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London taxi drivers plan legal action SHOULD Uber win a renewed operators licence

Taxi drivers plan legal action should Uber be granted a renewed operators licence in September. The United Trade Action Group (UTAG) released a statement to members disclosing their next steps of action, should ride-hailing firm Uber win a renewed licence.

Regulators Transport for London (TfL) refused to renew Uber London Limited’s (ULL) application to renew its five-year London Private Hire Vehicle Operator’s Licence back in September 2017. letter sent by Helen Chapman, TfL’s Head of Licensing, outlined TfL’s reasons for taking this decision, which concluded “Transport for London (TfL) is not satisfied that ULL is a fit and proper person to hold a licence.” In June 2018, Westminster Magistrates Court overturned TfL’s decision and granted ULL a 15-month probationary licence. The firm argued that it had put a series of measures in place to improve its operation since TfL’s decision was made. However, concerns have been raised in that period by industry officials and politicians. This week it was revealed that Westminster Magistrates Court fined Uber for contravening the terms of its licence. The courts fined the minicab firm £28,800 for allowing drivers to pick up passengers in London without the required hire and reward insurance. 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.” UTAG, made up of drivers and stakeholders from across the industry, have since announced their decision to take action. They said via a statement to members: “Our legal team including Robert Griffiths QC has been gathering the evidence to present to Transport for London ("TfL") as to why Uber is not to be relicensed, as it is not a 'Fit and Proper' Operator. In fact, we contend it never was, and via their continued poor behaviour and corporate structure it is clear to all that it has no intention of becoming one. “Crucial evidence has been collated and UTAG is very close to presenting our evidence to TfL. “Uber's temporary licence is up for renewal on September 25th, 2019 but shortly UTAG shall put TfL on notice that they should not relicense Uber, for even the shortest of periods. Enough is enough. “We cannot offer further disclosure in relation to the case at this time but we shall, in due course, make available the letter to TfL for all donators to read via our website. “Uber was fined £28,800 last week at Westminster Magistrates Court for failing to keep proper records and for allowing drivers to work without the required hire and reward insurance.  This fact will be included in both proposed letters to TfL. “Once our evidence is delivered to TfL, if they decide to relicense this law-breaking company once again, we shall consider launching an immediate Judicial Review into that decision once TfL announces their reasons for granting a license. “Grounds for JR will be disclosed to members once drafted. “It is also our intention to serve a preliminary letter on TfL following the recent decision at Westminster Magistrates Court.  This will put them on notice that they should revoke Ubers’ licence without delay and that letter will be followed up with a much more in-depth document setting out why Uber should never be allowed to work in the capital again.” 

The letter sent to Transport for London can be read below:

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