Taxi News Roundup June 2017
UberPop Pulls Out of Finland
Uber’s troubles in Europe continued in June, with the company announcing the withdrawal of its UberPop service from Finland. The withdrawal is only expected to be temporary, with Uber stating the services have been suspended whilst it waits for a law that will deregulate the countries taxi industry to be passed.
Joel Järvinen, manager of Uber’s Finland operation, stated: While we are looking forward to the reforms coming into effect, we have decided it is best to pause UberPop from 15 August until the new regulations allow a better environment
We want to ensure that we do not pose drivers who use our app or our employees any unnecessary issues, especially now that we have a bright future to look forward to. We believe that the best way to do so and focus on the future is to pause UberPop and relaunch in the summer of 2018.
UberPop, which allows drivers to operate without needing a taxi license, has been the root of many of Uber’s recent problems in Europe. In 2015 Uber was forced to withdraw from Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt due to licensing issues, and UberPop has been banned since launch in Paris, Berlin and Brussels. In addition, UberPop has never been offered in the UK due to strict regulations around unlicensed taxi operations, with the company instead offering their licensed Uber X service.
Yorkshire Drivers Tackle Emissions
Good progress is being made to tackle air pollution by private hire and minicab drivers, according to the region’s Transport Committee.
An increased uptake in hybrid and electric vehicles by taxi drivers is set to significantly aid improvements to air quality in the area, with emissions set to be significantly lowered by 2020.
Councillor Keith Wakefield said that around 500 diesel taxis and private hire vehicles are expected to be hybrid or pure electric versions by 2020. This is partly due to increased investment in sustainable travel in the region, with a government grant expected to create funding for 88 new taxi and private hire charging points around Leeds alone. According to Wakefield, by 2020 this investment could improve Nitrogen Dioxide emissions by as much as 18%.
UK to See Public Driverless Taxi Trials
The UK is set to see a glimpse of the future later this year, with a fleet of brand new driverless cars set to take to the streets of Greenwich. The news marks the first public trials of driverless vehicles in the UK, with previous tests requiring passengers to register in advance.
The vehicles are set to run a circuit on a 2km strip of road in Greenwich, with prospective passengers able to hop in and out at four dedicated stopping points along the route. Cars will be able to ferry up to five passengers at a time, who will be accompanied by an on-board safety warden able of taking control of the vehicle should it need to make an emergency stop. However, as the vehicles are limited to a maximum speed of 15 miles an hour, there’s very little risk of any serious incident taking place.
It’s expected that demand for the vehicles will be high, with transport consultancy TRL expecting each vehicle to transport hundreds of people a day over the four week trial period. The trial comes as part of the UK funded Gateway project, which is using Greenwich as a testing hub for autonomous vehicles.