Brighton & Hove Council press release.
Following a meeting on 31 October, Brighton & Hove City Council has extended Uber’s licence to operate a taxi service in the city for a further six months.
The decision on the length of the extension was taken to allow the council to monitor the outcome of the Transport for London Uber decision, to allow the council to consider whether any of the information arising from the case had direct implications for the operation in the city. It also allows the council more time to negotiate with Uber about a number of proposed conditions for operating in the city.
In making the decision, officers studied reports and written submissions from interested parties. While there was no evidence to suggest that public safety had been compromised, there are a number of concerns, and Uber are working with the council to address these and reassure residents and visitors about their safety.
Under national law, licensed drivers can operate anywhere in the country, so drivers licensed elsewhere are allowed to operate in the city. Many authorities have fewer conditions attached to their licensing than is the case here.
When licensing operators, Brighton & Hove City Council work with them to maintain and enhance standards of safety, which includes trying to ensure that drivers not licenced locally can be as accountable as possible. We’re working with Uber to ensure safety standards are maintained and address the challenges brought about by technological changes.
All Brighton & Hove private hire and Hackney Carriage drivers in the city operate under the same licences and the same guidelines contained in the Blue Book, whichever company they drive for. Likewise, all drivers undergo the same background checks.
Following the council’s standard procedure for renewing taxi operators’ license renewals, the decision was taken by officers under delegated authority. A decision on the process to look at the license at the end of this six month period will be taken in the new year.
Cab Trade News understands that, Brighton and Hove City Council have included extra conditions on Uber in relation to the issuing of a six month licence to operate in the city. These are:
- Uber Britannia Ltd must not use Greyball technology to avoid regulatory or law enforcement in connection operator licence.
- Uber must report to the Council any allegation or sexual or violent behaviour, and stop driver access to the app within twenty four hours.
- Uber must confirm to passengers that the driver is licensed by Brighton and Hove
- Uber must ensure all of Brighton & Hove licensed drivers have undergone disability equality training.
Cab Trade News also understands that Uber has offered additional ‘reassurance’ in relation to its use of out of area drivers.
- Uber will restrict access to the app for any licensed driver thought to be involved in a serious criminal offence and restrict driver access to the app whilst the Council or the police investigate any allegation.
This obviously does nothing to tackle the problem of Uber’s use of out of area drivers (mainly licensed in London) in Brighton and elsewhere. Unite the union cab section says this should stop, and supports the Mayor of London’s proposal that private hire bookings should either start or finish in the area they are licenced for.
Posted by Peter J Rose @peterjrose1