Uber Refused Renewal of Licence in Brighton
Uber are not fit and proper to keep Brighton licence.
The licensing panel of Brighton and Hove have refused to renew Uber’s licence.
In a heavily contested application, heard in public on 23 April, the local Private Hire trade representatives said that Uber are not fit and proper to hold an operator’s licence. The recent data breach in America, and the cover-up of it, had serious repercussions world-wide, including Uber passengers in Brighton and Hove. Uber could not escape the consequences of the acts of their ultimate holding company. The licensing committee agreed. They said:
“While the Panel acknowledges that UBL [the Brighton licence-holder] is a separate legal entity from other Uber companies, the Panel found that the practical reality is that the actions of other Uber companies clearly have relevance to UBL.”
Importantly, the licensing committee was not satisfied that the recent changes of management reported from time to time by Uber were sufficient to provide reassurance that there would not be a repeat of the data breach.
The decision to refuse renewal was also based on Uber having reneged on its undertaking to use only Brighton and Hove licensed drivers in Brighton. Gerald Gouriet QC submitted that Uber’s persistent use of ‘out of town’ drivers seriously undermined local licensing control, and the Licensing Committee was entitled to refuse to renew the licence on that ground alone. The Committee regarded the breach of undertaking as further evidence that Uber are not fit and proper persons to hold a licence. The panel was understandably concerned that Uber’s web site appeared to be encouraging potential Brighton drivers to obtain licences from Lewes District Council, where it is cheaper and easier to be licensed.
Link to the full decision
Gerald Gouriet QC represented Brighton and Hove Streamline Limited, Radio Cabs and City Cabs
Charles Holland represented United Taxi Drivers Association and the Brighton Sudanese Taxi Forum
Our sincere thanks go to the Forum members of the Brighton licensed trade:
Brighton and Hove Streamline
Brighton and Hove Radio Cabs
Brighton Private Hire Association
Unite the Union
Brighton Sudanese Taxi Forum
Brighton Branch of the G.M.B. Union
Independent taxi drivers, United Taxi Drivers Association (U.T.D.A.)
… and never forgetting: David Wilson of a2zlicensing, on behalf of CAUTION