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Uber will give Brits a free trip to vaccination centres
by Paul Hill
To assist the drive to get Britain vaccinated against the coronavirus, Uber has announced that it’s going to offer free trips to vaccination centres around the country as long as the bill is less than £15. Unfortunately, those who fall outside the vaccination priority groups probably won’t benefit from the offer because the promo codes are only valid until February 28, 2021, but if you’re taking an elderly relative then you can definitely save some money.
To get the free ride, tap the menu in the top left of the Uber app and select Wallet, select ‘Add Promo Code’ at the bottom and add the appropriate promo code for the vaccination centre you’re travelling to or from, then select the other pick-up or drop-off location and confirm your trip. The promo codes for the vaccination centres are as follows:
Robertson House, Stevenage: UberUKRH Excel Centre (Nightingale), London: UberUKEX Centre for Life, Newcastle: UberUKCL Etihad Tennis and Football Centre, Manchester: UberUKET Epsom Downs Racecourse, Surrey: UberUKED Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol: UberUKAG Millennium Point, Birmingham: UberUKMP In addition to the deadline in February, Uber has also said that the promotion will only be valid for the first 4,000 riders per promo code. It’s not clear how quickly these promo codes will last, though, according to government data nearly four million people have received their first dose of the vaccine so far. While many of those will have gone to local centres not involved in the scheme there’s still a good chance the promo codes could be exhausted before February 28 rolls around.
Like other parts of the private sector, Uber has been altering its normal services to help people through the coronavirus pandemic. In November, the firm announced Uber Medics, a subsidised ride service for NHS and care home staff. By selecting Uber Medics, health workers could save 25% on all of their trips and get more flexibility on waiting times – all at Uber’s, not the driver’s, expense.
Virgin Media gigabit comes to London and Northern Ireland
by Paul Hill
Virgin Media has announced that it has rolled out its gigabit broadband to almost 3 million homes in London and Northern Ireland. With the addition of this rollout, Virgin Media’s gigabit broadband is available in a total of 6.8 million homes across the UK.
For those who can purchase Gig1 broadband from Virgin Media, download speeds should reach 1,104Mbps, which is around 17 times faster than the national average. Gigabit is now available on 45% of the Virgin Media network and by 2021 it plans to cover the entire network. This will help deliver the government’s longer-term broadband ambitions which will see the country ready for new technologies.
To accompany today’s announcement, Virgin Media commissioned a Gigabit Opportunity report which found that more than £11 billion per year would be unlocked. Commenting on today’s deployment, Lutz Schüler CEO at Virgin Media, said:
Echoing Virgin Media’s CEO, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said that the rollout of gigabit broadband is vital for the city’s future and will help to create jobs and encourage growth. He also said that it will act as a boost for businesses struggling with the coronavirus.
Aside from London and Northern Ireland, people in Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Coventry, Southampton, Manchester, and Reading can sign up to Gig1. To find out more check out Virgin Media’s website.
Transport for London set to strip Ola Cabs of its operating license on Monday
by Paul Hill
Sky News says it has seen a copy of a statement due to be issued by Transport for London (TfL) on Monday which states its decision to strip the ride-hailing firm Ola of its operating license. According to TfL, Ola had flaws in its operating model which led to unlicensed drivers and vehicles performing more than 1,000 passenger trips which may have put people’s safety at risk.
Ola came to London in February this year and, learning from Uber, launched with an AI and machine learning tool called Guardian that detects irregular vehicle activity, a safety tool that matches drivers and passengers, and an option for passengers to access 24/7 voice support. At the time of its launch, 25,000 drivers had registered; with TfL’s latest decisions, drivers have an uncertain future.
According to Sky News, the firm will have 21 days to appeal against the decision. Helen Chapman, TfL’s director of licensing, regulation and charging said that if the firm does appeal it will be allowed to continue operating until a decision is made.
TfL’s decision to go after Ola comes just a week after Uber was given its operating license back by a judge at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court after finding the firm to be ‘fit and proper’. While London is well connected with buses, the underground, trains, bicycles, and black cabs, ride-hailing firms offer a convenient way to get around in the most remote areas where public transport is less readily available.
Source: Sky News
Uber granted London operation license in court appeal
by Paul Hill
Two weeks ago, we reported that Uber would find out on September 28 whether or not it would be given an operating license to continue offering its service in London. According to BBC News, a judge at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court has decided that Uber is now ‘fit and proper’ despite its "failings" in the past and has awarded it the operating license.
Uber first lost its operating license in 2017 when Transport for London (TfL) declined to issue a new license over safety concerns. A judge issued the license on probation and Uber implemented more safety checks to try and address TfL’s concerns. Last year, TfL again refused to give the ride-hailing firm a new license because it said that the improvements had not gone far enough.
With the license having been granted to Uber, drivers that use the platform can stop worrying about their livelihood going forward. BBC News estimates the number of drivers in the capital city to be around 45,000.
While London does have excellent public transport links including trains, the underground, buses, bicycles, and black cabs, Uber vehicles offer commuters a convenient way to get around late at night or to areas that are a little far from bus stops or train stations. With politicians trying to clamp down on private vehicles in London, having Uber operating in the area could make it easier for people to forego cars.
Source: BBC News
Uber: London operating license decision due on September 28
by Paul Hill
Uber will find on September 28 whether or not it has been given an operating license in London. The operating license issue between the ride-hailing firm and Transport for London (TfL) has been going on for several years now. In November last year, TfL refused to give the firm a new operating license because it believed the firm was neither fit nor proper.
The battle between the two started back in 2017 when TfL denied Uber a license before a judge restored it on probation. TfL’s main issue with Uber is that it doesn’t believe the service is safe. In response, Uber implemented more safety checks but TfL was still able to find issues.
Drivers that make their living with Uber do not have to worry about the upcoming decision too much; if the judge gives the license back to the firm then life for drivers will go on as normal. If the judge refuses to issue a new license then drivers can continue doing their job while Uber appeals the decision which could drag things on for months or even years.
Ultimately, if Uber is forced out of London it shouldn’t hurt commuters too much because the capital is very well connected with trains, the underground, buses, bicycles, and black cabs.