Mayor of London Boris Johnson has suggested that Uber drivers should have to pass a Knowledge-style test in order to operate in the capital.
Speaking as part of his final State of London debate, the Mayor claimed that it was not fair for Uber drivers to work in the city without first undergoing a geography or language test.
“It is not fair that a black taxi driver has to spend four years getting the Knowledge and somebody else can just cruise in and take up the trade without really knowing how London works and how it all fits together,” Mr Johnson explained.
The Mayor added that TfL are currently devising a test for the capital’s cab services. He explained that it would differ from the Knowledge, the test given to all black cab drivers, in order to keep other services distinct.
Existing taxi services have often clashed with Uber over the app’s low pricing model and protests have been staged in several cities including London and Paris. Supporting Mr Johnson’s claims, Uber has also been criticised over the lack of local knowledge displayed by some of its drivers.
However, the San Francisco-based company has responded to criticism by claiming that all of its drivers undergo a topography test. However, the firm did admit that it could be improved.
“A topographical test is currently undertaken by all PHV (private hire vehicle) drivers, but we also agree it should be reformed,” a spokesperson told the Guardian. “We would welcome a revision of the test to make it more stringent and to update content to reflect the needs of drivers and their ability supplement their own knowledge of the city with satellite navigation.”
Although Mr Johnson speech against Uber may appease London’s black cab industry, it appears that the relationship between the Tory MP and the capital’s drivers is not in the best shape, after footage emerged last week of an expletive-laden exchange.