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London cabbies plan “severe chaos” in protest against Uber

Apps that offer a service similar to traditional taxis are being blamed for a planned protest by London cabbies that will cause “severe chaos” across the city in June.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association [LTDA] is protesting against Transport for London’s [TfL] failure to act against car service app Uber and argues the latter’s drivers are breaking the law by fitting taximeters to private vehicles.

"Transport for London not enforcing the Private Hire Vehicles Act is dangerous for Londoners," Steve McNamara, LTDA's general secretary, told the BBC.

"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."

TfL hasn’t intervened as it doesn’t believe any law has been broken and told the LTDA that Uber vehicles aren’t strictly “equipped” with taximeters as there is not “some sort of connection between the device and the vehicle”.

"We have seen no evidence to suggest that Uber London Ltd are not fit and proper to hold a London private hire vehicle operator's licence, but no final decisions have been made whilst Uber's operating model is still under investigation," TfL said.

TfL made the distinction that Uber’s app is using data about the time taken to travel a certain distance, which isn’t actually illegal, something that the LTDA has rejected and has spurred it to seek a judicial review against TfL.

Uber, which is based in San Francisco, has invoked the ire of taxi drivers across the globe with it “pick-up” service that connects background-checked private drivers with those needing a ride and take a 20 per cent cut to make it all possible.

The service operates in 100 cities across the globe and the most extreme reaction to it came in Paris where taxi drivers ambushed a vehicle carrying Eventbrite CTO Renaud Visage and Five by Five cofounder Kat Borlongan whilst it was travelling to the centre of the city.

Image Credit: Flickr (Mick Baker)