Simon Court
Legal Services
Brighton & Hove City Council

Uber Brighton & Hove Operators Licence Renewal 2017

Part 1: Issues raised & Objection to the renewal of the 2017 Uber Brighton & Hove Operators Licence
Part 2: Questions for Brighton & Hove Council
Part 3: Questions to be submitted to Uber
Part 4: Uber Hailing App (two documents)

                                                                                                                                                  October 3 2017

Part 2: List of questions for Brighton & Hove Council

We wish to ensure the Council is aware that they are under (our) legal scrutiny and that the following questions need to be addressed and replied to with consideration to the renewal of the 2017 Brighton & Hove Uber Operators Licence:

Question 1 to the Council:
We have been given reason for not having the Uber Operators Licence 2017 renewal held at a ‘Public Hearing’ along the lines that “No other Operators renewal is treated the same way”. However it could be stated that no other Operator acts in the same way as Uber.

The constitution of the council allows council officers Delegated Powers to grant licences. These powers were in existence in 2015.

We have been given reason for not having the Uber Operators Licence 2017 renewal held at a ‘Public Hearing’ along the lines that “No other Operators renewal is treated the same way”. However it could be stated that no other Operator acts in the same way as Uber.

The constitution of the council allows council officers Delegated Powers to grant licences. These powers were in existence in 2015.

1: Given that exactly the same Delegated Powers were in existence in 2015... what decision was reached and by whom and when to refer the matter to a ‘Panel Hearing’ that was held in public for the Uber initial application in 2015?

1a: What is different today that existed in 2015 that doesn’t make it of great pubic interest to hold it in public now?



Question 2 to the Council:

Using due diligence in 2015 the council had deemed Uber ‘Fit and proper’ to be granted an Operator’s Licence.

2: The council deemed Uber as ‘Fit & Proper’ in 2015: Given the damning reasons that TfL have now deemed Uber not to be ‘Fit and proper’  will the council take this into consideration under due diligence with the Uber Operator Licence renewal for 2017? 




Question 3 to the Council:
Uber has been accused by Met Police Inspector Neil Billany of allowing a driver who sexually assaulted a passenger to strike again by not reporting the attack, along with other serious crimes.


3: Given the damning reasons that Met Police Inspector Neil Billany has raised concerns  will the council take this into consideration under due diligence with the Uber Operator Licence renewal for 2017? 



Question 4 to the Council:
The failure of Uber to adhere to the undertaking to only use Brighton & Hove licensed vehicles within the city:

The issue is that there was a very good reason as to why the council verbally asked Uber the question in the first place at the 2015 ‘Panel Hearing’.

The trade pre-warned the council and the council questioned Uber on this and Uber representatives undertook to only use Brighton & Hove licensed private hire vehicles.

4a:
Given that it was Uber Britannia Ltd and not Uber Brighton & Hove that had promised to only use Brighton & Hove licensed vehicles... was this a factor in giving Uber a Brighton & Hove Operators Licence?

4b: If the Council had asked Uber if they would be encouraging the use of private hire vehicles from all over the UK to predominantly work within the city.. and the reply from Uber was “Yes” then would the Council have granted the licence in 2015 in the first place?



Question 5 to the Council:
Hundreds of private hire cars from all over the UK that predominantly work in the city are out of reach of local Enforcement and the council has failed to obtain any concordat arrangements between other licensing authorities apart from Adur
.

Even Lewes DC.. an adjoining licensing authority has actually refused to agree to any concordat arrangement.

The council managed to arrange for TfL Enforcement to be in the city over a period of time and at the date of the document being submitted we wait for the full report on this.


5a: What extra cost has been caused for arranging TfL Enforcement to be brought into the city?

5b: If there has been any extra cost for arranging TfL Enforcement to be brought into the city or for extra working hours for the HCO where will this be recouped?



Question 6 to the Council:
It is totally unacceptable to have private hire drivers from any area sleeping in their vehicles

6. With the unprecedented situation of (mainly) Uber TfL minicabs bedded down and sleeping in their cars does the council consider that Uber as a Brighton & Hove licensed Operator has not taken responsibility for the health and safety of those drivers but also for the safety and protection of the passengers being transported by those drivers who could not be considered as being properly rested?



Question 7 to the Council:
We were recently informed that TfL minicabs are not allowed to use Bus Lanes in Brighton. This is based on the principle that TfL minicabs are licensed under the London Private Hire Act 1998 and not the Local Government Miscellaneous Act 1976.

7a: What action or notification has the council taken or given to Uber to prevent Uber TfL minicabs under their control and direction from using the bus lanes in the city with special emphasis on North Street thus avoiding restrictions of the flow of traffic and lessening the risks of accidents?

7b: If no action or notification by the council has been taken or given to Uber to prevent Uber TfL minicabs under their control and direction from using the bus lanes in the city with special emphasis on North Street thus avoiding restrictions of the flow of traffic to lessen the risks’ of accidents what action will now be taken?



Question 8 to the Council
The issue of Uber cars on taxi ranks has blighted the city with mainly... but not limited to Uber TfL minicabs either sitting on ranks or entering the area of East Street rank. We have photographic evidence for this


8:
Whilst the council has been informed by Uber that it has apparently ‘geo-fenced’ the taxi ranks in the city and given that Uber TfL minicabs are still using the ranks for whatever purpose in the course of working under the Uber platform... does the council consider that Uber has actually no control whatsoever on the hundreds of out of town private hire cars and even  out of town hackney carriages that is has flooded the city with?



Question 9 to the Council:
It is very clear that UberASSIST has nothing at all to do with wheelchair accessibility and effectively covers what taxi/private hire driver are currently doing as standard which is simply offering assistance to those who require it and what is expected of every taxi and private hire driver licensed by the council.

UberASSIST is nothing more than a fake system brought in by Uber to try and fool local authorities into regarding this as addressing full wheelchair needs.

9a:
Does the council consider that UberASSIST is adequate for the provision of wheelchair users who need to remain in their wheelchairs for the journey?

9b:
Given that Uber undertook to address the provision of WAV’s in 2015 and that the council at the time considered that Uber needed more time given to facilitate WAV’s and that now two years later Uber has failed to address this does the council consider that Uber have failed to undertake the responsibility to provide equal access to wheelchair users?

9c: If the council is satisfied that Uber has no responsibility to provide equal access with the provision of  WAV’s for users confined to wheelchairs  then will the council remove all reference to WAV’s in the Blue Book Handbook for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire, Drivers, Vehicles and Operators?

9d: If the council is satisfied that Uber has no responsibility to provide equal access with the provision of  WAV’s for wheelchair users then will the council remove all references to any future ‘Unmet Demand Surveys’ where a separate survey is carried out via the ‘Secret Shopper’ method of calling local taxi companies for the availability to provide a WAV?

9e. If the council grants a further licence to Uber that shows discrimination to citizens who rely on wheelchair accessible vehicles would the council accept that it is supporting a multi-billion dollar company that discriminates against such wheelchair users?




Question 10 to the council
‘Hailing’ or ‘Booking App’: Please refer the two documents provided that were submitted to Martin Seymour which were in response to questions from Martin regarding the Uber Hailing App
.

10a.
Having being given all the information on the workings of the Uber app does the council consider that it is a legal ‘Booking App’ or an illegal ‘Hailing App’ for the use of Private Hire which contravenes the Local Government Miscellaneous Act 1976 where drivers are connected with the customer in the first instance and then the ‘booking’ is back filled in the second instance?

10b. If the council considers that the Uber App is legal for use in Brighton & Hove which experts were used to make this decision?



Question 11 to the Council:
Terms of Service - No one under 18 allowed to use Uber

Not only does Uber discriminate against wheelchair users by not providing an equal service there is also discrimination against people under 18 years of age who may also be wheelchair users.


11a.
Is it acceptable to the council to licence an Operator that discriminates against citizens under 18 years of age that does not provide a service to a “child who may be in a vulnerable state’”  who may also be a wheelchair user who is in need of transport?

11b. Would it be acceptable if all the licensed Operators in the city adopted the Uber TOS and  refused to take citizens under 18 years of age who may be a “child who may be in a vulnerable state’”  who may also be a wheelchair user who is in need of transport?

11c. If the council grants a further licence to Uber that shows discrimination to citizens under 18 years of age would the council accept that it is supporting such discrimination to citizens under 18 years of age who may also be a wheelchair user who may be a “child who may be in a vulnerable state’” who is in need of transport?

11d. Under the Uber TOS a Brighton & Hove licensed private hire driver would have the right to refuse anyone under 18 years of age who may also be a wheelchair user. Is this acceptable practise to the council?

11e: Would the council support Brighton & Hove Busses if it refused to offer a service to people under the age of 18 who may also be a wheelchair user?

11f: If the council renews the Uber Brighton & Hove Operators licence then the GMB will consider that the council supports discrimination against members of the public who are under 18 years of age who may also be a wheelchair users?


Response to:

Andrew Peters
Secretary
GMB Brighton & Hove Taxi Section
andy.peters@gmbtaxis.org.uk
GMB Brighton & Hove Section October 3 2017

Uber Brighton & Hove Operators Licence Renewal 2017 - Full PDF document available here

Click on links

Part 1: Issues raised & Objection to the renewal of the 2017 Uber Brighton & Hove Operators Licence

Part 2: Questions for Brighton & Hove Council

Part 3: Questions to be submitted to Uber


Part 4: Uber Hailing App (two documents)


Part 2: List of questions for Brighton & Hove Council