London’s iconic black taxi is now partnering with Uber

Image Credit – The Verge

No more rivalry in the streets of London as the British capital’s iconic black cab taxis are now partnering up with Uber and the citizens are quite happy. On Tuesday, Uber made an announcement about the partnership with the black cab taxis which are a part of British heritage.

This latest partnership will allow cab drivers to opt in and utilize the benefits of Uber trip referrals. Meanwhile, the riders can tap on a button to specifically request a ride in one of the hackney carriages with the help the Uber’s official app. They will also get an upfront estimate on pricing for the ride. The service is set to roll out from next year, 2024. London cab drivers have already signed up for this collaboration.

The General Manager of Uber in the UK, Andrew Brem said, “Black Cabs are an iconic part of the capital, loved by Londoners and visitors alike, and we are proud to work side by side,” in a statement. Perhaps, it is a new idea to improve Uber’s user base and garner more revenue with the help of traditional taxis. However, the road to partner up was not so smooth.

Uber arrived in London back in 2012 and its rapidly growing business quickly put the traditional taxi drivers back in the game. With a strong rivalry, the competition between Uber and black cab taxis went to and fro throughout all these years. In order to compete with the modern app; the black ab drivers also worked with government-backed updates in order to compete with Uber. They started accepting card payments in 2016 and tried to put up a strong fight.

Uber has also gone through a fair share of legal battles with the transport regulators in London as they tried to strip the firm of its license to operate their operations in 2017. It happened again in 2019 and in both cases, Uber appealed and eventually got the permission to continue their business.

The reason rivalry is not between cabs but the heritage and modern technologies. Black cab taxis have been a part of London’s city life for centuries. As far back as 1865, the traditional taxi drivers had to pass in an examination called “the Knowledge,” where they had to memorize all the quickest routes throughout London to offer a fast and convenient ride. They also had to keep track of thousands of streets and landmarks. However, with technological advancement, modern-day drivers of Uber can simply rely on the app’s navigation system.

According to Government data, there are only around 15,100 licensed taxis in London while the number of private hire vehicles is around 89,600. Hameed Hameedi is the first London black cab driver who signed up for the Uber Partnership program. Hameedi said, “A lot has changed since Uber first came to London, and I know lots of cabbies who first started out as Uber drivers.” He also added that Uber will help to get “more cash for cabbies.”


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