Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Uber allows black cab drivers to pick up rides through its app, hoping to bring bitter war with taxis to an end

Uber is still criticising traditional taxi drivers' fares and tests, as well as black cabs themselves

Andrew Griffin
Tuesday 09 February 2016 13:27 GMT
Uber's service has infuriated metered taxi operators
Uber's service has infuriated metered taxi operators (PA)

Uber has laid out plans that it hopes will bring its long-running war with black cab drivers to a close.

The company says that it can "coexist" with traditional taxi drivers in London. But it still says that The Knowledge test is outdated, that black cab drivers should get new cars and that taxi journeys should be made cheaper.

Uber will now let traditional black cab drivers book their journeys through the app without paying the company.

It hopes that offering the new feature will allow the years-long dispute between the two groups to come to an end. But the war is likely to continue, as Uber said it would still look to undercut black cabs and hope that they change their services.

In its announcement, Uber recognised the particular benefits of traditional black cabs.

"For example they have the exclusive right to pick up passengers who hail a cab on the street in the capital and can use ranks at busy places like hotels, airports and train stations," the company wrote. "Street hail is the most popular way for passengers in the wealthiest, busiest parts of town to get around."

But it pointed out that black cab journeys remained expensive, and that they are often hard to find for those outside of central London.

Uber also said that it hoped that the competition between the two companies can push down fares and lead to improvements in the industry.

It also said that it hoped taxi drivers could do away with The Knowledge, the test that requires all London cab drivers to know the city off by heart.

"In the age of GPS and live traffic apps, is such an onerous test still needed?" it wrote "Could a modern version of The Knowledge that took advantage of new technology and only took a year to complete be just as effective?

"And when a black cab typically costs more than £40,000 to buy and thousands a year to run, shouldn’t taxi drivers be given a broader choice of cars, including green and hybrid vehicles?"

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in