(3) Celebrate your drivers Uber’s relationship with its drivers is notoriously fraught. What’s more, Uber has made clear its intentions to eliminate drivers altogether with its autonomous vehicle rollout in Pittsburgh, US. What better time to celebrate the quality of London cabbies who still can beat the Uber GPS when it comes to finding shortcuts through rush-hour traffic Again, this involves emphasising black cabs” unique strengths: as one cabby recently told me, if you notice you are going over residential speed humps during rush hour, then you can be sure your driver knows a shortcut. (4) Be open to new opportunities Uber recently moved into food delivery through its Uber Eats service, while taxi app Gett delivers champagne. What additional services can cab companies offer to help city-dwellers manage their hectic lifestyles dry-cleaning collection, parcel delivery, the school run? Similarly, the social experiment that is UberPool continues, squeezing strangers into the back seats of consumer vehicles to share a ride. Our research at Smart shows that larger more ?public vehicles (such as the hackney cab) are more conducive to ride sharing. What’s more, passengers whose journeys have a common starting point or destination, are more open to sharing than random strangers. What could cabs do to encourage shared ridership to and from common destinations (reducing costs for passengers while maintaining revenue for drivers)? (5) Don?t lose perspective Often a disruptor’s advantage isn’t unique, just unfamiliar. Traditional players responding to disruption should remember that there is no endgame in any industry, ever. Every great innovation becomes the status quo one day, and every new idea is eventually superseded. The best way to respond to the next thing is to learn from it not just what it got right, but what it missed. For taxi companies, and all the other players in the transportation industry, the wheel never stops turning. Nathaniel Giraitis is associate director of insights and strategy at design company Smart Design
Following a series of in-car pitches, a Birmingham firm’s reminder service won an investment from Uber and a strategy from CEO Travis Kalanick.
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