The black cab version of the Battle of Thermopylae is being fought on the London streets, with Uber as the Persians and black cab drivers in the role of the valiant and heroic Spartans.According to black cab drivers, Uber are playing dirty and are only successful because they cut corners on tax and regulations. Channel 4 Factcheck’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy spoke to the Europe head of Uber, Jo Bertram who said the secret of the company’s success is it’s cheap because it’s technologically efficient, while abiding by all relevant UK tax laws and regulations.
FactCheck says: Uber was born in San Francisco in 2009, and has rapidly expanded across the globe, now available in 140 cities across 39 countries. It has become a popular alternative for people looking for a ride, and has lured in custom using discounted ride offers (UberPop) and easy-to-use technology (for the minicabs).
London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson is determined to make Uber drivers take a Knowledge style test of the city, and also prove they can speak good Engilsh. He intends to limit the number of minicabs here and anyone who fails the test will presumably lose their licence.
Boris recently issued a statement reaffirming his support for the black cab trade. There was a new contact link on the statement, making it easier to report any breaking of the regulations. Boris is working on ways to achieve what BC drivers describe as a “level playing field.”
Since the FactCheck interview, Uber is established now in 55 cities and over 200 countries, it is huge and growing all the time. In London though, there is a determination from the Mayor and TfL that boundaries must be established to control the free wheeling app.