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London taxis planning road-block protests over car service app Uber


Uber taxi app

Uber is taking parts of the world by storm, it offerers a private car service to users of its app, and of course the licensed cabbies of London are up in arms about it, so a protest is planned.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association says that 1000s of licensed cab drivers will take part in the protest, which could bring gridlock to London's roads.

The core of the dispute is that the LTDA claims Uber cars are not entitled to be fitted with equipment to determine a fare. It says that only licensed cabs can have a taximeter, which it claims the Uber app essentially is.

Transport for London doesn't agree, and has refused to get involved.

Uber, if you haven't used it, is an app with which you must pre-register. You enter credit card details in advance, then, when you want a cab it uses GPS to locate you, and gives you a final price to get to your destination.

You need hand over no cash to the driver, and a tip is factored into the price. Uber keeps about 20 per cent of the drivers fee. Drivers are background checked too, and the app sends you a photo of your driver so you can confirm they are the right person.

We've used the service to get out of London and into the sticks later at night, and it is far more affordable than a black cab. This has obviously enraged London's black cab drivers.

Uber is no stranger to controversy, and has already faced legal challenges in Paris, Sydney and is banned in Brussels.

The LTDA described it as "not some philanthropic friendly society, its an American monster" which "has no qualms about breaching any and all laws in the pursuit of profit". This is in stark contrast to black cabs, which never take you the long way around, or make a profit in any way, obviously.

Uber is backed by Google and Goldman Sachs and has been operating for five years now in San Francisco, where it was set up to provide taxis to people in a city where there are literally no taxis anywhere to be seen.

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Via: BBC News


May 9, 2014, 1:11 am

'Fare' not 'fair'. Second paragraph.
Though I understand why the LTDA regards the service as un fair

TrustedReviews Sam

May 9, 2014, 8:48 am

Thanks for the spot, iFrank, it's now been changed


May 9, 2014, 8:59 am

I'd never heard of Uber. But that's brilliant!

I have maintained that Black Cabs and their sacrosanct "Knowledge" were anachronistic for a while. This kind of development was inevitable eventually.

There is one way that licenced Hackney cabs have an advantage though, and that is in their ability to transport children in buggies. Anyone know if you can use Uber to order a car with a child seat?

Hamish Campbell

May 9, 2014, 9:45 am

Whats the licensing status of mini-cabs? I would expect that the Uber drivers had to have the same setup as them. Then I can't see a problem as it's really just a convenient way of ordering a minicab with a more transparent pricing structure.

Prem Desai

May 9, 2014, 12:25 pm

I can sympathise with the black cab drivers as they're losing business.

However, this action is not the way to go.

Rather than fight the technology, they need to embrace it and keep up with the times.

People will always look for options that are cheaper or more convenient. This cannot be stopped by protesting.


May 10, 2014, 8:04 pm

I believe the LTDA point of view that Private Hire cars fitted with meters contravene the existing law is not too sound.

It's telling that TFL do not want to become involved, but I think cowardly of them.
If they believe it is simply a lawful new commercial practice then they should say so.

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