Still fighting Uber, London cabbies launch $850K crowdfunding campaign for legal battle

uber london cabbies launch 850k campaign to fund fight black cab
Jules Kitano/123RF
Similar to other action taking place in major cities around the world, drivers of London’s iconic black cabs have been protesting against the presence of Uber ever since the ride-hailing company rolled into town nearly four years ago.

Rather than point the finger at Uber directly, London’s drivers have consistently directed their anger at Transport for London (TfL) – the city’s transportation authority – insisting it imposes the same strict regulations on Uber drivers as it does on the taxi industry.

Having apparently made little progress, one taxi driver’s wife this week launched a £600,000 (about $850K) crowdfunding campaign to battle the San Francisco-based company in the courts.

The “Action for Cabbies” campaign is calling for a judicial review against TfL for failing to enforce the law when it awarded Uber its original operating license back in 2012.

In claims that echo those of other Uber-related protests around the world, campaign organizer Artemis Mercer insists TfL has failed to enforce the law in areas such as background checks, access for disabled riders, and insurance.

“Help save our iconic black cab trade and the future of 25,000 cabbies, their families and associated industries,” Mercer says in her pitch on the crowdfunding site, adding that cab drivers “have lost the ability to compete on a level playing field.”

She goes on to warn that if Uber becomes the dominant force in London, “the traveling public may be exposed to dramatic fare increases and compromised regulation surrounding safety.”

A law firm acting on behalf of the black-cab drivers said it believes there are sufficient grounds for the case against TfL “on the basis that the granting of Uber’s licence to operate was unlawful.”

Of course, to take the fight forward Mercer first needs her campaign to hit its target. It’s certainly off to a speedy start, in just a short time raising £30,000 with 56 days remaining.

Even if the case does make it to court, the black-cab drivers, together with Mercer and the campaign’s supporters, know they have a difficult fight on their hands, as Uber last October won a case in which the UK’s high court ruled the app legal in London.

Uber has always said it’s not a taxi service but a technology company with an app that connects drivers and riders, and therefore is not subject to the same regulations as those imposed on the taxi industry.

We’ve reached out to both Uber and TfL for comment on the Action for Cabbies campaign and will update if we hear back.

The fight against Uber by London’s traditional taxi industry – one in which its drivers must first pass the legendary “knowledge” exam that requires them to memorize the location of every single street in the capital, as well as landmarks and routes – has seen cabbies’ protests bring the city’s streets to a standstill on several occasions in recent years, most recently last summer.

[UPDATE:] TfL contacted Digital Trends and offered the following statement: “Uber were issued a licence in 2012 because they met all of our licensing requirements. Uber remain licensed as a private hire operator in London.” It also said it suspects Action for Cabbies’ application for a judicial review is out of time as such applications are normally made within three months of a decision. However, it added that it was prepared to demonstrate its licensing and decision-making process should the matter end up in court.

Mobile

5G is the swift kick VR and AR gaming needs to come to fruition

There's a lot of hype surrounding augmented reality and virtual reality, but is it really the next big thing? We take a look at where the new mediums stand, as well as how 5G is poised to help them break into the mainstream.
Movies & TV

The best movies you’ll find on Hulu right now (February 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Business

Apple loses battle to use Intel modems in Germany in latest clash with Qualcomm

Apple is following the Federal Trade Commission's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Gaming

Take some time to reminisce with the 25 best Sega Genesis games of all time

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.
Mobile

Own an unlocked Galaxy S9? The U.S. Android Pie update has landed

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Deals

This discounted smartwatch is a cheap Apple Watch or Fitbit Versa alternative

The Amazfit Bip isn't an Apple Watch or Fitbit Versa, but at the discounted price of $67, it's a very affordable alternative packed with useful features. With built-in GPS and 30-day battery life, this cheap smartwatch is a great option to…
Gaming

Xbox's app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.
Mobile

It looks like Google may get rid of the back button in Android Q

Android Pie recently rolled out, but it's already time to look ahead to Android Q, the next version of Google's mobile OS. We've seen a number of rumors and leaks come out about the operating system -- here's everything we know so far.
Deals

Amazon cuts prices on the Apple Watch Series 3 for Presidents’ Day

The Apple Watch Series 3 is seeing the same price cut we saw during the Amazon sale just last week. So if you're hoping to pick up an Apple Watch for less than $250, this $50 discount from Amazon can make that happen for you.
Deals

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for February 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for December 2018.
Social Media

Instagram to make giving easier with a Stories donation sticker for fundraisers

Instagram is preparing to launch a donation feature within Stories that would allow users to raise cash for a range of nonprofit charities. The company confirmed it's aiming to launch the donation sticker later this year.
Mobile

The Huawei P30 will zoom into view on March 26 in Paris

The Huawei P30 Pro will be announced on March 26, 2019. It has already started to leak ahead of this date, and expectations are high that the company will improve even further on the P20 Pro's camera.