The Conservative spokesperson for Licensing in the city has spoken out against Uber’s apparent disregard of the spirit of the commitment made by them to operate in Brighton and Hove.
Councillor Lee Wares, who leads for the Conservative Group on the Licensing Committee commented “Uber’s commitment to the City and me as one of the Councillors who granted their operators licence was simple; that they would only use Brighton and Hove licensed drivers and vehicles. The reason this is important is that drivers and vehicles have to comply with the Council’s ‘Blue rule book’ which determines the safety standards of the vehicle, the training and background checks of drivers, identification, the provision of CCTV and the ability for the Council to inspect at will any vehicle and any driver. Where vehicles or drivers fail inspections, or drivers are subject to complaints, the Council can take them off the road.”
However, since Uber’s operator’s licence was granted, the City has been flooded with vehicles and drivers not licenced by Brighton and Hove. It is therefore impossible to know who is licenced or not and with the Council having no ability to inspect, who has been checked.
Whilst it recognises that Brighton and Hove’s existing local taxi trade can be the subject of complaints, the Conservative Group does acknowledge that they operate to some of the highest set of rules in the country. The Group therefore strongly believes that Uber should fulfil the commitment it made at the Licensing Committee and only use Brighton and Hove licensed drivers and vehicles who comply with the Council ‘Blue rule book’ to ensure both passenger safety and that taxi and private hire vehicles in our city operate on a level playing field.
In the meantime, Cllr Wares has highlighted “Resident’s freedom to use vehicles operated by Uber exists, however it should be noted that the Council’s ability to mitigate risks to their welfare does not. It is important that the standards we operate in this City are the highest they can be and I shall press Uber to achieve this.”
Cllr Wares added “Uber could, if they wished, block out any vehicle on their App covering the City that is not licensed by Brighton and Hove. It is in their gift if they wish to play by the same rules as everybody else”.