On a recent post of Mark's, I commented that
The US is worse - you don't even have minicabs in some places, which is why Uber got created.Turns out that Uber is also coming here, and guess who's not happy about it?
London black-cab drivers are planning to cause gridlock in the city to protest against car service Uber.
The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association complains that Uber's drivers are using a smartphone app to calculate fares despite it being illegal for private vehicles to be fitted with taximeters.
Transport for London has declined to intervene, because it disagrees that there has been a breach of the law.
LTDA now plans to force the issue by holding the action in early June.
"Transport for London not enforcing the Private Hire Vehicles Act is dangerous for Londoners," Steve McNamara, LTDA's general secretary, told the BBC.
The benefit that black cabs have (in any town) is that you know that you're reasonably well protected. The fare is regulated, they use clocks and so forth. Plus they can pick up (at places like stations) which makes it easier than trying to find a reliable minicab company. I'm guessing that in general, locals use minicabs and people coming into towns and cities use black cabs.
With Uber, you get a guaranteed fare and can book with an app. It streamlines the process. If I'm travelling into London and need a taxi I could just use Uber from the train and book a car for when I arrive. That means I won't be using a black cab.
So, as people who've got through the high barriers to entry (expensive cars, "The Knowledge"*), they don't want new competitors working around those barriers.
* There's no such thing as The Knowledge with minicabs in Swindon. You give them an address, they punch it into the TomTom and get you to the address. I've had Poles and Nigerians find the right address every time.