Uber squeezes traditional taxi firms’ market

A Uber driver with an app on his phone, as they handed over a petition signed by over 205,000 people to Transport for London - ahead of a consultation by TfL on private hire in the capital - at 197 Blackfriars Road in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday December 22, 2015. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The growth of app-based Uber is meaning that traditional taxi firms are losing out, according to new research.

The turnover of the top 100 UK taxi and minicab firms has fallen for the first time in five years, as Uber increasingly strengthens its market share, research by accountancy firm Moore Stephens has found.

Turnover for these UK taxi firms dropped by £16 million between 2015-16, the first time the industry's profits had dropped since 2011-12.

It comes after recent reports in the New York Times about the 'cabby wars' taking place on London streets. There are around 40,000 Uber drivers currently operating in London, compared with 21,000 traditional London cabbies. Uber's fares are often up to 30 per cent cheaper than traditional black cabs – adding to the competition cab drivers are facing.

Phillip Bird, of Moore Stephens, told The Times: "Uber has offered value and convenience to the customer, so traditional taxi companies in cities need to consider how they deal with that."

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) said in response to the news: "Uber has so far been given free rein to squash its competitors and the time has come for the government to bring forward legislation to level the playing field by creating national minimum licensing standards, and giving local authorities the power to cap the number of private hire vehicles in our cities.

"Until this happens, the taxi and minicab industries, and drivers, will continue to suffer at the hands of Uber."

By Ted Welford

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