Instead of blocking Trafalgar Sq cabbies should promote Hailo
In an ironic twist, Brit black cab drivers in London probably wish that Brussels had intervened in the UK for once. As we reported back in April  – ‘Brussels court rules Google-backed Uber taxi app illegal‘ the Belgians made Uber illegal in their own capital. The Uber app, backed by Google and Goldman Sachs, links up customers with private cabs whose owners don’t comply with strict licensing rules. Unlike London’s black cab taxi drivers. So cabbies protested against the app in Trafalgar Square this week. The net result? According to Uber UK’s general manager, Jo Betram, “We’ve seen an 850 per cent increase in sign-ups week-on- week.” Own goal for black cabbies, then.
In the Daily Mail here, the newspaper quoted Ian Stephens, head of Saffron Brand Consultants, said the move had not been properly thought through.
Stephens said, “I think it is a massive own goal. Uber have come across has the consumer champion.” Particularly going by posts on social media sites, it seems.
The mistake the London cabbies made was in their failure to promote a rival app instead – Hailo.
See ‘London cabbies targeted with Hailo app‘, which enables Londoners to use their smartphones to book a black cab.
According to Hailo, some 23,000 London black cab drivers have already signed up to offer their services through the app.
Meanwhile as a sop to cabbies, Uber UKhas now launched a new black cab booking feature called UberTaxi . You can find it here.
The Belgium court ruled that any cab drivers using Uber to pick passengers in Brussels could face a €10,000 (£8,260) fine each time.
London mayor, Boris Johnson, has told black cab drivers that more protests are futile given that the authorities are trying to get a similar court decision in the UK.
Details of the London version of the Uber app (for iPhone and Android) can be found here.