London cabbies not ’app-y over Uber’s offer of commission-free bookings

London Black Cab Drivers To Protest Over Uber Taxis
City A.M. struggled to book a black cab in the Square Mile, despite attempts by Uber to coax cabbies onto the service (Source: Getty)

London's black cabs have rebuffed private car hire app Uber’s offer of 12 months of commission-free book­ings, with only the odd one or two hackney carriages available for hire via the app in the City over the past two days.

Attempts by City A.M. to book a black cab through the app were fruitless with hours passing between available cars. Even when the app did register a car as available it was up to 20 minutes away.

On Tuesday, Uber extended an olive branch to the traditional taxi industry, allowing black cab drivers to use the Uber app for free.

The head of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association Steve McNamara told City A.M. later the same day that he would be “stunned and amazed” if any drivers signed on.

Following City A.M.’s attempts to book a taxi through Uber, a spokesperson said: “It is, of course, up to taxi drivers whether they want to use the Uber app. There is nothing to lose from giving it a try.”

In comparison, black cab booking app Gett has 3,000 drivers available each day in the Square Mile, while rival Hailo claims a two-minute response time in the City.

The capital’s black cabs held their latest protest against Uber and Transport for London regulation on Wednesday, blocking off Whitehall and causing travel woes for thousands.

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