Your correspondents from charities supporting people with disabilities quite rightly say that “disabled people deserve to benefit from the greater choice of affordable and accessible travel that competition and innovation delivers” (Letters, 2 October). They go on to say that “Uber provides this opportunity” – er, no. Uber does no such thing, because it does not provide any vehicles. Uber makes the so-called “self-employed contractors”, who drive the vehicles, provide vehicles adapted for disabled use – at their expense, not Uber’s. As always, Uber simply provides the link and takes a hefty fee.
If Uber is prevented from operating, the vehicles will still be there to provide a service to disabled people, probably working for London’s many other taxi firms. And if Uber wanted to provide a public service of any sort to anyone (disabled or otherwise) rather than indulge in monopolistic world domination, it would license the software to any taxi firm that wanted to use it and make the app available to users for £1.99. That way it might even make a profit.
• For the first time in decades, the country is having a debate on the future of capitalism. I want people to realise one thing. The power to change lies within each of us. As the furore over Uber brings the issue into focus, let’s remember that monopolies are made by you and me. We made them by buying from them. So don’t blame anyone else for Uber. We created it. The same applies to Philip Green and Arcadia Group, Mike Ashley and Sports Direct. We may not like them, but they’re all our doing. The good news? There’s a revolutionary way to change things. It’s called social trading. Let’s start buying from social enterprises and cooperatives. Let’s start trading with one another, for one another. Let’s create new, local means of distribution. Let’s socialise capital on our own terms.
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