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10K Black Cab Driver Files Lawsuit Against Uber Over London Booking Regulations

Photo : Reuterspix

More than 10,000 black cab drivers in London are taking legal action against Uber, alleging that the ride-hailing company violated taxi-booking regulations, potentially resulting in a hefty $313 million blow to the tech giant.

The lawsuit, filed as a group action in the High Court, focuses on Uber's activities in London between May 2012 and March 2018. Cab drivers argue that Uber misled Transport for London (TfL) regarding its ride-booking system, breaching private hire licensing rules in the process.

Specifically, the drivers claim that Uber allowed its drivers to accept bookings directly from customers, bypassing the centralized system typically utilized by minicab services. According to the legal claim, this approach was deemed "unlawful" as it failed to comply with private hire regulations, and Uber allegedly misrepresented the system's operation to TfL to secure its license.

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During this period, cab drivers assert they suffered financial losses due to decreased customer traffic or increased competition from the Uber app, necessitating longer work hours.

The group action, known as BULiT21, is spearheaded by RGL Management on behalf of London cabbies, represented by solicitors from Mishcon de Reya. The total claim value could exceed £250 million, with individual claims potentially reaching £25,000.

Uber has vehemently denied the allegations, stating that it operates lawfully in London, holds full TfL licensing, and serves millions of passengers and drivers across the capital.

Despite claims being raised in 2019, there has been no dialogue between Uber and RGL Management. RGL Management estimates that up to 30,000 London cab drivers could be eligible to join the lawsuit and is urging more drivers to participate.

Michael Green, Director of RGL Management, emphasized the significance of the legal action in holding Uber accountable for non-compliance with UK legislation, encouraging eligible drivers to register before the impending deadline.

Garry White, a black cab driver with 36 years of experience, stressed the importance of seeking justice and fair compensation for London drivers affected by Uber's practices.

Uber's licensing issues in London have been contentious. In 2019, TfL denied its license over safety concerns and transparency issues. However, Uber was permitted to continue operating and was granted a two-and-a-half-year license extension in 2022.

May 2, 2024 1:24 p.m. 13936

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