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October 1, 2015

8 key moments in the fight between Uber and London cabbies

List: As TfL brings proposals to curb Uber we list the events since it launched in 2012.

By Charlotte Henry

1. 15th June 2012 – Uber begins testing in London

Determined to cash on the London Olympics, Uber begins testing its service in the UK’s capital, with some cabs hitting the streets under the radar. London is part of a period of rabid growth for Uber, which has started having its service in Paris and other non-US cities.

2. 29th June 2012 – Uber officially launches in London.

Just in time for the Games, the Uber officially rolled out it service in London. When the Olmpyics began, Uber got into the spirit by kitting out its vehicles with the Olympic mascots Wenlock and Madeville, and making all rides free for an hour after Team GB won a gold medal. Does getting into the Olympic spirit help get Londoners on their side?

3. 11th June 2014 – black cab Trafalgar Square protest

Unhappy with their new colleagues on the road, London’s traditional black cab drivers stage a large protest, bringing the area around Parliament and Trafalgar Square to a standstill by conducting a go-slow. It was a hint of things to come, as the cabbies’ frustration begins to boil over.

4. 3rd December 2014 – Uber valued at $40bn

Uber announces a £$1.4bn new round of funding, which values the firm at $40bn. It rounds off a successful 2014 for the company, ending up with drivers in 250 cities, across 50 countries.

5. 15 December 2014 – London Assembly releases report into private hire

The report from the London Assembly’s Transport Committee took an in depth look into the private hire industry. Many cabbies feel the report made strong recommendations for TfL to curtail Uber which were then not acted upon. This increased their frustration.

6. 26th May 2015 – Black Clab protest outside TFL in Victoria

Afer six months of non-action on Future Proof, the cabbies got fed up. A group called United Cabbies, who are not an official union but an offshoot, organise a go slow outside TfL’s headquarters in Victoria. Hundrends of drivers descend on the main Victoria Street, and roads around the office.

7. June 18th 2015 – London Mayor Boris Johnson tell black cab driver to "f*** off and die"

A demonstration of the rising tensions, and the difficult position the Mayor finds himself in, Johnson loses his temper when a black cab driver stops him confronts him in the street. The Mayor is caught on video using some rather strong language to the driver, who gives back as good as he gets.

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8. 1st October 2015 – Uber’s petition against Tfl reaches 118,882 signatures of Londoners supporting the firm againsr TFL’s proposals

After TfL announces a consultation on rules for private hire vehicles that would severely hamper Uber, including a five minute waiting time and requirement for a landline, the firm decides to fight back. Customers seem to back them, with 100,000 quickly signing a petition it launches.

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