The battle between cabbies and Uber has been brewing for a while now. Uber launched in 2009 and now has a transport network covering 311 cities in 58 countries. Whilst some transport users are big fans, many abhor it.
One such person is Artemis Mercer, who launched Action for Cabbies in a bid to shut Uber down. The wife of a cabbie, Mrs Mercer hopes to raise 600K to fund the first phase of a judicial review against Transport for London (TfL).
The Back Story
Thus far things have remained fairly above board aside from the odd scuffle and some road blocking demonstrations last year. Less can be said about the situation in France where cabbies have clashed with the police and protests have resulted in overturned cars, tyres on fire and breaking windows with rocks.
Since then the iconic black cabs have upped their game by accepting contactless payment. But this group of London cabbies has had enough want to challenge the 2012 ruling that licensed Uber.
Rather unsurprisingly, contesting comes with a hefty fee, so they have decided to raise £600K via their Action for Cabbies crowdfunding campaign. They say it will help protect the black cab trade along with the 25,000 cabbies and their family members.
The high profile campaign has garnered a lot of press attention and has been covered extensively by Sky News, The Evening Standard, The Metro and Wired. As an example, the piece in the Evening Standard has 1K shares — that is a lot of eyes on the story!
It’s a topic that has even caught the Mayors eye. Last year Boris Johnson wrote in The Telegraph in support of cabbies: “At present that law is being systematically broken — or at least circumvented — by the use of the Uber app…Until Parliament has the guts to change the law we must uphold the existing and long-standing legal distinctions between black cabs and minicabs.”
Will it work?
It seemed to in Germany! The taxi association Taxi Deutschland manage to squeeze Uber out of three German cities and now remain in only Berlin and Munich. In Berlin it runs a stripped back service using regular taxis, as the UperPop service was banned. Uber said it had to pull out of the three German cities due to difficulties getting enough drivers due to regularity complexities.
Back here in blighty there is still quite a way to go. Even if the campaign is successful, there’s no guarantee that contesting the license will be.
Action for Cabbies has managed to raise £67,161 from 1,261 backers at the time of writing. With 52 days left to pledge, there is still time to get behind the cause.
- Visit the Action for Cabbies campaign page to find out more and pledge.