According to a recent report from Bloomberg, the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association has filed six criminal cases against Uber drivers in London, marking a continuation of a worldwide trend pitting traditional taxi drivers against the more progressive, self-employed workers of the Uber network. Uber drivers, who use a smartphone system to find customers in search of rides and then provide transportation using their own vehicles, have been eating away at taxi cab company market shares over the past year or so, due to cheaper prices and a more convenient method for customers to set up rides.
London cabbies, naturally, have not been terribly appreciative of the shift. Last month, uproar began in earnest, with cab drivers in London protesting against Uber and saying that drivers making use of the smartphone-based system are not held to the same rules, regulations, and standards as traditional cab companies. In fact, London cab drivers have been so outraged by Uber’s advancement into the city that they have purposely stopped cars and gridlocked traffic as protest.
Transport for London, a local organization, recently said that it would take a look at the rules for taxi cab services and try to determine whether or not Uber drivers should be regulated. The organization ultimately found that Uber was operating legally in London, but before Transport for London could get a civil court to stamp its findings with approval, London cabbies had brought a criminal case against Uber drivers that will effectively block any such approval.
Precisely what the criminal charges are in the case is not immediately clear from Bloomberg, suggesting that the case does not hold much water and is merely being used as a strategy to block the advancement of Uber. However, in terms of blocking Uber’s worldwide expansion, the criminal cases will likely be effective.