Uber and Transport for London are heading to high court again this week, to settle the dispute over whether Uber’s calculation for fees should be considered a taximeter.
Currently in London, only black cabs are licensed to operate a taximeter, which can calculate the costs of the ride and other charges. Since Uber isn’t a licensed black cab operator and doesn’t employ drivers, it is in a legal grey area in London.
Transport for London claims that it wants to find clarity in the laws, to settle the dispute. TfL is on the side of Uber for the decision, claiming it needs to update the laws to include new technologies like smartphones.
Black cab owners claim Uber is stealing their business by operating outside of the laws in London. While that may be the case, hundreds of thousands of Londoners have signed petitions to make Uber legal, claiming it is a much better experience than a black cab.
Citizens have argued that if black cabs want to compete, they need to start offering the same features as Uber. Black cabs have argued back that under the regulations currently imposed, they cannot compete on price or speed with Uber.
If the ruling were to go against Uber, it could mean fines for thousands of unlicensed drivers using taximeters. Uber claims that regardless of the outcome, Uber drivers are still legally allowed to work inside London, and it will change the system to high court standards.
Pressure is mounting on Uber inside of the UK, as more taxi companies see loss of customers. In places like Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, and London, Uber is noticing huge amounts of growth, higher than some areas of the United States.
But the lack of worker’s rights, paid leave, and other benefits normal employees have is worrying trade unionists and the government. This may force Uber to add these options into the system, allowing drivers a few days off per year.