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February 10, 2016updated 04 Sep 2016 10:22pm

Black Cabs protest against Uber brings Central London to standstill

The protest is against ride hailing companies like Uber citing unfair competition.

By CBR Staff Writer

Central London came to a standstill as about 8000 cabbies from two cab unions in London including Unite and United Cabbies Group protested against taxi hailing service Uber.

The blockade stretched for a mile at Whitehall, near the Houses of Parliament.

Protesting cab drivers allege "light touch regulation" which they say is harming them and promoting private hire firms.

According to the protestors, the protest was against new rules by the Transport For London (TFL) which were not being applied to hire riding companies.

United Cabbies Group, chairman, Len Martin said: "The choice is simple. If London wants its highly regulated, safe and on demand gold standard taxis, there needs to be a clear understanding that we aren’t supported by the taxpayer or charities.

"Government must not allow private hire operators to ignore the legislation. The taxi trade cannot survive with unfair competition."

Unite representative, Jim Kelly said: "It is clear that the Government, London mayor Boris Johnson and the Tory candidate for mayor Zac Goldsmith have all seriously taken against the black taxi trade in London, a taxi trade which consistently comes out top in terms of value and service compared to other cities around the globe.

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"We feel that Uber exploits its drivers by using their self-employed status to extract maximum income from them which translates to those drivers working long hours."

Uber London general manager, Tom Elvidge said: "We believe black cabs and services like Uber can co-exist in the capital.

"That’s why earlier this week we announced that black-cab drivers can use our app to get extra custom with zero service fee paid to Uber for a year.

"By making the most of new technology we can all improve services for passengers and keep London moving."

Transport For London defended its decision and says that the public gave the organisation a "very clear indication" they did not want the regulation in the capital.

TfL chief operating officer for surface transport Garrett Emmerson said: "Londoners gave us a very clear indication of how they wanted us to shape the regulation to deliver improved safety and customer service, and we are now progressing a wide range of measures to ensure both the taxi and private-hire trades can thrive in the future."

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