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UBER LONDON BLACK CAB: How have Uber tried to recruit taxi drivers and why it must launch

Image credit: DALL.E (AI generated)

When new black cab apps launch in the capital very rarely does it involve radio adverts to recruit drivers, hundreds of pounds worth of incentives for individual cabbies and a hefty dose of controversy. But then in this case we are talking about Uber.

The ride-hailing giant is actively marketing across a number of platforms, aiming to enlist enough drivers to ensure the service's coverage upon its anticipated imminent rollout.

The operator has been pulling out all the stops to recruit enough drivers to provide a new coverage in the capital. Uber's recruitment efforts have been far from the conventional word-of-mouth and social media touch points often used by apps launching to the trade. Instead Uber has taken to the airwaves, with radio advertisements targeting cabbies, and has not shied away from offering substantial incentives to join its platform. Even established trade magazine Private Hire Taxi Monthly (PHTM), despite the black cab trade's well-documented reservations about Uber, has opted to promote the service within its publication to drivers.

The company has also worked to engage directly with drivers, distributing leaflets at working ranks and reaching out to notable figures within the taxi community. However, not all attempts have been met with enthusiasm, as evidenced by popular YouTuber influencer cabbie Tom Hutley's public refusal to endorse the campaign.

A Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) spokesperson recently said in TAXI Newspaper on the topic of Uber’s recruitment strategy: “Remember the only way they can make this work is if London’s finest make the choice to work for them and we can’t see that happening given Uber’s track record and everything that’s happened in London.”

This aggressive recruitment drive highlights the importance of the initiative to Uber. The inclusion of black cabs on to the Uber app could mark a significant tick in a box for its global ambitions and goals. Within the financial report dating back to 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 also revealed that Uber plan to bring EVERY taxi on to Uber by 2025 as part of its long-term vision.

So, will Uber Black Cab launch? It has to.


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