Uber given date for decision on whether it can operate in Brighton and Hove

Posted On 01 Oct 2015 at 12:34 am

The taxi app Uber has been given a date when it should learn whether it will be allowed to operate cabs in Brighton and Hove.

A licensing panel – made up of three councillors – is expected to hear an application from Uber at Brighton Town Hall on Monday 19 October.

Brighton and Hove City Council licenses taxis but many cabbies are concerned about the threat to their business from Uber and similar apps such as Gett, Cabify, Hailo and mytaxi.

They expect the value of their hackney carriage plates – and by extension their taxis – to drop if Uber is granted permission to ply for trade in the area.

Some existing operators such as City Cabs have apps of their own but they lack the brand recognition enjoyed by a number of the newcomers.

A Brighton taxi by Mic on FlickrAt a council Licensing Committee meeting in June councillors flagged up concerns.

These were reflected in a statement from the council which said: “The city council requires CCTV in all taxis and private hire vehicles as part of measures to protect passengers and drivers, enhanced police checks for drivers, high training standards for drivers and the provision of wheelchair-accessible vehicles.”

The Uber application could prove unnecessary because of changes to the licensing laws which take effect from today (Thursday 1 October).

They allow private hire drivers to operate anywhere in the country provided they are licensed by at least one council.

When the council’s Licensing Committee met in June, even those most in favour of competition and free trade expressed concern.

Local cabs adhere to higher safety standards than in some parts of the country and private hire drivers voluntary subscribe to the same standards as taxi drivers in Brighton and Hove.

The council said: “The city council requires CCTV in all taxis and private hire vehicles as part of measures to protect passengers and drivers, enhanced police checks for drivers, high training standards for drivers and the provision of wheelchair-accessible vehicles.”

Yesterday about 1,500 black cab drivers brought parts of central London to a standstill to protest about the handling of Transport for London’s (TfL’s) handling of Uber.

TfL is consulting on whether to tighten up some of its rules, a move criticised by Uber which is positioning itself as a consumer champion.

  1. Sven hanson Reply

    I’ve been a Brighton taxi driver for over ten years so naturally I’m deeply concerned by the possibility of falling standards within the B & H taxi service. The vast majority of drivers are local people who know the area, know the people, and in some cases develop regular passengers. Why would anyone in their right mind wish to de-construct a system that’s worked really quite well for many generations, and in the main is supported by the public? The regulation of the taxi service within Brighton and Hove insures that ALL taxis and the cab drivers within the City are of a suitable standard, well presented, and fully trained. Why do you wish to bring in an international organisation that would put members of the public at risk? Already they’ve been instances of rape reported in London, not to mention money being taken out of customer accounts illegally. How can an organisation like Uber, who pay no taxes in the UK, be concerned about the wishes of local passengers and people? I think you should look at this very seriously and not dismantle the trust built up by local people for what is one of the best cab services outside of London!

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