Thursday, June 21, 2018

Councillor Blames Neighbouring Cities For Black Cab And Uber Tensions


Neighbouring cities have been slammed by a leading Coventry councillor amid rising tensions between the city's black cab drivers and private hire drivers from Uber.

In recent weeks, there have been reports of conflict between drivers, with the taxi rank outside Coventry Railway Station the most recent battleground. 

West Midlands Police and the British Transport Police have been called to separate instances of altercations in and around Station Square as the city's black cab drivers take umbrage with the presence of Uber drivers in the city. 

Two weeks ago a man was arrested on suspicion of assault after an incident which allegedly saw a black cab driver stuck by an Uber vehicle. 

The man arrested was eventually released, but tension remains as Ubers, which are unlicensed in the city, continue to pick up fares.


The questions beg to be asked, if Uber lose their licence to operate in London
A) Will they still operated under cross boarder hiring
B) Will TfL do anything to stop them.....???

Private hire firm Uber does not have a license to operate in Coventry, yet tens of vehicles adorned with the Uber logo are regularly spotted in the city.

Neighbouring cities in the West Midlands are licensing drivers from the American firm and many of these are going on to operate out of other locations, such as Coventry.

Across the nation there has been opposition from black cab drivers to Uber and in Coventry it is no different.


The way that Uber operates is vastly different to black cabs and, though the fares may often be cheaper with Uber, those who are opposed to it would argue that the safety and regulation of the drivers are of an inferior standard. 

Despite having no licence, a number of Uber cabs can be found in Coventry
Why Coventry Railway Station?

With no airport, the railway station essentially acts as the gateway into Coventry.

Trains arrive from London, Birmingham and the North, bringing heavy footfall to the area, but many of these people will then be looking for a connection for their onward journey.


Very rarely is the taxi rank outside the station empty, as black cabs have had to pay station operators Virgin a fee to be able to use it. 

But Uber drivers, who cannot use the rank, park up around Station Square, waiting for customers in the nearby area to book a ride using their app.

Though they are not on the rank, the Uber vehicles are doing the same thing that the black cabs are doing - without paying for it.


Cllr Jayne Innes, the Cabinet Member for City Services, has long been championing Coventry's black cab industry. She said: "Our city has a strong black cab fleet. We want people to feel safe, so we have drivers trained in how to spot things such as child explotation.

"Our drivers know the road, and can have proper conversations with customers.

"Uber aren't licensed in Coventry, and they've never even applied."

She added Uber cars were parking outside the railway station saying: "what they are doing is really unfair, and it isn't a level playing field.

"Last Friday (June 8), there was an incident outside the station."

"We are doing all we can to calm things down, but it would help if other councils thought, and behaved more responsibly.

"They are ultimately responsible for altercations such as these."

Cllr Innes stressed that one solution would be that customers should simply choose black cabs over Ubers. But in a message to the city's black cab drivers, she said: "We continue to do everything that we can to solve the problem.

"We are lobbying the government for change, as we feel strongly that the city should be able to decide who can operate here.

"They know that we are trying."


1 comment:

Robert Moore said...

I recently “discussed” the violent mugging epidemic with a police sergeant from West End Central who had been sent to arrest taxi drivers for stopping in a bus stop outside Selfridges.
That very same day I had reported 6 youths acting suspiciously, gathered around 3 unplated mopeds, who were loitering in a loading bay in Stourcliffe Street, only to be told that the police did not have a unit in the area, but that the operator would “make a note” of my report!!!
And people wonder why the problem has got out of control.