Uber cars under investigation by council licensing officers

Posted On 06 Apr 2017 at 12:28 pm

An investigation has been launched into Uber cars using Brighton and Hove’s Hackney Carriage taxi ranks as the council says the app firm’s behaviour in the city will be taken into account when renewing its licence this November.

This week, Conservative councillor Lee Wares, who sits on the licensing committee, said that Uber was flouting the spirit of the agreement it made by allowing out of area drivers to pick up fares in Brighton and Hove.

This has been a common complaint of Brighton taxi drivers, who say it’s unfair that drivers from areas such as London, which have fewer licence requirements, are allowed to compete with them. Brighton has one of the most stringent set of requirements for individual drivers licences, known as the blue book, which includes installing CCTV in the taxi.

This is not against national guidelines and the council says it’s perfectly legal for out of area Uber cars to accept fares in Brighton. However, it says it has received complaints about cars parked in Hackney Carriage ranks and these are being investigated.

Councillor Lee Wares, who leads for the Conservative Group on the licensing committee said: “Uber’s commitment to the City and me as one of the Councillors who granted their operators licence was simple; that they would only use Brighton and Hove licensed drivers and vehicles.

“The reason this is important is that drivers and vehicles have to comply with the council’s blue rule book which determines the safety standards of the vehicle, the training and background checks of drivers, identification, the provision of CCTV and the ability for the council to inspect at will any vehicle and any driver.

“Where vehicles or drivers fail inspections, or drivers are subject to complaints, the council can take them off the road.

“However, since Uber’s operator’s licence was granted, the city has been flooded with vehicles and drivers not licensed by Brighton and Hove. It is therefore impossible to know who is licensed or not and with the council having no ability to inspect who has been checked.

“Resident’s freedom to use vehicles operated by Uber exists, however it should be noted that the council’s ability to mitigate risks to their welfare does not. It is important that the standards we operate in this city are the highest they can be and I shall press Uber to achieve this.”

“Uber could, if it wished, block out any vehicle on their app covering the city that is not licensed by Brighton and Hove. It is in its gift if it wishes to play by the same rules as everybody else.”

A council spokeswoman said: “National rules mean that is not an offence for out of city drivers to operate in Brighton and Hove.

“However, it is an offence for vehicles other than vehicles licensed as Hackney Carriages to park on a rank.

“Our licensing team is investigating complaints of vehicles other than Hackney Carriages parking on ranks, and enforcement action will be taken in accordance with the council’s enforcement policy.

“National rules state that the operator, vehicle and driver must all be licensed in the same area.

“As long as Uber follows national rules they can operate in Brighton and Hove irrespective of whether or not they have a Brighton & Hove private hire operator’s licence.

“It is perfectly legal for someone to order a licensed taxi from anywhere in the country, regardless of where that taxi is licensed – as long as that taxi is correctly licensed.

“Granting Uber an operating licence means we can maintain the high standards for those drivers using the Brighton & Hove private hire operator’s licence, by ensuring they meet the requirements of our local regulations.

“Uber’s licence was granted for one year. Should they wish to renew their licence their application will be considered in the normal way. This process would include an assessment of whether they had correctly followed the terms of their current licence.”

Fred Jones, who manages Uber operations in Brighton, said: “Uber abides by the same rules and regulations as all other private hire operators in Brighton. As agreed with the council when our license was renewed – only cars licensed by Brighton and Hove are dispatched under Uber’s Brighton and Hove operator’s license.

“In accordance with national law however, private hire cars licensed in other regions are free to pick up in Brighton as long as they are pre booked and dispatched under the operator’s license they are registered to.

“We have seen a huge increase in demand for our service in Brighton as people want an affordable, safe and convenient ride at the touch of a button.

“Private hire drivers should not wait at taxi ranks for any reason. We work very closely with Brighton and Hove council to support all their investigations and take the appropriate action if Uber partners are parking where they shouldn’t.

“Uber abides by the same rules and regulations as all other private hire operators in Brighton. We have an excellent compliance record, very high standards nationally and a good working relationship with the council.”

  1. Michael Oshea Reply

    They are not cheaper and in a lot of cases they are 2.5 to 3 times more expensive than Brighton Licenced Taxis

  2. John Reply

    Especially in the weekends or event nights when they surge their prices 1,5-2 or even 3 times
    Regular days they are still more expensive than local cabbies

  3. Mena dawod Reply

    Uber drivers no respect of traffic and the are very agrisev with city cabs

  4. Joshua bury Reply

    I been in a few Uber’s lately some of them are okay but some are rude and have no clue where they are going they suddenly switch lanes when they realise they gone wrong way and end up making a journey longer Brighton cabs are good but they overcharge for out of town they need to sort there act out then people will start using them again

  5. Supaskippy Reply

    Local licensed & fully insured taxi/private-hire car vs a car with no markings – licensed goodness knows where – complete with a driver affixed to his sat nav due to lack of local knowledge – insurance under scrutiny due to working outside the area declared to the insurer — I know where I want my wife & family to spend their money after a night in town.

  6. John Reply

    Went last Saturday 09.00 to Gatwick. Local £45. Uber quoted £83.- £104. Gues which one company i went with?

  7. Shane Reply

    Uber taxis are unbelievable expensive. Took taxi Brighton station To Sussex university paid £14.40. With local taxi. Uber on app quoted up to £24.00 . Why do uber insist they are cheaper?They are not.

  8. gary Reply

    why would anyone risk their life’s in cars not even properly licensed, and under no control as they are out of their area.

  9. Richard Reply

    I have had nothing but good service from Über. The cars are clean and well maintained, the drivers are friendly and knowledgeable, and the fares are a lot cheaper than local companies. I think the previous responders must all be cab drivers!

    • Anne Marie Reply

      You must be an uber driver . I have had many conversations with uber users and NEVER have I heard every ride a good one. The odd one maybe and the driving is shocking. Majority of drivers did not pass a uk test and therefore drove before on other side and has little knowledge of the UK Highway Code as well as relying on GPS. Recipe for disaster as far as I’m concerned.

      • Rob Reply

        this is a faulse allegation if you cant prove it, plz provide trip screenshot, driver name pick up, drop off date and time , police reference number…we never heard of it , by the way why mu previous comment has been deleted??? hein????

    • Vinnie Reply

      Lol agree I drive with uber, get a lot of flack, but I don’t park on taxi ranks. No point, get more pick ups driving around any town or suburb I’m in. If an uber driver doesn’t know his way round, well that’s what app nav is there for. U think you’ve been overcharged, get in touch with uber, customer service is excellent and will issue refunds if found you’ve been over run.

  10. Jeremy Woodcock Reply

    Got an uber taxi last Friday and paid £18 for a journey which costs in a Brighton taxi £13-14. The driver also went through a no entry and then blamed it on the sat nav. What a joke. Won’t be using again

  11. Danny Evans Reply

    From a Brightonian. Lets face it, Ubers, days are numbered here in Brighton & Hove.

    Uber you numties, if your reading this. Its so simple, if you keep taking the wee out of us then your operators licence will be revoked . If you play ball, then it wont

  12. Craig Reply

    This was always going to happen. Only the intelligent people of Brighton and Hove will never use Uber again after trying them once and seeing for themselves how expensive they are and such a danger to the road! Shouldn’t have come to this stage. Should never have been given a license to operate in our city where we already have such a well oiled machine of a taxi trade! Go home Uber, go back to putting US dollars in Trumps pocket and stop stealing our UK pounds and putting lives at risk, and ruining peoples way of life!

  13. Dan Reply

    Caught an uber driving the wrong way around Norfolk Square.
    Only a matter of time before a serious accident happens and its on the councils head. They granted the operators licence.
    i360, bike lanes, empty for decades properties, homelessness, madeira terrace, black rock, parking rackets, volks railway and uber.
    Sort yourselves out councillors ffs.

  14. Stu Reply

    Uber are dreadful. Used a couple of times but it’s a gimmick, way more expensive than simply dialing 20 3 times, slower pick up too. The second time they drove me the wrong way down the bottom of Trafalgar street… I’ll stick to old fashioned, self employed & properly regulated taxis thanks. Bonus is I’m not supporting a tax dodging company either that way.

  15. Sandra Reply

    My daughter is at Uni righton and she got an Uber late one evening with her freiends. She was the last to be dropped off, and the Uber driver then made advances towards her. We reported the incident to Brighton police, and is now under investigation .

    I am fuming what happened to my daughter, in that these uber drivers can operate in Brighton & Hove without any control from Brighton & Hove city council . They could be any Tom, Dick or Harry just driving about Brighton looking for an opertuntity to take advantage of a female .

    • rob Reply

      not everyone would believe….thx god we dont have many fools in this city to believe those faulse alegations…prove me wrong, driver name, time of pick up and drop off, police reference number…. and a screenshot of the trip, something called technology mate, u cant falsify it

  16. richard Reply

    Im a student at UoB , Journalism course, I have done a report about Uber as a student, I always get vouchers and cheap fares, most of their cars are clean and less than 5 years old, when there is a surge i never order one as i cant afford them, so i just use local cabs, but now i always get one uber for a reasonable price due to availabilty, shame i cant post screenshots for trips i took wiv them, but heyho I am definitely uberring it guys especialy at night when flat rate got applied and i asked once a driver what their licence requiere? he said :
    *Dbs Check £65
    *topographical test £50
    *GP + optician test 110
    *pco licence £250
    *phv licence £100
    * Driving license no less than 3 years and 3 points max
    i dont remember what else but im happy to give u full details of my report
    R.ElMalilas1@uni.brighton.ac.uk

  17. alain Reply

    if Uber is shit and no one want to experience it again after couple of trips, why their drivers r super happy to work there and they owe all respect for brighton residents?
    coz shit service means less customers means no more jobs ….

  18. Mike Reply

    Used Uber a few times in Brighton now. Cheaper than Brighton Taxis and more friendly in my opinion, clean nice cars too.
    And you can rate the drivers too. Each to their own I suppose ?

  19. Richard Humphrey Reply

    you taxis are idiots. Was in an uber and to off you guys blocked him in while I was in the car. Talk about Wild West situations it’s you taxi drivers that are out off control. From that day on wards I now choose to ride only uber. If it wasn’t for your arrogants then maybe I would carry on sharing the love. But now I thank uber for coming to Brighton

  20. Ayo Reply

    I think Uber is amazing all round as the taxis have had it arrogantly good for too long…
    Excellent service and even well maintained vehicles.
    We could also make requests for musics of our choice and feel safe through the entire journey as the drivers are DBS checked. I remember being in an Uber and a license local Taxi driver sticking out his middle finger to the Uber driver when he’s done nothing wrong to the Taxi driver but he remained professional throughout the entire journey.

  21. Alexander N Reply

    I think services provided by Uber and in particular their drivers is second to none, The cars are clean, drivers are very professional and sometimes they even carry bottles of water that they offer to their passengers.
    Perhaps it is the competition that the local taxis don’t like, or the fact that they are earning less cash and aren’t able to fool the taxman enough!
    In any event, uber is only available at Brighton and Hove because the council wanted them to be there regardless of its terms and conditions. I think trying to pin each and every uber driver down on the roads isn’t going to make a good representation of our community rather best to deal with it in a legal and efficient way by getting the council and Uber office resolve the issues.
    ( personally I think local taxi’s are at fault however you may beg to differ)

  22. Sarah Reply

    Thank God uber has arrived in Brighton. I love the service it provides, very nice cars and the drivers are very proffesional. I recommended all my friends in Brighton to use uber from now on 🙂 . We love you uber and keep up the good work.

  23. Jamie Reply

    Dinosaurs are extinct.

  24. Jamie uber Reply

    Taxis drivers going around slashing tyres. And now moan and cry when uber drivers took over surry street. Face it we are here and here to stay. You can slash our tyres break our windows we will simply dust our selfs off and start again. Uber drivers respected your invisible boundaries but you taxis took it to far. Now Brighton is ours play safe win. Play nasty we make it nasty too

  25. Sarah Reply

    Why do these green and white taxis keep deleting any positives messages towards uber from the general public living in Brighton

  26. Andy Reply

    The local cabs have taken too far especially going round slashing tyres and also swearing at Uber drivers. As a customer i have told myself i will not get into these green and white cabs again the drivers are very rude also !! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK UBER !!!!
    Get on with it guys you shouldn’t be scared of competition good example:- Sainsbury’s can open another shop right next door to tescos if called balance !!

  27. Natash@ Reply

    Hang on a minute, if Uber deivers are rude, unprofessional and expensive …why customers keep using them??? and the number of riders is increasing day after day, if u think residents are not happy with uber fares and service they will defibtely go back to local cabbis but they didnt means they r happy with the new rivals, Also if the local taxi knows how bad uber is they should be proud of them selves providing a gd service and holding their riders back…but jealousy made them act like this …Uber is coming, this the new era of transportation, get a life, no more moaning, work hard, provide a gd service, be nice to ur customers u win their trust…that how uber does it

  28. James Reply

    I totally agree I’m a Brighton and hove local driver and Uber has full right to operate in Brighton same as what the other companies did joining up with lewes cabs and adur so if you are getting rid of these drivers you have to equally stop adur and lewes operating in Brighton and hove territory as they also not licensed here in Brighton !!! The only person who can stop this is the government and for now we have to get on with it stop moaning!!

  29. John Spicer Reply

    I honestly don’t know what people expect . I never actually had a ride with Ubet but I read up and seen all there is on the Internet. Uber is a new business and still very much in its infantsy and is still leaning it’s trade. The hackney carriage trade has been in business since 1847 and in my opinion as dishonest as any other business. Did any business get it right from year one No,does every restaurant or hotel or garage or hospital or our own government get things perfect day in and dsy out NO. Fine tuning over the next decade or two will help but still like evey other business that ever came to fruition there will never be perfect and without unsatisfied customers . That’s life get used to IT.

  30. Sophie Reply

    Non price surge:
    I work near London Rd, Brighton and live in Hangleton and local cab is £12 something, I give £13 with the tip.

    I tried uber and so did my boyfriend, they charge £15. I challenged the uber driver and asked why he was taking this route? Especially as I’m a Brightonian and know where I’m going !

    He replied we know the best route. I replied you are not even from here and using sat nav to direct you ! So how would you the best route. My partner had similar situation too.

    Going forward we won’t be using uber. We’ve read all the uber horror stories on the internet .

  31. Dave Reply

    Uber breaks laws and ignores regulations around the world. It thinks it is so big it doesn’t have to follow the same rules as other taxi drivers. If you use Uber there is little protection. Our local cab drivers are great, polite and know the best routes. I would never use Uber as they are such an unpleasant company.

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