London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s decision to charge Uber Technologies Inc drivers to operate in the city centre amounts to racial discrimination and puts some out of business, lawyers for the drivers said in court, in the latest stage of a long-running battle between those working for the ride-hailing firm and traditional cabbies.
A union representing Uber drivers is suing the city’s mayor, saying it isn’t fair that they must pay a daily charge of 11.50 pounds ($14.34) when traditional black-cab drivers don’t have to.
While 94 percent of Uber drivers come from minority backgrounds, 88 percent of black-cab drivers are white, the union said, meaning the levy “impacts disproportionately” on minorities.
Uber drivers tend to be “individuals working long hours in order to make ends meet and provide for their families in difficult circumstances,” union lawyer Ben Collins said in court.
They include “some of those least able to withstand a reduction in their income,” he said.
“We will robustly defend our position,” a Transport for London spokesman said. The levy is an “important means of reducing road congestion and traffic” in central London, the mayor said in court filings for the case.
Drivers “are driven out of business or required to work hours which impact on their family, well-being and potentially health,” because of the levy, the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain said in its court filings.
The charge has a “disproportionate impact on the income of part-time female drivers,” it said.