Conservative politicians have released a report on the demise of the iconic black cab in London that suggests drivers should abandon ‘The Knowledge’ test requiring them to memorise the city’s streets if the want to save themselves from Uber.
The eight point plan names the app specifically as the cab’s greatest threat.
A member of the city’s government Richard Tracey said:
The plight of London’s iconic black cabs is increasingly worrying as consumers seek out a cheaper and more streamlined service through app-based firms like Uber. I want this world-renowned industry, which has been a staple of London’s culture and image, to survive. But to do so it must make some fundamental changes to its pricing structure and the way it operates. The Knowledge has long been the gold standard of our black cabs but demanding that new drivers learn thousands of different routes and points of interest to memory is outdated and archaic in an age of sat-navs.
The report flags the fact that 20 percent of black cab drivers are aged over 70 and blames the lack of young cabbies on the long and complex exam.
Uber drivers in the capital have been criticised for poor driving standards, attributed to their lack of knowledge of London’s roads, so it’s perhaps unwise to abandon one of the key things that sets cabbies apart from others on the road.
The report also suggests that the roll out of cashless payments should be sponsored in order to ensure it happens quickly.
The group is calling on London’s Mayor Boris Johnson to commission a competition review to establish whether Uber has an unfair advantage because of issues around different costs, licensing rules and employment regulations.
The High Court ruled in favour of Uber in October when it was suggested that they should be considered metered vehicles like black cabs because the app works in a similar way to a taxi meter.
Ultimately, the new report suggests that private-hire cars like Uber should be charged the same as black cabs to operate in London, which would mean its drivers having to pay more.
➤ Cut the Knowledge to level playing field for London’s black cabs [Greater London Authority Conservatives]