July 6, 2018
Following taxi trade protests and unrest in the district, Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) has refused to renew Uber Britannia Ltd’s (UBL) private hire operator licence. The original licence was granted on a verbal agreement that they only used drivers that had been licensed by BHCC.
Uber Operator Licence – Broken Promises by Ride Hail App
The licence was renewed over two probationary periods, though Uber did not keep their side of the bargain and used TfL licensed Uber drivers in addition to other outlying districts including Wolverhampton, Portsmouth and Chichester. The licensing panel of BHCC unanimously agreed that Uber was not a fit and proper company to be allowed to continue operating in Brighton. The panel noted concerns over a data breach where some customer details were leaked in addition to the number of drivers working in Brighton but licensed elsewhere. The Chair of BHCC’s licensing panel, Jackie O’Quinn, noted its priority is the safety of residents and visitors to the area. Brighton’s taxi trade alerted the council to out of area drivers, presenting video and photo evidence over the last two years though it took the authorities a long time to take the threat seriously.
The original licence was granted on a verbal agreement that they only used drivers that had been licensed by BHCC.
Uber Appeal Decision
Uber have appealed the decision through the Magistrate’s Court and can continue operating until the appeals process is concluded. BHCC are the third licensing authority to refuse to renew Uber’s licence, following London and York. The ride hailing app is facing a lot of pressure relating to its operating practices and it’s likely that further councils will be closely monitoring events in Brighton.