Is Boris Johnson playing politics with London's black cab drivers?
The London mayor’s interventions in his transport body’s dispute with the capital’s black cab drivers have had a rather political flavour
The continuing row between Transport for London (TfL) and the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) about the private hire firm Uber and its fare-calculating booking app has been notable for many things, not least as an example of how digital innovation can disrupt established economic models overnight and reduce black-and-white law to a grey area. Also of significance has been the input into the debate of Boris Johnson, the increasingly part-time mayor of London and “star player” in the Conservative Party’s general election campaign.
While his transport agency has been stoutly defending its decision in 2012 to allow Uber to operate on the grounds that it had no legal grounds to do otherwise, Johnson has publicly appeared to take the cabbies’ side. The LTDA contends that the Uber app should be defined as a taximeter and therefore deemed illegal. Johnson recently told LBC’s Nick Ferrari that in his view the legal advice to the contrary that he and TfL had been given was incorrect. This was not an isolated incident. As a mayoral spokesperson says: “The mayor has expressed his personal opinion about Uber’s mobile app on a number of occasions.” Johnson also expressed his personal opinion of Uber in general for Ferrari, calling the company “excessively bumptious”.
Source: Guardian Transport