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United Kingdom: Uber opens to popular London taxis

United Kingdom: Uber opens to popular London taxis

Some of London’s popular black cabs will be available to book on Uber’s platform from January, the US company announced on Wednesday.

Some of London’s popular black taxis will be available to book through the Uber platform from January. (Archives)

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The San Francisco company writes in a press release that the “Uber app opens up” to London taxis.

An Uber spokesperson said a “small number” of taxi drivers have already signed up to the platform, but the company hopes to recruit “several hundred” more by January.

In London, traditional taxis are often hailed on the street but can be booked in advance. Taxi drivers in Paris, New York, Rome and other major cities are already taking rides with the platform, Uber points out.

Uber launched its services in London more than a decade ago and claims to have completed more than a billion rides in the British capital.

The platform is subject to strong opposition from 19,000 traditional taxis. To practice, their drivers had to memorize all the streets within a 10km radius of central London in a test called ‘The Knowledge’.

Drivers accuse Uber of undermining prices, workers’ rights and safety standards.

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA), which represents black taxi drivers, said there was “no demand” for a partnership with Uber.

“Due to the well-documented poor performance on everything from passenger safety to workers’ rights in London, we don’t believe our members will join the app,” he said. According to him, Uber is introducing this partnership “to promote its struggling business model”.

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