On May 27th during the Queen’s Speech, a recent decision made by Mayor Boris Johnson is going to give Uber some road rage. As of next week, there will be a limit to the number of cabs allowed to operate within London. Not only are traffic levels reaching “crisis level,” (eek) but the number of cabs on London’s busy roads is also at an all time high.
According to Uber, they believe that this a personal attack, meant to diminish their success. A success that Uber believes only benefits the lives of Londoners. When asked, the Mayor’s office denied this, instead saying it “just doesn’t make sense to have such a large number of minicab drivers in the capital.”
Uber is a private car service, that first hit the roads in 2009. Today, they operate across the world in hundreds of cities. You can request a car, arrange a fare, and pay all through their cashless app. And they’ve been hugely successful. Yet, they are represented by no one on the Board of Transport for London. London is currently home to 80,000 cabs. That’s a 20% increase from last year. Of these, 14,000 are driven by Uber drivers, making Uber London’s largest employer of cab drivers. In London, cabs are a daily necessity, and driving them is a way of life for thousands of hardworking individuals, I can guarantee we haven’t heard the last of this debate.
Uber has been a wildly successful, but that comes at a price. It’s not just Uber that’s in a tizzy surrounding this whole debate. The drivers of London’s iconic black cabs are also angry. Uber has made a significant impact on black cab fares, and cut into the bottom line of both the drivers and their parent companies. Professional black cab drivers take issue with the lack of regulation surrounding Uber drivers, who don’t even need to complete London’s famous “Knowledge Test” to get behind the wheel. In 2014, the License Taxi Driver Association (LTDA), or
In 2014, the License Taxi Driver Association (LTDA), or black-cab drivers staged a protest, refusing to take any fares, causing chaos and confusion throughout cab dependent London. This protest inspired by Uber was directed at the Board of Transport for London calling for regulation of Uber.
Mayor Boris Johnson is clearly trying to appeal to a large number of parties with this decision. Uber is the new kid on the block, and he’s ready to pick a fight.