Tag Archive: Uber

  1. Car Insurance Jargon Buster (Part 1)

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    To the non-initiated, understanding all the ins and outs of car insurance can seem like learning a whole other language. As well as the array of specific terminology there are a lot of important acronyms that it really pays to understand.

    To help you make sense of this confusing array of terminology we’ve put together this insurance jargon buster. This is part 1, with part 2 to follow in January.

    ABI: The Association of British Insurers is a trade body comprised of 250 leading insurance companies and accounts for over 90% of the UK insurance market.

    Act of God: An event which is not the fault of any individual and is unpredictable such as a lightning or meteor strike. Acts of God may not be covered in your policy and are often separate from extreme weather events like flooding or falling trees.

    Betterment: A payment made by an insured party that recognises the fact that their vehicle will be worth more as the result of repairs relating to an insurance claim.

    Certificate of insurance: This is a document that is required by law and shows the car being insured, who is allowed to use the car and the classes of use (see below).

    Class of Use: A term used by insurance companies to determine what you use your car for and how often. There are three classes of use: Social, domestic and pleasure; Commuting; Business use The class of use you select will often have a big bearing on your insurance premium. It’s very important you are certain what class you fall into as supplying inaccurate information could invalidate your policy.

    Comprehensive cover (or fully comprehensive): This will cover you and your vehicle as well as the vehicles of third parties if you are at fault.

    Compulsory excess: This is a set amount you need to pay to your insurer when making a claim. The level of your compulsory excess will depend on how much of a risk you are judged by the insurer.

    Conviction Code: If you commit a motoring offence the DVLA (see below) will add a four digit conviction code to your licence.

    Cover note: A document that shows you have temporary car insurance while your insurer is preparing your policy documents and certificate of insurance. Some insurance companies don’t issue cover notes and will instead issue you with a certificate on the day you accept the insurance.

    Duty of disclosure: When you take out a car insurance policy you have a duty to inform your insurer of any changes in your circumstances, such as change of address or a modification to your car.

    DOC: Drive Other Cars (DOC) is a type of cover that some insurance policies will include and means you are insured to drive another person’s car, with their permission. This will usually only be third party cover and cannot be for day to day use.

    DVLA: The Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency is the body responsible for issuing licences and collecting car tax for all drivers in Great Britain.


  2. Boris Johnson Weighs into Uber Debate

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    Currently Uber has 18,000 drivers (or registered partners as Uber likes to refer to them) in London alone. By offering cheaper fares and the ability for customers to effectively hail cabs via GPS and an app, traditional black cab drivers have accused Uber of undermining their business by flouting the law and allowing unlicensed drivers. In May they took to the streets to protest about it, bringing traffic to a standstill in parts of central London.

    Into this debate has weighed Boris Johnson, caught between proponents of Uber, who say it is offering customers reasonable taxi fares in the capital and creating thousands of jobs, and those who say it is destroying the black cab profession and pushing drivers into poverty.

    Transport for London (TfL) are currently in a high court row with Uber over whether its app acts as a meter, something which would make it illegal in the capital, as only licensed cabs are allowed to operate meters. Uber has retaliated, claiming that TfL is just trying to protect black car drivers by curtailing its business.

    TfL has also launched a consultation to consider proposal to force Uber drivers to wait at least 5 minutes before picking up a booked fare (the average time is 3 minutes).

    It’s worth noting at this point that, as well as being Mayor of London, Boris Johnson is also chair of TfL. This clearly puts him between a rock and a hard place, with some accusing him of supporting a black cab ‘cartel’.

    The fine line Johnson is walking can be seen in his Telegraph column, where he starts by defending ‘rampant, frothing, free-market Conservatives’ who ‘hate cartels’, referring to the TfL’s attempts to curb Uber practices and protect London cabbies.

    He goes on, however, to talk passionately about the professional black cab industry, by pointing out the distinction between private hire vehicles and hackney carriages, whose drivers must pass ‘the Knowledge’ before they are allowed to drive. Johnson then goes onto openly accuse Uber’s technology as facilitating law breaking:

    “You only have to consider the habits of many Uber minicabs – not all, but many – to see that this law is systematically broken; and that is because technology makes it so easy for it to be broken.”

    The ability for technological progress to constantly disrupt traditional industry is a historical fact not lost on Johnson. His calls seem to be for a balanced approach, where both parties can coexist; Uber as a convenient and cheap service and black cabs as a highly professionalised institution. Whether this is true intention is another question entirely.


  3. Taxi Drivers vs. Uber

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    There is a new App in town which is causing taxi drivers across the globe to arrange protests and even call on governments to ban it altogether. This App is called ‘Uber’, and it allows users to book a taxi using their mobile phones; however, many taxi drivers claim that Uber’s drivers are breaking the law and that the government should do something to stop them. Here, DNA Insurance looks the global issue in more detail:

    What is ‘Uber’?

    The creators of Uber wanted to revolutionise the way in which we use taxis, which is why they created an App enabling users to quickly book a private hire taxi via their mobile phones. The App also provides users information concerning the taxi driver that will be picking them up, including their name and photo. The App also lets approved friends ‘follow’ your journey via a map on their mobile phone and users can also have the route which their driver took emailed to them in order to ensure that they took the fastest option and didn’t try and overcharge them. The creators of Uber claim that this new technology enables passengers to stay safe when in a taxi and enables self-employed taxi drivers to run their businesses more effectively without the support of a taxi firm.

    Why are London Taxi Drivers protesting?

    The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) has recently complained to Transport for London (TfL) about Uber’s drivers as they believe they are breaking the law. This is because Uber’s drivers can use the App in order to calculate fares, which is illegal for private hire vehicles and can void taxi insurance policies. However, Transport for London have claimed that as drivers’ mobile phones aren’t connected to their vehicles, they are not technically breaking the law. TfL added: “We have seen no evidence to suggest that Uber London Ltd are not fit and proper to hold a London private hire vehicle operator’s licence, but no final decisions have been made whilst Uber’s operating model is still under investigation.”

    Complaints against Uber

    Even though TfL has claimed that Uber is not breaking the rules when it comes to private hire vehicle operator’s licences, Steve McNamara, LTDA’s general secretary, argues that Uber is dangerous to both the public and the UK’s taxi industry. He added: “Transport for London not enforcing the Private Hire Vehicles Act is dangerous for Londoners. I anticipate that the demonstration against TfL’s handling of Uber will attract many many thousands of cabs and cause severe chaos, congestion and confusion across the metropolis.”

    The LTDA’s demonstration is planned to take place at the beginning of June, and so far it seems that TfL has done little to discourage them. Steve McNamara also claimed that Uber “has a stated aim of challenging legislation that is not compatible with its business model. This is not some philanthropic friendly society, it’s an American monster that has no qualms about breaching any and all laws in the pursuit of profit, most of which will never see a penny of tax paid in the UK.”

    Worldwide Issue

    London Taxi Drivers are not the first to protest against Uber being used in their country, in fact the company had to pay a ten thousand Euro (£8,205) fine in Brussels after a court decided that drivers were picking up passengers without the necessary licences. Meanwhile, Berlin’s taxi association has won a temporary injunction against the firm, while in France the government has banned private car services from using GPS-enabled apps such as Uber altogether.

    However, Uber’s general manager in London, Jo Bertram, doesn’t sound too worried, as he said: “Competition in my view is always good for the customer because it makes all of us up our game in terms of quality and service. On the driver side, we offer a much more flexible model that is very different from the old-school private hire industry, that allows them to work as independent business operators however and whenever they choose.”

    Photo by Pixabay