Taxi driver welcomes TfL decision not to renew Uber's licence

By Kate Oglesby

Local Democracy Reporter, Greater London Authority

Taxi driver welcomes TfL decision not to renew Uber's licence

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A London taxi driver has welcomed Transport for London’s (TfL) decision to stop Uber operating in the capital as the taxi firm begins its appeal to get the decision overturned.

Perry Richardson, a licensed London taxi driver and the founder and chief-editor of TaxiPoint, a taxi-trade publication said he “wholeheartedly” supports TfL’s decision.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court is considering if Uber is “fit and proper” to hold a licence in the capital as TfL refused to renew it last year, on the grounds of public safety and security.

Mr Richardson said: “Uber were failing on several levels especially when it came to passenger safety.”

TfL said that the company was failing in its approach in reporting serious criminal offences and properly carry-out criminal record and background checks on drivers.

Since September Uber said it has made significant reforms in recent months including proactively reporting serious incidents to the Metropolitan Police rather than placing the responsibility on drivers and passengers.

But Mr Richardson was quick to point out the taxi company’s other failings.

These include the fact that it has recently come to light that Uber conducted eye sight tests online over Skype.

According to the driver’s union GMB some Uber drivers are earning as little as £5.03 per hour back in 2015 – £1.47 less than minimum wage at the time.

Mr Richardson said: “If Uber paid their drivers even as little as the minimum wage it would raise the quality of drivers applying to work on its platform.

“Uber are however continuing to appeal against the ruling that would ensure all drivers are entitled to minimum wage and holiday, so you’ve got to question whether they actually want to improve the calibre of applicants.”

The taxi company also currently pays no VAT despite a European court ruling showing them to be a Transport company and not a Technology firm which they claim made them exempt.

Mr Richardson said: “Without doubt it’s unfair competition from Uber.

“You’ve also got the fact that the fares customers pay are not reflective of the cost involved to run a car in the industry which means that smaller private hire operators are struggling to compete.”

Since September, the taxi company has also been stripped of its licence in Brighton and York. It has however, gained new licences in Sheffield, Cambridge, Nottingham and Leicester.