A short while ago, Taxi Leaks posted an article about a complaints made by a Manchester licensed Taxi driver, that Uber cars in his area were using a forward facing blue light. The light was being extinguished when the vehicles meter became engaged, much like the "For Hire" sign in a licensed Taxi.
I am pleased to announce that Manchester's Taxi licensing senior compliance officer, has finally replied and Uber drivers have been ordered to remove the equipment from the front windscreen.
Below is the complaint, complete with evidence submitted.
Dear Sir/ Madam
I wish to complain against the conditions of private hire vehicles operating and licensed in the City Of Manchester.
The vehicles are operated by UBER, a Manchester Licensed operator.
I have witnessed around a dozen of these vehicles fitted with an electronic sign, which displays a vived blue light to the front of the vehicle. I attach a couple of pictures of two of these vehicles.
I believe showing a blue light from a vehicle other than an Emergency Vehicle is unlawful.
I note that showing other than a white light to the front of a vehicle warrents a refusal on a VOSA MOT test.
I am worried that if these unlawful signs go unchallenged, they will become a 'De-facto' standard here in Manchester for all private hire cars.
I note that the creator of the Company UBER, talks of 'Regulatory Ambiguity', he believes if no action is taken for around 30 days of matters such as these, then this behaviour is lawful.
I attach a copy of that statement.
I also attach statutes which I believe proves these blue illuminations to be unlawful.
I have reported this matter to Manchester City Council, they recieved my Formal Complaint on 30 June. They replied on July 1, with a standard holding Email. I attach copies.
Manchester have taken no action on this matter and the vehicles in question still cruise the streets of Manchester. I believe effective supervision of vehicle conditions, is beyond Manchester Council's capabillities.
I would respectfully request that you use any powers you have to put a stop to vehicles using this type of illumination, before the practise becomes endemic amongst all Manchester's Private Hire Companies.
I believe the integrity of the Blue light should be reserved for Emergency vehicles only.
Please peruse the attached and if I can help further, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Yours xxx xxxx
Below is the email received by complainants, from Manchester's compliance team.
Dear Mr Xxxx
I am now in a position to update you on the concerns you raised. I am aware that you have recently written to the Executive Member, Cllr Chappell to express concerns that this matter was not being dealt with, I can assure you that this was not the case.
Our initial enquiries into this matter were centred around identifying the device that was installed into private hire vehicles, examining the device and determining its purpose. Uber were then informed of our views and compliance with relevant legislation was requested. Uber have given instructions to all their drivers to remove the illuminated sign from their
vehicles. We are now monitoring the situation to ensure compliance.
Senior Compliance Officer
Planning, Building Control & Licensing
Growth & Neighbourhoods
Taxi Leaks would like go congratulate our colleague in Manchester. The attitude of this company shows scant regard to conditions of fitness currently imposed by various licensing authorities around the country.
It's such a pleasent change to see a compliance team, actually doing the job they have a duty of care towards and are paid handsomely to do.
Well done Manchester!