London's black cabs take on Uber with offpeak fares

To qualify for the new fares, passengers must book their journey using Gett, a new black hailing app

Zlata Rodionova
Wednesday 02 September 2015 13:29
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Taxis drive on the streets of Westminster on June 2, 2014 in London, England. The controversial mobile application 'Uber', which allows users to hail private-hire cars from any location, is opposed by established taxi drivers and currently serves more tha
Taxis drive on the streets of Westminster on June 2, 2014 in London, England. The controversial mobile application 'Uber', which allows users to hail private-hire cars from any location, is opposed by established taxi drivers and currently serves more tha

Drivers of London’s beloved black cabs have launched a fightback against mini cabs and the popular app-based car service Uber by introducing off-peak discounts for passengers.

To qualify for the new fares, passengers must book their journey using Gett, a new black hailing app, which was made available to download on Android and iOS devices on Tuesday.

Gett will give London travellers up to 30 per cent discount for journeys that are six miles or over. The rate will apply on weekdays between 10am to 4pm, 8pm to 11pm and 2am to 6pm - considered as an ‘off-peak’ time when the demand from clients is known to be lower.

Remo Gerber, chief executive of Gett in the UK, said: “Some taxi apps charge more when they’re busy. We think this is unfair so we make fares cheaper when we’re quieter.”

The customers will also be offered the option of a fixed rate which will be confirmed at the start of their trip.

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, said the discounted scheme would make black cabs far more competitive against rivals such as Uber.

“Taxi drivers cannot work at the prices Uber drivers do. This is something the industry has wanted to offer for some time. We just haven’t had the technology to do it. The difference between us and Uber is that when it’s quiet we’re going to give you a discount but when it’s busy we’re not going to charge you more,” McNamara said.

Uber operates in over 60 countries but its rise has not been without controversy. Traditional taxi companies across the world have blamed Uber for unfair competition, because it can turn any driver into a cabbie if they simply download the Uber app.

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