The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association or the LTDA, has today announced that it will be setting up a city-wide gridlock in protest against the taxi smartphone application, Uber.
The reason for this protest is because of an argument that Uber may actually be an illegal service, well at least illegal in terms of the UK. THe LTDA says that although Uber doesn’t fit an actual fare meter in its licensed cars, it does allow private drivers to calculate fares in a way that is similar to a taximeter, allowing users to compare rates for different verified vehicles and services through the application, as such the LTDA is seeking a judicial review of Uber because it says it is not “fit and proper to hold a London private hire vehicle operator’s license.”
“Transport for London not enforcing the Private Hire Vehicles Act is dangerous for Londoners,” Steve McNamara, general secretary of the LTDA, told the BBC. “I anticipate that the demonstration against TfL’s handling of Uber will attract many thousands of cabs and cause severe chaos, congestion and confusion across the metropolis.”
“Uber, funded by Google, Goldman Sachs and others, has a stated aim of challenging legislation that is not compatible with its business model,” McNamara added. “This is not some philanthropic friendly society, it’s an American monster that has no qualms about breaching any and all laws in the pursuit of profit, most of which will never see a penny of tax paid in the UK.”
Jo Bertman, the general manager of Uber in London, said the following in response to McNamara’s statement to the BBC: “Competition in my view is always good for the customer because it makes all of us up our game in terms of quality and service. On the driver side, we offer a much more flexible model that is very different from the old-school private hire industry”.
To most this is an issue that won’t really effect them, however in my opinion this is most definitely a move against the competition, Uber is indeed a service that is from the US, and will likely not pay much in terms of taxes, however to put it simply, it offers something that no one else in the UK has really seen yet, my advice for those who have not, would be to try to compete with their own new services, not try to attack those which are doing better than you.