Uber has secured another win over the struggling taxi industry. Soon, riders in London will be able to hail an iconic black cab in the city.
London cabbies can now start signing up for Uber trip referrals, but the service won’t roll out until early 2024. Uber says some drivers have already begun showing interest in being listed on the app.
Uber has been steadily making deals with taxi fleet owners in a move to bring the traditional cab industry onto its app. The ride-hail giant recently signed on taxi fleets in Los Angeles, New York City, Paris and Rome to list drivers on the app. Uber says in Europe and the Middle East, over 10% of Uber trips are now completed by taxi drivers.
Whether black cab drivers in London will sign up in droves to Uber is another story.
In a statement, Steve McNamara, a spokesperson for the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, a trade group representing 10,000 drivers, said the group wasn’t interested in “sullying the name of London’s iconic, world-renowned black cab trade by aligning it with Uber, its poor safety record and everything else that comes with it.”
McNamara also noted he wasn’t aware of any of its drivers signing up to be a part of Uber and didn’t think it would take off, given Uber’s reputation on safety and workers’ rights. He said the group hadn’t been consulted before Uber’s announcement.
London’s black cabs don’t necessarily need Uber to be hailed on-demand via an app. The cabs are available through other apps like Gett, Taxiapp, FreeNow and ComCab. That’s why Uber also tries to tap into markets with other offerings.
In order to capture more marketshare and create stickiness in its app, Uber has made additional transport bookings available in its UK app, like intercity trains, Eurostar, National Express, car rentals and even flight tickets.
Black cab drivers on Uber will receive regular taxi trip dispatches with an upfront fare range and destination for the trip, which they can choose to accept or reject. All new drivers will benefit from 0% commission for their first six months, which might cause an immediate uptick in sign ups before commission gets kicked up to the usual range, which is around 20% to 30%.