No launch date for Uber in Brighton and Hove as meter keeps running on year-long licence

Posted On 03 Mar 2016 at 9:43 am

Uber still has no news on when it is likely to launch in Brighton, four months after its year-long licence was granted last year.

Uber logo
The controversial taxi hailing app’s bid for a taxi operating licence was approved in October last year after months of representations from existing taxi operators on one side, and digital champions on the other.

Brighton taxi companies such as Streamline and City Cabs argued that Uber had a track record of flouting local regulations, and that allowing it to operate as it does elsewhere, without providing wheelchair accessible cabs, would be unfair on local companies who have to abide by stricter rules.

But web natives such as former council leader Jason Kitcat say that to reject Uber would be regressive, and we should be embracing its innovative approach.

After a day of representations from taxi companies and Uber, Brightno and Hove City Council’s licencing committee agreed to give it a one-year licence, which expires on November 4 this year.

But with the meter running, there’s still no sign of an imminent launch. A spokeswoman for the company said: “We look forward to being able to offer a safe, reliable and affordable choice for people in Brighton and Hove but we do not yet have a date for launch.

“Already thousands of people in the area have downloaded and opened the app and we’re really excited about the potential.”

One issue might be that the company is struggling to find enough drivers. The president of the Brighton and Hove taxi branch of GMB Jon Smith said that none of his members had signed up.

But he said he was confident Uber would launch in Brighton one day. He said: “They’re claiming that thousands of people are waiting to use their service. But the problem is that they don’t supply cars, the driver has to provide his own car and insurance – they provide nothing, they just take a cut.

“I think the delay is because they have got so much other hassle going on around the world – but they will end up here, probably using London drivers.

“No GMB members have signed up in Brighton – but in London, Uber drivers have joined us because there’s so many drivers, there’s not enough fares to go around, and Uber have increased their cut.”

  1. yellerKat Reply

    I’m (reasonably) sure the meter only starts running when Uber does.

    • Jo Wadsworth Reply

      I checked that with the council – and it doesn’t. It runs from November 5, 2015 to November 4, 2016.

  2. Bradley Gilbert Reply

    How can they use London drivers? Surely if they have to follow the blue book of regulations they have to be Brighton licenced and pass the knowledge etc.

  3. Jon Smith Reply

    To answer you Bradley The Coalition (Conservative and Lib Dem) Government rushed through legislation just before the election which allows a company licensed in one area to pass work to out of town cars to cover work.
    Of course that had nothing to do with how UBER need to operate or cosying up to multinational corporations and who avoid paying full tax here like Google (one of UBER’s main backers)

    • Bradley Gilbert Reply

      So even though the Brighton council have only granted them a licence for a year as long as they meet all the rregulations, they will still come no matter what using other vehicles and drivers from other districts and the council can’t do nothing about it?

      • Jean Claude Spatulla Reply

        The sooner the better. There will clearly be demand for a technologically advanced, easy to use and reasonably priced taxi service in Brighton & Hove, replicating the success in almost every other major city in the world. Also, the price of taxis in Brighton & Hove are on par with London Black Cab prices, which can be eye watering.

        The city should embrace advances in technology, reasonable prices and better service for its residents as soon as it can.

        My view is that B&H based drivers are probably uninterested in Uber as the rates they currently charge are much higher than Ubers (assuming B&H Uber prices are the same as their London rates). However, demand will be through the roof if a lower cost and more advanced service is available which will save drivers waiting around in the endless queue of cars that vomits out from Brighton station, increasing earning potential.

        • Bradley Gilbert Reply

          Jean Claude. I agree we should embrace this technology. But if they don’t follow the blue book of regulations that all taxi firms and drivers have to follow then soon uber will flood the market with vehicles, there will not be enough work go going around like what’s happend in London.
          Therefore, even more taxis waiting around longer for a job at brigton station for eg,
          Uber cars will soon be waiting longer for a job once they flood the market, which means more congestion, unhappy drivers, and prices rise, etc.
          If they stick to the blue book of regulations, it will limit the uberrs because they will have to pass the knowledge which isn’t easy and follow all of the requirements, cctv in cars, wheel chair cars, insurance etc. This will keep standards high, meaning it will be fair completion as all firms and drivers go through the the same.
          If they don’t, vulnerable girls could be being picked up by drivers that aren’t even licenced in the area and therefore haven’t been crb checked by the Sussex police and approved by the council. The standards will soon go down hill.
          You pay for the service the service in Brighton is excellent never struggle getting a cab they are there within in minutes because there is so many. Prices are high in Brighton because of this service and it’s an expensive city everything else is high, and they need to be able to make a living and be kept happy. Taking away there livihoods and lowering standards is not the answer.

        • Stephen J. Ainsworth Reply

          Eye watering? You have no idea how much it costs to buy, run and upkeep a cab and what it costs for driver licensing each year. A CRB check every three years. A wheelchair competence certificate every year. Licence renewal every year. Everything costs. My cab just had a new clutch and full service. – £500.00. Ubër drivers are renowned for their paucity when it comes to vehicle regulation and upkeep, questionable insurance,and total lack of local knowledge. And please don’t quote me Satnavs. If I were to say take me from the Martlets to Whitehawk library, how is a Satnav going to know? Your comments are based solely on ignorance.

  4. Viv young Reply

    They are operating in Pompey, and flouting legislation, they are using some out of area ph to operate here. When they don’t have a job they are available.. ie visible on the app. I thought ph had to return to their licensing area when not having a job. Section 55a. Check out and search “Portsmouth uber”, I put one on yesterday

  5. Me Reply


  6. Spiros Reply

    Enough with rip off prices for taxis! What a joke, uber should operate everywhere! I have been using uber all around the world and they are truly amazing!!! And for a price that ordinary hard working people can afford! To be honest i never used normal taxis simply cause they are too expensive but with uber i use them all the time wherever i travel round the world !!!

  7. Luke Reply

    I agree Spiros. I had a 5 min taxi ride in the pouring rain the other day and it cost me £10. They already had £3 on the metre as I got in. Uber estimated my trip as £2.50.

    I think we’ll see that once uber has launched, it will dominate Brighton’s taxi service and that’s when we’ll see most drivers running to uber realising how arrogant they were.

    • Ste Reply

      For this to be the case… the driver would have had to drive the whole distance at 60mph… Maybe Uber in Mumbai would estimate this journey at 2.50.

      Please refrain from lies on this and any other forum

  8. Charlie Reply

    I want uber in Brighton. It might make the ripoff prices of normal cabs drop a bit. Competition is usually good for the consumer, not so good for the companies who’ve got the market sewn up!

    Uber if you’re reading this, sort it out!!

  9. Chrissie Reply

    Hurry up UBER
    Get onto Brighton liveo

  10. Barry Reply

    Tried using Uber in London. I will for one not be using them. They seem to take anyone off the boat with no local knowledge and rely on a bad sat nav. Expect drivers taking routes taking twice as long as the norm. Nearly every time I used them had to complain especially where the journey one way was £11 and the return nearly £45. Forget about estimates, that is all they are. Surcharges are the norm. Brighton and Hove have a good taxi service and hope that even if they start everyone will realise that the service they provide is poor at best.

  11. Linda Reply

    You will regret giving uber a licence ..
    London is now lawless , and dangerous
    I have never seen so many accidents and are mainly uber drivers .
    Drivers have been found not to have hire and reward insurance ??
    They are out to put all other ph and taxi’s out of biz .
    Last year there were 154 Rapes and Sexual Assaults by mini cab drivers in London at least 32 of these were uber drivers..
    Also read there terms and conditions very inportant??
    Like I say you will regret having them !!!

    • Brighton Business Reply

      And there you sum it up. 122 attacks by taxi drivers, that makes Uber look far safer. There not lawless, the follow normal road laws. The insurance has to be provided by the driver, no insurance then they get suspended. Brighton taxies are over priced, slow and take the most expensive way, Uber you know the cost as soon as you get in. Seriously its people like you, who slow down change. We need to move forward. Taxies if anything are a much worse safety history. Get off your high horse and go comment about some coal strike or whatever happens in your small world.

      • Stephen J. Ainsworth Reply

        Your nasty reply is based on pure ignorance. You know nothing about B&H taxi practices which are governed by the city council. We are not allowed to take passengers the long way round. If you have had that experience then it is your right to call the Hackney Carriage office at Hove Town Hall with the relevant cab information – driver number, cab number – and you will be compensated. And the driver may even be suspended. There is too much disinformation on here as well as lies. Obviously none of you know the costs of running a cab and to have a cheap service on a par with Poland will be bad bad bad for service users.

        • Colin Reply

          Spoken like a cab driver Stephen. But as a consumer we have the right to choose an alternative. Its easy to blame the council for the cost of the cab, but can they also be held accountable for the rudeness of cab call centre staff, drivers that can’t understand where they are going, drivers that smoke in cabs – I don’t think so.
          Competition is needed, because outside of Streamline – who dominate our marketplace down here, there is little choice.
          Come on Uber, get some drivers down here and show the consumer how it should be done.

  12. Linda Reply

    Also once they get control of the whole industry expect there surge to be the norm.
    So enjoy the cheap fare’s while they last,
    Because when they surge you can pay 5 times the fare !!!

  13. Simon Says Reply

    Uber will never be able to compete in Brighton. Uber can only recruit from registered drivers who have passed all the stringent tests and no current taxi driver is going to move over from a self-employed, immediate cash business to working for a unethical multinational company to get paid monthly after getting taxed at source.

    Sorry ‘Uber-lovers’, you’re all dreaming.

    You’ll have to wait until Uber sacks all its workforce and runs Google driverless cars – something which the idiots who currently drive for them haven’t even considered is going to happen until they find themselves out of a job.

    So, next time you moan about Brighton taxi drivers, put yourself in their position… How would you feel about a dodgy multinational moving into your business area with the ultimate goal of replacing you with a robot?

    • Colin Reply

      Stephen, you speak like a cab driver. What about the consumer?

  14. Phil Reply

    I have used Uber in Delhi, Singapore, Dubai and quite a few places in the US. People criticising the safety and accountability of the drivers should read the details of User’s driver requirements. You can track the progress and route as you go. If the driver tries to rip you off then you report them. If the ride is dangerous then you report them. One thing is for sure, taxis up their game when Uber is competing. It used to be really hard to get a taxi in Singapore in some locations. Now the taxi servicehas excellent coverage. The convenience of paying by credit card with no hassle and knowing when your ride will arrive is also extremely convenient. I have not used Uber in London but probably will do so just to see if it is as bad as some seem to think.

  15. Shamila Reply

    I like the uber app. I’m surprised when I couldn’t use Uber app on’s shame ?

  16. Richard Reply

    The 122 sexual attacks you refer to by taxi drivers is not true as in London mini cab drivers are not licensed. The truth is taxi drivers in Brighton have no problem with uber “coming to town” as long as the conditions are the same for everyone. The prices taxis charge in Brighton is and should be levied by the council and if anyone is overcharged or not metered for the journey they should take it up in writing with the Hackney carriage office ( of course from time to time we all make honest mistakes). We have all heard the stories of how good and how bad uber is the facts are each town or city that uber operates in is different as the drivers are what makes the firm either good or bad!. Also monopolies never work because once you have control you set your own rules, this cannot be done in Brighton because overall control is held by and should remain in the hands of the Hackney carriage office in Brighton and hove city council. This is why I am in full support of the council allowing uber a temporary license to see what the true intentions of how they intend to operate in this borough are.

  17. Chrissie Reply

    Where is the Uber offices
    Address etc in Brighton

  18. Colin Reply

    One up for the Consumer!
    its about time that there was competition for the existing cab companies.
    Consumers have little to choose from in Brighton and the prices here are less than competitive compared to the rest of the country. Wake up Brighton. £7.10 for travelling from the marina to the pier is not acceptable. It may be ok for the cab drivers to charge it, but in a lean market – its is not acceptable for the consumer have to pay it.

    Uber works brilliants across most countries in Europe and further afield. Why should Brighton be any exception.

  19. A Reply

    I’ve only ever had good experiences with B&H cabs BUT the main fact is they cannot meet demand. This is a city with a night life and anyone that’s been out until 3am will know it’s queue for over an hour for a taxi when there are none in the rank or wait 40 minutes for a bus. You can criticise the safety of any driver but having to walk home is not safe for anyone. Unfortunately uber are the only option left!

  20. A Reply

    Also, low and behold B&H cabs are advertising their app on the home page which is slow, unresponsive and outdated! Step it up

  21. iain stewart Reply

    A cab ride at 11.30pm for two adults and three kids from Portslade to West Hove cost me £11 two years ago, the distance is 1.2miles. Then there was the time a can co refused to pick me up from Portslade station ‘cos I might jump on a bus’! Uber can’t come soon enough.

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