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London taxi representative rallies cabbies to join forthcoming legal challenge against Uber

Updated: Apr 3

The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) has rallied the capital's cabbies for a potentially groundbreaking legal challenge against ride-hailing giant Uber.

General Secretary Steve McNamara has encouraged drivers to join the fray, eyeing a substantial financial victory akin to a recent Australian case.

Amidst swirling rumours, McNamara voiced concerns over Uber’s tactics, suggesting the company's recent push to integrate black cabs into its app might be a strategic move to undermine the lawsuit. Uber’s plans, announced in December 2023, to onboard black cabs signal a new chapter in its complex relationship with London’s traditional taxi industry. This move, coinciding with the legal action's progress, has raised eyebrows and scepticism.

The lawsuit, dubbed the RGL BULit21 claim, targets recoveries for lost earnings attributed to Uber’s operations from June 2012 to March 2018. With over 12,000 drivers banding together already, the case could represent a significant financial windfall for each participant, potentially netting individual drivers around £18,000 after deductions.

Uber, a dominant player in London since its 2012 debut, has faced various challenges but remains a key player in urban mobility. The upcoming legal battle highlights the ongoing conflict between taxi services and ride-hailing platforms, marking a pivotal moment in London's transportation saga.

Uber sources confirmed that any proposed litigation between cabbies and the ridehail giants is not connected with the launch or timescales of Uber’s Black Cabs scheduled for launch soon. Uber also told TaxiPoint that there would be no impact on the drivers' ability to sign up for the BULit21 litigation should they also join Uber Black Cabs.

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), said in TAXI Newspaper: “I was pleased to see the announcement last week that the trade's claim against Uber is progressing and will hopefully be launched in the courts shortly. If you were driving between 2012 and 2021 and have not yet signed up, you should consider doing so. There is no downside and as was shown in the recent claim against Uber in Australia, there is the possibility of a very much justified pay day!

“As with everything in our business, every story is always accompanied by a rumour, most are usually totally untrue but the one concerning the Uber claim could well be based in fact. The story goes that Uber are only trying to recruit cabbies onto their platform as part of their strategy to thwart the Bulit21 claim. The thinking being that Uber’s very expensive lawyers will pitch up at the court hearing telling tales of how we are all one big happy family and that X number of cabbies now work on the Uber platform, which they would not be doing if we had wronged them in the way that Bulit21 allege.

“Uber have been threatening to launch what they deem ‘black cabs’ on their app for at least the last two years, yet they to choose to do it just as Bulit21 announce the claim is on, coincidence? Possibly, but the sheer amount of money that Uber seems to be throwing at trying to recruit cabbies though radio adverts, leaflets, advertising, and social media does not make much sense, unless there is another motive, and I personally, would put nothing past Uber.

“Either way, true or not, it’s another good reason to give them a very wide swerve.”


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