Taxi for Uber! Another blow for app as Yorks is latest UK city to refuse licence

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York has followed London by refusing to grant ride-hailing app Uber a licence to operate in the city.

Transport for London (TfL) refused to renew Uber’s licence on the grounds of “public safety and security implications” in September.

On Tuesday a committee at the City of York Council cited the number of complaints it had received about the service and a recent well-publicised data protection breach as reasons for the decision.

The 7-3 vote of the Gambling, Licensing and Regulatory Committee was greeted by applause and cries of “thank you” from the public gallery.

Saf Din, chairman of the York Hackney Carriage Drivers Association, told the meeting Uber was “systematically abusing” the local laws and “looking for loopholes” by using out-of-town vehicles.

He said: “The trade does not object to fair competition, but Uber are not a fair player in the public transport world in the UK.”

Uber’s licence was due to expire in York on Christmas Eve this year, having twice previously been granted clearance to operate - most recently on December 21 2016.

Last month it was revealed that Uber had been the subject of a massive data breach which affected 2.7 million UK users of its app.

Neil McGonigle, head of cities for the north of England for Uber, told councillors there were 28,000 people who regularly use the app in the city.

He said: “I believe that increased choice and competition is a good thing for both passengers and drivers in terms of increasing standards across the board.”

He added the company had been “open and cooperative” with the council in tackling issues, including where drivers have applied for hire illegally.

A report provided to the meeting at the City of York council offices said that in the previous 12 months, the authority received 296 complaints about hackney carriage and private hire vehicles, of which more than half related to Uber drivers.

The company has 21 days to decide on whether to appeal against the committee’s decision and can continue to operate in York until its licence expires or the appeal is heard.

Uber’s appeal against TfL’s decision not to renew its licence will be heard in the spring.

Meanwhile, Uber is free to continue operating in Sheffield.

Sheffield City Council suspended the company’s licence on December 7 after the firm failed to respond to requests for information about its management.

It was allowed to continue operating in the city pending an appeal, but the council has now said: “The suspension of Uber’s operating licence, which was announced by Sheffield City Council on Friday 29 November, has been lifted.

“This decision follows productive discussions between Uber and Sheffield City Council.

“Uber provided satisfactory replies to the questions asked by Sheffield City Council about the management of Uber.

“The new application, made by Uber in October, to operate private hire cars in Sheffield is being considered and a decision will be made in early 2018.”

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