Uber row: Company challenges Boris on minicab cap

Mayor invited to debate minicab cap with Uber boss

App-based minicab firm Uber has launched a broadside at Boris Johnson after the mayor openly pressed for a crackdown on the number of minicabs allowed in London.

Since his election as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Johnson has pushed for the introduction of a cap on minicab licences, and the proposals are expected to be included in the Queen’s speech this month.

The mayor has minicabs in his crosshairs as he seeks to tackle congestion, pollution and illegally parked cars.

Johnson said: “We must be able to take action against the threat posed by the massive increase we are seeing in the number of private hire vehicles.”

Uber has responded angrily to what it believes is a direct attack on its business in London. According to the Financial Times, Uber’s UK chief, Jo Bertram, has requested a head-to-head debate on the issue with Johnson. She has also complained that Uber is not represented on the board of Transport for London.

She said: “London is one of the great cities of the world and Londoners have embraced Uber’s technology; tens of thousands rely on us for their job and millions more use us to get where they need to go.”

“Capping the industry’s ability to grow would mean higher prices and less availability for the millions of people who rely on Uber and services like ours to get around.”

Uber has more than 14,000 drivers in London, making it the largest private hire firm operating in the capital.

Johnson has stressed that the cap is not an attack on Uber, but would apply to all minicab providers.

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