Numbers in power, transport and travel

27 Jul 2016

a) How Uber Conquered London
Significant Numbers
  • 30 000 people download Uber and order a car for the first time every week in London.
  • Uber operates in 400 cities around the world.
  • Uber was started in San Francisco on 31 May 2010 by Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick. The idea of Uber came to the founders in Paris when they could not obtain a taxi (2008), and this in the age of smart phones and GPS. They saw the opportunity and took it.
  • London was the 11th city where Uber launched its service.
  • London’s black licensed cabs are one of the most recognizable taxis in the world.  In addition, London had 3 000 licensed private hire operators.  One of these operators was Addison Lee.  He had 4 500 cars with a revenue of £90m per annum.
  • Uber spent two years plotting their entry into London.  They started in June 2012 to coincide with the Olympic Games.
  • It was in London that Travis Kalanick decided to go for the world mass market, to be called UberX.  This meant using price as a key competitive element.  His thinking – if they don’t do this someone else would.
  • Three years after starting, two thirds of Uber drivers have been referred by a friend.
  • Uber riders and drivers rate their respective trips out of 5. Drivers get feedback after every ride.  A score of 4.5 could result in a query from head office.
  • Uber X took off like a rocket in San Francisco.  Essential Uber X established a whole new customer base. Uber X started in London  in 2013.  Its Fares were  £1.75 per mile compared to £3.50 – £4.00 for other taxis.
  • Uber’s powerful App platform could accommodate huge volumes of vehicles,riders and overlapping   journeys, cheaper fares and efficiencies.
  • 4 000 drivers signed up for Uber in the first six months.
  • On Wednesday 11 June 2014, between 4 000 and 10 000 cabs stopped work in protest against Uber X.  They turned their cabs sideways on Lambeth Bridge bringing gridlock throughout Westminster as far as Piccadilly Circus.
Quote ”The cab protest – its crudeness and inadvertent publicity it  gave to Uber read like the classic bungling behaviour of a doomed  market incumbent.”
  • Sometime in 2015 the number of Uber drivers surpassed black cabs at around 25 000
  • Uber invited black cab taxi drivers to join its platform and offered to suspend any commission for Uber for one year.
  • Rate reductions are a principle of Uber.  Their business model rests on the theory that by adding huge volumes of riders and drivers to a given market taxis fares  become cheaper and drivers earn more from increased utilization, this by reducing idle time. The end game for Uber is called “Perpetual trips” – drivers on a never-ending chain of pick-ups and drop-offs.
  • Three years ago there were 5 000 active riders, today in 2016 there are 1,7 million, about half the number who travel by tube.
Uber has established itself in London… changed  Summary from “theguardian” 27th April 2016
b) Numbers on the New Largest Cruise Ship in the World “Harmony of the Seas”
Length: 362 metres
Width (beam)      66 metres ( widest in the world)
Launched           19th June 2015
  • Decks:             16
  • Cost: $1.007 billion to build (R156 billion)
  • No. of passengers: 6 780
  • Crew: 2 100
  • Staterooms: 2 500
  • Dining rooms: 20
  • Swimming pools: 23
  • Speed                       25 Knots, 46 kph, 29mph
  • It is the widest cruise ship ever built
  • It has a park with + 50 trees
  • It has robotic bartenders – orders can be placed on iPads