Press Release: Black cab protests are a desperate move from an outmoded industry

Contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, for further comments or to arrange an interview: kate@adamsmith.org / 07584 778 207.

Commenting on the London cab driver strike, Charlotte Bowyer, Head of Digital Policy at the Adam Smith Institute, said:

"Today's black cab driver protests in London against taxi-app Uber are a blatant exercise in rent-seeking. The strike is pointless, because the issues drivers are protesting against have already been referred to the courts for a decision. This is a desperate move by an industry that has been protected from competition for too long.

"Services like Uber are cheaper in part because they use new technology to circumvent bad regulations, reduce prices and increase choice for consumers. Many of these regulations exist to protect drivers from competition, rather than to help consumers.

"Black cab drivers claim they are protesting about regulatory inconsistency, but striking on such trivial matters as whether a smartphone app constitutes a taxi meter only shows that cab drivers' real concerns are that of genuine competition in the face of an innovative new entrant.

"Black cab drivers argue that they are regulated to within an inch of their lives, which may be true – so it's sad that they just want others to face the same treatment, instead of calling for more freedom for themselves.

"It is TfL's responsibility to improve London's travel network, not to protect old industries and vested interests. Consumers, and certainly not business rivals should be the judge of an acceptable, effective and safe service.

"We might expect to see such bolshy behaviour in France, but certainly not in London. Londoners and their elected representatives should say no to black cab bullying and let Uber, and others like it, innovate free from intimidation."

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, at kate@adamsmith.org / 07584 778 207.

The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.