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‘Black Cabs’ appears on Uber app for the first time ahead of official launch

Updated: Apr 7

Today saw the first London taxi appear on the Uber platform before its official launch, since its previous attempt to persuade hackney carriage drivers via ‘UberTAXI’ back in 2014.

Uber announced its plans to include London black cabs on its app back in December 2023. Taxi drivers have been targeted to sign up since, with a host of cash incentives and low-commission offers via taxi rank leaflet drops and radio adverts.

This new service was expected to be rolled out in ‘early 2024’, offering passengers a chance to e-hail a black cab via the Uber app.

The number of drivers available on the Uber platform remains unknown. Today’s initial coverage of available cabbies, during one of the trade’s quietest weeks of the year, saw wait times of up to eight minutes for users looking to secure a black cab.

Early access was granted to some Uber users offering subsidised cut price fares. According to sources, the offer was 25% off their first five ‘Black Cab’ rides, capped to a maximum of £20 off each fare.

The ‘Black Cabs’ offering appeared as the second option to a select group of users after the popular UberX choice.

The inclusion of Black Cabs marks a significant moment for Uber and their global ambitions and goals. Within the financial report dating back to Q2 2022, the ridehail giant stated it had reached an agreement to list New York City and San Francisco taxis on the app through partnerships with CMT, Curb, Yellow Cab SF, and Flywheel Technologies. It was also revealed that Uber set the ambitious target to bring EVERY taxi on to platform by 2025 as part of its long-term vision.

The decision to enlist London taxis has sparked considerable controversy within the taxi sector.

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA), said at the time of the announcement in December 2023: “There is no demand for this partnership from the London licensed taxi drivers we represent or our passengers. Neither the LTDA nor any other taxi trade groups were consulted in advance of this unilateral announcement. We are not aware of any drivers having been recruited and don’t believe our members will even consider joining the app, given its well-documented, poor record on everything from passenger safety to workers’ rights in London.”

The long-term success of Uber’s ‘Black Cabs’ offering looks set to be in the hands of licensed taxi drivers and whether they sign-up to the platform or not.


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