Uber faces £250m London black cab driver case

Uber faces £250m London black cab driver case

Uber is facing a multi-million pound legal case brought on behalf of nearly 11,000 black London taxi drivers, in the latest challenge to the firm in the UK capital.

Claimants claim that in order to obtain a license to operate in the city, the airline giant deliberately misled Transport for London (TfL) about how its app worked.

Litigation management firm RGL Management said the claims were worth at least £250m, with the taxis potentially getting £25,000 each.

“These old claims are completely unfounded,” an Uber spokesperson told the BBC.

“Uber operates legally in London, is fully licensed by TfL, and is proud to serve millions of passengers and drivers across the capital,” they added.

TfL did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the BBC.

The class action focuses on Uber’s operations in London between May 2012 and March 2018.

The plaintiffs also allege that Uber’s intent was to “unlawfully… take away business from existing black cab drivers”, according to RGL’s statement.

“Uber seems to believe it is above the law and taxi drivers across London have lost income because of it,” said Garry White, who has been a black cab driver for 36 years. “It’s time they were held accountable.”

Law firm Mishcon de Reya has filed the class action in the High Court on behalf of the claimants.

“Uber has consistently failed to comply with the laws that apply to private hire vehicles in London” said Richard Leedham, partner and head of commercial disputes at Mishcon de Reya.

Over the years, Uber has faced several challenges in London, as well as other cities around the world.

TfL refused to renew the company’s license in 2017, saying it showed a “lack of corporate responsibility” with “public safety and security implications”.

At the time, Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi apologized for past mistakes and said the firm would contest the decision.

Uber successfully appealed after the license renewal was again rejected two years later.

In 2022, a two-and-a-half-year license to operate in London has been granted. It is expected to end at the end of September.

Uber has also been the focus of demonstrations organized by London’s black taxi drivers.

Earlier this year, Uber agreed to pay A$271.8m ($177.7m; £141.7m) to settle a lawsuit in Australia, according to a law firm for taxi operators and drivers.

Attorney Maurice Blackburn filed the class action on behalf of more than 8,000 taxi and rental car owners and drivers.

The suit alleges they lost revenue when the auto giant “aggressively” moved into the country.

“Since 2018, Uber has made significant contributions to various state-level taxi compensation schemes, and with today’s proposed settlement, we put this legacy issue firmly in our past,” Uber said in a statement.

The company did not disclose the size of the proposed settlement.

In December 2023, Uber won a lawsuit brought against it by 2,500 taxi drivers in France.

The Paris commercial court ruled that Uber did not commit unfair competition.

San Francisco-based Uber, founded in 2009, operates in around 70 countries and more than 10,000 cities worldwide.

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