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London gears up for gridlock over Uber app taxi protest
Central London is gearing up for gridlock tomorrow due to a taxi protest in response to the Uber cab-booking app.
The protest is the latest in a string of worldwide movements by the regulated taxi industry against services such as those offered by Uber, a mobile app which enables passengers to locate and book the nearest available taxi.
Uber and other similar apps have been said to skirt around rules regarding taxi fare meters, as well as undermining current private hire laws by allowing users to book unlicensed cabs which have not been subjected to safety checks.
Transport for London’s confirmation last month of its decision to grant Uber a private hire licence caused tensions to mount, with further discord created due to controversial changes put in place by Transport for London (TfL) and the Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
The RMT union acting general secretary Mick Cash warned of “serious disruption” as a result and said he fully supports the “Cabbies Against Boris” movement.
He said: “The attack on the professional licensed taxi by a combination of Boris Johnson and wealthy global corporations seeking to maximise profits is nothing short of a scandal.”
The Mayor of London is due to answer questions in the London Assembly at 10am tomorrow.
The protest, taking place tomorrow from 2pm until late evening, is likely to gridlock the capital with thousands of London taxi drivers taking to the streets and driving very slowly around Trafalgar Square.
This is expected to cause significant disruption to traffic in the wider area including Parliament Square, Whitehall and other local roads.
Garrett Emerson, Transport for London’s Chief Operating Officer, Surface Transport, said: “TfL will work with the Metropolitan Police to do all we can to keep central London moving, however, given the scale of the likely disruption, we would advise drivers to avoid the area if at all possible.”
TfL has suggested that bus routes may also be affected, and that cyclists should take extra care given the large number of vehicles expected on the roads.
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