Monday, July 25, 2016

Uber Decide They Don't Need Operator Licence



 The march to global domination of taxi app firm Uber has halted in parts of the North East at least.

After submitting applications to operate in Gatesheadand North Tyneside several months ago, Uber suddenly decided to withdraw their applications.

A Gateshead Council spokeswoman said: “Uber Britannia Ltd applied to the council to be licensed to operate taxis in Gateshead. In June this year, after a number of months of discussion, the company informed us it was withdrawing its application.”

Meanwhile North Tyneside Council said the application was first submitted on October 25, 2015 and it was withdrawn on June 1, 2016.

Neither council would say if the company gave any reason for its withdrawal.

A North Tyneside spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, due to commercial sensitivity, we aren’t able to provide any further detail.”

In April last year, Newcastle became one of 400 cities around the world to give permission to the ride-hailing platform to operate since it was launched in 2010.

This April, Sunderland joined its ranks while we understand an application is also being considered by Northumberland.

Chris Chandler, spokesman for the National Taxi Association in the North East, suggested the applications might have been withdrawn as Uber wasn’t able to meet the criteria laid down for taxi firms operating in those areas.

Mr Chandler, a long term critic of Uber whose operation he describes as “spreading like germs”, said many of its drivers had no local knowledge and would fail any ‘locality tests’ on knowing the patch they are in, known as ‘the knowledge’. Its drivers rely heavily on sat navs.

Newcastle City Council was criticised last year by long established operators after it scrapped the stringent test which demanded cabbies had in depth knowledge of the area they cover, opening the door for Uber to start up there.

Bosses at the city council say the decision to make the changes related to pending Government legislation, and the increased use of satellite navigation systems and app based systems.

To use Uber, passengers download its app on their smartphone which then uses GPS enabled maps to locate them, and they can request a nearby taxi with the press of a button.

The app then provides the taxi driver’s photo, name and car registration and users can watch the taxi approaching via a moving symbol on the map.

Uber spokesman in the North East, Harry Porter, said: “There’s been a lot of noise from a couple of local operators. The simple fact is the applications were withdrawn because we didn’t need the expense.

“We submitted applications in North Tyneside and Gateshead back in 2015. Since then, Uber has grown rapidly and we’ve been really pleased with how popular the service has become throughout the North East.

“We spent many months waiting for our applications to be progressed but our growth was not hampered in the meantime, so we decided there was no need to pursue these any further and instead focus on getting on with serving the region.”