London’s black cabs are iconic (as much so as New York’s yellow taxis, that’s for sure) and one of the city’s most famous sights, but they’ve always operated separately from ride-hailing app Uber. Well, until now, that is.
Black cabs can already be booked through Gett, TaxiApp, FreeNow and ComCab, but from early in 2024, app users will be able to order a cab for their journey on Uber.
Not everyone is happy about this partnership, though. Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said there is ‘no demand’ from passengers, and they ‘don’t believe [their] members will even consider joining the app,’ according to the Standard.
‘Our business is thriving, in part because many of the ride-hailing app’s former customers have realised that black cabs offer a far superior service, at a fair and reasonable price.’
However, a ‘small number’ of cab drivers have already signed up to the new service, and Uber hopes to have recruited several hundred by January.
Andrew Brem, Uber’s UK general manager, said: ‘We’re partnering with taxi drivers across the world and the message we are hearing from them is clear: Uber and taxis are better together.’
He describes the partnership as a ‘win-win-win: helping London cab drivers earn more, boosting travel options for passengers and making London’s transport network more efficient.’
But how will it work? Well, users who book a taxi will be given an estimated fare price, but will be charged whatever the meter reading is, plus a £2 fee retained by Uber.
The app has said that drivers won’t be charged commission for the first six months of the scheme, but haven’t said what the fees will be after that.
Black cabs are undeniably part of the city’s furniture, they belong alongside the red buses and phone boxes – let’s see how well the partnership fairs when it kicks off early next year.
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