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Gatwick private hire drivers set to protest calling for more council action against TfL licensed Uber drivers

Updated: May 27

Private hire drivers at Gatwick Airport are set to protest outside the Crawley council meeting today, urging councillors to take decisive action against Uber.

The drivers argue that Uber's operations are negatively affecting their earnings due to lax enforcement of local licensing laws.

The controversy began when Gatwick Airport started promoting Uber services to its passengers, including designating specific bays for Uber at the airport. Unite Union say this move has given Uber an edge, allowing vehicles registered in London to operate freely in Crawley. This is a privilege the union says is not extended to local private hire taxis, which are restricted to picking up fares within their licensed areas unless pre-booked.

The cross-border imbalance has led to an influx of London-registered Uber vehicles into Crawley, seeking to capitalise on the local market.

Unite regional officer Dominic Rothwell expressed his concerns, stating: "Gatwick airport should not be hand in glove with a race to the bottom employer like Uber. Our members are fighting back against the airport and Uber but Crawley council’s lack of action in enforcing its own taxi licensing rules is leaving them at an unfair disadvantage.”

Rothwell emphasised that the business model established by Gatwick and Uber at the airport is the root cause of the problem. He argued that Crawley council has the authority to rectify the situation by penalising both Gatwick and Uber for their disregard of taxi licensing laws.

Rothwell said: “Ultimately, it is Gatwick and Uber that are causing this through the business model they have set up at the airport. Crawley council has the power to stop this by sanctioning Gatwick and Uber for deliberately breaking their taxi licensing laws.

“Crawley council must clampdown on London-based Uber cars picking up fares booked while they parked up in Crawley and clampdown hard.”


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