The Mayor of London Boris Johnson dropped a pretty incredible stat about the growth of Uber in London when he was asked about the minicab hailing app at the City Lab London conference on Monday.
Johnson said: “We need to let competition rip. However, the profusion of minicabs means that of the cars entering the congestion zone now, 1 in 10 are minicabs because of Uber. 2 years ago it was about 1 in 100.”
The congestion zone is the area of central London that drivers must pay to enter, an initiative meant to reduce traffic. Cars are monitored using a system of cameras, meaning its easy for the Mayor’s office to track what type of vehicles are entering the city centre.
Johnson added: “The number of minicabs on the streets has gone up from about 40,000 or 50,000 when I was elected to more than 80,000. That tells you that’s going to cause congestion.”
Not all of that is down to Uber, but likely a huge chunk of it is. Uber confirmed to Business Insider that it now has 20,000 drivers registered on its platform.
That is a phenomenal level of growth — 0 to 20,000 in 3 years.
But, as Johnson flagged, this could cause congestion. Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick said last year he hopes to have 42,000 registered drivers in London by March 2016 and Transport for London forecast the number of minicab drivers will rise to 128,000 over the next 2 years.
An Uber spokesperson told Business Insider that 4,500 Uber drivers are on London’s roads at any one time.