Uber’s Brighton licence to come under further scrutiny following London decision

Posted On 25 Sep 2017 at 5:17 pm

Uber will have to satisfy city councillors it is working to resolve the issues highlighted by London authorities when they refused to renew its licence in the capital – if it applies to renew its Brighton licence.

The beleaguered US app has yet to apply to renew its Brighton and Hove licence, which expires on November 4.

But if and when it does, the London licence refusal could make it more difficult to renew its licence here too.

Cllr Lynda Hyde, the city’s Conservative spokeswoman for licensing, said: “Although Brighton and Hove will make its own decision regarding Uber, the reasons raised for refusal by Transport for London must be seriously considered.

“I shall be asking questions about Greyball. It’s possible that this may have been used and I shall be making enquiries regarding this.”

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Greyball is software developed by Uber which would allow it to prevent officials from being able to book a ride via the app, thus stopping them from monitoring its service.

Concern over Uber’s explanation of how it is used in London was one of the reasons Transport for London gave for not renewing Uber’s licence, along with its approach to criminal record checks, medical records and reporting serious crimes.

A council spokesperson said: “We are aware of today’s decision by TfL not to renew Uber’s licence in London, and will be considering over the coming days what potential implications this might have for Brighton and Hove.

“Uber has already said it will appeal against the London decision. There is nothing to stop Uber from continuing to trade as normal here pending the appeal process.

“Any decision as to whether Uber chooses to apply for a renewal of its Brighton and Hove licence is a matter for Uber, not the council.”

Andy Peters, secretary of GMB’s Brighton and Hove taxi branch, said: “I understand the council is watching the London Uber decision very carefully so it could have a bearing on its decision and I think it probably will have a big impact.

“But if the council decides not to renew its Brighton licence, Uber will then obviously go straight through the appeal process.

“Because Uber have licences all over the country, under the licensing system it can still operate in most places. For instance,
if Brighton refuses their licence, they can still operate here using cars from Lewes, or other areas where they still have one. It’s pushing the boundaries of the subcontracting rules.”

This morning, Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi apologised for its shortcomings in London, writing in an open letter: “While Uber has revolutionised the way people move in cities around the world, it’s equally true that we’ve got things wrong along the way. On behalf of everyone at Uber globally, I apologise for the mistakes we’ve made.

“We will appeal [against] the decision on behalf of millions of Londoners, but we do so with the knowledge that we must also change.”

A petition calling on TfL to reverse its decision was signed by more than 500,000 in under a day, with messages of support from signatories living all over the world.

  1. MegA Reply

    Uber is a non-event in this city. Right now, damp @ 17:30 there are 3 Uber cars in the town according to the App.

  2. Mark Reply

    The app (as far as showing available cars) has been priven to be falsified so I wouldn’t rely on that I’m afraid.

  3. Barney Reply

    I wonder whether Uber drivers would be prepared to carry my mobility scooter. It’s not one of the larger ones, fitting easily into a traditional London-type taxi, whereas most Brighton taxis are considerably larger, but I’ve had every negative response imaginable, ranging from a flat “no” to obvious lies such as the driver not being insured to carry scooters to having the “wrong type” of ramp, whatever that’s supposed to mean.

    Drivers and operators based in Crawley and Haywards Heath don’t seem to have a problem with scooters, but those in Brighton and Eastbourne simply refuse to carry disabled people.

    I should add that I can walk a little, so don’t have to remain on the scooter while it’s being loaded or in the taxi.

    It’s the same whether I approach a Hackney driver in the street or at the train station, or ring a private hire company. They just don’t want to know.

  4. Moh Reply

    Citizens are free to use local taxi as they are free to use uber if they wishes work together and stop this selfishness .. local taxi they use cash there income is more them 300 pounds a day and they declare 50 to 80 rest of the money goes to worth a new flats back home as uber its all declared …think about it..
    Goid luck to uber with this appeal..

    • Peter Reply

      Not sure what planet you’re on but I can assure you we do not earn £300

  5. Stew Reply

    Uber is the same price as a local taxi last time I checked. It’s a fad for snowflakes who can’t bare to speak to an operator.

  6. bob murphy Reply

    If Uber have put their hands up having made mistakes then they should only apply for renewal after they have corrected their anti-social practices and removed the unintended consequences

  7. Dan Naysmith Reply

    In addition to being an Uber driver – Uber drivers are also claiming state benefits and don’t declare their earnings – thus not paying income tax .

    There having off – big time

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