The streets of London may soon be filled with taxi cabs but not in a way that would make it easy for someone to get a cab. No, it will be in the bad way, as in taxi cabs will line the streets in protest of the Uber car service. According to the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, drivers of the Uber service use a smartphone app for calculating fares. In the UK, it is illegal for private cars to be equipped with any kind of taximeter.
The LTDA brought up its concerns to Transport for London. However, TfL has denied that there is any violation of the law and has declined to get involved in the matter. As a result, London taxi drivers have decided to take matters into their own hands.
According to the LTDA, its members plan to impose the issue upon the public in early June. No specific date has been announced. Steve McNamara, the general secretary of the LTDA, said that TfL is wrong on this one. It should be enforcing the law that private cars cannot be equipped with taximeters. Failing to enforce this law is dangerous for all the people of London.
McNamara also said that he anticipates that the demonstration his group will lead as a result of TfL’s handling of this matter will reach thousands of people in the UK. It will cause severe travel chaos. The streets of London will be congested, and people on the roads will be confused.
According to TfL, the Uber vehicles are doing nothing wrong. This is because their cars are not actually equipped with taximeters. Since there is no direct connection between the vehicle and the device being used to calculate fares, there is no breach of the law.
The app that the Uber drivers are using is just a smartphone app that measures distance travelled and the amount of time it took to get there. Measuring this kind of information is not illegal. What this information is used for is not the concern of TfL.
The LTDA must know that it could not win this battle in a court of law. Like TfL said, the way the law is worded makes what Uber is doing completely legal. The only way that the taxi union could win in a court of law is if the law was changed. Since it does not look like it is going to be changed anytime soon, it appears that the union has little choice but to block the streets of London. The problem with this is that the union will be hurting everyone, even people not involved with this matter in the first place. The union will quickly find itself without the support of the public.