Uber licence renewal set to be decided in public next week

Posted On 18 Apr 2018 at 9:40 am

Uber’s bid to renew its licence is to be heard in public next week following a campaign by taxi drivers.

Hundreds of taxi drivers have also written in to object to the controversial app being allowed to continue trading in the city, with a total of 274 representations opposing the renewal received.

Seven taxi drivers and 26 residents or businesses wrote to support the application, which has been made by the standalone company Uber Brighton and Hove (UBL).

UBL was first granted a year-long operators licence in November 2015, but did not launch in Brighton and Hove until the following October. The licence was renewed for another year, but by the time it applied for another renewal in 2017, its licence had been suspended in London.

Town hall officers decided to renew it for six months with four new conditions relating to the concerns raised by Transport for London attached – not to block officials from using the app, to report serious complaints to the council, to ensure that rides booked by UBL are provided by Brighton drivers and to ensure all UBL drivers have disability equality training.

However, taxi drivers are calling on the council to reject its licence with a lengthy list of challenges, including challenging Uber’s status as an operator, the ongoing TfL appeal, Uber’s failure to report sexual attacks in London and Uber data being hacked.

Drivers also continue to criticise the widespread appearance of Uber drivers licensed outside the city – drivers who are not required to adhere to the strict rules laid down in the city council’s “blue book” of rules, including CCTV and wheelchair accessibility.

In his report to councillors on the licensing panel, head of regulatory services Jim Whitelegg said some of these concerns did not relate to UBL, which only uses Brighton drivers (although out of city drivers are able to use the app via Uber London and other Uber subsidiaries).

However, he did say that councillors may want to question Uber over some issues, such as wheelchair accessibility, a broken promise to ban drivers from picking up rides around Brighton Station and other areas, out of area drivers working in the city and the reporting of serious sexual assaults in London.

In its application, Uber said: “We recognise that Uber is not above criticism and so we have sought to address questions and concerns raised in a full and transparent manner. This includes the range of issues that have been raised by the local trade with regards to Uber’s presence in the city.

“Since we launched, well over 200,000 people have used the service in Brighton and Hove – Uber has become part of daily life for many locals in the city and an essential way visitors get around the city.

“Uber is particularly valued by international visitors to the area, with riders from almost 100 countries using the app in Brighton and Hove in the past three months alone.

“We have not been made aware of any complaints from members of the public to Brighton and Hove City Council regarding our service and we have passed any inspections and satisfied any compliance questions raised.”

It also said that its drivers make on average £18.15 an hour, and it offers discounts on pension schemes and illness insurance, free skills courses, and has set up a pilot driver advisory group in Brighton.

  1. Ivan Reply

    It’s all sounds good about the Uber app and how many people from how many different countries used the app but if Uber disappears they’ll use local cabs how did it work before Uber days?
    Uber also doesn’t pay any taxes or VAT whatsoever in UK and they are not cheaper than local cabs I don’t understand how people can think they are better than traditional taxis?

    • BrightonResident Reply

      who said they don’t pay any taxes or VAT in UK? also Uber is way cheaper and uses modern and better cars that traditional taxis. nobody is forcing anyone to use Uber but if you like to do so you should have an option. is is FREEDOM of choice same as you have Asda, Tesco, Morrisons etc in shop market or BA, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet etc in airlines!!

  2. Paul Landau Reply

    Uber DOES NOT pay uk corporation or VAT taxation….FACT! This is because it is limited in nature as a holding company called ‘Uber Britannia’ in London, which is part of its parent company ‘Uber B.V’, whose home is in the tax haven that many other US firms hide in of the Netherlands.

    While you may consider your ride ‘cheap’, all you do is create a race to the bottom. Once that happens standards fall and everything else with it, not to mention also that you could be getting picked up by an ‘Uber’ from an area where there is no requirement for a DBS check, cold thought if you are entrusting such service to your daughters etc on a night out. Remember Rotherham, that should be enough to stop using Uber. Period.

  3. luke Huxter Reply

    Uber is simply a modern 21st century option of travel. In my onion, you get taxi travelers and you get uber travelers. You’re always going to get punters hopping in a taxi and youre always going to get those more comfortable using their smart phone. What on earth is the uproar?

    I know drivers who went on to become taxi drivers and i know taxi drivers who went on to become uber drivers. What is so unheard of about this? As a world of working professionals we often play the field in life as both a worker and a customer and we try the competition.
    The taxi and private hire market has always has had competition and on top of that i have NEVER seen a taxi at the University campus outside town students only option is bus and uber. Taxi drivers have the freedom to roam about so why not try less sitting in your car reading your books and more getting practical and using more strategy. You have to hustle in this world!

  4. Hannah Reply

    the standard fall? you mean rude or moody hackney drivers and getting angry when you need a short trip? and most of their aged tatty cars are falling apart. where did you take the idea of no DBS requirement? each and every single uber driver has to go thru exactly same checks as any other private hire driver. no licence = not allowed to drive. simple as. don’t want to use uber then don’t use it but don’t take that option from others who appreciate technology and step forward. it’s 2018 not 1950 anymore. get on wih it and let it be freedom of choice for everybody not only some! very simple!!

  5. Mr mears Reply

    Why would any right minded person use Uber when they trebled their fare during the Manchester bombing and the London terror attacks? An Uber driver I spoke to relief to this query “you got get money when you can” REALLY! They trebled their fare during the recent bad weather. That includes o.a.ps, nurses, etc. Should we ever except this. You will notice on various occasions local cabs filling up the ranks at the station and east st. That surely tells you we ave more than enough taxis already. What is abundantly clear is the most urgent need to control this essential service in each and every town. Uber’s high powered legal backup will make this very difficult for all authorities as is been proven all over the world. My advise to you all is “nothing is ever that important until something happens to someone close to you!” So why use anyone unchecked and possibly medically unfit???????

Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.