London's transport regulator is backing down on a series of tough proposals for Uber
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TfL's proposed rules included a mandatory five-minute wait time, a ban on animated cars appearing in apps, and a way to allow customers to book cars in advance. But it said on Wednesday that it was dropping those proposals.
However, TfL didn't drop every single one of its proposals. It says that it will introduce a requirement that drivers of private hire vehicles must speak English. It also said that is considering making private hire vehicles pay the congestion charge.
Another requirement that will be introduced is a compulsory fare estimate shown before riders begin a journey on ridesharing apps like Uber. Right now services like Addison Lee already show the journey cost up front, but Uber's fare estimate is optional.
TfL has also chosen to introduce a requirement for private hire companies like Uber to make themselves available to customers over the phone. If an Uber passenger has a complaint at they moment they have to communicate via email, but TfL's rule would mean that a telephone number would be provided also.
Uber hit out at the rules when they were first proposed and launched a petition encouraging TfL to retract the ideas. Over 200,000 people signed the online petition after Uber contacted its customers and encouraged them to take part.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson supported Uber and released this statement regarding TfL's proposals:
New technology has revolutionised the private hire industry in recent years, bringing with it quantum leaps in terms of faster, better and cheaper services for customers.
However it has also meant a rapid increase in the number of private hire vehicles on our streets, an increase that is responsible for causing congestion and has the potential to worsen air quality in central London.
Private hire vehicles now represent over 10 per cent of vehicles entering the Congestion Charging zone on a daily basis and I have asked TfL to investigate the impact and feasibility of removing the Congestion Charging exemption for private hire vehicles with a view to cutting congestion in central London.
I am also delighted to have secured a commitment from the Government to take forward new legislation that will finally enable us to regulate the pedicab industry that has operated free of any real authority for far too long.
Uber sent Business Insider the following statement from its UK manager Jo Bertram:
This is good news for Londoners and a victory for common sense. We're pleased Transport for London has listened to the views of passengers and drivers, dropping the bonkers ideas proposed last year like compulsory five minute wait times and banning showing cars in apps. It means Uber can continue to keep London moving with a convenient, safe and affordable ride at the push of a button.
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