There is a great deal of talk in todays world around the field of disruptive technology, whatever that actually is. Well the Harvard Business review defines it as ‘New way of doing things that disrupt or overturn the traditional business methods and practices. For example, steam engine in the age of sail, and internet in the age of post office mail”. Putting this in perspective in the context of the bus and coach sector is probably best explained as uber impacting onto the traditional world of bus and coach.
Interestingly the man who coined the phrase disruptive technology from the Harvard Business School Clayton Christensen, has actually stated that the concept is actually widely mis-understood and according to him is commonly applied to businesses that are not actually “genuinely disruptive”. This is interesting because Chris Grayling the Secretary of State for Transport has very recently indicated that he considers that uber type products to be defined as disruptive technology for the bus/coach/community transport model. Rather than the real effect of uber on the taxi industry, hence so many unhappy London cabbies, who were very angry that these unknown people without the knowledge had pitched up with sat navs and significantly under cut the cabbies on price.
Personally I was delighted as I had long since resented the extortionate prices paid when catching a London cab, where not only did you pay through the nose, but more often than not you had to endure their opinions about anything and everything. To be honest I had long since stopped listening to the extreme moaning about how hard life was driving a cab around the capital, when none of them seemed to live in London but had nice houses well outside London and most of them had holiday homes in Spain, mostly around the Costa Del Crime.
The big difference of course in the case of uber was the simplicity of the uber App, to book a ride almost instantly, know what you were going to pay and get a photo of the driver and the registration number and make of the vehicle, and if for some reason I do not like the look of any of it I can cancel (mind you so can the uber driver!) And afterwards I can give the guy a survey and even a tip, and he can also rate me which is mildly worrying.
The reality is that proposed changes in legislation being talked about by the present regime may have a serious and deeply negative impact on the ability to offer socially important services to isolated communities where there is little infra structure. At the moment we at the Bus and Coach Forum are busy attempting to offer an input to this vital debate, there is a genuine concern that knee jerk nature of changing the legislation can result in a very negative hit on driver shortage as the drivers would have to fund CPT training for themselves and the lines would be blurred between commercial bus routes and demand responsive services.
So, we will keep you posted as to how the process is going the truth is that there is a very narrow window but we will do our best to try and prepare a decent response. Watch this space.