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Uber cries foul over London Mayor's plan to support black cabs

Engadget Engadget 13/09/2016 Jamie Rigg
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It's no secret that London's black cab trade has suffered as Uber's popularity has grown, but Mayor Sadiq Khan has further plans to level the playing field. As part of new proposals geared towards supporting the capital's iconic Hackney carriages, Khan wants to integrate black cab info into the Transport for London (TfL) journey planner by next summer. While it's likely you'll still have to use services like Gett, Hailo, or the old-school wave to hail them, it would increase awareness of this option and highlight potential time savings over public transportation.

Increasing the number of taxi ranks from 500 to 600 by 2020, opening up more bus lanes to black cabs, and recognising The Knowledge as a formal qualification (possibly allowing drivers to apply for study loans) also form part of the proposals. Bearing in mind any newly registered black cab must be zero-emissions capable from January 1st 2018, Khan is suggesting several-thousand-pound grants to encourage the purchase of such vehicles, too.

None of the proposals have any direct impact on the private hire industry, but Uber has decided to have a moan anyway. The ride-hailing service has yet againsent an email out to some users, calling on them to lobby Khan to revisit new private hire regulations -- and, once more, Uber will even go to the trouble of drafting an email to that effect on your behalf.

While black cabs are getting a helping hand, TfL will soon be imposing stricter rules on private hire operators. Uber is particularly unhappy with a new English language test drivers must pass, though it has also taken umbrage with the requirement for part-time drivers to have year-round commercial insurance, and the need for operators to have a London-based call centre, among other things.

It's unclear exactly why Uber is still asking users to spam the London Mayor with pre-prepared statements, though. Uber's thoughts on the matter have been well-publicised already, and earlier this month, the ride-hailing service was granted a judicial review of many of these new regulations by the High Court, even if the scope of said review is narrower than Uber would've liked.

TfL Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan (PDF)

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