Uber aren’t going to be thrilled to hear that Muhaydin Mire, the man who has been arrested on suspicion of knifing a man at Leytonstone station, while shouting ‘This is for Syria’, was reportedly one of their drivers.
On social media, London cabbies have already started to capitalise on this, by making the case that you’re better off sticking with them if you want to avoid catching a ride with a jihadi. A new hashtag is currently doing the rounds: #HeWasAnUberDriverBruv – and the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association has been quick to adopt it, while also wondering how many more ‘TFL licensed terrorists’ are out there. While the tweet has now been deleted, it originally read:
— London Taxi Radio (@LondonTaxiRadio) December 8, 2015
Faced with a looming PR disaster, Uber may want to consider how other companies have dealt with similar situations. And no one is better placed to give advice than the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, which had to pick up the pieces a few years ago after John Worboys – the ‘black cab rapist’ who was suspected of targeting more than 100 women in the back of his car – caused all kinds of problems for the industry.
Back then, Bob Oddy, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, offered this reassurance: ‘We carry a quarter of a million passengers in London every day. I’m confident that every one of these passengers will have a safe journey, particularly now Worboys has been taken off the streets.’ He also suggested that ‘this man has really let the side down. It won’t happen again and you can be confident the next taxi you stop will get you to your destination safely.’ Uber could well say something similar.
Uber drivers and cabbies haven’t traditionally seen eye to eye, but perhaps they may find common ground on this. After all, John Worboys #WasABlackCabDriverMate, but that doesn’t mean all cabbies are serial rapists.