London Faces Gridlock As Black Cabbies Protest
Thousands of black cab drivers are set to bring severe disruption to central London in protest at the regulation of rival cab services such as Uber.
The Google-backed app allows users to order a car at the touch of a button, and the fare is calculated using GPS tracking.
But traditional cabbies say this is effectively a taxi meter, which only black cabs are legally entitled to use in the capital.
The protest will see up to 12,000 cars fill the streets around Trafalgar Square from 2pm.
Transport for London (TfL) has warned of significant traffic disruption.
The transport authority is seeking clarification from the High Court over whether or not services such as Uber should be licensed, and say today's action is "pointless".
Garrett Emmerson, TfL's chief operating officer for surface transport, said: "A number of taxi drivers are set to cause pointless disruption for Londoners over a legal issue that is down to the courts to decide upon.
"TfL will work with the Metropolitan Police to do all we can to keep central London moving, however, given the scale of the likely disruption, we would advise drivers to avoid the area if at all possible."
Mick Cash, acting general secretary of the RMT transport union, said: "There will be serious disruption on Wednesday.
"But that will be nothing compared to the disruption and dangers of allowing our licensed taxis to be driven from our streets through a combination of ignorance and greed."
There are some 25,000 black cabs in London which can be flagged down in the street and use a metre to calculate fares.
There are a further 44,000 private-hire minicabs which must be pre-booked with a set fare and destination.
Uber has been the focus of anger from taxi drivers across European countries, including Spain and France.
On Wednesday Uber announced that a black cab service was being added to its app platform, meaning drivers of the classic London cab can now be booked through the app if they sign up.