They call it the sharing community, sharing economy or the sharing revolution, but what does it really mean? who is gaining out of this so called sharing revolution?
Where our trade is concerned they want you to believe that it is all about sharing, lower costs to consumers, making services more accessible for the end user.
making goods and services more accessible through mobile apps and software is how they say it can be done, and to some extent this is quite true in the short term.
But is it really a sharing community? Do the instigators and disrupters really want to “share”? And what does it mean for the long term future of the trades that have been disrupted? And how will the service to the end user be affected in the long term?
Well of course the developers of this disruptive apps love to put a spin on things to make the end user believe that it is all about sharing, but we all know it has bugger all to do with sharing! The whole aim of the of these so called “sharing community” instigators is to make vast amounts of money for themselves and their investors through disrupting traditional trades by bringing in alternatives and exploting the people who are used to provide those alternatives.
Within our own trade we have seen the likes of Uber who started in America and have now begun their operations in London, their model is to disrupt taxi services by providing private hire cars at discounted prices to the public! From the travelling publics viewpoint this looks very good value, they can use an app on their smartphone to instantly hail a private hire vehicle at a lower price than a Taxi.
But what do they actually get? They get a car with a driver who has no knowledge of where he is going, a driver who cannot find his way around London, the frequently get a driver who cannot speak English that well, so in essence they have received a sub standard service by a driver that is being paid a very low fee for undertaking that journey.
So who wins? Well i’s not the passenger/customer!, its not the driver! Of course its Uber because they have just creamed 20% off the top of that fare. But lets not forget its the sharing community! Maybe I am being a little naive here, but where does the sharing bit come in? And who benefits from this so called sharing?
Ah, I see, the idea of sharing is to make huge profits for these companies and their investors? Not for those companies to share anything with you or me of the customer!
So what are the long term effects of the sharing community with the taxi and private hire trades?
We are already seeing that Taxi drivers in London are reluctant to renew their vehicles due to the downturn in work and bleak outlook for our trade, a lot of the larger private hire companies are now keeping the vehicles longer for the same reasons.
If the work levels continue to decline we will then see drivers starting to leave the trade, both taxi drivers and private hire drivers as they will no longer be able to sustain a decent living from driving people from A to B.
So the eventual outcome could be that the consumer is left with badly maintained vehicles that are a lot older driven by drivers who do not know their way around the city in which they work.
So the end result is that the drivers lose, the customers lose, but the companies who instigated the disruptive sharing age WIN!