London cabbies launch battle plan against Uber

After realising that protesting won't do much good, taxi drivers in the UK have decided to fight back against Uber by offering a more competitive service.

From Tuesday, for the first time, black cabs are offering fixed prices on all journeys, as well as discounts on longer journeys, Financial Times wrote in a report today.

However, they're not doing it on their own. Behind them sits Gett, an Israeli start-up backed by Russia-born billionaire Len Blavatnik. Gett allows Londoners to set the price of a black cab at the start of their journey.

Not only will there be fixed prices on fares, but also various discounts. So, for a ride of six miles or more, a discount of up to 30 per cent is available, during weekdays’ off-peak hours.

Gett, which also has operations in Israel, Russia, and the US, says it has more than 6,000 cabbies signed up to its platform in London — a sizeable proportion of the capital’s 25,000 black cabs, FT adds.

The price is formed based on a number of factors, including the cost of obtaining a licence, acquiring the knowledge of London’s streets, fuel, repairs and insurance.

“As long as the price is agreed by the cabby and the passenger before the journey and it’s at the metered fare or lower, then it’s fine from a regulatory perspective,” said TfL.

“Taxi drivers cannot work at the prices Uber drivers do,” Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association said. “[But this] is something the industry has wanted to offer for some time. We just haven’t had the technology to do it. The taxi industry is very keen to move into the 21st century.”