London’s taxi drivers have relaunched the ‘Real cost of Uber’ campaign in the lead up to Uber’s operating licence renewal decision. Driver representatives Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) have launched the latest campaign highlighting the ‘true cost of Uber’. Drivers and members of the public are being encouraged to visit the campaign website to send the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, a letter detailing the reasons for a non-renewal.
The campaign comes following a £28,800 fine handed to Uber in July. The LTDA and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis, Wes Streeting MP, suggested at the time that action should be taken to bring an end to the 'unscrupulous practices' of Uber in the capital. The ride-hailing firm was fined by Westminster Magistrate Court for allowing its drivers to pick up passengers in cars without the proper insurance and for failing to keep adequate records. A £14,000 fine was given to Uber 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. 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 have been operating under a probationary licence in London for the last 15-months, which is due to expire this September. Steve McNamara, General Secretary of LTDA, said via the Taxi Magazine: “This week we re-booted our campaign #RealCostOfUber to call on the mayor to refuse Uber another licence after its probationary licence expires at the end of this month. You may recall that we first ran this campaign last summer when Uber appealed the Mayor’s decision to strip the firm of its five-year licence on grounds of blatant disregard for passenger safety and TfL regulations. “It will be no surprise to you all that after Uber grovelled and Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled that the firm should be granted a 15-month probationary licence, Uber has continued to skirt its responsibilities and let Londoners down. “In the past year alone, Uber has contravened the terms of its probationary licence by allowing drivers to pick up passengers in London without hire and reward insurance. It has been investigated by HMRC for dodging £1 billion in unpaid tax. It has continued to operate in areas in which councils have explicitly said its drivers are not welcome, including areas in Essex. It was even fined £285,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office for failing to prevent the breach of 2.7 million UK users’ data back in 2016. “These are just a few examples of Uber failing to operate in a fit and proper manner, and there are hundreds of other incidents that we see and hear about on a daily basis. “This is why we’re calling on the Mayor Sadiq Khan to make the right decision and refuse to grant Uber another London licence. We need as many people as possible to write to the mayor as he returns to City Hall next week. Please visit the website www.realcostofuber.com to sign the letter and share it far and wide.” Image credit: Pixabay