London’s black taxis plan to bring the city to a grinding halt in protest against Uber

Funded by Google, Goldman Sachs and others renowned investors Uber has been aggressively marketing and spreading its presence around the world. The car-hire model backed with some reliable technology has been very successful and this has sent the taxi unions across the globe in a tizzy. Uber launched its car-hire service in London in June 2012 and has been expanding its foothold ever since. Worried London black-cab drivers are planning to cause gridlock in the city to protest against Uber and have promised to bring “chaos, congestion and confusion” to the streets of London. Something similar happened in Paris earlier this year when Parisian Taxi drivers launched a strong protest against Uber which later turned ugly. Taxi drivers had brought gridlock to Paris and even incidents of violence were reported.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association complains that Uber’s drivers are using a smartphone app to calculate fares despite it being illegal for private vehicles to be fitted with taximeters.The mobile app of Uber connects passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire. The passenger just compares rates for different verified vehicles and services through Uber, add credit card details, and set the pick-up location on a map; London Black Cab drivers consider the service is illegal. But Transport for London (TfL) has declined to intervene, because it disagrees that there has been a breach of the law. The government body said that Uber’s vehicles are not “equipped” with taximeters since there was no “connection between the device and the vehicle”. LTDA have rejected this evaluation and are threatening to seek a judicial review with Steve McNamara, the association’s general secretary, describing the situation as “dangerous for Londoners”. Let’s hope the standoff finds a favorable resolve.

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[Via – BBC]