Drivers of black taxis in London are planning to clog city streets in early June to protest taxi-hailing app Uber.
Private drivers are not legally allowed to have taxi meters in their cars in the United Kingdom, according to the BBC, and the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) has said that Uber drivers are violating the law by calculating the price of taxi fares. Nevertheless, the government has not intervened because it doesn't believe Uber drivers are breaking the law; passengers use smartphones to pay Uber drivers, and the distance of the route is calculated via smartphone GPS, so there is no connection between the vehicle and the "taxi meter."
This is what the government organization Transport for London told members of the LTDA. But they still plan to go ahead with causing "severe chaos, congestion and confusion" across the city.
This isn't the first time cab drivers in a major city have protested against Uber.This isn't the first time cab drivers in a major city have protested against Uber. In January, taxi drivers in Paris attacked at least 12 Uber vehicles, shattering windows and flattening tires along the way.
The Uber app and its drivers are also banned in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, and the company is dealing with a lawsuit in Berlin, Germany, after the Berlin Taxi Association filed a complaint stating Uber's drivers don't comply with licensing laws there. Legal complaints against Uber often come from officials within traditional taxi firms who complain that Uber is not regulated in the same way they are, even though the app provides the same basic service.
Despite the high-profile bumps in the road, Uber's path from San Francisco startup to international company has moved rapidly. Since its founding in 2009, Uber has expanded to 35 countries and more than 100 cities worldwide.
Its London representative doesn't seem too concerned by the impending protest.
"Competition, in my view, is always good for the customer because it makes all of us up our game in terms of quality and service," Uber's London general manager Jo Bertram told the BBC.