83% of complaints against Uber came from York taxi firms – drivers reveal reason why

19 Jan 2018 @ 6.04 pm
| News, Transport

Newly released figures show that more than 80 per cent of the complaints against Uber in York came from the taxi trade in the city.

But drivers say there are very valid reasons why that is the case.

Members of the gambling, licensing & regulatory committee of City of York Council heard there had been 155 complaints against Uber in York at the meeting when they voted not to renew the company a licence.

A Freedom of Information request by John Lucker found that more than 83% of these complaints were “made by those employed by York taxi businesses”.

‘Negates the evidence’

York taxi drivers outside the meeting that decided Uber’s fate

The number of complaints against Uber in York was one of the two reasons councillors gave for refusing a new licence.

The other was a massive data breach which affected 2.7 million UK users of its app.

Mr Lucker says that there were “just 26 complaints from the ‘public’ in the year against Uber”.

“Having watched the meeting, I don’t think councillors were correctly informed,” he writes.

“When those who stand to benefit from the refusal of Uber’s licence are the ones who ‘created’ the grounds for refusal, surely that negates the evidence?”

Two very good reasons

A Uber car parked on College Street, York. This one was licensed in Nottingham. Photograph: YorkMix

But secretary of York Private Hire Association Mike Palmer said there were two valid reasons why most complainst came from the trade.

Firstly, unlike the general public, the drivers are experts in the rules governing the taxi trade.

When an Uber driver is flagged down by a member of the public and paid in cash, taxi drivers are aware they are flouting the rules when others aren’t.

And second, taxi drivers are out on the roads day in, day out, and see more breaches of the rules. They also often have dashcam footage as evidence validating their complaint.

“Most people don’t understand the rules that cab drivers have to follow,” he said.

“We do. We see these offences being committed by multiple out of town Uber drivers, and report them to the licensing authorities.”

Mike added: “It’s an outrage there’s so many crimes being committed. But it is up to us to report them because the council and the police can’t do it because they don’t have the resources.”

Data breach is critical

Taxis line up on Lendal Bridge in a 2017 protest against Uber

Saf Din, chairman of the York Hackney Carriage Drivers’ Association, said: “Complaint after complaint has been proved to be justified.

“The council has looked into it and found there was sufficient evidence to uphold it.”

He also said the data breach was critical when it came to City of York Council’s decision to refuse Uber a new licence.

The fact that the app company concealed a hack that affected 57 million customers and drivers was more than enough reason for York to kick it out.

“We still hope every single UK authority will follow York’s lead and revoke Uber’s licence after this massive data breach,” he said.

Uber has said it intends to appeal against York’s decision.

There should be an update on the appeals process later this month.