they are still pushing for.

Andy Peters, secretary of GMB’s Brighton and Hove taxi branch, said:  “Although we will no longer see cars from Wolverhampton or Sefton working in Brighton,  at the moment there is no specific detail on how big this region is.

“All the TfL ph drivers who live in Brighton and predominantly work in the city because they either failed the high standards that the city requires or who just could not be bothered to even attempt to go for a Brighton licence will only be able to work in London.

The question is why has Uber suddenly taken this change in direction? Is there something that Uber knows will be happening in the future with regard to cross border hiring?

“Uber has not done this as a favour. This is not how Uber works. Is this a case of Uber becoming scared of what the Local Government Association has been pushing for and trying to act quickly before there is a change in legislation?

“However this does not go far enough  because it doesn’t matter whether a private hire is working predominantly in Brighton and Hove from over 250 miles away or just 50. The fact is that Uber is still encouraging private hire vehicles to predominantly work in areas that they are not licensed in.

“This announcement should not make people think it is all over as it certainly is not. Do not be fooled by Uber. The fight goes on to fully change legislation.”

In its announcement, Uber said: “While cross-border driving is something the law allows for and is common in private hire journeys across England and Wales, we’ve heard from local licensing authorities that the way our app works can make it hard for them to oversee what some drivers are doing in their jurisdiction.

“That’s why next month we are making a significant change which will mean drivers will only be able to use our app within the region where they are licensed as a private hire driver.

“While we will of course keep everything under review we believe this change strikes the right balance for the drivers, riders and cities we serve.

“It will help local licensing authorities tackle the challenge they currently face in regulating drivers in their area when they are licensed in another part of the country; passengers will still be able to take affordable long distance trips (such as to and from airports, hospitals or back home after a night out in the city centre); and drivers will be able to carry out those longer trips without being forced to drive back without a fare paying passenger.”

According to the latest figures from TfL, there are a total of 78 private hire drivers licensed to drive in London whose registered address has a BN1, BN2 or BN3 postcode. Under the new Uber rules, these drivers will no longer be able to use the Uber app in Brighton and Hove.

A further 14 are licensed taxi drivers, but these will be black cab drivers who work in the capital.

Source Brighton and Hove News.

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Transport for London wants access to Uber's greatest competitive asset

Efficiently matching supply with demand is the bread and butter of tech platforms operating in the gig economy.

AirBnb matches spare rooms with short-term renters. Deliveroo matches restaurants with hungry consumers, via a network of riders. Uber matches car owners with people who need lifts.

Each transaction creates rich data. When processed, that data becomes information. 

With Uber in particular, when analysed, the information paints an incredible portrait of the urban environment, which can be used to drive business, making the firm more competitive, and more profitable.

This data is not just a valuable asset, but the very crux of Uber’s competitive advantage.

Last week, Transport for London (TfL), in a thinly-veiled reference to Uber, following years of conflict, released a policy statement for private hire services in London. 

Buried on page five, it suggests: “operators should share data with TfL, so that travel patterns in London and the overall impact of the services can be understood.”

It’s not actually clear what sort of data TfL is after. A spokesperson said that the organisation hasn’t “got anything more to say than is in the policy statement for now,” which is very little. “More details will follow in the coming months.”


TfL is expecting the total cash from Tube and bus fares to drop by £56m in this financial year. 

Data value

The data Uber collects from the thousands of journeys it facilitates is of unquestionable value to TfL. Gaining insight into how the city moves could save TfL money at a time when it is expecting the total cash from Tube and bus fares to drop by £56m in this financial year.

For example, understanding where hotspots of activity occur on the app – where people are using less public transport – could lead to TfL making efficiencies on underused bus routes. Knowing where and when journeys start and end could enable TfL to better react to demand, perhaps devising some sort of demand response service.

Likewise, with 40,000 drivers using its app, Uber has (it is widely accepted) exacerbated the capital’s growing congestion problem. Better understanding traffic trends could help TfL to plan roadworks and major public events. Quantifying the effect of disrupted public services could prepare TfL for incident response.

The list goes on.

“Nobody has a crystal ball to predict long-term needs,” says Nathan Marsh, intelligent mobility lead director for UK & Europe at urban planning behemoth Atkins. “Big data provides context and real-time accuracy about how people use them, which urban planners can utilise to better determine future trends, and to build in agility and flexibility”.

Hand it over

The usefulness of Uber’s data is clear. But why should it give up any part of its greatest – and arguably only – competitive advantage to the state? Diktats of this nature simply don’t occur in more established industries. It highlights TfL’s struggles with a new business model that doesn’t fit with existing regulations.

TfL will need to explain why disclosure of this data is necessary for it to perform its regulatory functions

“TfL will need to explain why disclosure of this data is necessary for it to perform its regulatory functions,” says Michael Stacey, senior associate at Russell-Cooke.

“TfL’s job is primarily to decide whether the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a private hire operator’s licence. It is not clear that detailed journey data is necessary to enable it to judge whether applicants meet that test.

“The onus will be on TfL to either justify why this is required under its existing powers, or seek new powers to obtain this information from operators.”

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#London Taxi_Point

TX put through it paces at the world renowned MIRA proving ground https://t.co/1S3zgeFOHE https://t.co/1uZg8HZnkV http://twitter.com/Taxi_Point/status/966977743471759360 February 23, 2018 at 10:07AM

How will the new lane rental scheme affect road users?

Ask any regular driver what irritates them the most, and top of most lists will be roadworks. 

We all know that they are necessary, but their timing is often terrible, seem to last forever and cause colossal congestion. Now, a new lane rental scheme is being discussed that could change the roadworks system forever – but how will it affect road users?

The lane rental scheme

The scheme has already been trialled in parts of London and Kent, with some success, and looks set to be rolled out nationwide. Utility companies were charged up to £2,500 a day for digging up busy roads at peak times. In most cases, the rates were between £800-2,500 in London and between £300-2,000 in Kent. 

The scheme also saw TfL raise some £4.8 million and Kent County Council raised £1.1 million, after costs, during the trial.

The idea is to incentivise companies to do the work outside the rush hour, to work on quieter roads and to collaborate with other companies to complete a set of roadworks in one go. Rather than each digging up the road, closing it, repairing it and then another company comes along and digs up the same stretch of road a week later; the idea is that they can ‘share’ the roadworks to get more done at once

Positive reaction

Transport Minister, Jo Johnson, said that drivers often get frustrated at roadworks, especially when they are suffering delays, yet it appears as if no-one is doing anything about it. The idea behind the lane rental system is because companies are paying for the time they have the lane blocked off, they will work quickly and minimalize the disruption to drivers.

Head of Road Policy at the RAC, Nicholas Lyes, said that the announcement is ‘very welcome’ and that trials have shown that some of the worst congestion in London has been halved when the lane rental scheme was in use. Motorists know that congestion and roadworks are necessary, he added, but unnecessary queues and length of roadworks are something everyone finds very frustrating.

The scheme still needs the official sign off from the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, then the Department of Transport will start to draft guidelines for local authorities with regards to the bidding process.

Against the scheme

Street Works UK, who represent the utility companies and their contractors, was a little less enthusiastic about the idea, although this might not come as a surprise. They cited their own research that showed that while behaviour change could lead to improved outcomes, and less congestion, there was less evidence that it was directly due to the lane rental scheme

Their view was that utilities are delivering the infrastructure that the UK needs to drive productivity, economic growth and deliver on government priorities, and the scheme isn’t the best solution to help with this. But they also said they would go along with it, implying that they realise how much hassle roadworks cause all road users.

In the figures

Figures show that utility companies have worked together over 600 times, since the trial started in 2015, versus just 100 times before that. It shows that the scheme can inspire cooperation where none was previously seen. There have been efforts to deal with utility roadworks for many years, going back to the New Roads and Streetworks Act of 1991, but few have had any real progress which is why there is enthusiasm for the idea of the new scheme.

Around 2.5 million roadworks are carried out each year across the country, costing the economy more than £4 billion – mostly in late employees, delayed deliveries and other results from congestion. Local authorities already have powers to manage and coordinate street works, but some say they aren’t using them effectively. The aim is that the new scheme could start to roll out next year and could help drivers around the country have a smoother ride to work.

This lane rental looks to be a blessing for all road users, as it will hopefully ease up congestion in some of the busier roads in the UK. However, it will no doubt come as a curse on utility companies as they have to allocate funds to be able to carry out repairs

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#London Taxi_Point

Drivers shot dead on rank in Cape Town Taxi wars https://t.co/hciReAVs6J https://t.co/8vU1QUfgyk http://twitter.com/Taxi_Point/status/966969682707255296 February 23, 2018 at 09:35AM

#London Taxi_Point

RT @Taxi_Point: UPHD protest against Addison Lee at Business Travel Show https://t.co/4c30T5bVOx https://t.co/xOdwfhMjOK http://twitter.com/Taxi_Point/status/966969394487349248 February 23, 2018 at 09:34AM

#London Taxi_Point

RT @Taxi_Point: London: Weekly roads and events update https://t.co/7qbKcIESw6 https://t.co/SZSuro52dO http://twitter.com/Taxi_Point/status/966969379312332803 February 23, 2018 at 09:34AM

#London Taxi_Point

RT @Taxi_Point: Uber calls the shots, not SoftBank, suggests CEO Dara Khosrowshahi https://t.co/zxIwh01wFp https://t.co/nPcjvE7rey http://twitter.com/Taxi_Point/status/966969359833890817 February 23, 2018 at 09:33AM

#London Taxi_Point

RT @Taxi_Point: Are Iceland opening the door to Uber and Lyft https://t.co/wNujwCNHXT https://t.co/XLQt0zc0vz http://twitter.com/Taxi_Point/status/966969338858278912 February 23, 2018 at 09:33AM

#London Taxi_Point

Are Iceland opening the door to Uber and Lyft https://t.co/wNujwCNHXT https://t.co/XLQt0zc0vz http://twitter.com/Taxi_Point/status/966881194309648385 February 23, 2018 at 03:43AM


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