Uber tells Government that limiting firm's cars will increase congestion and pollution

Regulations on private hire vehicles are expected to be introduced

Jane Merrick@janemerrick23
Saturday 23 May 2015 22:43
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Black cab and licensed taxi drivers protested at Trafalgar Square in June last year over the launch of the phone app Uber
Black cab and licensed taxi drivers protested at Trafalgar Square in June last year over the launch of the phone app Uber

Any moves by the Government to use this week’s Queen’s Speech to limit the number of cars operated in London by Uber will cause more congestion and pollution, according to the firm’s UK chief.

Sweeping new regulations on private hire vehicles are expected in the first legislative agenda of the Conservative government on Wednesday to try to control the huge growth in use of the cab-hailing app, which London black taxi drivers claim is pushing them out of business. A similar limit on Uber-operated cabs in Berlin has caused congestion to rise and had an impact on the city’s public transport system, the firm claims.

Although the Government refused to comment yesterday on private hire regulation plans, it is believed that Boris Johnson’s call for a limit on Uber cabs will be taken forward in the Queen’s Speech. But Jo Bertram, regional general manager for Uber, said yesterday: “We have asked to meet the Mayor as we agree with him that London’s traffic is a concern. This is why smart technology like Uber is so important, as it ensures modern, clean vehicles can move lots more people around. The answer isn’t to limit licences and jobs. As seen elsewhere in the world, this would simply push up prices and force people back into their own cars.”

Uber claims that its own data shows the average speed of its cars in London has increased by 9 per cent since it launched in this country in 2012 and that Transport for London’s own road network analysis shows a reduction in congestion by 1.2 per cent in the past year.

The proposals are also being opposed by Addison Lee, the private hire company, which has criticised the rush to regulation as a “panic measure”.

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