More cabbies to accept cards in bid to rival Uber

Only half of London's black cabs currently allow card payments

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London's Black Cabs Protest Against Transport For London

Plans to help London taxi drivers in their battle to compete with rival car-booking company Uber have been revealed by Transport for London (TfL).

The announcement of the initiative comes just a day after the release of film capturing a bicycling London Mayor Boris Johnson in a four-letter tirade with a black-cab driver.

Upset at what they see as Mr Johnson's lack of action against Uber, cabbies have mounted protests, claiming Uber does not pay UK taxes and is not subject to the same restrictions as traditional black-cab operators.

Now, TfL is consulting on whether passengers should have the option of paying for black-cab rides by card, making it easier to compete with California-based Uber.

TfL said there is currently no requirement for taxis to accept card payments, and only around half of drivers do, despite a recent survey suggesting that 83% of passengers would like to be able to pay by card.

The consultation is seeking views on whether card payments should be accepted, giving passengers an alternative to cash. There is no intention to stop taxis accepting cash payments or for taxis to become cashless, Tfl said.

TfL said its cashless proposal had been endorsed at a meeting with deputy mayor for transport Isabel Dedring, senior taxi trade representatives and car providers.

TfL's taxi and private hire general manager Helen Chapman said: "Card payments have become a central part of the lives of Londoners over the past few years - something that has only increased since the introduction of contactless payment.

"We are always trying to find ways we can improve the services that we offer to our customers and, with only half of taxis currently accepting cards, we are keen to hear whether passengers and drivers feel that this would be a worthwhile change."

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