Jo Bertram, Uber’s regional manager for the UKI and the Nordics, has suggested that London’s transport authorities focus on removing regulation from black cab drivers instead of making it harder for Uber to operate in the capital, according to Diginomica.
Speaking at the CBI business leaders conference in London yesterday, Bertram said: “What we would argue, to level the playing field, which absolutely does need to be levelled, you should reduce or revive the regulations for black cabs, rather than impose additional barriers for Uber and other companies like that.
“I understand that black cabs are an icon of London and we all want to keep that. But essentially that’s not about Uber, that’s about technology. That’s about satellite navigation taking away some, although probably not all, the competitive advantage that black cab drivers have with the knowledge.”
Somewhat bizarrely, Bertram went on to say that she would probably take a black cab if she wanted to get to Soho after the conference, which took place approximately a mile away at Grosvenor House hotel on the edge of Mayfair.
“If I want to get to a meeting in Soho straight after this, I’m probably best to get in a black taxi to find the best possible way,” she said. “But satellite navigation is not going away.”
Black cab drivers claim the Uber smartphone app should be illegal because it calculates fares like a taximeter but last month the High Court ruled that Uber’s app was not breaking the law. Transport for London took the same view in January.
Uber now has 20,000 drivers and two million customers in London now, according to Bertram, who added that the company has done “well over 20 million trips” since launching in the city three years ago.
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