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More than 10,000 London black-cab drivers launch £250m Uber lawsuit

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More than 10,500 of London’s black-cab drivers have launched a £250m legal case against Uber, accusing it of breaking the capital’s taxi booking rules and deliberately misleading authorities to secure a licence.

The case, which has been filed in the high court in London by the litigation management firm RGL, resurrects a claim first raised five years ago, related to the way the ride-hailing app operated in London between 2012 and 2018.

Cabbies allege that Uber allowed drivers to take bookings directly from customers rather than through a centralised system such as those used by minicab services, in a direct breach of private hire rules.

They allege Uber was aware of the rules and deliberately misled Transport for London (TfL) about its booking model in order to obtain an operating licence and take business from black-cab drivers.

Uber has denied the allegations and says the claim is unfounded.

The drivers, who are being advised by the law firm Mishcon de Reya, argue in their suit that they faced unfair competition, and lost out on customers and income, as a result.

Garry White, a black-cab driver of 36 years, said: “This claim seeks justice and fair compensation on behalf of cab drivers across London. Uber seems to believe it is above the law and cabbies across London have suffered loss of earnings because of it. It is time they were held to account.”

RGL said that if the cabbies were successful in their claim they could secure more than £250m, with individuals potentially winning £25,000 or more.

An Uber spokesperson said: “These old claims are completely unfounded. Uber operates lawfully in London, is fully licensed by TfL, and is proud to serve millions of passengers and drivers across the capital.”

It marks the latest bout of legal trouble for Uber. In March, the San Francisco-based company reached an A$272m settlement (£142m) to compensate taxi and hire-car drivers who said they lost out when the company “aggressively” moved into the Australian market.

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That class action, which was launched five years ago, was filed on behalf of 8,000 taxi and hire-car owners and drivers, who argued that Uber X launched in Australia with the intention of hurting their business. The suit also alleged that the company used unlicensed cars with unaccredited drivers in a “conspiracy by unlawful means” and misled regulators.

Dale Forwood, a black-cab driver of 12 years, said he hoped the London case would bring justice for local cabbies. “I am delighted to see this claim being filed today and that we will finally have our day in court,” he said. “Having seen for myself the harm that Uber’s unlawful behaviour has caused to hard-working cabbies, I look forward to justice being served.”

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