The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has accused Uber of systematically breaking the law by allowing private-hire cars (i.e. minicabs) to be hailed in the same way that you hail a black cab.
“You no longer need to see a vehicle to hail it. Your phone will see it for you. It will see round corners; it will see in the dark. You no longer need to hail a taxi by sticking your arm out or shouting; you just press a button and within minutes—seconds—the car will be at your side,” Johnson wrote in his weekly column for The Telegraph. “You only have to consider the habits of many Uber minicabs—not all, but many—to see that this law is systematically broken; and that is because technology makes it so easy for it to be broken.”
Johnson, who is the chairman of Transport for London (TfL), has historically been quite defensive of Uber, arguing that its massive success is simply the result of market forces. Like a good politician, he has also come to the defence of black cab drivers, too, saying that Uber drivers ought to pass a Knowledge-like test if they wish to operate like black cabs in London.