It’s not often that the release of a mobile app leads to the streets of major cities being blocked by furious taxi drivers, is it?
Not every app is Uber, though. This new low-cost fare app was first launched back in 2009 and now works in over 70 cities in 37 countries across the planet. Basically, it is designed to connect passengers to drivers in these places. It uses the phone’s GPS to find the nearest available driver.
Other functions on Uber include being able to carry out vehicle tracking, the option to pay using the phone and splitting the fare with other passengers.
The problems have come down to the fact that taxi driver unions and groups have protested that unlicensed drivers are using this app to pick up fares. The taxi drivers union in London has said that Transport for London has been guilty of “poor management of trade”, while the TfL response is that the London office of Uber keeps records which they can inspect when they want to.
Streets Blocked but Downloads Rocket
This conflict led to central London being blocked as taxi drivers stopping traffic getting through from Trafalgar Square for an hour. They say that the Uber app is putting them out of business. Interestingly, as the conflict escalates the word from the developer is that the number of downloads has risen by 850% in the last week. Similar taxi driver protests were seen in other cities such as Paris and Berlin.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has been quoted as suggested that the courts should settle the matter but that didn’t stop the protesting drivers from chanting that they wanted him out.
Do you to that Uber should be allowed or should the livelihood of traditional taxi drivers be protected more?