Uber passengers and business leaders in London have spoken against a Transport for London (TfL) consultation process that threatens to curb the growth of the disruptive ride-sharing service.
100,000 Uber users in the Capital have come out in support of the start-up, while the Institute of Directors dubbed the proposals “damaging” to London's reputation as a global centre for innovation.
The consultation could see Uber drivers forced to take an English language test, while also setting a five-minute minimum between an Uber booking and the start of a journey.
TfL also wants users to be able to book seven days in advance, for Uber to offer a fixed-line phone number, and specify the full extent of the fare before the booking is accepted.
It also wants controls on ride-sharing in licensed vehicles and wants to limit drivers working for multiple companies.
“Transport for London (TfL) will soon publish proposed new rules for apps such as Uber. If adopted, they will mean an end to the Uber you know and love today. There will be a mandatory five-minute wait time, even if a car is available just around the corner. You won’t even be able to see the nearest cars when you open the app.
“TfL also wants to restrict carpooling, including new services such as UberPOOL. This enables people going in the same direction to share a car – cutting the cost of the trip as well as congestion on London’s streets. And the proposed rules threaten drivers’ livelihoods by forcing them to drive for just one operator.”
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The stand-off comes as governments around the world seek to tackle the rapid global growth of Uber.
The company has just been banned from Rio de Janeiro, while drivers in the Australian region of New South Wales have had licences suspended. Dutch police in Amsterdam recently raided the firm’s headquarters for a third time.