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Uber Licensing Decision Brighton & Hove:

Gerald Gouriet QC

Brighton & Hove City Council have renewed Uber Britannia operating licence for 6 months only.

The decision bears a marked resemblance to the decision by TfL in May this year. TfL renewed Uber’s London operating licence for 4 months only in order to allow TfL “to conclude [its] consideration of a five-year licence.”

Brighton & Hove have said that a 6 month (only) licence has been granted because -“There are some outstanding issues notably around the TFL decision and the current, pending appeal. We have not been privy to the evidence that TFL relied upon in making their decision. We have requested that evidence but our request has been denied and the evidence is not likely to be available prior to the appeal hearing (TfL / Uber appeal).”

The Council elaborated its reasoning for granting only a 6-month licence in the following terms [bullet points added] –

“It will permit ongoing dialogue with your company regarding conditions and measures, and

permit changes to be made to the App and to monitor that progress.

It will enable us to ascertain the outcome of the TFL licence situation and related appeal proceedings.

It will allow us to consider any further evidence that may emerge in connection with this.”

It should be remembered that TfL did not renew Uber’s London licence when it lapsed at the end of the 4-month period granted in May. The last bullet point (above) may have a particular significance when consideration is given to any further extension of Uber’s Brighton & Hove licence.

Temporary Licence?

The temporary licence is subject to the following (additional) conditions –

  1. Uber Britannia Ltd must not use Greyball technology for the purposes of avoiding regulatory or law enforcement activity in connection with its BHCC operator licence
  2. Uber Britannia Ltd must report to the Council any allegation or complaint relating to certain sexual behaviours, specifically:
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Violence
  • Discrimination
  • Wrong driver/vehicle
  • Theft
  • Touting

Upon receiving any allegation or complaint relating to the above serious behaviours the Operator must take reasonable steps to restrict the driver’s access to the App within 24 hours and whilst any investigation is ongoing. All complaints will be reported by the operator to the Council within 72 hours of receiving the complaint.

  • ‘When a booking is made under Uber Britannia Limited’s Brighton and Hove operating licence, the booking confirmation and receipt provided to a passenger will identify that the driver is licensed by Brighton & Hove City Council.’
  • Uber Britannia Ltd must ensure that 100% of Brighton & Hove licensed drivers have undergone disability equality training to help them serve disabled people or passengers with an access need.