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View from the House: Predatory Uber must play by the rules

PUBLISHED: 10:48 02 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:48 02 October 2017

Archant

As the Member of Parliament for Romford, I represent many black cabbies who are in a respectable and honest trade.

Since the San Francisco-based app Uber opened in London a few years ago, Uber’s rise and impact on the capital’s transport network has caused much strife with black cab drivers, who claim that competition with the e-hailing app is an uneven playing field, due to outdated regulation and rapid changes in technology.

Most recently, I organised a meeting between the Minister of State for Transport, the United Cabbies Group, and the London Cab Drivers Club, in order to put their concerns forward to the department.

It was unanimously agreed that the iconic black cab is as symbolic of Britain as the red bus, the red telephone box and Buckingham Palace, and it would be a deep shame to see an honest and historic trade disappear from our streets due to a predatory corporation.

There are also deep issues with cross border licensing, safety standards and tax arrangements, which has rapidly affected the black

cab industry.

Many cabbies in the constituency make it very clear to me, they are not against competition, they co-existed with companies like Addison Lee quite amicably. The issue is unforced or even outdated regulation.

It is clearly an unlevel playing field, and the industry risked being lost to history if things carried on.

Last week TfL concluded that Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence. Since it first came onto our streets Uber has broken the law, exploited its drivers and refused to take responsibility for the safety of passengers.

We expect Uber will again embark on a spurious legal challenge against the Mayor and TfL. As a vice chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis, I urge companies such as Uber to now play by the rules.

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