Watch: Uber drives the wrong way up York city centre street

20 Feb 2019 @ 7.03 pm
| News, Politics, Transport

This is the moment when an Uber driver emerges on to a busy York junction – the wrong way along a one-way street.

The driver emerged out of Blake Street into oncoming traffic from St Leonard’s Place, before turning left onto Museum Street.

The footage – only the latest to show traffic violations by Uber drivers unfamiliar with York – prompted taxi drivers to say how worried they are about the dangers this poses to residents and visitors.

As Richard Newby, a private hire and Hackney carriage driver in York for 20 years, said: “How long before someone gets seriously hurt in York by drivers operating unlawfully in an area they have no knowledge of?”

The video was taken at about 12.30am on Saturday 2 February.

Danger to others

Uber have not had a licence to operate in York since the council voted to not to renew it in December 2017.

But Uber drivers licensed elsewhere can still work in the city.

Mike Palmer, secretary of the York Private Hire Association, told YorkMix:

  • With so many out of town vehicles operating illegally and regularly for Uber in York we are used to their low standard of driving.

    With these people relying on their sat navs instead of local knowledge it’s hardly surprising they are a danger to other road users.

    You can’t see what’s happening through the five foot window when you’re looking at a five inch screen, can you?

More worrying than basic driver errors are “the serious issues surrounding the jobs they do where they pick up off the street without a booking. These jobs are uninsured and in the event of a crash would any damages ever get paid?

“I wonder if the cyclist involved in a collision with a Leeds Uber near Clifford’s Tower at Christmas, or the Wakefield one who crashed on Monkgate roundabout were covered?”

Very worried

Taxis line up on Lendal Bridge in a 2017 protest against Uber
York taxi leaders commissioned a legal opinion from a barrister who specialises in licensing issues, which argues that out-of-town Uber vehicles and their drivers are illegally operating in York.

The council is still waiting for its own legal guidance. Mike said:

  • We’re very worried about the consequences of all these dangerous drivers.

    As professionals on the streets, we are the ones who see the safety of the roads getting lower, and know these drivers are ripping passengers off by taking the longer routes.

    We’re doing everything we can to help people who aren’t aware of the help they need, or the reasons for it.

When offences are reported the council does carry out investigations, he said. But, “as with everything, the department which deals with these complaints is overworked and underfunded”.

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