After many complaints from drivers, the Taxi Leaks’ team wrote to TfL pointing out Uber advertising on its website was insulting and unethical, as the legality of the company was still questionable. TfL briefly suspended the adverts but stated that in their opinion Uber met its advertising guidelines.
Not happy with this response and a fear that the adds would return, Taxi Leaks, using its contact with the RMT, contacted the GLA leader who lodged a question with the Mayor on our behalf.
Last month an inquiry held by the Greater London Authority, released a report describing TfL’s performance in regulating the taxi and private hire trades as “woefully inadequate”. They went on to say TfL had allowed itself to be a “soft touch” when it comes to upholding taxi regulation, citing Uber as “just the tip of the iceberg.” The ads promoting Uber on pages of the TfL website were seemingly another example of this “soft touch” approach.
Both Taxi Leaks and The RMT, have raised further concerns about Uber’s ad placements and those of other firms operating in the capital.
Our complaints were presented to Mayor Boris Johnson by three London Assembly members during last month’s Mayor’s Question Time.
Below is an email received today from Darren Johnsons secretary:
From: Rachel Carlill <Rachel.Carlill@london.gov.uk>
Date: 6 January 2015 10:41:03 GMT
To: xxxx xxxx xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: Uber advertising on TfL website.
Please see below for the response Darren has now received in relation to the question he asked on your behalf.
Uber advertising on TfL website
Question No: 2014/4218
Given legal questions surrounding Uber’s operation in Greater London are still awaiting clarification, is it appropriate for the company to be advertising on the TfL website?
Written response from the Mayor
Please see my answer to MQ 2014 /4149.
The Mayor has responded, saying TfL will no longer carry any advertising on this particular section of the website following a review of its policies.
The full response reads:
“Given TfL’s licensing and regulatory roles, it has reviewed its policy and is no longer carrying any advertising on the Taxi and Private Hire section of the TfL website.”
Taxi Leaks feel that although this is a clear victory, it’s not a full and concise victory, as the offending adverts may well be displayed on non Taxi and Private Hire TfL web-pages.
The Fight Goes On.