Hit or Miss? Taxi drivers blockade central London in regulatory protest

Black-cab drivers brought parts of London to a halt yesterday in a bid to force Transport for London to act on their concerns about smartphone-based competitors.

Parliament Square in London yesterday (picture credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Parliament Square in London yesterday (picture credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Was the action, co-ordinated by the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, the right strategy and did the LTDA's comms handling justify their actions to the public and help their case?

How I See It

Angie Moxham, founder and chief executive, 3 Monkeys Communications

The strike was a spectacular own goal that served up a PR gift for Uber, which claimed an 850 per cent increase in sign-ups as a result.

New apps including Kabbee and Hailo need to gain brand and product awareness of how they can help you get a taxi quickly at your convenience.

The strike gave Uber the perfect PR platform to achieve this overnight. And it milked it, announcing plans to open its service up to black cabs, and suggesting that cabbies need to move out of the "dark ages".

A successful strike needs to have public sympathy behind the cause; it’s hard to engender this if your day’s ruined by gridlock. The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association needs to lobby behind the scenes, rather than creating havoc for its bread and butter customers.

Aside from the legal and regulatory issues, it needs to make damned sure it is helping members embrace any new technology services that create 'win-wins’ that are, in Uber’s words, "good for riders, good for London cabbies, and good for the local economy".  

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