London Black Cab Drivers Sue Uber for £250m 

Uber is once again embroiled in a significant legal battle in London, as nearly 11,000 black cab drivers file a multi-million pound lawsuit against the ride-hailing giant. The drivers allege that Uber intentionally misled Transport for London (TfL) regarding the functionality of its app to secure a license to operate in the city.

This legal action, managed by litigation firm RGL Management, is valued at a minimum of £250 million, with individual drivers potentially receiving £25,000 each. Uber vehemently denies these allegations, insisting that it operates within the bounds of the law in London and holds full licensing from TfL. Despite repeated attempts to contact TfL for comment, they have not responded.

The lawsuit focuses on Uber’s activities in London spanning from May 2012 to March 2018. The claimants argue that Uber’s tactics were aimed at unlawfully diverting business away from traditional black cab drivers, causing them financial harm. Garry White, a veteran black cab driver with 36 years of experience, voices the sentiment shared among many drivers, stating, “Uber seems to believe it is above the law, and cabbies across London have suffered loss of earnings because of it. It is time they were held to account.”

Mishcon de Reya, a prominent law firm, has filed the group action in the High Court on behalf of the claimants. Richard Leedham, partner and head of commercial disputes at Mishcon de Reya, accuses Uber of consistently flouting the regulations governing private hire vehicles in London.

Uber’s journey in London has been fraught with challenges, including TfL’s refusal to renew its license in 2017, citing concerns about corporate responsibility and public safety. While Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi apologized for past missteps, the company successfully appealed the decision two years later, securing a limited license that expires at the end of September 2022.

The friction between Uber and traditional taxi services is not unique to London. In Australia, Uber recently agreed to a settlement worth A$271.8 million to resolve a lawsuit brought by taxi operators and drivers who alleged financial losses due to Uber’s aggressive market entry. Similarly, in France, Uber emerged victorious in a lawsuit brought by 2,500 taxi drivers, with a Paris commercial court ruling in favor of Uber, stating it had not engaged in unfair competition.

Despite legal victories and settlements, Uber continues to face resistance from traditional taxi services worldwide. Founded in 2009, the San Francisco-based company operates in over 70 countries and more than 10,000 cities globally, making it a dominant force in the transportation industry.