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Uber faces £250m London black cab drivers lawsuit

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Uber is facing a multi-million pound legal claim being brought on behalf of almost 11,000 London black cab drivers.

Litigation management firm RGL Management says the claim is worth at least £250m, with cabbies potentially getting £25,000 each.

Uber did not immediately reply to a BBC request for comment.

The lawsuit, which is set to be filed in the High Court on Thursday, is the latest challenge to the US-based ride-hailing giant in the UK’s capital.

The group action focuses on Uber’s operations in London between May 2012 and March 2018.

The case, which is being brought for the claimants by law firm Mishcon de Reya, claims that in order to obtain a licence to operate in the city, Uber deliberately misled Transport for London (Tfl) about how its app worked.

The claimants also allege that Uber’s intention was to “unlawfully… take business from existing black cab drivers”, according to a statement by RGL.

“Uber seems to believe it is above the law and cabbies across London have suffered loss of earnings because of it,” said Garry White, who has been a black cab driver for 36 years. “It is time they were held to account.”

Over the years, Uber has faced a number of challenges in London, as well other cities around the world.

Tfl refused to renew the company’s licence in 2017, saying it showed “a lack of corporate responsibility” with “public safety and security implications”.

At the time, Uber’s chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi apologised for past mistakes and said the firm would dispute the decision.

Uber successfully appealed after renewal of the licence was again denied two years later.

In 2022, a two-and-a-half-year licence to operate in London was granted. It is due to expire at the end of September.

Uber has also been the focus of demonstrations organised by London’s black cab drivers.

Earlier this year, Uber agreed to pay A$271.8m ($177.7m; £141.7m) to settle a lawsuit in Australia, according to a law firm for taxi operators and drivers.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers filed the class action on behalf of more than 8,000 taxi and hire car owners and drivers.

The case alleged they lost income when the ride-hailing giant “aggressively” moved into the country.

“Since 2018, Uber has made significant contributions into various state-level taxi compensation schemes, and with today’s proposed settlement, we put these legacy issues firmly in our past,” Uber said in a statement.

The company did not disclose the size of the proposed settlement.

In December 2023, Uber won a lawsuit brought against it by 2,500 taxi drivers in France.

A Paris commercial court ruled that Uber had not committed acts of unfair competition.

San Francisco-based Uber, which was founded in 2009, operates in around 70 countries and more than 10,000 cities globally.

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