London Taxi Drivers v Uber

London Taxi drivers take on the might of Uber

London Taxi Drivers Association take on Uber

Uber is under attack. In early June the London Assembly voted unanimously to ask Sadiq Khan not to renew Uber’s licence. And a week later Labour’s business spokeswoman, Rebecca Long-Bailey, told Sky Television: “Using Uber is not morally acceptable”.

LTDA objection to licence renewal

The London Taxi Drivers’ Association has formally objected to the renewal by TfL of Uber’s London operator’s licence. TfL has given Uber a holding renewal of four months only (instead of the usual five years) while it investigates the LTDA’s complaints. One of several live issues is whether Uber’s drivers are unlawfully plying for hire, and whether plying for hire is inherent in the Uber platform: if it is, that could be fatal to the Uber model. The London Taxi Drivers’ case is that Uber drivers/cars unlawfully solicit for custom, and it makes no difference that they do so via the Uber app rather than by a “for hire” sign displayed on the vehicles. Uber’s response is not clear, because the issue has yet to be litigated. Prosecutions, however, have been successfully brought against Uber drivers in magistrates’ courts under section 45 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 (London) and section 8 of the Metropolitan Public carriage Act 1869 (the rest of the UK), for plying for hire without a hackney carriage (taxi) licence; and there is speculation that what has to date been a trickle of such prosecutions may soon become a steady flow.

In addition to the complaint that Uber drivers unlawfully ply for hire, the LDTA has questioned whether Uber is fit and proper to hold a PHV operator’s licence. Uber have admitted to the practice of planting software on users’ smartphones, thereby enabling them to gather personal information about who is using their App.

Related post: Taxis v Private Hire

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Gerald Gouriet QC and Charles Holland represent the LTDA

Instructed by John Luckhurst, Michael Demidecki & Co