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When is a banned Private Hire loophole actually legal?

As the taxi trade edges closer to the eagerly awaited 'Uber renewal day' yet another secret email is revealed via a freedom of information request.

The latest email highlights the contradictory actions from regulators Transport for London (TfL).

Only last week Taxify came and went in London after a short investigation by the capital's regulator. Taxify used the unusual method of buying an existing private hire operators licence as a front to run bookings through.

This was not allowed by TfL and Taxify were quite rightly shown the door back to the cold pastures of Tallinn.

So now we come to the email. In a recent email between TfL's Helen Chapman and Uber's Jo Bertram, it is shown Uber are doing the exact same thing that has seen Taxify banned. And importantly, TfL are aware of it. Uber’s operators licence is held by Uber London Ltd. So you'd expect all Uber ride-hails in London to be accepted by Uber London Ltd.

But, Uber openly admit to pushing all payments via a different company called Uber BV which is registered in Holland. The lower tax rates the main bonus on offer for the Dutch connection, but crucially, Uber BV does not hold a TfL operators licence.

So when is a banned Private Hire loophole actually legal?

Either Taxify where harshly treated and they should benefit from a lenient approach from the regulator or Uber should be shown the door back to the controversial fields of Silicon Valley.

What will it be?

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