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Thursday / 20 June 2024
HomeFeaturesUber sued for R5.8 billion by taxi drivers

Uber sued for R5.8 billion by taxi drivers

Uber Technologies was sued by thousands of London’s black-cab drivers in a suit seeking hundreds of millions of pounds, accusing it of unlawfully operating in the capital city.

The claim alleges Uber improperly obtained a license to operate in the city and made unlawful gains for at least six years from 2012, RGL Management, the firm running the claim, said.

Uber’s operating system did not comply with the requirements of the UK’s laws on private-hire vehicles.

The claimants also say that Uber’s intention was to gain market share unlawfully and, by necessity, take business from existing black-cab drivers.

“Uber knew this at all material times; and that in order to obtain its license Uber deliberately misled Transport for London as to how that operating system worked,” RGL said.

The fresh dispute resurfaces old tensions for the ride-hailing platform, which has faced multiple setbacks since entering the London market.

Transport for London first refused to renew its license to operate in 2017 on safety and regulatory concerns, and again in 2019. Both times Uber successfully appealed those decisions.

It was also forced to overhaul its business model after the UK Supreme Court ruled that its drivers needed to be re-classified as workers, in a bitter employment dispute.  The ruling said its drivers should get holiday and pensions.

The claims are old and “completely unfounded,” Uber’s spokesperson said.

“Uber operates lawfully in London, is fully licensed by TfL.”

More than 10,800 drivers have joined the suit with potentially more to come. “It is anticipated that the total claim value could ultimately exceed £250 million ($313 million) including interest,” RGL said.

The lawsuit comes after the tech giant’s move to allow its app users to hail black cabs as part of the company’s expansion plans to become a one-stop transportation hub, including bookings for intercity trains and car rentals.

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