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Why would London taxi drivers not join Uber?

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

London is one of the most iconic cities in the world, and its black cabs are a symbol of its history and culture. London taxi drivers are proud of their profession and their ability to navigate the complex streets of the capital with ease and accuracy. They have to pass a rigorous test called The Knowledge, which requires them to memorise thousands of routes, landmarks, and points of interest. The Knowledge is considered one of the hardest exams in the world, and it can take years of study and practice to pass it.

Uber, on the other hand, is a global company that offers a ride-hailing service through a smartphone app. Uber drivers do not need to pass The Knowledge or any other specific test to operate in London. They rely on GPS navigation and online ratings to find and serve customers. Uber were once able to offer a cheaper alternative to traditional taxis, and it has attracted millions of users and drivers around the world.

However, Uber has also faced a lot of criticism and controversy for its business model, its impact on the environment, its treatment of workers, and its compliance with local laws and regulations. In London, Uber has been involved in multiple legal battles with the city's transport authority, Transport for London (TfL), raising concerns over passenger safety and security over the last decade.

In recent years the cost of an Uber journey has increased to cover additional costs such as VAT and required worker features such as holiday pay and pension.

So why would London taxi drivers not join Uber? There are several possible reasons:

  • They value their independence and identity as professional drivers who have earned their badge through hard work and dedication. They do not want to be associated with a company that they perceive as disruptive.

  • They believe that The Knowledge gives them an edge over Uber drivers who rely on technology. They argue that The Knowledge enables them to provide a better service to customers who appreciate their expertise, reliability, and personal touch.

  • They fear that joining Uber would mean long-term reducing their income and benefits to become a one-tier offering. They claim that Uber drivers are underpaid and overworked. They also worry that Uber's low fares and high commissions would reduce their earnings and squeeze thier earnings.

  • They support their fellow taxi drivers who have organised historically protests and campaigns against Uber. They see Uber as a threat to their livelihoods and their industry. They want to protect their interests and their reputation as London's finest drivers.

These are just some of the possible reasons why London taxi drivers would not join Uber. Of course, not all taxi drivers share the same views or experiences, some will hold stronger ones than other, but it is clear that there is a deep divide between the two groups of drivers, and that they have different visions for the future of urban mobility in London.


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