For the second weekend running users of the Uber ride-hailing service have complained about high prices and lack of available vehicles.
A lack of available drivers since lockdown easements began is seen as one major reason why prices have risen at times of demand.
One customer, Nira, said via social media on Saturday: “Really unhappy with the service. Uber customer service is abysmal and its shocking that they think its ok to overcharge customers £100 for a 10 minute journey. Absolutely unacceptable behavior!!!!”
There were also ongoing concerns over a lack of vehicle coverage. A passenger, called Amy, said on social media: “For the past few weeks, I have persistently been cancelled on or no Ubers are ever available.
“None of the drivers seem to ever want to go into central London anymore. The standard of service has completely fallen through the floor.”
One user called @Ben_LawnMower displayed a screenshot of an Uber X ride for £53.76 in Essex. He went on to say: “Anyone else remember when @UberUK was cheap and reliable (for context this is a 20-30 minute journey usually costing £20).”
Prof. Stanislav Edward, also queried the price and coverage on the weekend: “What is going on, Uber? Heathrow Airport is empty but you want £40 for a trip that costs £14? You don’t blame Brexit shortage of drivers for that, do you?”
Earlier in the year the Chairman of the LPHCA warned of a ‘catastrophic shortage of drivers’ which would risk the sustainability of the taxi and private hire industry.
Steve Wright, Chairman of the Licensed Private hIre Car Association (LPHCA), warned of the potential problems last summer when he contacted the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps.
Since then little industry specific funding has been made available, forcing drivers to look for other work during the pandemic. Licensed driver and vehicle numbers have dropped significantly meaning in some cases the pent-up demand cannot be met.
Steve Wright said in the latest issue of Private Hire News: “Sadly, our prediction of the possibility of a catastrophic shortage of drivers is becoming a reality and the LPHCA will continue to make ministers aware of the difficulties.
“Last July we wrote to Rt. Hon. Grant Shapps MP Secretary of State for Transport to draw his attention to potential serious problems and the risks to the sustainability of the Taxi & Private Hire industry.”