Taxi and private hire firms in Bath have urged council leaders to clamp down on Uber drivers who they say contribute “absolutely zero” to the local economy. Bath Taxi Association chairman Bob Hollingdale called for their privilege to use bus lanes and bus gates to be revoked after the agreement they had to use local drivers has been broken.
Hollingdale claimed out-of-town Uber drivers were abusing licences to operate in the area and even pointed towards some cases of acting illegally. He has urged the council to follow suit of some other local authorities and bring in tighter controls to curb the influx of drivers from outside of Bath. Speaking at a full council meeting, Mr Hollingdale said: “A few years ago, when Uber were granted their licence to operate in Bath, they promised to use mainly local cars. "When I say local cars, I mean cars licensed by Bath and North East Somerset Council. “They have not kept that promise. Today, I’m asking you to restrict the use of bus lanes and bus gates to local taxis, private hire and buses only. “A lot of towns have already done this. “There would be less congestion and pollution. "If they’ve had a job, they should drive back to their own area and not clog up the city. “Most just drive here on the off-chance of getting a job, or take one illegally, which I’ve personally seen many times." Speaking of two of the city's biggest cab firms, Mr Hollingdale said: “A few years ago Abbey and V Cars had over 400 cars. Now they’ve got less than 200 between them. “We have the clean air zone being introduced shortly. "Restricting these cars will have a major positive impact on the city. “Quite often a tourist’s first point of contact is a taxi. "They can advise the tourist of the history and other local knowledge. Out of town cars cannot. “The contribution to the city by out-of-town cars is absolutely zero.” Mr Hollingdale said the amount of money the council has lost due to Uber drivers obtaining licences from other authorities is in the thousands. He also claimed the out-of-town drivers were “technically uninsured”. As reported in the Somerset Live, Paul Roles, a private hire driver, reminded councillors that he as well as some of his colleagues voted for them, but those from Wiltshire, Bristol and South Gloucestershire didn't. He pointed out that Uber drivers from other areas buy their fuel and use mechanics outside of Bath and North East Somerset, meaning they don't give much back to the local economy in the same way local taxis and private hire drivers do. Mr Roles said the net cost loss was around £10,000. After listening to the concerns, Councillor Manda Rigby agreed to meet with two speakers.
Image rights: Taxipoint