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Private hire and taxi industry sets ‘urgent webinar’ to discuss Autocab and Uber acquisition

An online private hire and taxi industry meeting has been called to allow key stakeholders from the sector to discuss specific details of the controversial Autocab and Uber acquisition.

Several key names will take part in the ‘urgent webinar’ on Thursday 20 May arranged by sales and events specialists Dotted. This follows the recent release of the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) report into the buyout.

The key ares of the discussion will centre around Uber’s potential use of and access to Autocab customer data.

The panel put together by Dotted will include senior representatives from three major dispatch providers. A private hire industry trade body, one of the most respected and leading operators in the country and a former director of Autocab.

These include, Thomas Peyerl (Cordic CEO), Bob Nixon (iCabbi Co-Founder), Alan Sceeny (Cab9 General Manager), Steve Wright MBE (LPHCA Chairman) and Ian Shanks (Blueline Taxis Group CEO).

Chris Lever, former Director at Autocab Ltd, Chris will also be sharing his insight.

In mid-April Uber completed the purchase of taxi and private hire software firm Autocab following CMA clearance.

On 29 March the CMA announced that it had cleared Uber’s purchase of Autocab, following a merger investigation.

The CMA opened its Phase 1 merger investigation into ride-hailing company Uber’s acquisition of GPC Software Limited (Autocab) in January 2021. The investigation found Autocab to be a supplier of booking and dispatch technology software (BDT) to taxi companies. Autocab also operates a referral network for taxi and private hire operators called iGo, where those companies can send and receive jobs to each other.

The investigation considered the deal’s possible effect on competition in the supply of BDT, as well as referral networks, and any potential impact of the merger on taxi companies who are Autocab’s current BDT customers. After thorough scrutiny, the CMA has found that there is only limited indirect competition between Uber and Autocab, and the CMA did not find evidence to indicate that Autocab was likely to become a significant and more direct competitor to Uber in the future.

The CMA also considered whether Autocab and Uber could try to put Autocab’s taxi company customers that compete against Uber at a disadvantage by reducing the quality of the BDT software sold to them, or by forcing them to pass on data to Uber. However, the CMA found that there are other credible suppliers of BDT and referral networks that these taxi companies could switch to if Uber were to reduce the quality of the Autocab service or force them to share their data.

In a recent TaxiPoint interview Safa Alkateb, CEO of Autocab, was asked whether any booking and journey data will be shared between Autocab and Uber.

Alkateb replied: “Uber will put in place everything that is required to protect Autocab’s customers’ data, ensure that it is not misused and is always managed under all applicable laws and the terms of their contracts with Autocab.”

Talking in an exclusive interview with TaxiPoint in April, Jamie Heywood, Uber’s Regional General Manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, said: “I am delighted that the CMA has approved our acquisition of Autocab.

“Every month thousands of people open the Uber app in places the company doesn’t operate to try to get a trip. Through Autocab’s iGo marketplace, Uber will be able to connect these riders with local operators who choose to take their booking. In turn, operators should be able to expand their operations and offer more earnings opportunities to local drivers.

“Autocab has worked successfully with taxi and private hire operators around the world for more than thirty years and Uber has a lot to learn from their experience.”

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