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Uber customers complain at cost of rides and availability as impact of minicab shortage hits home

Users of the Uber ride-hailing service have continued to complain about high prices and lack of available vehicles, as the impact of the driver number slump during peak times hits home.

A lack of available drivers since lockdown easements began is seen as one major reason why prices have sky rocketed at times of demand.

One user of the minicab app in Liverpool said via social media: “Liverpool Council and Knowsley Council you MUST do something about Uber taxi license in the city.

“Last night we failed time and time again to get staff a taxi home due to lack of supply. Uber's pricing peaked at £37 for a 3 mile journey. This isn't acceptable.

“Can you use your powers to bring Uber to account and cap fares so people can actually afford to get home safely rather than trudging miles to get non existent hackney cabs or wait hours for private hire. Kim Johnson MP fo info.”

On Sunday, actress Bibi Lucille contacted Uber to say: “I’m pi**ed Uber is now costing upwards of £50 to travel anywhere from London at night - how are women and young girls supposed to safely get home when most can’t afford that kind of money.

“I have heard of four girls getting spiked in this past week alone and an Uber home cost £75 at midnight. Women need a safe way to get home ESPECIALLY when being spiked is such a regular occurrence… women are constant punished for existing.”

Another user contacted Uber’s Support team to say: “Disgusted that I have been charged £22.20 for a two mile journey last night. How can you justify this??”

Another comment on social media this time from Marc Beddy, said: “Ere’ Uber, what about a discount for my mate who were ripped off with a £90 taxi ride on a Sunday night when it’s usually only £23? He’s double-jabbed, get him some cash sent back.”

On the same weekend Catherine Frankpitt also took to social media to complain. She said: ”My 19-year-old daughter and 2 female friends have just had terrible experience with Uber.

“Meant to be £9 10min journey in Liverpool where they’re spending a few days, driver kept them in car for 1 hour, refused to let them get out or even open the windows and then charged £40. Any advice?”

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.”


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