Uber has extended a hand to London’s black cab drivers by offering to let them use the taxi service embedded in its platform for free for a year.
Jumping before it might be pushed into another legal battle with London’s cabbies, the company has now offered to compromise with cabbies by letting them use its app for getting more rides.
Without any irony, within the announcement, Uber has criticized the time it takes to pass ‘The Knowledge’ black cab test when GPS apps exist, as well as the £40,000 cost of buying a new, fully disabled-accessible cab.
These are just two things that cabbies hold rather close to their hearts.
The blog post from Uber’s Jo Bertram also highlights some of the black cab’s exclusive rights, including curb side ride hailing, the use of bus lanes and taxi ranks offered for drivers.
“These advantages guarantee black cabs a steady flow of high-priced, high-volume trips for the foreseeable future,” she says, slightly ominously, depending on just how far away you think the ‘foreseeable future’ is.
The service fee-free offer will be in place for a year, presumably after which time cabbies will have come to rely on the maps and rides facilitated by the platform, and will be Uber converts.
“Of course competition has affected the taxi trade,” Bertram admits. “But it can also lead to service improvements and a better experience for passengers over time. We believe that black cabs and Uber can coexist.”
But, given the rules cabbies have to abide by that Uber does not, including passing The Knowledge test and buying certain types of vehicles, will they feel the same?