We at the GMB Professional Drivers are somewhat disappointed with your approval of UberPool after hearing their assurances regarding safety concerns.
Although we understand and appreciate that currently there is no clear legislation on ride sharing we feel that pointing out our fears and reservations is paramount and that TFL, The Mayor and The GLA should carefully consider our points.
Firstly The Drivers, our Uber Driver Members have confirmed to us that all drivers on the platform have to sign yet another new contract opting in to UberPool but there is not an opt out option except with drivers leaving the platform.
Again as with other previous forced contracts there was no consultation with driver partners and no consideration to drivers wellbeing and income.
We initially thought UberPool was been activated in January and as such feel it’s somewhat interesting that it’s happening before the closure of the Private Hire Consultation where it seems from our understanding many are against the ride share question and likely too that Uber will be aware of this.
Again understanding that you have no power over price structures the drivers will be up to 35% worse off with each UberPool journey carried out as they will only receive payment on miles travelled and time taken.Uber will of course receive the three payments.
Naturally the driver will have to work harder with up to 3 passengers who are strangers to each other as in effect they will have to play referee if any dispute breaks out. This will create stress even if there is no conflict as the driver will be on his guard.
We have heard the argument that bus drivers carry drunks and deal with disputes with passengers, but they are in an enclosed safety space with a means of instant contact to their depot and emergency services should the need arise. Uber drivers do not have this luxury as they have no emergency help button in fact they have to email Uber in the event of a problem.
Turning to Uber Clients and the many dangers which we perceive could be a possibility.
Firstly a passenger that has simply forgotten something possibly a passport who requires the driver to return to the original pick up point.
What of the other passengers doing the same, clearly the driver will be the one making the decision.
How does make that choice?
Other simple problems which could put the driver and passengers in danger are heated debates over politics, football, religion the list is in fact endless.
Obviously there are many more serious dangers, dangers such as occupants of the vehicle knowing an address is empty and the most serious which could be anything from serious assault to rape scenarios which could actually happen while the driver is driving.
Again unlike the bus driver Uber Drivers are not trained in dealing with such situations nor do they have instant access to emergency assistance.
What assurances have Uber actually given on how to prevent any of the above and what are their procedures in dealing with the safety of the public and Its drivers.
We as the GMB Professional Drivers feel this is further exploitation of drivers in driving down their standard of living and further deterioration of the trade as a whole not a free market on a even footing.
We suggest a suspension on the start of UberPool at least to the outcome of the Private Hire Consultation and until questions have been addressed in the GLA
Branch President GMB Professional Drivers G56
Posted: 4th December 2015