Manchester calls in Uber for urgent meeting

 

Uber's troubles have continued today with Manchester City Council revealing it has requested an urgent meeting with the company over concerns regarding licensing rules.

The licence granted to Uber to operate in Manchester will expire on July 31 2021.

The city council requested a meeting with Uber in light of Transport for London's (TfL's) decision to strip the company of its licence to operate in the capital.

”Local

TfL complained that a change to Uber’s systems allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts for as many as 14,000 trips.

Cllr Rabnawaz Akbar, executive member for neighbourhoods at Manchester City Council, said: 'Whilst Uber as an operator provides many beneficial services to customers and has transformed the private hire industry, their business model does cause some concerns.

'Local licensing standards are undermined by the volume of drivers and vehicles working on the Uber platform - as well as some other operators in Manchester - that have been licensed by authorities with much lower standards and licence conditions.

'We work hard in Manchester to ensure that our residents and visitors are driven by drivers that are fit and proper to hold a licence, and in vehicles that are safe and high quality; but that is made immeasurably harder by drivers and vehicles flooding the city from other local authorities over whom we have no direct control.

'Whilst current legislation facilitates and allows this practice, we would hope that our licensed operators who wish to trade in the city, would work more closely with us and support the high standards that Manchester aims to provide to the travelling public.'

Transport Network understands that issues have arisen in part because of the Deregulation Act 2015, which makes it possible for an operator from one area to sub-contract a booking to another operator in another area.

The suggestion in Manchester is that a large company like Uber can effectively become a national operator because of this flexibility and obtain licences as an operator, vehicle or driver, in other areas where the standards and processes are lower and therefore often cheaper.

The large amount of Uber drivers apparently doing this is said to be undermining Manchester's higher standards.

Manchester requires vehicles to be of a certain age, a certain colour and specification and has clear requirements about how the vehicle is plated and identified as a legitimately licensed vehicle.

It also requires an enhanced DBS check before issuing a licence, proactively checks the status of the DBS regularly throughout the currency of a three-year licence has a strict policy with regards to what convictions will be allowed in an applicant's history.

An Uber spokeswoman said: 'We work closely with licensing authorities across the country and want to reassure all councils that we have robust processes. TfL’s decision not to renew Uber’s licence is extraordinary and wrong, and we will appeal. We have fundamentally changed our business over the last two years and are setting the standard on safety across the UK.'

 

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