The Anonymous Widower

‘Empty’ Uber Cabs Driving Pollution And Congestion

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in today’s Sunday Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Uber cab drivers carry a paying passenger for less than half their shift, according to new data that raises serious concerns that the ride-hailing giant is adding to congestion and pollution.

The article also says that Uber cabs are carrying a paying passenger only 42% of the time.

This fits with my observation around busy points in London like Kings Cross station, where you see lots of Toyota Prius card with just a driver in them.

Only an hour ago, one such car, did a U-turn at Highbury Corner causing delay to everybody else. I can’t be sure it was an Uber cab, but it very much looked like one.

On a related point, a couple of months ago, my son paid for me to have an Uber cab from Walthamstow to Dalston. The cab had come all the way from Ealing around the North Circular Road, to pick me up.

How environmentally-friendly is that?


We need to cut pollution and non-electric cars crawling around waiting for business or driving half-way across London for a fare, is not a good idea.

  • Perhaps, Uber and other non-electric cabs should only be licensed to pick up in one London Borough.
  • All cabs should also be clearly marked with their company.

The sooner though, all vehicles inside the North Circular Road are zero-carbon the better..


June 9, 2019 - Posted by | Transport | , , ,


  1. Hackney carriages have been able to pick up anywhere in the Metropolitan Police area for over a century, although there is still some archaic stuff (like fares over six miles go up [because the horse gets tired]).

    Up here in Greater Manchester we do have taxis and private hire licensed on a per borough basis, and it is both chaotic and less [fuel] efficient than the metropolis wide system. Particularly insane is that Salford cabs can’t pick up in Manchester or vice versa – just imagine how that would work in the country’s only two other adjacent cities, Westminster and the City of London?

    Comment by R. Mark Clayton | June 9, 2019 | Reply

    • The way black cabs are going in London, most of those working Central London will be electric within a few years. Electric vehicles are not a problem.

      Where I live in Dalston has got increasingly busy in the last few years as it is just ouitside the Congestion Charge and ULEZ zone.

      But the pollution is getting worse and something needs to be done.

      Comment by AnonW | June 9, 2019 | Reply

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