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Taxi rep calls Uber ‘Black Cabs’ offering a “last-ditch attempt” to revive “ailing business model”

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) has expressed more scepticism and resistance to Uber's recent announcement that it will be seeking to recruit London taxis onto its app.

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the LTDA, questioned Uber's motives, suggesting that it may be a "last-ditch attempt" to revive what they claim is an “ailing business model”.

On Wednesday, Uber announced its plans to introduce black cabs to its fleet in London, with drivers being able to sign up starting today.

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

However, McNamara emphasised the pride and dedication of London's black cab drivers, who strive to provide a high-quality, accessible, and sustainable service that is recognised and appreciated worldwide. He highlighted the trade's resilience and growth despite the challenges faced during the pandemic, noting the record demand for taxis, increased app usage, and substantial investments in new electric taxis.

Uber's proposed integration of London taxis onto its app looks set to become a hard sell following the backlash from licensed taxi drivers since the announcement was made. Uber first attempted to launch a London black cab option in 2014, shortly after entering the market. The platform was only able to recruit a handful of drivers on the promise of reduced commissions. The black cab option was abandoned shortly after.

Discussing the motivation behind the announcement that Uber will start trying to recruit London taxis onto their app, Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA), said: “I can only assume that this latest effort represents a last ditched attempt to reinvigorate their ailing business model. London’s black cab drivers pride themselves on providing a high-quality, accessible and increasingly sustainable service that Londoners and visitors can rely on. That’s why black cabs and the service we provide are famous the world over and why our customers love us.

“Despite challenges, our trade has seen significant growth since the pandemic, with record demand for cabs, more work through taxi apps and huge levels of investment being made in new electric taxis, which now make up 53% of the fleet in London. We have a bright future ahead of us and we do not need a company with a questionable record in London and which doesn’t share our values, trying to capitalise on our success.”


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