Taxi app Uber has been granted a licence to operate private hire vehicles in Brighton and Hove for one year.
The company wanted a standard five-year licence but will have to show that it will obey the rules and meet the standards set out in the Blue Book.
The Blue Book is the rule book for taxi and private hire drivers and firms licensed by Brighton and Hove City Council.
Uber was told the verdict today (Friday 23 October) – four days after a licensing panel heard from the company and from objectors at a hearing at Brighton Town Hall.
Objectors said that the company would not be competing on a level playing field but Uber said that it would obey the same rules as everyone else.
It now has a year to show that it’s true to its word. However at this stage Uber is not able to provide detailed information about commencement dates and service details. Work on these could not start until the firm was certain they would obtain a licence.
Uber would only be allowed to send Brighton and Hove-registered drivers to pick up customers.
All Uber drivers will have to hold the same licence as any other private hire driver, which includes a check by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), successor to the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).
Uber representatives told the panel they were already licensed in 33 council areas in the UK, though not yet operating in all of them.
Panel chair Cllr Mo Marsh said: “We want Uber to compete on a level playing field by signing up to the terms of the Blue Book. They made a commitment to do that in public and this one-year permission will test the strength of that commitment.”
Private hire vehicles are distinct from hackney carriages in that they must be booked in advance. They cannot ply for hire in the street, wait at cab ranks or be hailed by passers-by.