Ten years of Uber: “Faced with VTC, the quality of service of taxis has become premium”



The cross : Uber arrived in Paris on December 5, 2011. How has this affected the taxi sector, of which G7 is presented as the leader in Europe?

Yann Ricordel: In a few years, the private passenger transport sector has transformed into an ultra-competitive market. The competition that existed between the different taxi companies was accompanied by a commercial rivalry between taxis and chauffeured transport vehicles (VTC).

It was pretty brutal, with the major ride-hailing companies dragging the prices of rides down. But also, as we have seen, with disproportionate prices at times of high demand. In addition, the number of available drivers has almost doubled in the streets of the capital and taxis have started to see their market share decrease in favor of VTCs. Which of course destabilized part of the profession.

There were also very strong tensions between taxis and VTCs in the mid-2010s. Where are we today? ?

YR: It’s true that taxi drivers’ disarray led to a series of social movements, most notably when UberPop allowed amateur drivers to transport customers in their personal cars. Since then, several laws have framed the prerogatives of each other and clarified the conditions for entering the profession of driver.

While this balance may seem unstable, it must be preserved while some would like to eliminate the tests for entry exams into the taxi profession such as management or French.

→ ANALYSIS. Is the phenomenon of uberization of the world of work running out of steam?

Has competition from VTCs really led to a drop in the value of taxi licenses?

YR: Just as a trader buys a doorstep which he can resell when he leaves, drivers buy their licenses from taxis which retire at a free price, defined by supply and demand. On average, taxis manage to repay their loan in seven to ten years and thus build up capital for their own retirement. The price of these licenses peaked in Paris between 2011 and 2013, at nearly € 250,000. Then it fell to € 120,000 in 2016 before stabilizing today between € 140,000 and € 150,000.

What was the strategy of taxis in the face of these upheavals?

YR: The profession, and particularly G7, did more than resist. Faced with VTC, the quality of service of taxis has become premium: whether in the reception, comfort or cleanliness of vehicles. Moreover, with this emulation, we realize today that we have kept the best drivers.

This move upmarket is also illustrated in digital terms with the creation of the simplest and most efficient applications possible for the telephone. In 2008, G7 launched its first mobile app, but in 2011 barely 5% of G7 customers used an app to order a taxi, compared to 65% today.

At G7, we had 7,000 affiliated drivers in 2011, they are now 9,000, with 30% more trips and we transport 20 million people per year.

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