British government body Transport for London (TfL) has proposed new regulation which would ban the key features of the Uber mini-cab service. Users of the service are furious and are flocking to sign a petition against the changes.
The new proposals, outlined in leaked documents and revealed by the Daily Telegraph would force a minimum five-minute wait between ordering a car and it picking you up, and would ban the company from using it’s phone application to show users whether there is a taxi ready nearby.
The consultation document, which purports to make the changes to ensure London has “an effective and up to date regulatory system” would also force Uber to take advance bookings for up to seven days in advance and employ it’s drivers full time.
Given the changes proposed, it seems apparent the document was drafted with the express intention of wrecking Uber’s business model – effectively legislating them out of business.
Uber have hit back, with the company’s UK manager accusing TfL of working to please the drivers of the city’s traditional black cabs, which are heavily regulated and under a great deal of pressure from newer, more agile competitors. He said the answer was to deregulate the market to allow more competition – not slap on extra rules to stifle it.
The company has also launched a petition against the changes, writing:
“If adopted, [the new rules] will mean an end to the Uber you know and love today… TfL needs to hear from you: riders and drivers should come first”.
At midday Wednesday, approximately 1,000 signatures are being added to the Uber-instigated petition every ten minutes, with over 80,000 signed so far.
London cabbies have been waging a long war against Uber, reflecting other such campaigns to shut them down across Europe. Black cabs have brought London to a standstill to express their disquiet with the company, with convoys of taxis clogging the roads of Westminster in protest.
In France, two Uber executives are presently facing the prospect of going to jail over their role in running parts of the service which the French government had seen fit to ban – incredibly the pair could spend two years behind bars and face fines of $337,000.
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