Uber London to take legal action over new city transport rules
Wed 17 Aug 2016
U.S. car ride giant Uber is taking legal action against Transport for London (TfL), after the regulator proposed a new set of laws which could harm the company’s operations in the British capital.
Uber sent an official ‘letter before action’ to TfL, explaining that it would soon enter the initial stages of a legal battle to overturn the new regulation due to be introduced later this year.
TfL is looking to force Uber to alert it to any changes to business operations in the city, and to require its drivers to take written English tests. Similar rules in NYC have been reversed for taxi drivers, following a decision that while communication is important, written tests are far too strict.
The London transport group also wants Uber to establish a call centre in London, and to raise the level of insurance to cover drivers even when they’re not on the road.
Uber is arguing that these laws are too restrictive and plans to take TfL to court to stop them being imposed.
Speaking with City A.M., Uber London manager Tom Elvidge commented: ‘This legal action is very much a last resort. We’re particularly disappointed that, after a lengthy consultation process with Transport for London, the goalposts have moved at the last minute and new rules are now being introduced that will be bad for both drivers and tech companies like Uber.’
Rival taxi companies in the capital, including Addison Lee and Gett, are backing the new changes.
The ride-sharing app continues to face bans and protests worldwide. Most recently, cabbies in Malaysia are threatening to hold a week-long strike to protest the local governments’ plans to legalise Uber and similar transport apps. The Malaysian taxi driver association is concerned that the new rules would lead to unfair competition and harm the welfare of traditional drivers.
Further large-scale strikes took place in Kuala Lumpur earlier this year, with taxi drivers abandoning their cars on the road to protest against Uber and GrabCar.