Taxi drivers across London are planning to bring the streets of London to a standstill in protest of the mobile taxi booking service Uber this month. The protest, which is set to take place on 11th June, will see an estimated 15,000 black cabs park near Trafalgar Square in an attempt to gridlock London’s roads.
Uber, backed by Google and Goldman Sachs, is an application which allows users to book a taxi directly from their smartphone. The app also provides individuals with an estimated arrival time and fare cost. Taxi drivers in London are protesting the legality of the application, which does not require drivers to own a regulated taxi license.
Speaking about the industry action in June, Stephen McNamara of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, said:
“They’re frightened of Uber’s money, they’re frightened of Uber’s influence, they’re frightened of the amount of lawyers and stuff that Uber are going to throw at them.”
This is not the first protest of its kind against Uber and unrest has been seen in New York, Paris and Sydney. Commenting on the action, Jo Bertram, Uber’s general manager in London, blogged:
Calculations from TechCrunch, taken from a leaked report in 2013, estimated Uber receives around 8,000 requests from users each week. The company has a suspected valuation of $3.5 billion.