Uber announced on Wednesday that it would extend its platform to London’s black cabs next year, attempting to win over the British capital’s taxis after a decade of hostility.

London’s black taxi drivers, who must pass an exam called “The Knowledge” that requires them to memorize hundreds of routes across the city, have long been at odds with Uber, claiming that it threatens their livelihoods.

Uber’s new service, which will be available in early 2024, will allow black taxi drivers to join the app and accept scheduled rides. The American conglomerate is giving them a no-commission arrangement for the first six months.

However, a group representing the bulk of black taxi drivers rejected the offer, claiming that there was no demand for it among its members.

We have no interest in sullying the name of London’s iconic, world-renowned black cab trade by aligning it with Uber, its poor safety record, and everything else that comes with it,” said Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA).

Black taxis, often known as Hackney carriages, are the only vehicles in London that may pick up passengers from the street or taxi ranks. They may also be reserved using other applications.

Uber wants taxi drivers in London, one of its top five markets, to join its service, as they have in Paris, New York, and Rome. It claims that working with Uber benefits both riders and taxi drivers.

If a sufficient proportion of London’s “cabbies” accept the invitation to join the platform, it will indicate a big thaw in relations.

Their feud peaked in 2014 when taxi drivers blocked the streets in protest against Uber, but they have remained vociferous in their resistance to the service ever since.

One driver, Hameed Hameedi, confirmed his participation, becoming the first London taxi driver to do so. He believes it might provide a “huge advantage” to the transaction.

Ultimately, more passengers booking trips means more cash for cabbies,” he said.

With 45,000 drivers and 3.5 million customers, Uber is London’s biggest ride-sharing firm. By far the most popular city for Uber trips in Europe is London. Uber is popular in London since it is a major tourist and business destination. 

To operate in London, Uber must follow rigorous restrictions and pay greater license costs than in other locations. In London, for example, Uber drivers must hold a private hire license and pass a rigorous English language test.

In comparison to many other cities, London has a greater cost of living. This implies that Uber drivers may have to raise their fees to meet operational expenses like as gasoline, insurance, and maintenance.