Uber embraces black cabs with UberTAXI option, claims 850 per cent jump in sign-ups
Uber has added an option for those users in London that makes it possible to hail a black taxi through the popular cab service app.
There has been growing upset over recent months about apps like Uber not being held to the same standards as London's traditional Hackney Carriages, or black taxis. The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association says that Transport for London (TfL) has failed to hold organisations like Uber to the same regulations that they have to adhere to.
You have to admire Uber's timing though. On the day that the LTDA is staging a go-slow in central London, the San Francisco-based company releases an update that brings them into the fold.
In the update, there will be an additional option on the scale, so if you want a Hackney Carriage, you can slide across to Taxi, and you'll be hailing a London taxi, rather than the exsiting UberX, Lux and Exec options.
It will, like all Uber journeys, be a cashless transaction, which is one of the appeals of Uber. But you'll get the added advantage of getting a driver who probably knows exactly where you're going thanks to The Knowledge, can take more passengers and more luggage.
You'll be charged by the fare rates set out by TfL, so you're likely to pay more for the privilage on longer journeys, but might come out quids-in on shorter hops. There will, however, be a 5 per cent commission charged, and cancellation will have a £7 penalty.
Writing on its blog, Uber said "We recognise the unique heritage and value of traditional black cabs when it comes to getting around. UberTAXI is another way of using technology to offer more choice, making life simpler and keeping London moving."
We're left wondering whether this will appease the LTDA, or simply lead to an UberTAXI boycott.
A twist in the tale is that CNBC, talking to Uber, is reporting a 850 per cent increase in new sign-ups compared to last Wednesday.
You'll find the new options in your Uber app today.