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MP calls for action against Uber drivers working outside of licensed area and using local taxi ranks

Image credit: Neil O’Brien MP (Facebook)

In a recent meeting with licensed taxi drivers from Market Harborough and surrounding areas, Neil O’Brien, the Conservative MP for Harborough, Oadby, and Wigston, highlighted a growing concern within the local taxi industry.

The crux of the matter revolves around controversial cross-border hiring rules. O’Brien says taxi drivers are concerned with an influx of Uber drivers, licensed under councils with arguably lower standards or fees, encroaching on the local taxi market, thereby undercutting licensed drivers who face costs upwards of £1,000 for operating in their own area.

These local drivers, all of whom are regulated and licensed by Harborough Council, are required to pay £320 for their taxi licences, an additional £360 for access to the taxi rank at Market Harborough Station, among other costs. In contrast, Uber drivers licensed in areas outside Harborough are operating within the town and picking up passengers without the same level of regulation or financial outlay.

The MP expressed concerns over safety and the fairness of the competition, and also worries around unauthorised pickup of fares by Uber drivers using local taxi ranks. Local taxi operators are calling for the council to enforce existing regulations more rigorously, to prevent what they see as abuses of the system and to ensure their ability to work within the terms set by their licenses.

Neil O’Brien MP said: “I recently met with taxi drivers who work in and around Market Harborough. They are all licenced through Harborough Council. As well as being regulated by the council, they have to pay significant sums: £320 for their taxi licences, a further £360 to EMR for use of the taxi rank at Market Harborough Station, plus other costs that can take the total bill to around £1,000.

“However, Harborough taxi drivers are facing a challenge from Uber drivers who are licenced in other council areas. These councils have much lower standards and charge a lot less than the licences issued in Harborough. Despite this, I understand that Uber drivers are using the taxi ranks and picking up fares in the town, both of which they are not allowed to do. Often these drivers have come from quite far away. I am worried that if taxi drivers from elsewhere are hanging around here, and doing illicit cash-in-hand work which they are not allowed to do, that there will be a safety problem at some point.

“The Harborough taxi drivers told me that they want the council to take proper enforcement action to avoid these abuses and to ensure that they can operate properly, as per the terms of their licences issued by the council in Harborough. I have written to Harborough Council about this and will report back when I have a response.”


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