A 2014 protest in London saw thousands of traditional taxi drivers blocking the roads for a one hour protest against ride-hailing app, Uber. Concerns were raised about the legality of Uber's practice and its threat to the taxi driver's livelihoods.
In London, you have to pass the tricky ‘Knowledge of London’ test to become a taxi driver. This involves memorising the location and name of every road in central London and takes three to four years of studying.
For New York citizens, drivers have to purchase a license called a Taxi Medallion, which is rare and expensive. In 2014, one license to operate cabs in New York City sold for more than a million dollars. The purpose of keeping a low limit of licenses means they have more value. And less competition.
In 2017, A New York City taxi medallion sold for just $241,000. This was one-fifth less than what it would have been worth four years previous. The reason for this is the increase of ride-hailing apps competing for the same customers. In 2017, there were 13,587 yellow-taxi medallions in New York City up against more than 50,000 Uber and Lyft cars.
Ride-hailing apps are a huge threat to taxi drivers. They tend to offer cheaper fares.
Pretty much anyone over the age of 21 with a valid UK licence can sign up to become an Uber driver. And they don't have to buy a licence or take a complicated test.
The same can be said for Lyft.
It's not only London and New York who have protested over Uber. Taxi drivers have gridlocked cities in Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, and Madrid protesting Uber's lack of regulations and threats to their livelihood.
Argentina has also protested against Uber.