18 May 2015
RMT Press Office
RMT warns that Uber is already smashing apart the traditional "knowledge" and the livelihoods of London taxi drivers.
Taxi union RMT warned today that a marked decline of applicants for the Knowledge of London and rise of smartphone app Uber is down to one issue - the licensed London taxi drivers right to ply for hire can now be achieved by virtue of the Uber platform.
Transport for London figures show the number of people studying "the Knowledge", the geographical training for licensed taxi drivers, fell from 3,326 in 2012, when Uber started in London, to 2,159 last year.
This attack on London's traditional licensed taxi trade is due to the availabilty and the instantaneous nature of how passengers can 'book' Uber cars - an issue that RMT has repeatedly warned of and which Mayor Boris Johnson is well aware of.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;
"It is no suprise that perspective candidates for the Knowledge of London are now considering a fast track option by signing up instead to Uber which allows them to work in the immediate hire market making a nonsense of the clear traditional distinction between licensed taxis and private hire vehicles.
" TFL state that they are committed to retaining the two tier system of taxis and PHV. Yet failure to acknowledge the advent of smartphone GPS systems and their impact on both practices is clearly the fault of the regulator.
"RMT is therefore demanding that the licensed London taxi drivers right to ply for hire be set in statute with clear legal definitions put in place and retained which recognise the impact of apps like Uber and their threat to the licensed taxi trade throughout the country. "