London’s new Mayor has announced measures to support the capital’s black cab trade, while taking steps to tackle air pollution: there will be more taxi ranks, more use of bus lanes, grants to help cabbies move towards zero emissions vehicles, and lots of charging points to help them charge up those electric taxis of the future. And there will be a requirement for private hire drivers to demonstrate competent use of English.
So far, so progressive, but for those who shill for driver and rider matching service Uber, this is nothing less than an affront to the purity of the free market dogma that they hold so dear. Never mind that black cab drivers are almost universally one-man and one-woman small businesses, and that Uber is an aggressive corporate driven by a war chest counted in billions of US Dollars, this has to be framed as unfair.
And so it has come to pass, as uber-creep Christian May, who has inexplicably been gifted the editor’s chair at freesheet City AM, has told “Khan bungs a massive subsidy to the black cabs and heaps new regulations on Uber and private hire. Disappointing”. The man who bridled at suggestions aired on BBC Newsnight he was taking bribes is now directly accusing the Mayor Of London of, er, giving out bribes.
May’s paper has wasted no time in backing behind Uber, as City AM Technology Editor Lynsey Barber has penned “Uber accuses Sadiq Khan of favouring London's black cabs”, adding “In an email sent to customers, Uber claims that thousands of minicab drivers could lose their livelihoods with a knock on effect on waiting times and availability of cars”. The whole text of the Uber email was appended to the article - in bold.
May’s one-time flatmate, odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole (aged 17 3/4) has, by no coincidence at all, echoed the Uber line. “Ah. He ran his campaign out of a Transport union building now Khan caves into to union vested interests … Uber: ‘While black cabs will get £65m from the taxpayer, the Mayor is piling extra costs and red tape on to licensed private hire drivers’”. Extra costs like having to learn English. Yeah, right.
London’s Mayor, through Transport for London, has a responsibility for the black cab trade, which he is using to drive measures for improving the capital’s air quality. Electric buses presently being introduced on to Central London routes will also contribute. We know what the result of relying on the market to provide this benefit has been: no action at all.
Those who use minicabs - including Uber - have registered concerns with the Mayor, such as the inability of some drivers to communicate in English. He is also addressing this problem. Instead of taking this on board, Uber’s useful idiots in the media are whining that it’s not fair, and that there should be less of those rotten regulations.
That would be the regulations that stop Uber from pleasing themselves. But it isn’t about them, it’s about the people who Sadiq Khan represents. He has a duty to them, and has discharged that duty as he has seen fit. That the response of the Uber useful idiots has been nothing more than smears tells you all you need to know.