5,000 Taxi Drivers To Protest Wednesday In Central London

By Londonist Staff Last edited 28 months ago
5,000 Taxi Drivers To Protest Wednesday In Central London
A taxi protest in June 2014. Photo by DAVID HOLT in the Londonist Flickr pool

An estimated 5,000 taxi drivers will protest in Whitehall tomorrow, 10 February, against "government bias against the black cab trade" and their "race to the bottom in deregulating the trade".

In particular, says Unite, the largest union in the country, drivers will be speaking out against ‘light touch’ regulation for private hire firms such as Uber, which Unite feels is "at the expense of passenger safety".

Among the specific moves that the protestors are against is last November's High Court ruling that smartphones used by some Uber drivers to harness GPS technology for the calculation of fares do not classify as taximeters.

Unite also claims that the rapid increase in the private hire sector has had an adverse impact on air quality and the environment in London.

But although London's black cab drivers are no doubt concerned for Londoners' safety, the protest will be construed by many as a fight for their livelihood. The number of minicabs in London has risen from 59,000 in 2009/10 to more than 95,000 today. There are now more private hire vehicles — including Uber — in London during the day, than there are black cabs.

Said chair of the Unite London & Eastern taxi cab section, Jim Kelly: “The reduction in safety for passengers because of the ‘light touch’ regime is to be deplored. It is a race-to-the bottom — when in 2016 we want the highest possible standards."

The protest takes place on 10 February at Whitehall from 2.30pm, and is expected to affect road traffic in the area.

Last Updated 10 February 2016

Continued below.


This is getting embarrassing, will London's black cabbies never start thinking about improving their customer service, offering value for money and being polite to other road users? All we ever see and hear is them being abusive towards other private cab drivers out of their windows, not exactly Dale Carnegie is it? Time for a change, it's the 21st century.


PLEASE can cab drivers find a way to protest that doesn't involve causing even more unnecessary air pollution than they usually create?


Do you know the fare is $0.30/mile in Detroit? Please read http://www.uberally.net/public... You might be satisfied that your rate is much higher. If drivers are not united, are you sure your city UberX rate will not go down to match Detroit's by tomorrow? If you are passengers, why do you need to pay higher fare than Detroit's?

After Uber taking greedy 20% or 25% commission, the drivers can only get $0.24/mile or less. Please read https://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsro... IRS allows $0.54/mile deductible for business miles driven. This comparison ($0.54 vs $0.24) simply proves how badly Uber mistreated their drivers.


This feels like a civil war situation and everyone needs to calm down a bit. Also, why dont they just agree on what unites them. I've never been with a cabbie or Uber driver who didn't sadistically enjoy hating on cyclists. Just saying you can all be protesting against common problems like the neverending roadworks or how fit everyone else is.

Bob Zurunkil

Lol, so this is the way they protest by inconveniencing the average Londoner who has done nothing against the black cabs. When you guys (black cabs) block the streets like this you aren't inconveniencing Uber drivers but the average Londoner who will now be late for work thanks to you guys. You out priced most of London and most of you are rude. I witnessed first hand the other day in Clapham a black cab driver pull up next to an Uber driver who was speaking with a client and unprovoked the black cab driver started making insinuations that the woman who was speaking to the Uber driver 'must be careful she doesn't get raped by this guy'. What kind of low life comes up with that shit? Why instigate a fight for nothing? Most black cab drivers are rude and are a rip off. Plus there is more security knowing who's driving with whom with Uber than there are with the black cabs. Do you know the name of your black cab driver before you get in? Does he know yours? Is there a data trail showing who rode with who for the black cabs....no! So overall you would have more of a chance of something bad happening to you in an overpriced black cab than in an Uber. They are rude, aggressive, a blatant rip off and cry like a bunch of girls when a another company comes in and shows them how they should've been doing there job for the past how many years. Now that they have lost hold of their rip off cab monopoly they are crying. Plus black cabs have many advantages over Uber drivers like being able to use bus lanes, having various designated waiting areas in the city etc. But do you see Uber crying about inequality and being disadvantaged? No. Because Uber gets on with shit and gets the job done without squealing like a bunch of prepubescent b**ches. Sorry it took someone else to come in and show you how to do your job guys but this is life. All good things have to come to an end and it looks like your time is nigh. Perhaps you should get with the times. Or quit and get a job at Uber. But oh yeah, then you wont be able to charge rip off fares anymore. Is a black cab going to take you from sw London to Bristol city centre for £170 on a Friday night? I don't think so! So suck it up and put a sock in it! However on the other front I do agree that Uber should cull some of their shittier drivers and rather than over flooding the market with some guys who don't have a clue what they are doing or where they are going. There are some really good Uber drivers, and then there are also some pretty shit ones. But i do know that in this day and age many customers would rather pay less for a guy using a satnav than nearly twice as much for another guy...also using a satnav. Although the back cabs do 'The Knowledge' it doesn't necessary mean they know everything either and at times they even use that knowledge against you to take riders on a longer journey than necessary to run up the fares. Just saying!