You may have seen Transport for London’s recent proposals to introduce new regulations of private-hire taxis, including Uber.
Uber is a brilliant innovation that makes travelling by taxi cheaper, quicker, and more convenient. And by making it easier to travel by taxi, with licensed drivers that go through more rigorous background checks than black cab drivers, it makes nights out safer, too.
The proposed regulations represent a threat to that – they’re intended to hurt Uber by hurting passengers and drivers, rather than improving regulation. The most pernicious of the proposals is to force cabs to wait five minutes before picking up passengers. Forcing people to wait for five minutes on street corners at night does not make Londoners safer – it makes them less safe.
These proposals aren’t endorsed by the Mayor of London – they are the product of bureaucrats in TfL. However, to stop them, it’s important not only to take part in TfL’s consultation, which runs until 23 December, but lobby City Hall, too.
As a result, with four fellow Camden Conservative councillors, I wrote to Boris Johnson today to oppose this ludicrous and spiteful over-regulation. So have some colleagues from Westminster and colleagues in Hammersmith & Fulham.
The full letter is below:
We are proud that you have been our Mayor for the last seven years. Since 2008, you’ve changed London for the better in so many ways: cutting crime, keeping down Council Tax, and ensuring the greatest city on Earth has a transport system that’s fit for purpose.
The standard, safety, and affordability of transport in London has been improved substantially in the last few years by better use of technology, typified by Uber. This sort of openness and innovation makes our city great. Black cabs offer a brilliant service, but they do so at a premium that makes them unaffordable to many of our residents. We back a high-quality, innovative hire cab sector alongside a high-quality, traditional black cab sector.
We’re concerned by Transport for London’s proposed over-regulation of Uber and similar services. Take just a few proposed changes. Forcing Uber passengers to wait on the street for five minutes before a car can pick them up does not increase safety – it makes it worse. Preventing passengers from carpooling doesn’t reduce congestion – it makes it worse. Banning drivers from working for two taxi companies doesn’t improve driver welfare – it makes it worse.
There is no rationale for these ludicrous, pointless regulations. We are disappointed that Sadiq Khan and Labour support TfL’s drive to put Uber out of business. As Conservatives, and as Londoners, we ask that you take a stand, stop Transport for London’s spiteful over-regulation, and put passengers first.
Cllr Oliver Cooper
Cllr Tom Currie
Cllr Claire-Louise Leyland
Cllr Leila Roy
Cllr Gio Spinella
Conservative Group, Camden London Borough Council
For more about my campaign to support local businesses, click here.