When the news broke that the London transport authority was banning Uber, event attendees reacted with dismay and anger to the potential loss of a preferred transport mode. Although the ban doesn’t take effect immediately and Uber can still appeal, the news is disrupting for event management companies in London for a number of important reasons.
To get a better understanding, let’s take a look at how a potential Uber ban can affect your London event:
London has an extensive transport network with choices including the tube (not popular with event attendees), black cabs (can be expensive), and minicabs which tend to serve a localised clientele. Uber is the cheapest private car service, familiar to international audiences and locals alike. Its loss can make event travel cost more prohibitive and much less convenient for some attendees.
If you are visiting London from abroad, chances are that you already have the Uber app installed on your phone. There’s an undeniable feeling of comfort and confidence when you can use the same travel system no matter where you go. Like going into any Starbucks, you know what to expect.
When travelling to a foreign country, one of the biggest hassles is getting used to the local currency. When you use Uber, the fare is taken directly from your Paypal or credit card or if you have a business account, it goes straight to your company’s finance department.
It’s hard to imagine a system that’s so effective yet hands-free which is why Uber is so popular with business travellers.
Responds to Demand
Unlike the taxi system in major UK cities, Uber has a centralised approach to surges in demand: it rewards the drivers with more money per trip during times of high demand.
Most events are impacted by this factor, as taxi companies lack a strategic approach to demand. It’s a reality that event management companies in London are keenly aware of.
Users Express Frustration
All you need to do is check #Uber on Twitter, and you’ll quickly appreciate why bans such as these don’t go over well with event management companies in London and other users. During SXSW in Austin, Texas, people complained about the lack of Uber access, and their angry tweets flooded the Internet.
In the case of Austin, the city did not ban ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft- both companies chose not to operate in the city because of the strict background check required. They have since reconsidered but the SXSW affair illustrates the disruption that results when events cater to audiences, that have come to rely on technologies like Uber.
At present, it is difficult to argue whether the Uber ban is fair or not or even who is right and who is wrong. The message remains clear that banning affordable transportation service brings a unique level of disruption to modern cities.
If you are planning an event in London, contact one of our event planners.