Uber Britannia Ltd Brighton & Hove Operators Licence Renewal To Be Held In Public
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Brighton & Hove Taxi Trade News
ITS NOT ABOUT COMPETITION.............
The GMB Brighton & Hove Taxi Section calls for the November 2017 renewal of the Uber Britannia Ltd Brighton & Hove Operators Licence to be held as a Public Hearing with participation of the trade..media and other interested parties.
When Uber Britannia Ltd (UBL) originally applied for an Operator’s Licence in 2015 it was effectively treated as an unknown entity which is why the application was referred to a ‘Licensing Panel’ that was held in public and was open to questions and objections and recorded for a local TV station..
The licence was granted but UBL did not launch until nearly the end of that one year period so there was no basis of evidence not renew the licence... albeit for another one year period instead of the standard five years... and thus the decision was held in ‘In Camera’.
However with UBL now operating in the city for approaching one full year there is every reason for the renewal process to be fully focused on a Public Hearing.
Justification for this... even on just one simple point... can be based on the fact that at that initial ‘Panel Hearing’ which was held in public... UBL made a statement of their undertaking to only use Brighton & Hove licensed vehicles. This statement is often used when UBL applies for local Operator Licences in various locations throughout the UK.
This undertaking has been blatantly broken with the use of TfL minicabs and private-hire vehicles from all over the country predominantly working in the city out of sight and control of their respective Enforcement Officers.
On this point the argument given by UBL every time is that they only use B&H licensed vehicles on their Brighton & Hove Operators Licence. However... as we all know.. this is all smoke and mirrors. The undertaking was from UBL and not from ‘UBL Brighton & Hove’.
We have photographic and video evidence of Uber TfL minicabs sleeping in their vehicles literally 'camped out' which is unprecedented in Brighton & Hove.
We have photographic and video evidence of Uber Tfl minicabs and 'Out-of-Town' ph vehicles driving the wrong way in one way streets....
We have photographic and video evidence of Uber TfL minicabs illegally using bus lanes and driving in restricted areas....
Uber Britannia Ltd is fully responsible for these activities but takes no responsibility...
In addition at that 'Panel Meeting' UBL undertook to address the provision of wheelchair access stating that as it was a ‘Start Up’ company it would need a few month to progress this. we have an original audio recording of this commitment. On this basis the trade is within its rights to publicly question that failed commitment for this to be on public record.
The question that the council needs to be asked in public is if UBL had stated: “No.. we will use private hire vehicles from all over the country” then would the council have granted the licence in the first place?
The trade needs to address UBL directly in the same way as with the initial application.
Mr Fred Jones of UBL is now a Trade Rep attending the Council Trade Form Meetings but often refuses to address matters of concern by the trade. Or when matters are addressed the answers are quite frankly beyond belief such as matters regarding public safety of CCTV and vehicle identification. Such matters are of extremely high public interest which needs to be reported on by the media.
The trade has officially been refused the request for a 'Public Hearing' but given the recent high media exposure of Uber both nationally and internationally that covers a significant range of allegations such as government intervention through to Uber using software to “Dodge the law”* known as ‘Grey Ball” and the hundreds of lawsuits then it is quite incredulous that Brighton & Hove City Council has chosen not to undertake the renewal process of the UBL Brighton & Hove Operator’s licence in Public but instead behind closed doors.. away from the direct questioning of the trade and the media.
We now request that the council reconsiders the process of the renewal of the UBL Brighton & Hove Operators Licence and place the matter for a Public Hearing for trade... the media and public to participate in.
If any other Brighton & Hove Licensed Operator acted in the same way then we would demand the same Public Hearing for its licence renewal....
..................................................ITS ABOUT PUBLIC SAFETY
Andrew Peters Secretary GMB Brighton & Hove Taxi Section
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