The popular app Uber is causing protest, discontent and controversy amongst taxi drivers around the world for not being properly regulated.

The California-based company, that counts Google and Goldman Sachs amongst its investors, allows users to order private cabs and find ride-shares through its smartphone app.

Uber first launched in 2009 and now operates in more than 70 cities around the world, including London and Manchester, where it officially launched this week.

London protests planned

Taxi drivers in London have complained that the app's ability to calculate fares is illegal, as it is against the law for private vehicles to have taximeters.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) now plans to protest Transport for London's lack of intervention in the matter by holding a protest in London next month.

"Transport for London not enforcing the Private Hire Vehicles Act is dangerous for Londoners," Steve McNamara, LTDA's general secretary, told the BBC.

"I anticipate that the demonstration against TfL's handling of Uber will attract many many thousands of cabs and cause severe chaos, congestion and confusion across the metropolis."

McNamara referred to Uber as "an American monster that has no qualms about breaching any and all laws in the pursuit of profit", a characterisation that was rejected by a spokesperson for Uber.

Backlash abroad

Taxi associations in Europe, the United States and Australia have expressed similar discontent with Uber, in some cases resulting in heavy fines for users of the app.

Berlin, Brussels and French taxi operators have all been making a public stand against Uber drivers who pick up customers without the necessary licenses.

The Victorian government in Australia has begun issuing $1,700 (£1,000) fines to ride-sharing drivers for not being correctly licensed. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a representative of Victoria's Taxi Services Commission revealed that "well over" 30 fines had already been issued.

A protest was held in Cincinnati yesterday by cab drivers demanding the City Council to either regulate or ban Uber.

"If they aren't regulated, they must go," Mahmoud Alwawi, manager of Ohio Taxi, told a local news site. "It's not fair."