Boris Johnson has come out on the side of London's black cab drivers for once, using an opinion column to turn on popular ride-getting app Uber -- claiming that many of its drivers are guilty of "systematically" breaking the laws that separate taxi world from minicab land.
Johnson says that the way Uber is built makes it simple for drivers to bend the rules of the minicab system, and that's why Transport for London is looking to change the rules governing private hire vehicles -- a move seen as being a specific attack on Uber and the new wave of ride-sharing apps.
The mayor explains that: "At present that law is being systematically broken -- or at least circumvented -- by the use of the Uber app," with Johnson saying the new army of private drivers are using Uber to bend the distinction between private hire vehicles and public hackney carriages, or the black cabs that form London's taxi fleet.
The way Uber operates so seamlessly in big cities is letting it effectively operate as a taxi, says Johnson, who adds: "...the app is allowing private hire vehicles to behave like black taxis: to be hailed, to ply for hire in the streets, to do exactly what the law says they are not supposed to do."
That said, Johnson's not ready to bury the hatchet with his black cab driving friends, explaining: "The black taxi trade has not always been its own most effective advocate, and in recent months cabbies have been badly let down by the behaviour of a few. You cannot expect to command public sympathy if you blockade the traffic."
Basically, the sooner cars are banned and replaced entirely by immigrants being made to give people piggybacks around town the better. [Telegraph]