Uber finds new route to reach passengers in Brighton and Hove

Posted On 07 Aug 2020 at 2:05 pm

The cab hailing app Uber has found a new way to reach passengers in Brighton and Hove, by buying Autocab, the software business that supports a leading local taxi firm.

The move is expected to mean that Uber will own the booking and dispatch system used by Southern Taxis which runs City Cabs and South Coast Taxis.

Southern – like most taxi and private hire firms in the country – buys the services of a booking and dispatch software supplier, with most cab companies using one of just a handful of suppliers.

Uber said that the move would give passengers the chance to request an Uber driver or one from a local firm.

And for cabbies, it is expected to mean more business as passengers searching for an Uber could be offered a local firm – and not just in places where Uber has no licence.

The controversial American business’s aggressive tactics have led to resistance and opposition in a number of towns and cities in Britain and elsewhere.

And it faces the prospect of a big tax bill – for VAT – as well as the loss of its licence in London and the possibility that Uber drivers will be classed as workers.

After losing the employment law case, Uber appealed to the Supreme Court, with a judgment due in the autumn. If it loses again, some believe that Uber’s British cab business could go to the wall.

The changes resulting from the Autocab deal are expected to take a few months at least before passengers start receiving the extra choices promised.

Southern and boss Andy Cheesman were approached but had no comment at this stage.

Autocab said: “The only thing that will change is the scale at which we operate.

“Every month thousands of people open the Uber app in places the company doesn’t operate to try to get a trip.

“Uber hasn’t launched a new city since 2016 and through Autocab’s iGo marketplace, like other existing aggregators, Uber will be able to connect these riders with local operators.

“In turn, operators should be able to expand their operations and offer more earnings opportunities to local drivers.

“We believe there are additional revenue opportunities related to our platform for other services, such as delivery and business trips.”

The company told local taxi firms: “Uber … will be directing significant additional demand to your business, supplementing your own trips, which means less dead miles for drivers and greater weekly earnings potential.”

  1. Heather Reply

    This is worrying I would never use an Uber the drivers are not properly trained or vetted for me, I wouldn’t feel safe. I’m concerned I may end up in an Uber cab without knowing with this change. The council rigorously check local firms but Uber drivers escape this scrutiny I believe

    • Zeshaan Reply

      Most councils just require a simple driving test to obtain a badge. Its far too easy which is the councils fault. But most councils require a knowledge test as well now. Uber drivers are required to have a medical every 5 years, criminal record check every 3 years and badge/licence renewing every year which all has to go through the council. The only way they can drive for uber is if they go through all of the above. So when you say they are not trained or vetted properly, I think you are wrong. They all have to go through the council to drive for any private hire company including uber.
      Atleast with uber you get to know the drivers details and all trips are recorded via the app. You atleast have some information regarding the driver as well as a picture so you know its really them. Why would safety be an issue if all private hires need to go through the council before they can even drive for any company?

  2. Mohsin Reply

    Uber drivers all have to go through a criminal background check which all the local council do before issuing a private hire badge. So how can you blame uber if local council are not doing there job.

  3. Mo Reply

    A lot of overseas drivers dont have traceable criminal records when they arrive in this country. Six months later they can be driving you home in an uber.
    The current DBS check is not fit for purpose.

    • CJ Reply

      Uber’s driver app is open to abuse, because drivers can share the app with friends.
      For instance, the London licence was rejected when TFL discovered 14,000 trips taken over a 3 month period by unlicensed and uninsured drivers on their app.
      Uber drivers account for the majority of sex attacks and rapes in the industry & Uber itself admitted at Westminster magistrates court, to having operated illegally from 2012-2017 at their licencing appeal in 2018.
      Why support a company that avoids it’s UK tax obligations, depriving public services & the NHS of funding.
      Their denial of workers rights, as established in the EAT, High Court & Court of Appeal, shows them to be predatory exploiters.
      You’ve only got to go on social media to see how they fail to deal with customer complaints & how they were exposed to a data hack of 52 million accounts, which they tried to cover up by paying the hackers over $100,000!
      They’ve been banned in multiple places around the world & are constantly in law courts for breaches.
      See California & it’s AB5 fight.

  4. John Hamilton Reply

    Ridiculous situation i drive a licenced brighton cab – can’t sign up to drive fo uber in Brighton because of metered fare regulations (notthati would anyway) but i could go to Chichester and work for them with full Brighton taxi livery and park outside a nightclub but having no local knowledge,
    Councils won’t stand up to these multinational for fear of high legal fees
    A horrible company wiping out opposition and price surging until they can charge what they want

  5. Simon MacMillan Reply

    Many Uber drivers/cars do indeed have to be vetted by their issuing council. When they acquire their licence they then get to working in authorities that have none of tbeir information on record. If you take the time to look most Ubers working in Brighton are licenced in Chichester, Havant, Southampton and East and Mid Sussex. This is so they don’t have to take a knowledge test which they know they won’t pass.
    If you want a cab in Brighton & Hove get a Brighton & Hove cab

  6. QAnon Reply

    Brighton Cabs offer a useless service – they are more like busses than cabs. It is amazing that Brighton gets any tourists.

    Hail a brighton cab with it’s light on and it will ignore you, heading for a local rank where you have to go and queue as if it is a bus stop.

    Corruption between cabbies and the council is rife – Uber may not be the answer, but if it destroys the current cab/council cartel it will probably do more good than harm.

    • RICHARD Reply

      totally agree, there is no enforcement and local councils are clueless to rules and regulations for private hire and the taxi trade, yet they sit on the committees unchecked themself, with licensing officers not doing their job, governed by idiots who don’t have a clue on the council, police don’t want to know unless maybe its serious crime and have more excuses than the train companies and even then their not interested and pass off any blame on the council and visa versa, there should be an independent agency like Vosa, for truck transport, etc, but for the taxi and private hire trade instead, that everybody has to answer too, including councils, the only people that are loseing out are the public.

  7. John Reply

    Asylum seekers to not need a criminal check by law! This allows criminals from abroad to work for uber. This is crazy but a FACT. Look it up! Then you wonder why there are so many sexual assaults with uber drivers.

    • Fenton Reply

      And that’s the sort of bigoted, ignorant comment you expect to hear from a local Brighton taxi driver and probably one of the main reasons Brighton people don’t want to take local taxis. No decent, educated person wants to have to listen to that kind of small minded, gammony small talk on their drive home. 😂

      • MikeyA Reply

        Shouldn’t we all be cycling, anyway?

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