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UBER EXPANSION: Uber bids to secure York private hire operator's licence

Updated: Jun 10

Ridehailing giant Uber has submitted an application for a private hire operator’s licence in York.

The proposal, set to be discussed by the Licensing & Regulatory Committee on Tuesday, aims to establish a new operational base at Tower Court, Clifton Moor. The committee's decision will determine whether Uber can legally recruit York-licensed drivers to operate within the city.

The application falls under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, which mandates that the council grant a licence unless the applicant is deemed unfit or disqualified due to immigration status. Uber's request, if approved, would allow them to run a 24-hour service from a shared office complex, primarily handling bookings via their app rather than through direct customer interaction at the premises.

The council previously revoked Uber’s licence in December 2017 due to a significant data breach and a surge in complaints against its drivers. However, Uber has continued to facilitate rides in York through the “triple licensing rule”, which permits the use of drivers and vehicles licensed in other jurisdictions. This arrangement has seen Uber face criticism for the conduct of its out-of-town drivers.

The council's Taxi Licensing team received a total of 31 complaints in the past year that were classified as ‘accepted’, meaning they were likely substantiated. These complaints included issues such as Uber drivers allegedly waiting on taxi ranks, the standard of driving, and one instance of a driver refusing to carry a guide dog. The complaints largely focused on the conduct of Uber drivers rather than the company itself.

The application includes detailed plans to ensure compliance with safety and operational standards, as outlined in York’s taxi licensing policy, which remains under review. Uber has committed to cooperating with local authorities, providing a 24/7 emergency contact line and implementing stringent safety measures through their app.

The council's decision on this licence could significantly impact the local transport landscape. Granting the licence would enable Uber to legally recruit and deploy York-licensed drivers. Conversely, refusal may limit Uber’s operational capacity in the city but will likely not reduce the presence of Uber vehicles from neighbouring jurisdictions operating in York.


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