London’s transport authority rejects proposals that would have severely restricted Uber & other app-focused car pick-up services in a win for London’s free market ideal.

As you know I’m a huge fan of Uber, dubbing them London’s Knights in Shining Black Mercedes; and was outraged when proposals were submitted to restrict their reach but thankfully today, we can celebrate a win for Uber and of course London’s very important free market ideal.

Following complaints of “unfair competition” by black-cab drivers Transport for London (TfL) proposed restrictions to limit the Uber’s reach.

The California-based private-hire company had urged its users to oppose suggestions that had included a ban on apps being able to show where their nearby available vehicles were, which of course, all us Uber lovers did very quickly.

Uber Now Has 25,000 Drivers

Unfortunately however, Uber’s drivers may still be inconvenienced by a new proposal.

Mayor Boris Johnson, has asked TfL to investigate whether all private-hire drivers should lose their exemption from the city’s congestion-charge scheme meaning they would incur an additional £11.50 per day in running costs to enter central London on weekdays.

Uber now has more than 25,000 drivers using its service in London, roughly matching the number of black-cab drivers. Commenting on the news, a spokesman for the app said:

“We’re pleased Transport for London has listened to the views of passengers and drivers, dropping the bonkers ideas proposed last year like compulsory five minute wait times and banning showing cars in apps,” said a spokesman for the app.

“It means Uber can continue to keep London moving with a convenient, safe and affordable ride at the push of a button.”

Regulating Private Hire

However, a spokesman for black-cab drivers had mixed feelings:

“There are 93,000 private hire vehicles at the moment and that’s soon to be 120,000,” Steve McNamara, LTDA’s general secretary, told the BBC. They are a major contributor to congestion, so it’s good common sense that they should have their exemption from the charging zone removed.

“But what’s happened [with the dropped proposals] is that Uber’s power in Whitehall, Downing Street and beyond has put enormous pressure on Transport for London, and we’ve seen TfL’s genuine desire to regulate private hire vehicles curtailed by the political pressure put upon it.”

Some of them are organising a crowdfunding campaign to pay for a legal case that they hope will result in Uber’s London license being withdrawn.

The effort has raised just over £48,000 of its £600,000 target so far. Let’s see what happens.