Uber has accused the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan of discriminating against its drivers and favouring black cabs in the capital with new measures to regulate the industry.
In an email sent to customers, Uber claims that thousands of minicab drivers could lose their livelihoods with a knock on effect on waiting times and availability of cars.
Kahn today unveiled the plans which include grants for cabbies adopting zero emissions vehicles, increased access to bus lanes and more taxi ranks, while black cab information will be added to Transport for London's journey planner.
The mayor also called on the government to lay down in law definitions of taxis and private hire (minicabs) to clarify what has become a grey area in terms of applicable regulation in recent years.
In the email, Uber urged customers to contact the mayor directly.
Sadiq Khan promised to represent all Londoners. But today – in one of his first major announcements as mayor – he published proposals that favour black cabs and discriminate against drivers who use apps like Uber.
Black cabs will get £65 million from the taxpayer while private hire drivers will be forced to pay hundreds of pounds in extra costs. They will need to take written English and advanced driving tests, and to pay for annual insurance even if they only drive a few months a year. Thousands may lose their livelihoods as a result. And fewer drivers will mean longer waiting times for passengers, or worse still no cars when you really need them.
The mayor needs to hear from you that drivers matter.
Many drivers who use Uber are immigrants. They work hard to look after themselves and their families. Driving has given them an opportunity to integrate into their local community. The mayor should be supporting these drivers, not penalising them.
We understand that black cab drivers are feeling the pressure from services like Uber. But the answer is to level the playing field by reducing today’s burdensome black cab regulations – not to impose new costs on private hire drivers at the behest of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association and the London Cab Drivers' Club