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Will Boris put the brakes on Uber?

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson is planning to add harsher regulations against private hire cabs in England’s capital, following aggressive lobbying by the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) (opens in new tab), a group commenting for most of the black cabs in London.

Uber is by far and away the largest private vehicle service in London, adding over 10,000 drivers in 2014 alone in London. Chief executive Travis Kalanick said rides in London were increasing six times per year, faster than San Francisco or New York.

In order to stall the growth of Uber, Johnson plans to announce caps to the amount of private vehicles on the road. Johnson cites congestion and pollution reasons, although Uber argues rides have sped up by 9 per cent since its launch in London a few years ago.

Uber also plans to work on emissions for drivers, although it currently has no strict policy in place like most black cab owners. Considering Uber is working on its own self-driving cars (opens in new tab), it wouldn’t be too out of the blue to see electric cars as well for drivers.

Despite these promises and numbers, Johnson seems confident that capping the amount of cars is the right thing to do. Uber and several other pro-free market supporters claim this move is to lower competition, speeds and price and allow the traditional black cabs rule over London’s streets.

Uber is already regulated in the UK and cab drivers must be certified with a taxi license. This new regulation is a direct attempt to stop further growth in the private hiring sector, despite more and more people choosing to order a cab from a mobile service than a mobile number.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.