An Uber?! No, dear chap . . .hail yourself a hackney!

The time-honored and ever-proud corps of London hacks are in an uproar over San Francisco-based ridesharing upstart Uber stealing their thunder by stealing their fares.

Time for a revolt, say the members of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association. These black-cab drivers are about to launch the transportation equivalent of a holy war against Uber, planning to cause gridlock in the city as a protest. They’re also furious with the city’s taxi authorities who find nothing wrong with the ridesharing interlopers coming to jolly old England.

According to the BBC:

 

 The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association complains that Uber’s drivers are using a smartphone app to calculate fares despite it being illegal for private vehicles to be fitted with taximeters.

Transport for London has declined to intervene, because it disagrees that there has been a breach of the law.

LTDA now plans to force the issue by holding the action in early June.

Steve McNamara, LTDA’s general secretary, told the BBC that “transport for London not enforcing the Private Hire Vehicles Act is dangerous for Londoners.”

Ouch.

He added this dire warning to the good citizens of London:

“I anticipate that the demonstration against TfL’s handling of Uber will attract many many thousands of cabs and cause severe chaos, congestion and confusion across the metropolis.”

Taxi authorities, according to the report, told the association last month that it believed “Uber’s vehicles were not strictly ‘equipped’ with taximeters since there was not “some sort of connection between the device and the vehicle”.

So, Londoners, prepare yourselves for an Uber-trigger carmageddon. Check out this taxi-driver’s assault on an Uber car in Paris. And you thought they were just fooling around?

 

Photo at top: Limousine driver Florian Bucea checks the Uber app in Chicago on March 25, 2013. The service allows riders to schedule rides through a mobile app. Uber has run into backlash from cab drivers in various places, including in London, where there’s a big protest planned for next month. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

Patrick May Patrick May (284 Posts)

With more than 30 years on the front line of daily American journalism, I'm currently a staff writer with the San Jose Mercury News, covering Apple and writing people-centric business stories from Silicon Valley.