Uber arrived in London about 15 months ago. A bylaw has prohibited the service from operating legally in the city, but hundreds of Uber vehicles are roaming the streets on a daily basis. City Council has yet to make a final decision about the popular ride-sharing app, but they have taken steps towards regulation rather than prohibition. The latest bylaw recommendations include that only taxis and limousines would require cameras, surge pricing would be allowed, and licensing would be reduced to a maximum of two years for Ubers and taxis.
Roger Caranci is the spokesperson for the London Taxi Association and a former city politician. He has argued that Ubers are unsafe for the riders. He feels that Uber should be ashamed of themselves to say they want to follow the laws but ignore the direction of the city to stop operating until they’re legalized.
London Councilor Jesse Helmer has been a firm supporter of Uber here in the Forest City. While he does not agree with the company operating illegally, he believes the ride-sharing service should be regulated. Taxis and Ubers are quite similar, but they are obvious differences between the two. Helmer feels that the advancements Uber has made in the transportation industry are important services that Londoners should have access to.
The feud between Uber and the taxi industry dates back to last year when the transportation company first entered London, and the Taxi Association hasn’t hidden their displeasure for the ride-sharing service. In an effort to make the city to take more action, the London Taxi Association announced that it would not be paying the yearly licensing fee for 2017, which totals more than $330,000. With the new proposed bylaws, Caranci feels that they discriminate against taxis because they will be hit with more costs and a greater burden of public safety. However Councilor Helmer believes Uber has figured out a way to do it cheaper, and that the city’s role in this debate is not to favor one business over another, but give consumers the service they want.