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Lincoln taxi trade threatened by out-of-town Uber drivers say cabbies



Lincoln's traditional taxi drivers are facing a significant decline in business, with many attributing this downturn to the influx of Uber drivers, licensed in other cities, entering the local market.


Local hackney cab operators have expressed concerns that Uber drivers, although licensed by different councils, are venturing into Lincoln and offering services at reduced prices. These drivers, predominantly licensed in cities like Wolverhampton, are accused of distorting the local market dynamics.

The core of the issue lies in the stringent requirements imposed on Lincoln’s taxi drivers, who must pass a knowledge test to ensure they are familiar with the city's geography. However, the arrival of out-of-town minicab drivers, with licences issued by perceived to be less stringent authorities, has eroded the trade of local drivers.


An ITV News report quoted a Lincoln taxi driver, who pointed out that while these Uber operations are not illegal, the aggressive pricing strategies are squeezing local businesses. "They aren't operating illegally, but Uber are slashing the prices to force other businesses out of existence," said the driver.


This situation is caused by legislation known as 'cross border hiring'. The practice involves drivers obtaining their licences from authorities with potentially lower standards or requirements, and then operating across the country without regard to local regulations and pricing. This has long sparked controversy and debate among industry stakeholders.

Recent statistics illuminate the scale of this issue. A Freedom of Information request revealed that a staggering 96% of taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers licensed in Wolverhampton in the past year reside outside the council's jurisdiction. Specifically, of the 21,188 drivers licensed, 20,375 do not live within Wolverhampton's borders.


This revelation has fuelled arguments for more robust regulations to ensure that drivers are more evenly distributed and adhere to the standards of the areas in which they operate.


According to ITV News, Uber maintains that it complies with industry-wide standards and regulations, mirroring the practices of other private hire operators.

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