Uber, Not Disruption, Just a Better Solution

ub-taxiSo my journeys bring me to Heathrow for an overnight on my way back from a 3 day trip to India.  Needless to say, I was exhausted on my way back, and upon arriving Terminal 5 @ LHR, I felt a bit lazy and went to the Taxi queue, since I was only going to stay in an airport hotel a mile away.  The first cabbie asked where I’m going then “suggested” I take the next cab.  I pile into the next one and immediately the cabbie adds a 2 pound 80 extra to the meter.  The 5  minute, one mile journey to the Renaissance Heathrow airport was 10.20 plus the 2.80 which totals 13 pounds, or about $20 USD.  When paying the cabbie, I asked what the 2.80 extra was, and he spat back “airport surcharge”.  After paying and walking out of the cab, he yells out, “I had to wait 5 hours for this”.

The next morning on the way back to the airport, I e-hailed an Uber.  After a 5 minute wait, a nice young lad picks me up and drops me @ Terminal 3 where I now sit…..the fee 5 pounds, or around $7.80 usd.

The point of this report isn’t that Uber is providing a less expensive service, but the solution is just better.  In a way, I do feel bad for the traditional cabbie for having to wait so long for a 13 UKL ride, but on the other hand, if a better solution has availed itself (such as on demand service), wouldn’t he be wiser switching companies?  There is lot’s of discontent in many metropolitan areas regarding Uber’s service from the traditional transport companies.  But should we accept the old way of doing things, just to protect the old ways and a business model that is no longer relevant?  What if we had done the same to Eli Whitney’s cotton gin?

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