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.”
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.
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.