The rise of the on-demand taxi app has been a contentious phenomenon since they burst onto the scene a few years ago. There have been protests from London black cab drivers, and the violent clashes in Mexico City last week were the latest outpouring of disapproval. But a comfortable majority of Londoners think that apps such as Uber and Kabbee are good for those who live in the capital.
Polling released today by YouGov and communications firm PLMR shows that 55% of Londoners are in favour of the apps, with only 16% believing that they are bad for the city. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the strongest support comes from people aged 18-39, but drops sharply in the over 60s category.
It’s not all bad news for London’s traditional cab drivers, however. Some 42% of Londoners believe that Hackney Carriages will still be around in 20 years’ time, compared to 30% who don’t, which indicates the potential for staying power even in a quickly changing economy.
Nonetheless, this will surely require adaptation too, and the polls highlight that 75% of Londoners think that all black taxis should accept contactless payments. These results follow the 2014 Taxi and Minicab Customer Satisfaction Survey in which 83% were in favour of paying by card – results which prompted a Transport for London (TfL) consultation into the issue, which has recently closed. The TfL Board is due to consider mandating that all licensed London taxis offer electronic payment at the Board’s September meeting.
PLMR’s Deputy Managing Director, Elin Twigge, said:
“Black cabs hold a strong place in Londoners hearts, but the message from today’s polling is clear: they need to adapt – and soon – if they are going to survive. The next generation in particular are embracing change and black cabs don’t want to be left behind.”