Uber: London black cab demo brings traffic chaos to city

london black cab demo uber
Konstanttin/123RF
Not for the first time, drivers of London’s iconic black cabs took their Uber-focused grievances to the heart of the capital on Wednesday, using their vehicles to bring traffic to a standstill for several hours outside the Houses of Parliament and surrounding area. Around 8,000 drivers took part in the protest, the organizers said.

The cabbies insist they don’t want to drive Uber out of town, but say it should face the same strict regulations as those imposed on the capital’s taxi industry.

Indeed, the same issue has caused similar protests against Uber in many cities around the world in recent years as the authorities responsible try to work out how best to deal with such “sharing economy” businesses, which also include the likes of Uber-rival Lyft and accommodation-finder Airbnb.

Much of the London cabbies’ anger is directed toward Transport for London (TfL), the transportation authority responsible for regulating the city’s taxi industry. Ever since Uber rolled into town in 2012, the black-cab drivers have said repeatedly that TfL gives the company an easy ride, creating conditions that it says threaten not only their livelihoods, but passenger safety, too.

Fighting to stay on the road, Uber often claims it’s not a taxi service but a technology company with an app that connects drivers and riders, and as such isn’t subject to the same regulations as those imposed on the traditional taxi industry.

Commenting on the cabbies’ protest, Jo Bertram, Uber’s regional general manager, told the London Standard, “Of course competition has affected the taxi trade, but it can also lead to service improvements and a better experience for passengers over time.”

Meanwhile, Jim Kelly of the Unite union claimed TfL and the city’s mayor were reluctant to crack down on Uber, telling London24, “It’s clear that the government [and] London mayor Boris Johnson….have all seriously taken against the black-taxi trade in London, a taxi trade which consistently comes out top in terms of value and service compared to other cities around the globe.”

Perhaps the cabbies’ best hope is George Galloway, a colorful British politician best known in the U.S. for his fiery performance at a Senate subcommittee hearing back in 2005. Speaking to a small crowd at the London protest on Wednesday, Galloway said that if he’s elected mayor of the city in the upcoming May vote, he’ll “run Uber out of London,” a statement he later repeated on Twitter.

While we don’t ever envisage that happening – for starters, opinion polls suggest Galloway won’t win the election – there’s still clearly much work to be done before Uber and the black-cab industry can have any hope of happily coexisting on the busy streets of London.

Emerging Tech

Smarter cities need smarter addresses. And you just need 3 words

To make really smart transportation choices, more precise location data will have to be integrated with citywide transportation data. Here’s how one company is mapping the world by using just three words.
Cars

Here’s how Uber plans to improve its service for riders in wheelchairs

Uber is working to improve its service for disabled riders. Its latest initiative sees it teaming up with a specialist transportation firm to provide more wheelchair-accessible vehicles with wait times of less than 15 minutes.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this fall with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Castle Rock'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we've put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best wireless earbuds around.
Social Media

Time alerts put the brakes on Facebook consumption, are rolling out now

Just how much time do you spend scrolling through the Facebook feed? Facebook will now tell you. The new features also include daily alerts that tell users when they've spent too much time on the social network.
Deals

The best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Mobile

How to find a lost phone, whether it's Android, iPhone, or any other kind

Need to know how to find a lost phone? We have a simple guide right here that will help you to locate your lost or stolen phone using both native and third-party apps and services, whether it’s a smartphone or an older model.
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Computing

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…
Deals

The best Walmart Black Friday deals in 2018

Walmart has historically been the undisputed king of Black Friday deals. The mega-store is known for offering deals on products in almost every category, from smart TVs to children’s toys. We're combing through every deal as it is…
Mobile

Google Play Store offers big movie and game discounts for Thanksgiving

With the holiday season upon us, Google has unleashed a torrent of tempting deals in the Play Store. You can snag top games for up to 80 percent off, rent any movie for just 99 cents, and get discounts on books and apps.
Mobile

The best OnePlus 6T screen protectors to keep your display in one piece

The OnePlus 6T is perhaps the best way to get a flagship experience without the huge hit to your wallet. But you'll still want to protect it. Here are the best OnePlus 6T screen protectors to keep it in one piece.