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October 2017
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LGA RESPONDS TO CANCELLATION OF UBER’S TAXI LICENCE IN LONDON

Taxis working in London: Photo: GPSJ

Responding to today’s decision by Transport for London not to renew taxi firm Uber’s licence to operate in London, Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “Other licensing authorities will be watching with interest today’s announcement by Transport for London, which has decided not to renew Uber’s licence to operate in London.

“Councils have long argued that there is a need for the existing outdated taxi laws to be updated.

“The legislation governing aspects of taxis and private hire vehicles pre-dates the motor car and is simply not fit for purpose in an era when mobile phone technology is significantly changing the way people access private hire vehicles.

“In recent years, we’ve seen a number of child sexual exploitation cases that have involved taxi and PHV holders abusing the trust that has been placed in them, so there are strong safeguarding reasons for strengthening current legislation.

“The onset of mobile phone booking apps for PHVs is causing concern about whether drivers are able to compete on a level playing field and has led to numerous and costly legal challenges which local licensing authorities are being forced to spend public money on.

“Local licensing authorities are trying to work out how new models fit within a legislative framework drafted before mobile phones were even invented, when what is really needed is clarity on a new legislative framework that allows for a 21st century way of doing things fairly for passengers, councils and drivers.

“The need for reform is now urgent. Councils are doing what they can to strengthen licensing processes, such as commissioning an LGA national register, but we have always said that the best way to strengthen safeguarding is to update legislation, which only government can do.

“It’s encouraging that the Government has recognised the need to look at this issue as a matter of urgency, following Minister John Hayes’ announcement of a working group to look at this over autumn and report back to him. 

“The LGA looks forward to being part of the working group and is urging government to follow it up by supporting or bringing forward new taxi licensing legislation which benefits passengers, councils and drivers as it is brought before Parliament.”

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