Medway councillor defends decision to take legal action against Uber amidst social media backlash

Medway councillor Dan McDonald has defended his decision to lead on a motion to challenge Uber's legality to operate in the area.

Hundreds of taxi drivers watched during a public meeting held at St George's Centre, Chatham, on 10 October as the motion was agreed by both sides of the chamber.

Cllr McDonald said: "Taxi drivers are seeing their profession being decimated daily. "I pay tribute to MLTDA [Medway Licensed Taxi Drivers Association] for their evidence, patience and passion. "Medway licensed cabs are fighting back but the council need to support them. "They are solid and dependable, if you don’t support them, an honest service will die and Uber will put their prices up overnight. "Mr Mayor, let's make history tonight to truly show our support to Medway taxi drivers." The decision means the council has agreed to support any moves to challenge Uber, including by way of financial backing. But the council's decision didn't go down well with some Uber supporters.

One Twitter user, Ashley Halliday, said: "what's wrong with Uber? Brilliant door to door service. Drivers are always happy and well-badged via the app. Fares are significantly lower than cab companies. And I don't have to hear Rainham Cabs, hold the line, every time I want a cab."

Hayden Coffin, said: "We know that local taxi firms don't like Uber, but do you know what the people of Medway want? Why not find out and stand with the people of Medway instead?"

Responding to Hayden, Cllr McDonald, said: "The response from residents has been overwhelmingly positive. I can clearly see the damage Uber is doing to the taxi industry here in Medway. I am not taking away residents choice, I am just asking for a fair playing field where everyone sticks by the same rules. Uber doesn't!"

The landmark motion was also challenged by another social media user. Michelle Turner, said: "This is only a landmark moment if you ensure that local taxis embrace the 21st century and evolve to meet the standards which Uber offers the consumers. The reason Uber is doing so well in the area is because locals are unhappy with current taxi standards. It's not just cost."

McDonald was quick to fire back his views: "Thank you for your comments. The reason Uber is successful is because they can flaunt the law and ignore licensing regulations. They can also do cheaper fairs because they pay ZERO tax here in the UK. They also take a large chunk of their drivers income."

Chairman of A Local Private Hire Association (ALPHA) Lee Ward, backed Cllr McDonald, saying: "I notice all the pro Uber comments fail to mention that the vehicles they are using are not even licensed in Medway, but London.

"These drivers and vehicles cannot be spot checked by Medway officers.

"But it's cheap so it's ok. Until a price is paid with regret, sorry & RIP."

It seems regardless of which team you may be cheering for, Medway Council have considered their decision closely after taking legal advice and are in no mood to pull any punches.

Labour leader, Cllr Vince Maple added an unerring final message to the Silicon Valley tech firm, saying: "Uber your time is up, you've had your chance, we're coming for you."

Image: Source; Twitter - @CllrDanMcD

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