Uber mounts fightback against alleged Transport for London regulation

Southwark Street at Night, January 2013 by Marcus Holland-Moritz

The taxi-hailing service Uber is preparing to battle against Transport for London following the leaking of alleged plans to regulate the service more strictly in the capital.

Folks at Uber have put together a petition to block regulatory changes that at the time of writing has amassed 80,000 signatures, with the concerns of the taxi-hailing app detailed as follows:

“Transport for London (TfL) will soon publish proposed new rules for apps like Uber. If adopted, they will mean an end to the Uber you know and love today. There will be a mandatory five minute wait time, even if a car is available just around the corner. You won’t even be able to see the nearest cars when you open the app.

“TfL also wants to restrict carpooling, including new services like uberPOOL. This enables people going in the same direction to share a car – cutting the cost of the trip as well as congestion on London’s streets. And the proposed rules threaten drivers’ livelihoods by forcing them to drive for just one operator.”

Details of the plans, which the Right Dishonourable has been unable to confirm, were first revealed on the Guido Fawkes blog and following mounting pressure on London mayor Boris Johnson from black cab drivers who are more heavily regulated than Uber drivers, who operate under minicab licenses.

Round the world the taxi-hailing service has faced pressure from regulators concerned about the safety of the service for passengers, as well as the rights of the drivers.

Legal battles with Uber are being seen as setting precedents for the so-called “sharing economy”, which has reduced barriers for people who want to rent out their possessions or skills to others. Other pioneering outfits include the room-renting service Airbnb.

Update: At least one person seems happy with the prospect of more regulation (and higher fares) for Uber drivers. None other than Labour’s London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan:

Image Credit – Southwark Street at Night, January 2013 by Marcus Holland-Moritz