Iconic black cabs will become extinct if rules don’t change, warn London mayoral hopefuls

The two contenders likely to battle it out for the race to City Hall have said that London’s 25,000  black cabs will be consigned to the history books unless the authorities intervene.

Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith, who is odds-on favourite to be selected as the Conservative mayoral candidate, and Tooting MP and Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan called for changes to the regulation during a Westminster Hall debate yesterday.

Mr Goldsmith explained that the emergence of smartphone app Uber had ‘turned it [the system] on its head’ and that the one advantage enjoyed by black cabs had ‘evaporated’.

He said: “The tragedy is that black cabs’ days could soon be numbered.

“If trends continue, I do not think that there is any doubt that they will be extinct in a matter of years.”

While both agreed that something needs to change, their approaches differ.

Mr Goldsmith is pushing for cutting regulation, while Mr Khan suggests that private hire vehicles should be subject to regulation.

“If the polls are right, I suspect this will be the first of many debates he and I will be having between now and May,” Mr Khan said.

“Rather than deregulating the black cab in a race to the bottom, should there not be innovation in regulation for private hire vehicles, and Uber in particular, to make sure that there is a level playing field?”

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