Black Cab Drivers' Protest Against Uber Could Cost £125 Million
London's black cab drivers are planning a mass protest against mobile app taxi firm Uber on Wednesday. The strike could cost the capital's economy as much as £125 million over the course of a few hours.
The London Evening Standard reports that the protest will likely bring roads around Trafalgar Square to a standstill from 2pm, with up to 12,000 cab drivers taking part in simultaneous protest across Europe against Transport for London's (TfL) decision to grant a private hire licence to web firm Uber.
The app works by locating the nearest available building and then calculating the fare by distance and time. TfL insisted that this is not the same a taximeter, which only black cabs are legally allowed to use on London’s roads, but has referred the case to the High Court.
The figures for the disruption have been compiled by a rival app, Kabbee, which is used solely for hailing minicabs. They also say that minicab drivers will lose out on £2.4 million due to the protest, as they may choose to stay at home rather than brave the chaotic traffic.
Steve McNamara of the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association said: "We want to create the maximum publicity for the minimum disruption and have deliberately avoided two days next week when the Queen is hosting garden parties.
"We have nothing against competition but we feel that Transport for London has failed Londoners by allowing Uber to operate outside the law."
Uber’s UK and Ireland General Manager, Jo Bertram, said: "We fully understand that this action will cause a huge economic impact to London and we will send a message to our drivers in advance to encourage them onto the road.
"We are very confident of the outcome of the High Court case."