Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Uber challenges London mayor Boris Johnson over cap on minicabs

Uber will challenge plans by Boris Johnson to cap the number of minicabs operating across London, arguing that the move would mean “higher prices” for millions of travellers in the British capital.

The Mayor of London, who was elected as an MP this month, is pressing for new legislation that would limit the number of minicabs in the city. 

The proposals, which are expected to feature in this month’s Queen’s Speech, are being seen as a direct attempt to curb the rise of the US taxi app group.

In a letter seen by the Financial Times, Jo Bertram, the head of Uber’s business in the UK, has requested the chance to debate the issue with the mayor directly. 

She also complains that Uber is not yet represented on the board of Transport for London and has been shut out of other industry bodies from which it can better challenge the move.

“London is one of the great cities of the world and Londoners have embraced Uber’s technology; tens of thousands rely on us for their job and millions more use us to get where they need to go,” Ms Bertram said.

“Capping the industry’s ability to grow would mean higher prices and less availability for the millions of people who rely on Uber and services like ours to get around.”

She added that new regulations should “protect people — their personal safety and their pockets — not hamper new innovations they value and that make their lives easier”.

A spokesman for Mr Johnson said: “The Mayor is not on an Uber witch hunt . . . It doesn’t matter who the drivers work for. It just doesn’t make sense to have such a large number of minicab drivers in the capital.”

The letter is Uber’s first step in lobbying against the cap proposals revealed by Mr Johnson last week. “We must be able to take action against the threat posed by the massive increase we are seeing in the number of private hire vehicles,” he said.

Mr Johnson argues that the increase was to blame for greater congestion on London’s roads, more air pollution and the problem of illegally parked vehicles.

The number of minicabs in the capital has increased by nearly a fifth in the past year to more than 78,000. Uber has about 14,000 drivers in London, making it the largest provider of private hires in the city.

The rise has put pressure on TfL, caught between the popularity of Uber and incumbent taxi groups. The transport regulator is currently undertaking a review of the London taxi market.

London’s long established black cab drivers have complained that a lack of regulation was skewing the market in Uber’s favour. The London Taxi Drivers Association has taken Uber to court alleging that the use of smartphones to log journey’s flouts regulations.

   Source : FT


Anonymous said...

We need to remember that Uber have now employed Rachel Whetstone as their spin doctor.

She is the partner of Steve Hilton who is a former Cameron adviser and close confidante of his.

Simple question for Boris and therefore Cameron is do you support British law and taxpayers or not?

PH drivers can work for any operator so Ubers argument is bogus.

Anonymous said...

So Uber want to be on the Tfl board,why not as they've if the rumors are correct got the ear of Cameron,just think the tail is about to wag the dog???

Andy said...

Explicit threat in letter to increase gouging the public under guise of surge pricing.

Should be illegal

Ask Bing said...

TfL Board

Clevr plan, run a sweatshop, subsidise the price structure from not paying UK taxes and then present yourself as some kind of public benefit,

Clever PR but nothing more, as much as a bunch of chancers as Ali of Cranbourne Street fame.

go google yourselves!

Anonymous said...

Until uber pays taxes in the uk they should have no option on the uk economy and should keep there mouth shut.

Anonymous said...

Untill uber pay taxes in the uk they should have no option on the uk economy and should keep there mouth shut

Laurence said...

This mob are just beyond belief. They are demanding a meet with Boris regarding PH numbers, but they claim not to be a PH company. They famously ignore their responsibilities with regard to a phone line, meter and pre-booking but now expect a personal meet with the Mayor. I'd like to think that Boris will tell her to fuck off and put her house in order first, but I wouldn't bet on it. We are gradually as a nation falling further under the cosh of American big business and I can't see Dave or the Tories lifting a finger to stop it.

Anonymous said...

What if Uber buy Addlee?They have a licence then and were all gone!

Anonymous said...

Has any one else noticed prius's parked up everywhere waiting for a job?They will soon work out that will be earning less than minimum wage but the outgoings will slaughter them,if you pay peanut's you get monkey's.If you are a regular user of Black Taxii's and you want to save a few pound's would you be bothered with a third world service?We are GOLD STANDARD these part-timer's are not fit to lace our boot's,keep delivering our quality service and the penny will drop.The vast majority that use Ubend don't use us anyway,so the minicabs industry will be affected most.( no drivers =no rents).Keep on chipping away as something smells at tfl and we are not far off the truth!

Anonymous said...

Did not Grant Davis say that the Tories are the party of small business, well let his chum Boris prove it.

Anonymous said...

What I can't work out is grant Davis fort tooth and nail to give us identifiers yet he seems to of taken a back seat on this and so has Mr Macnmara why I ask NO BALLS

Anonymous said...

So she's winging, bleating about, not having representation, then demanding same on Mayors cabinet. Don't know where she gets her info from, we taxi drivers don't have representation either. What, you think Oddy represents our trade? Look at his history, then decide if he's done a good job?