Having witnessed the impact of Uber on London’s taxi market, Transdev’s Nigel Stevens believes the entire public transport sector faces a shake-up

 

Uber has shaken up the London taxi market

A “nuclear bomb” is heading for the public transport sector, the CEO of Transdev in the UK and Ireland has warned.

Over the past two years Nigel Stevens has led the response of Green Tomato Cars, Transdev’s London-based taxi business, to new competition from Uber. He says that the entire public transport sector will face threats and opportunities from Uber and other new entrants.

In an exclusive interview with Passenger Transport, Stevens says: “It’s tough at the moment. It’s an industry [taxis] that has bumbled along for 50-60 years, really fairly unchanged. It’s been a nuclear bomb that’s come in with Uber.”

Stevens believes that a similar disruption will hit other public transport providers, including his group’s Transdev Blazefield business, which operates 400 buses in Lancashire and Yorkshire. His own view is that over time buses will be squeezed out of some urban markets.

If the existing players want to lead this revolution, Stevens says that they must be willing to disrupt their own businesses. He warns that otherwise the disruption will come from Uber or someone like them. “They are very ruthless and they will come in and squash you,” he says.

Last month, Stagecoach chairman Sir Brian Souter warned his industry colleagues that “we really need to get our trainers on and think about what we’re going to do about this issue” (PT109). However, in this edition of Passenger Transport, former Brighton & Hove boss Roger French writes: “The biggest threat posed to public transport is the continual failure to get the basics right.”

 

Related coverage in the latest issue of Passenger Transport:

Uber is like a ‘nuclear bomb’
Transdev’s Nigel Stevens on the opportunities and threats posed by disruptive businesses like Uber

Roger French: Don’t fear the geeks, just sort the basics
Sir Brian Souter is worried about an Uber-style transport shake-up,  but our real concern should be our failure to get the basics right

 

This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

 

 

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