10,000 cabbies sue Uber for millions over taxi-booking rules in London

London: A group of more than 10,000 black cab drivers is suing Uber after accusing it of breaching taxi-booking rules in London, in a move which could cost the ride-hailing giant more than $313 million.

A group action claim has been filed in the High Court over Uber’s operations in the capital between May 2012 and March 2018.

The cab drivers claim that Uber misled Transport for London (TfL) over how it operated its ride-booking system and therefore breached private hire licensing rules.

They allege that the company allowed its drivers to accept bookings directly from customers, rather than going through a central system like minicab services.

The legal claim says that this booking system was “unlawful” because it did not comply with private hire rules, and that Uber deliberately misled TfL about how the system worked in order to get its licence.

The cab drivers say that during this time they suffered losses as a result of having fewer customers or having to work longer hours to compete with the popular app.

RGL Management has filed the group action, known as BULiT21, on behalf of the London cabbies, who are being instructed by solicitors at law firm Mishcon de Reya.

It is anticipating that the total claim value could be more than £250 million, with each cab driver’s claim worth up to £25,000.

A spokesman for Uber said: “These old claims are completely unfounded,” on the cabbies sue Uber matter.

“Uber operates lawfully in London, is fully licensed by TfL, and is proud to serve millions of passengers and drivers across the capital.”

It is understood there has been no communication between Uber and RGL Management since the claims were first raised in 2019.

RGL Management said it thinks up to 30,000 cab drivers who operate in London could be eligible to join the group and make a claim against Uber.

It is appealing for more drivers to join the action in the coming weeks.

Michael Green, the director of RGL Management, said: “RGL is pleased to file this claim form today on behalf of over 10,500 London cabbies, a major legal milestone in holding Uber to account for its failure to comply with the relevant legislation in the UK’s capital.

“There are still thousands of cabbies eligible to join who have not yet done so. A cut-off date is fast approaching in the matter of cabbies sue Uber.

“RGL, therefore, urges drivers to register with the BULiT21 legal action as soon as possible to join with thousands of fellow cabbies in the pursuit of losses suffered at the hands of Uber.”

Garry White, a black cab driver for 36 years, said the claim seeks “justice and fair compensation” on behalf of London drivers.

“Uber seems to believe it is above the law and cabbies across London have suffered loss of earnings because of it,” he said.

Uber has previously faced issues over its licence to operate private hire vehicles in London.

It was denied a licence by TfL in 2019, over concerns that passenger safety had been breached and there were issues around transparency.

But it was allowed to continue operating and then in 2022, it was granted a two-and-a-half-year licence in London.

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