Uber fined £28,800 calling London probationary licence into question

Westminster Magistrates Court has fined Uber for contravening the terms of its licence by allowing drivers to pick up passengers in London without the required hire and reward insurance according to industry sources. The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) and the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis are now calling for the Mayor of London to end Uber’s operation in London once and for all.

On Wednesday 31 July, Uber was fined £28,800 by Westminster Magistrates Court for allowing its drivers to pick up Londoners in vehicles without proper insurance and for failing to keep adequate records.

The ride-hailing firm was fined £14,000 for each count of allowing its drivers to accept bookings in vehicles without the required hire and reward insurance, and £400 for each count of failing to keep adequate records.

Uber were also ordered to pay a £22,000 court fee and a £170 victim surcharge.

Transport for London (TfL) mandates that minicabs must be covered by hire or reward insurance at the point of licensing and when in use as a private hire vehicle (PHV). This means that hire or reward insurance must be in place at all times when the PHV is in use, and that if a PHV belonging to a private hire operator is found undertaking bookings without appropriate insurance, then TfL may take regulatory action against the operator.

The conviction follows a ruling by Westminster Magistrates Court last year, which overturned TfL’s decision to refuse Uber a licence on grounds that it was not a “fit and proper” operator. Uber is currently operating under a probationary licence in London, which is due to expire this September. The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis, Wes Streeting MP, says it’s time action is taken to bring an end to the 'unscrupulous practices' of Uber in London and to better protect passengers. Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said: “The Mayor of London rightly refused to renew Uber’s five-year licence on the grounds of blatant disregard for Londoner’s safety. “Uber told the courts last year that it had cleaned up its act and deserved a second chance, but has since put the public at serious risk by allowing its drivers to pick up unsuspecting Londoners in uninsured vehicles. The firm is not “fit and proper” by any definition. “The LTDA has written to the Mayor of London to demand that Uber’s probationary licence be revoked with immediate effect.” Wes Streeting MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis and Labour MP for Ilford North, said: “This is just the latest example of Uber flouting the rules of the road that everyone else is expected to abide by. “Once again Uber’s status as a “fit and proper operator” is called into serious question. The Mayor and TfL must act.”

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