Uber offers black cabs work as London brought to standstill (Wired UK)


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Uber, the taxi-booking app and self-employed cabbie enabler, has
experienced an 850 percent increase in sign-ups today as a result
of protests by London black cab drivers bringing the capital to a
standstill. As if that wasn’t enough salt in the wound, Uber has
now extended an olive branch to TfL-registered cabbies by offering
them a place on their books. Bold move.

UberTAXI, announced in the midst of today’s industrial action around Trafalgar Square, will see
black taxi drivers on the same booking directory as minicab and
civilian drivers for the first time since Uber launched. The app
originally excluded those under TfL-accreditation, but as this
change in policy demonstrates, there must be some interest in
joining the service despite it being branded as “illegal” by Steve McNamara of the Licensed Taxi Drivers
Association.

The protest today, over TfL’s failure to take action against the
unregulated hire of drivers, surrounds the use of Uber’s app as a
meter, which determines the cost of a journey against the distance
travelled. Glossing over this technicality, Uber said that black
cab drivers who choose to receive bookings through its service will
receive meter rates equal to TfL’s fares, undercutting Hailo who
also book taxis but at a lower rate due to claiming commission.

“We recognise the unique heritage and value of traditional black
cabs when it comes to getting around,” said Uber London General
Manager Jo Bertram in the announcement. “UberTAXI is another way of
using technology to offer more choice, making life simpler and
keeping London moving.”

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London is currently not moving. Take the tube or walk when
possible.

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11 June 2014 | 3:09 pm – Source: wired.co.uk
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