How’s this for a turnaround? Ride-hailing app Uber, which was banned in London for a brief period after TfL revoked its operating licence, is set to add London’s famous black cabs to its service.
There has long been tension between London’s cabbies and Uber, with a fight for customers, and questions raised over some of Uber’s practices when entering new markets and employing drivers – so the move comes as somewhat of a surprise.
It’s also not a new idea – you’re already able to hail a black cab in London via a number of other apps, including FreeNow, Gett and Taxiapp. However, Uber is pushing ahead saying sign-up to its service is open to all 15,000 (approx) cabbies.
This isn’t the first time Uber has partnered with major city-based taxi groups either, with the firm already having similar setups in New York, Paris and Rome. It also says the first London black cab drivers have already signed up – although it’s unclear how many are already onboard.
As an incentive, Uber is offering 0% commission for the first six months.
Cabbies may not even consider signing up
As reported by the Verge, not everyone in the black cab community is thrilled by the announcement. Steve McNamara, the LTDA general secretary said: "There is no demand for this partnership from the London licensed taxi drivers we represent or our passengers."
In his statement, McNamara went on to say: "We are not aware of any drivers having been recruited and don't believe our members will even consider joining the app."
It'll be interesting to see how successful black cabs on Uber will be when it launches in "early 2024" in the capital.
Uber has diversified its transport offering significantly over the years, with the ability to not only hail rides, but also book train tickets, coaches, flights, car rentals and from time to time special event transport – one year at CES in Las Vegas we could book a helicopter tour over the strip via the app.
It was, unfortunately, out of our price range though.