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‘RACE TO THE BOTTOM’: Gett questions Uber’s subsidised Black Cab approach



Black cab app Gett have warned the taxi market there could be a risk of ‘significant destabilisation’ due to Uber’s potential subsidised ‘race to the bottom’ offers which are being used to attract passengers and cabbies to the new ‘Black Cab’ offering.


TaxiPoint recently questioned Gett UK regarding the viability of operating with ‘several hundred’ taxi drivers in London and the potential impact of Uber’s newly launched ‘Black Cab’ service. In response, Vitaly Bedarev, Managing Director at Gett UK, raised concerns about the sufficiency of driver numbers for Uber to provide a reliable service, given Uber’s large customer base.

Bedarev highlighted that Gett, which has been operational in the capital for over a decade, serves a client base with high expectations for service reliability, typically higher than those of Uber’s average customer. “In our industry, reliability is key,” Bedarev stated, emphasising the necessity of a substantial fleet of drivers and vehicles to meet service demands effectively.


The conversation also touched on the broader implications for the taxi industry. Bedarev welcomed healthy competition, which he believed fosters industry growth. However, he cautioned against potential negative impacts on the market, such as reduced driver earnings due to aggressive subsidy strategies, which has the potential to "significantly destabilise the market".

Vitaly Bedarev, Managing Director at Gett UK, responded: "In our industry reliability is key, Uber is working with a huge customer base and to be able to offer a dependable level of service would require much higher driver numbers. That said, demand for black cabs may not be as high for a typical Uber customer. Gett has been working in the space for over a decade - black cab customers, whether corporate or private, do have higher expectations when it comes to reliability and service.


“We generally value healthy competition and have worked hard to earn our market share, we think a good balance helps the industry flourish. Apps like Gett offer both drivers and riders an enhanced level of control and predictability over their earnings and journeys. But cabbies need street-hail, and the street will always need cabbies. We see a risk of "race to the bottom" through subsidies first, and then on driver earnings later - which could significantly destabilise the market." 

Uber reported enlisting 'several hundred' black taxi drivers for its app, marking the launch of its new service to consumers.


The 'Black Cab' feature, which debuted with its first London taxi on the Uber platform earlier this month, represents a revived push following the unsuccessful 'UberTAXI' project in 2014.


Uber intends to gradually develop the feature, starting with a limited group of customers.

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