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Uber Britannia Limited Withdraws York Licence Appeal

Gerald Gouriet QC

Uber Britannia Limited (UBL) today (14/3/2018) withdrew its appeal against the decision by York City Council (December 12 2017) refusing to renew its PHV operator’s licence.

Background & Chronology

On 24 December 2015 The City of York Council issued a 12-month PHV operator’s licence to UBL. On 21 December 2016 the council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee renewed UBL’s York PHV operator’s licence for a further period of 12 months (i.e. expiring on 23 December 2017).

Between the 2016 renewal of UBL’s licence and consideration of the 2017 application for further renewal, York Council received a substantial number of complaints relating to Uber drivers/vehicles operating in York. A significant number of these complaints were that ‘out of town’ Uber driver and vehicles (i.e. licensed by authorities other than York) were plying for hire in York.

Complaints about ‘out of town’ Uber drivers working in York included complaints about drivers/vehicles licensed by:

  • Bradford: 44 complaints.
  • Leeds: 33 complaints.
  • Kirklees: 10 complaints.
  • Rossendale: 6 complaints.
  • Newcastle upon Tyne: 5 complaints.

In each of the above instances, the relevant licensed operator was UBL.

By letter dated 6 December 2017 the York Taxi Section wrote to York Council to draw its attention to reports of a worldwide data breach in which some 57 million Uber account-holders’ personal details, and some 600,000 Uber driver details were stolen by hackers in October 2016. The letter pointed in particular to –

  • Uber’s payment of $100,000 ‘ransom money’ to the criminal hackers.
  • Uber’s failure to report the crime to the police or regulators.
  • Uber’s failure to inform the victims of the data breach until a year later.
  • Uber’s remaining silent about the breach during its discussions with TfL when consideration was being given to the renewal of Uber’s (ULL) London PHV operator’s licence.

The full piece written by Gerald Gouriet QC can be read here.