Uber adverts removed from TfL websites after complaints from London cabbies

The booking app is the subject of a bitter legal dispute with a drivers' union

Lizzie Dearden@lizziedearden
Tuesday 06 January 2015 17:53

Adverts for Uber and all other taxi firms have been removed from Transport for London’s (TfL) website after complaints from cabbies backed by London Assembly politicians.

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the body’s Liberal Democrat group, and Green Party member Darren Johnson have both asked Mayor Boris Johnson whether it was “appropriate” for Uber’s advertisements to be carried by TfL.

The company, which has been the subject of controversy in several of the 45 countries where it offers its booking app, is the subject of an ongoing dispute with black cab drivers over the legality of its fare calculation system.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA), which brought central London to a standstill with a protest against Uber in the summer, has claimed iPhones in Uber cars amount to the illegal use of a meter but a TfL review found the firm was operating “in accordance with the law”.

Black cab and licensed taxi drivers protest at Trafalgar Square, London over phone app Uber, in June

Uber was one of several firms whose adverts formerly appeared on TfL’s website, including parts giving advice on how to hire a taxi or minicab.

The agency uses commercial advertising on its site and transport network to supplement government grants and revenue from fares.

Mr Johnson and Ms Pidgeon raised the issue in November but a spokesperson for TfL asid the decision to take down adverts had already been taken after complaints from a number of taxi and minicab drivers.

The managing director of surface transport, Leon Daniels, said: “On 30 October TfL decided that no advertising would be carried on the taxi and private hire section of the TfL website.

“This decision was taken following discussions with the taxi and private hire trade and prior to the matter being raised at the London Assembly.”

Uber has caused controversy by undercutting local fares and using “surge pricing” in peak times.

Its app allows customers to find the nearest driver and direct them to their location using GPS. The drivers use iPhones to accept and find passengers and take 80 per cent of the fare.

The LTDA’s private prosecution against a number of individual Uber drivers is being processed at the High Court.

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