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LTDA says ‘NO THANKS UBER’ should firm offer London black taxis a space on their platform

A Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) representative has said ‘NO THANKS’ should the offer of black cabs joining Uber’s platform surface.

Ride-hailing firm Uber have made no secret that they are looking to add ALL licensed taxis onto its platform by 2025 and having set their sights on French cabbies at the backend of 2022.

The ride-hailing firm are now firmly focused on existing taxi markets around the world to help solve coverage and availability issues.

Within the financial report for Q2 2022, Uber stated it had reached an agreement to list New York City and San Francisco taxis on the Uber app through partnerships with CMT, Curb, Yellow Cab SF, and Flywheel Technologies. Interestingly it was revealed that Uber plan to bring EVERY taxi on to Uber by 2025 as part of its long-term vision.

In their Q3 2022 report, Uber also listed entry into new taxi markets including Paris, France; the Ota Ward of Tokyo and Okinawa, Japan; Brussels, Belgium; and Mendoza, Argentina.

However in the UK, and particularly in London, it may be a tough sell. Since their arrival in the UK private hire vehicle (PHV) sector back in June 2012, it has been a rocky relationship with both the taxi industry and existing PHV operators.

Uber have had some success in their ‘Local Cab’ option which has allowed regional PHV operators to appear on the Uber platform.

The licensed taxi industry has seen a renaissance despite the uncertain economic climate since restrictions were dropped post-pandemic. Even established black cab apps are struggling to recruit drivers to fulfil their demand for journeys due to high on-street demand.

Responding to an interview appearing in the Telegraph, an LTDA spokesperson said in TAXI Newspaper: “Last week, Uber’s new boss in London, Andrew Brem, suggested that he would like to see the option to book licensed taxis back on the Uber app. Most people will remember how tough things were for the cab trade in 2015 at the height of Uber’s invasion of London.

“Some will also remember how the minicab app tried and failed to recruit taxi drivers to work on the platform back then. A few butter boys and a couple of others did make the rookie mistake of signing up, but it didn’t last long, and Uber soon removed the option.

“Now, in an interview in the Telegraph, Brem, has said he would like to see it happening in London again. We all know this will never happen in London, but it seems now they are struggling to compete, having been forced to raise their prices (from the heavily subsidised, artificially low fares we saw back in 2015), they are considering their options. No thanks, Uber.”

Uber’s ride-hailing rivals Bolt have begun trying to recruit black cab drivers onto their platform aiming for a Spring 2023 launch.

Onboarding for the ‘Bolt Black Cab’ offering has begun with the operator offering several unique incentives to cabbies.

Bolt provides ground transport services to up to 4 million signed-up passengers in the UK and millions worldwide. Bolt are seen as one of the biggest global mobility firms operating in 45 countries and over 500 cities worldwide.

In a bid to entice the capital’s cabbies away from established taxi booking apps like Gett and FREE NOW, Bolt have targeted drivers with low commission rates.

Crucially taxi drivers would receive the full metered price of a taxi journey. Bolt passengers would pay a flat £2 booking fee on top of the metered price, which would then act as the commission paid to Bolt.

Cabbies signing up and activating a Bolt driver account by 30 April 2023 will also see commission reduced to £0 for every trip completed for six months from launch.

According to a Bolt statement via their blog: “When you register to drive with Bolt, you’ll instantly gain access to the locals and visitors who rely on Bolt to move around cities. You also have the opportunity to drive Bolt’s lucrative corporate clients. And when Bolt Black Cab officially launches, we’ll spread the word to millions of Bolt users, highlighting the benefits of riding in a London taxi.”


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