Uber customers in London will bear the brunt of increased regulatory costs -  according to the UK CEO of rival taxi app Gett.

The tech giant is appealing Transport for London’s unexpected decision in September to ban its app on safety and regulatory grounds.

In December the European Court of Justice also ruled that Uber must be regulated as a transportation service, requiring it to accept stricter regulation and licensing within the EU.

Matteo De Renzi told BusinessCloud that he expects Uber to come to an agreement with TfL – but at a cost.

“They are so big and so relevant for so many people in London that they will find a way to be compliant and then raise their standards. But the question is: how and when?

“It will have a big impact on its business: there is an immense price gap between their value proposition and ours because checking the quality of the drivers costs something. We’re bearing those costs while Uber was not really doing that.

“We have our own quality checks and strict governance around our drivers. This is something that the gig economy has to deal with.

“I do expect Uber to fix their situation – but I expect there will be an impact on their fares if they want to pass that on to their passengers.

“It will level the playing field from a competition standpoint.”

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Gett

Headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, Gett operates in more than 100 cities around the world. Coventry, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle are among 20 in the UK.

The model varies from city to city: Londoners can book or pre-book a ride with more than half of the licensed black cabs in the city.

“The weekend following TFL’s announcement that the Uber licence wasn’t to be renewed for the next five years, we had three times the number of new users join Gett,” revealed De Renzi.

“It was a big wake-up call for the whole industry and travellers, who said ‘hey, what the f***? My family and I are using a service which has been classified by TfL as not fit and proper’.

“The week after, we had more than double the number of new corporate accounts for the same reason: they did not trust their employees to travel overnight with an Uber as they said they wanted them to be safe and travel in a safe and sound manner.”

The drivers’ version of its app includes a heat map showing them where customer demand is strongest and which is a “massive tool for optimising routes around the city”, according to De Renzi.

A link-up with CityMapper has also allowed Gett to analyse how people move around London. One result of this is Gett Together, which allows people to group together on specific traffic-heavy routes to share the cost of a cab. There are currently four routes across London and one through Manchester along Oxford Road, which was classified as the busiest high street in Europe recently.

“People love the service. For the cost of a bus or less you can have your seat and save time every single day,” said De Renzi.

He expects this to be rolled out around the UK. “It will work in any place where the system is stressed. We’re looking at airports and link-ups with big business centres, where they need to move staff at the end of a shift.

“The potential is immense.”

Uber did not respond to our requests for a comment.

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