Uber drivers sitting on taxi ranks around Brighton and Hove are causing concerns amongst councillors after a number of complaints were made to the city's licensing authority.
Official taxi ranks are solely for the use of hackney carriage licensed vehicles, but private hire drivers, mostly those working on the Uber platform, have been caught waiting for work on the designated bays.
According to discussions at the council's latest Licensing Committee meeting, 11 private hire drivers have been caught using the city’s ranks since June.
The findings have raised concerns amongst councillors who say most of the drivers caught are not even licensed by them - and instead hold private hire licences from neighbouring Lewes council.
The authority’s Hackney Carriage officer, Martin Seymour, told the council’s Licensing Committee on Thursday 28 November that all those caught have received warning letters from the city council.
Licensing committee chair, Labour councillor Jackie O’Quinn, said: “We are writing to Lewes about this because it is now such a problem.
“We need to appeal to our fellow councillors in Lewes to do something about it as we often see taxis from other areas, particularly Lewes, sitting in our ranks.”
Conservative councillor Lee Wares said the number of Lewes licensed vehicles with Brighton drivers was annoying for the city’s taxi trade. He said: “We need to have a conversation with Uber to remind them ranks are not for them.”
Private hire drivers, including those working on the Uber platform, are not licensed to pick up passengers from ranks and must only accept trips which have been pre-booked through a licensed operator.
This means that many drivers who do not have a job onboard are left to circulate while they wait for a job to be sent through.
To increase their chances of receiving a job, they will tend to locate themselves at the busier hotspots where they will also park and wait so they can save fuel.
It's an issue that has been highlighted in other cities, including London, with taxi drivers saying on many occasions that dozens of private hire vehicles have been seen parked outside busy train stations as they wait for jobs.
On occasion you will see Transport for London enforcement officers spend hours constantly moving on drivers who have parked illegally.
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