The city of London is the latest to have drawn battle lines between taxi drivers, local government, and U.S ride-sharing company Uber. City Hall has actually taken a novel approach to Uber and has decided to pass the buck to politicians with a list of options that lead to a number of eventualities, but result in either the company being legalized and regulated or kicked out of the city entirely.
Uber has been operating in London since it began moving across Southwestern Ontario during the end of 2015, and as always the company’s expansion has brought plenty of controversy along for the ride.
While the city is considering adopting Uber legally, it is actually still locked in a legal battle with the $40 billion valued giant. London has taken a front on approach to combating the company. Whereas other cities have just let Uber operate illegally without regulation, London is part of the group of municipalities that have actually turned police on Uber drivers.
The city has issued 36 fines to drivers, and the consequences have been high with legal tariffs of between $400 and $1000. However, Uber has defended its drivers and has stumped up for their fines, but despite this the company is positive about the report.
“We welcome the (report and) look forward to continuing to engage with city officials and council to modernize regulations to encourage innovation, put people first and create safe, reliable and affordable transportation options,” an Uber spokesperson wrote.
Uber has oft argued that it is a technology company that merely provides a platform (smartphone app) for passengers to connect with freelance drivers. This argument the company says means it is not a taxi service and therefore should not be regulated like one. Taxi unions have fought the company and Roger Caranci of the London Taxi Association said the city should protect the industry:
“The vast majority of rules are in place to protect consumers. We will not compromise any of those rules,” he said.