How black cabs are in threat by Uber and the response of black cab drivers.
Black cabs and London-a great romance
The black taxi is a part of London just as is the Buckingham Palace or Big Ben. You can’t really imagine a London without the Hackney carriages whizzing around. Since the advent of Uber, the black cab service has suffered greatly. We know may observe the famous cab service to disappear.
However losing the black taxi is like letting go of an essential character of the city. It sounds equivalent to changing Hyde Park into a golf course. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan does understand the history and sentiment attached to the black cab and that is why he has stressed to protect the future of the iconic black cabs.
We know how the word ’iconic’ has been overused but it still does mean the black cabs are a great deal of importance. No Hollywood depiction of London is complete without depicting these taxis running around the city.
Uber as a threat to black cabs
Uber has directly hit the black cab drivers. More and more people are attracted towards this location based app. It started with only a few number of cars but has more than 20,000 cars in London alone now. The app has gained popularity for its instant service and cheap rates in comparison to the black cab.
Of course, there have been other private hire companies around such as Addison Lee but such companies have co-existed with black cabs for years without any problem. It is Uber who has created such a fuss and caused damage to the black cabs.
The California based Smartphone app has caused strikes all over the world. Surprisingly these strikes were held not by Environmentalists but by rival driver unions. Some of the biggest strikes have been observed in France. The protests have also spread to England too.
The loss has caused taxi driver unions to take a stand to protect their business. The great increase in private hire vehicles is certainly a big threat to their existence which is why the Unions have asked for government assistance. Below are some initiative taken by the mayor to save the unique taxi service in London.
The mayor’s incentives to save the black cab
- 20 percent increase in number of taxi ranks
- £65 million pounds grant to facilitate replacement of old cars
- A newly devised system which allows black cab taxis to use 20 extra priority lanes currently only in use of buses
The service provided by Uber is claimed to be more efficient than the black cab but reality is much more different. The mayor has imposed an English test requirement for Uber drivers which might improve the situation of the spoken skills of the Uber drivers.
Nevertheless, the app just can’t beat the knowledge of black cab drivers who have spent much time and energy to surmount the Knowledge test. A driver may tell you more stuff than the app but for some this extra information is not worth the money charged. Therefore they opt for Uber.
Uber has captivated the London market and only time will tell if the government incentives will be able to save the historical taxi service.