The Uber Decision


Yesterday the news came out that Uber are to lose their private hire licence in London. The decision has apparently come as a surprise to some, although the mere fact that Uber’s most recent extension was granted for a period of a mere four months, as opposed to five years should have provided a clue that the writing was on the wall for them. This piece is my official response to that decision. Although I will mainly be doing q and a stuff later in this post I am going to finish this section by answering one question – how many Uber rides have you taken? That would be a big fat zero.


Here is an image of the decision and its reasons courtesy of Transport for London (note to various filthy bigots who have asumed otherwise its was TFL who made the decision, not Sadiq Khan):

 Note that this document is succinct and extremely clear about just why Uber have los their right to operate in London. Here is London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s official response to the decision:


What about the 40,000 low-paid workers losing their jobs? Uber go to great lengths, including fighting (and in at least one case losing) court cases to not accept their drivers as employees because that would mean giving them certain rights that as (officially) self-employed people they do not have. Some of these Uber drivers may experience hardship as a result of this decision, but in the long haul they will probably be better off. Also there is nothing to stop these people setting up a scheme of their own to run private hire vehicles – find out what TFL require of them to give them a licence and go for it. 

What are alternatives to Uber? There is an app specially for London black taxis called gett. Also the only times when there is not public transport available in London are between about 1AM and 4AM – and even in those hours some buses run. 

What about people who cannot afford to pay extra? First up, if you use gett you get a flat rate and no sudden price hikes due to extra demand as Uber do, so it probably works out fairly similar in cost. Second, look back at my answer to the question about alternatives to Uber to remind yourself of when public transport is not available – if you can afford to be out and about in London at those sort of times you are not that poor (btw, although this is not strictly relevant I am a part time minimum wage worker, so I know a thing or two about actually being poor). 


First up, this Guardian article gives a good overview of the decision and the reasons for it. Another good general article is this one on inews. One final article providing general coverage is this from RT.

Still from yesterday we have excellent pieces from Zelo Street “Uber Licence NOT Renewed” and from Evolve Politics “Uber being stripped of their London licence signals the first nail in the coffin for the gig economy” both of which explain the wider implications of this decision. 

Today has seen more on this decision, led by the Mirror with “Uber ban by TfL raises questions about future in other cities – and is a warning to the gig economy“, Zelo Street have returned to the attack with “Uber – The Pundits Bleat” and finally, courtesy of Huffpost comes “I’m An Uber Driver And Agree With TfL – Uber Must Play By The Rules Or Get Out Of London“. This last also helps to fix the blame for Uber losing their London licence actually lies – squarely with Uber, who have had four months on notice in which to put their house in order and clean up their act, and have signally failed to do so, arrogantly believing that they are above such things as rules and laws.


TFL have made absolutely the right decision, the only decision that in the circumstances, given Uber’s continued failure to even attempt to co-operate they could have made. Uber are a billion-dollar business, but the apparently insatiablke and limitless greed of the people who run it has finally caught up with them. If Uber want to regain their London licence there is a simple solution: do what TFL require of them to make that happen. 

This gif exposes the lies the London Tube map is telling you

On the Beck Map and distortion…

The design by Harry Beck, which has stood the test of time, was first introduced in 1933. It’s success has been attributed to the ease with which it can be read, despite the lack of a consistent scale. The sprawl of the London Underground out into the suburbs means that if you were to use one scale that took in every stop, the sections showing central London would be completely unreadable. The coherence of the design has seen it exported to metro systems around the world.

Source: This gif exposes the lies the London Tube map is telling you

This is officially the best tube line

A survey reveals which London Underground line is rated best…

YouGov has asked London’s Tube riders what they think of the capital’s nerve system. Coming out on top is the east-west running Jubilee line. 1651 adults in London, were asked ‘Generally speaking do you like or dislike each of the following lines?’. They then chose from the options: generally like generally dislike neither like nor dislike don’t know not applicable From these scores, a net ranking was made for thirteen lines.

Source: This is officially the best tube line

An American writer took the Tube for the first time and fell in love

Here is an American view of London Underground, courtesy of…

Dennis Green likes the London Underground. He really, really likes it. He likes it so much he wrote an article about how London is a “transportation paradise” compared to his current home of New York.

Source: An American writer took the Tube for the first time and fell in love

The Buckinghamshire Railway Centre


This post came about because I was given a horse brass that relates to this establishment. I will explain in the course of the post my justification for including it on a site devoted to London Underground. 


It was only natural that I should check further for details of the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre. I discovered that it is based in Aylesbury and that it looks like an excellent museum. Click on the picture below to visit their website:


So what is this attraction doing on this site? There are two linked justifications for its inclusion. In my post about the Metropolitan line I have referred to the fact that that line once extended a lot further than it now does. Even after the sections beyond Aylesbury were closed, Metropolitan line trains continued to serve Aylesbury until the 1960s. In my post about the Central line I went in to detail about my vision of a London Orbital Railway. 


The Metropolitan line in its glory days.


In my vision the Metropolitan line would be pared back to the Uxbridge branch and the Chesham branch, the latter extended to Tring, with the Watford branch being wholly incorporated into the Orbital Railway, and the Amersham branch forming the start of a northwestern spur from the Orbital Railway which would extend to the old terminus at Brill, and thence to Oxford to link up with mainline railways there. There would possibly also be scope for reviving the old Verney Junction branch and extending to Milton Keynes, although with the Watford link this is very much an additional option rather than a central part of the vision.

As part of the Oxford spur there could be a station specifically for the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, with tickets to that station including admission to the railway centre – after all how better to arrive at a railway centre than by train arriving at a station that is structurally part of the centre? 

Here is a second picture of that horse brass:

‘Please offer me a seat’ badges launched on London transport network | DisabledGo News and Blog

A new badge specially designed to make travelling easier for people who find it difficult to stand has been officially launched by Transport for London today. The blue ‘Please Offer Me a Seat’ badge is available to disabled passengers and those with hidden conditions, illnesses and injuries, to help them find a seat on public transport. The badge, and accompanying card have been created following requests from customers who can struggle to get a seat as their need is not immediately obvious. A six week trial with 1,200 people was held in autumn last year to test the new badge and card. More than 72 per cent of journeys were found to be easier as a result of the badge, and 98 per cent of people taking part in the trial said they would recommend it to somebody who needed it. The free badge and card is now available through the TfL website – The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “These blue badges will make a real difference to passengers who need a seat but just haven’t felt

Source: ‘Please offer me a seat’ badges launched on London transport network | DisabledGo News and Blog