London Taxi Drivers are once again taking to the streets on Wednesday, the 10th of February, to voice their grievance over the Government’s interference in the industry’s regulatory affairs while actively supporting a tax avoiding global corporation, Uber, that presents itself as an “IT company”.
Some very sensible proposals were put forward by the regulator, yet they have been quashed by the Government. Naturally, this has angered decent, hard-working London Taxi Drivers who pay their taxes and conform to the strict rules and regulations.
So the question is: why would the Government actively support a global tax avoider, a virtual company with no assets and no experience in operating the taxi trade, while providing it with a competitive advantage over its own domestic workforce?
The answer is not one that makes our politicians look competent or above board.
But let us look at some of the statistics that paint a very gloomy picture of the way Uber operates.
Last year it paid less tax than any four randomly selected London Taxi Drivers! Even though the company takes 25% to 35% of every journey undertaken by vehicles operating under its umbrella. In real terms, they paid just £22,134 last year.
The most amazing thing of all is that Uber is still not making a profit, as it is involved in undermining the competition by operating with lower fares, in the hope of establishing full control over the taxi trade.
Which brings us to the next point about the danger that Uber poses for consumers as the future monopoly that doesn’t play by the rules.
Once the competitors would be eliminated, prices, as it happens with all monopolies, will go up dramatically. That is how it works in the world of big business that builds its success at the expense of smaller competitors.
And then there is the issue of sacrificing safety and quality to cut costs. Does anyone actually believe that a company that has no experience in running a taxi service and cuts costs by avoiding rules and regulations can provide safety and high quality of transportation?
Of course not!
Which means that customers are taking a gamble when they travel with Uber. Unlike the reliable and tested traditional purpose built London Cabs that are subject to three tests per year and with their drivers going through a very rigorous testing process over four to five years.
And it gets worse when it comes to the attack on the interests of the London Taxi Drivers.
This means that TfL can now “feed the system” with 600+ new drivers every week while London Taxi Drivers are often unable to work, waiting for months for license renewals pending the mandatory requirement of a valid DBS check.
As a result, passengers find themselves driven by people with practically no experience and of a dubious character. There are over 100 reported sexual assaults in minicabs in London every year and we know that less than 10% of rapes and sexual assaults are reported.
Make no mistake, once Uber takes over the taxi trade in the UK it will move against other forms of transport and hundreds of thousands of jobs on the London Underground, on the railroads and in long haul deliveries will be in danger. In effect, the London Taxi Drivers are defending not only their own livelihoods but the interests of people involved in many other industries.
As the elections of the London Mayor approach, it is time for candidates to make their views clear whose side of the argument they are on when it comes to London Taxi Drivers and Uber. We are talking about the livelihoods of tens of thousands of drivers and their families. Londoners who value their traditional taxi service should rally round it and send a signal to the candidates in the London Mayor Election that they will support those of them who give a clear pledge to put an end to the unfair practises of Uber and protect the iconic heritage of London that London Taxis represent.
Give this your full support, London
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