It is no secret that London Cabbies disapprove of Uber’s success rate, the taxi booking app that has transformed London transport indefinitely. The company, which operates in 45 countries around the world, has caused controversy by undercutting fares and using surge pricing during peak times. This bitter legal battle is centered on the meter with cabbies feeling that only licensed taxi drivers can use such methods, claiming Uber’s calculation process to be immoral and illegal. Bob Oddy, the union's Deputy General Secretary, said the private trial is based on section 11 of the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998, which states that meters can only be used by licensed taxis. It defines a taximeter as “a device for calculating the fare to be charged in respect of any journey by reference to the distance travelled or time elapsed since the start…or both”. This was obviously written before the arrival of the smartphone but nonetheless makes a strong distinction between pre-booked cabs and hailed ones. The LTDA gathered its evidence back in March hiring private investigators to pose as passengers using Uber.
“Sometimes I go out with my colleagues and gather the evidence but in this particular case we hired these legitimate people to hire the Uber cabs.” Claimed Oddy.However, Leon Daniels ,Transport for London’s road director, said a review found Uber operates in London “in accordance with the law”.
“TfL’s view is that smartphones that transmit location information between vehicles and operators, have no operational connection with the vehicles, and receive information about fares which are calculated remotely from the vehicle, are not taximeters within the meaning of the legislation,” Mr Daniels added. “In order for us to resolve this issue as quickly and fairly as possible, allowing all interested parties to make representations, we consider the most appropriate way forward is to invite the High Court to issue a declaration as to how the law should be applied in this area. “However, we are now aware that the LTDA has commenced private prosecutions in the Magistrates’ Court against a number of individual drivers who use the Uber app.”What do you think about this taxi fight? Are London cabbies jealous of the technological progression and just cannot keep up?