If you're planning a trip through Central London tomorrow, you might want to avoid the roads surrounding Oxford Street from 2pm. The United Cabbies Group (UCG), representing members of London's black-cab taxi profession, is planning to hold a demonstration, claiming that Transport for London is "failing to regulate the taxi industry."
London's black-cab drivers, who must complete a gruelling training period known as "The Knowledge", have long argued that TfL is not doing enough to ensure that app-based taximeter systems from Uber are regulated under the same scrutiny as their own vehicles. Undercutting black-cab fairs, the UCG also wants TfL to put measures in place to ensure Uber drivers are not a "serious threat to public safety", as UCG chairman Len Martin claims they are.
“This demonstration was born out of the frustration that a lot of drivers are feeling," reads a statement on the UCG website.
“We all went through years of knowledge, missing time with our family and friends so we could become one of the elite, the best in the world. Since the Olympics we’ve seen a steady erosion of our business.
“We all know there is no enforcement in the West End on any night of the week, which is infested with minicabs unhindered by compliance officers or the police.”
The last time the cabbies protested back in 2014, 5,000 drivers brought the traffic hub around Trafalgar Square in London to a standstill with a "go-slow" demo. However, it backfired somewhat, with Uber sign-ups rising 850 per cent the following day.
London's black cab drivers aren't the only people frustrated with TfL. Gabriel Campos, CEO of cab sharing app Maaxi, has accused TfL of "unjustified and damning bias" in favour of Uber, according to the Telegraph. Maaxi has so far been refused a place alongside Uber, Kabbee, ComCab, Hailo and Get Taxi on the TfL website's preferred taxi services section. [UGC London / Telegraph]