London taxi driver representatives have contacted Transport for London ordering a stop to Uber’s planned ‘Pick-up Points’ that the industry argues are essentially taxi ranks.
According to the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) and the United Cabbies Group (UCG), a message from private hire operators Uber was sent to customers detailing information around the new ‘Pick-up Points’.
In the message it highlights three new pick-up points located in Soho’s busy Wardour Street, Romilly Street and Archer Street. The locations have been brought in due to several streets in the Soho area being closed during the coronavirus restriction easement process.
However, both the LTDA and UCG have quickly contacted regulators Transport for London (TfL) claiming that what Uber call Pick-up Points, the taxi industry calls taxi ranks.
Displaying availability to the public for an immediate journey is seen to be the sole right of a taxi. Only licensed black cabs can pick-up from the street or form taxi ranks displaying their availability.
It is unclear whether the privilege of key designated ‘Pick up Points’ will be offered to all 1,968 private hire operators in the capital which includes Addison Lee, Bolt and Ola. There is also concerns from the UCG asking why taxi booking services like Free Now, Gett, ComCab, Taxiapp and Taxi Now haven’t been provided with similar options.
Representatives have asked for immediate enforcement to be carried out by TfL if the new ‘Pick-up Points’ go live.
Steve McNamara, LTDA General Secretary, said to members yesterday: “Earlier today we became aware of emails, text messages and 'push notifications' being sent by Uber to their customer base. They advised that due to the road closures in and around Soho, they would be organising 'Pick Up Points' in Wardour, Romilly and Archer Streets.
“What Uber call 'Pick up Points' we call ranks! As soon as we became aware of Uber’s intentions I immediately contacted senior licensing officials at TfL and made them aware, raised our concerns and asked that they take immediate enforcement action if Uber go ahead.”