This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
A major protest by London taxi drivers has brought travelling chaos to the city on Wednesday against a mobile application Uber which allows customers to book and track vehicles.
This new app enables the user to detect the GPS on a mobile device and finds the nearest available driver. Customers can track the vehicle, pay with their phone, and even split the fare with friends using a credit card system.
However, the representative unions and groups for black cab and licensed drivers raise concerns that the move is leading to unlicensed drivers being contacted, with no checks on whether they are legitimate.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has replied to the raised question by Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) that the app operations are currently legal.
Thousands of the taxi drivers crowded the central London streets today in the afternoon causing major travel chaos to make their point.
Besides London, Madrid, Barcelona and Paris are also experiencing gridlock due to similar protests there.
The RMT’s Ian Beetlestone has said: “We are not objecting to competition. We have had competition for years from minicabs but we haven’t caused gridlock over it.
“We have to jump through hoops to be regulated and we don’t feel people involved in these new apps are being subjected to the same regulations.”
Uber’s U.K. and Ireland general manager Jo Bertram has responded to the strike action by saying: “Londoners are voting with their fingers, tapping the app in support of new and innovative services as we see our biggest day of sign-ups in London today since launch two years ago.
“In fact, today we’re seeing an 850% increase in sign-ups compared to last Wednesday. The results are clear: London wants Uber in a big way.”
“Unsurprisingly, the LTDA, which is stuck in the dark ages, is intent on holding London to ransom and causing significant economic impact to Londoners today, estimated to be £125 million.”
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