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Crawley Council to urge Government to clampdown on cross border rules allowing TfL Uber drivers to work Gatwick Airport

Updated: Jun 22

Crawley Borough Council will urge the Government to clamp down on Uber drivers operating at Gatwick Airport, accusing them of bypassing local licensing regulations.

The council is investigating complaints that local private hire vehicles are losing business to Uber, which some claim has an unfair advantage.

According to BBC sources, this week the council's licensing committee voted unanimously to escalate the matter. Chairman Imran Ashraf confirmed that he would be writing to the Department for Transport (DfT), Transport for London (TfL), and Gatwick Airport to highlight the issue of out-of-town Uber drivers.

Ashraf stated that he would inform the DfT of the challenges posed by the current licensing system and suggest that a review of the regulations is necessary.

Unite the Union has spearheaded recent protests against Gatwick Airport's endorsement of Uber, including the establishment of dedicated Uber bays. They argue that Uber's operations undermine Crawley's local private hire services by sidestepping local licensing rules. Typically, Uber vehicles registered with TfL can freely operate in Crawley, whereas local private hire vehicles are restricted from picking up fares outside their licensed areas unless pre-booked.

This regulatory disparity has led to an influx of London-based Uber cars in Crawley, intensifying competition for local drivers. The council and union assert that this is detrimental to the local economy, which relies heavily on Gatwick Airport.

TaxiPoint contacted TfL for a comment, but they have so far failed to reply.

A Crawley Council spokesperson confirmed ongoing investigations into the complaints and acknowledged receiving “additional evidence”, which has extended the inquiry. The council remains tight-lipped on further details, citing the active status of the investigation.

In the lead up to the recent protests, Dominic Rothwell, a Regional Officer for Unite the Union, called for stricter enforcement of local laws against Uber. He emphasised the need for the council to complete its investigation and take decisive action against Uber and Gatwick Airport for their alleged breaches of local regulations.

Rothwell said: “The totally unfair practice of London-based Uber cars picking up fares booked while they are parked up in Crawley must end.”


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