Manchester City Council call emergency meeting with Uber

Manchester City Council has called an emergency meeting with Uber executives over concerns about safety and licensing.

Council leaders have accused the US tech firm of ‘undermining licensing standards’ and flooding the city centre with inadequate drivers licensed by neighbouring local authorities. 

The number of private hire cars in the city centre has reached uncontrollable proportions as drivers opt to focus on the busiest areas – where they are not licensed.

Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, a member of the licensing committee, explained that these drivers “have been licensed by authorities with much lower standards and licence conditions.” 

The primary focus was about taxis licensed in Sefton and Wolverhampton.

This comes in the wake of Transport for London’s decision to strip the company of its licence to operate in the capital, after it emerged at least 14,000 fraudulent trips took place in late 2018 and early 2019.

The incidents occurred after a flaw in Uber’s system allowed unlicensed drivers to use legitimate drivers accounts, putting passengers and their safety at risk.

Councillors believe the business model falls short of safety standards implemented in Manchester, where Uber’s licence is set to run out on July 2021.

Akbar continued: ““We work hard in Manchester to ensure that our residents and visitors are driven by drivers that are fit and proper to hold a licence, and in vehicles that are safe and high quality; but that is made immeasurably harder by drivers and vehicles flooding the city from other local authorities over whom we have no direct control.”

Licensing requirements in the city include a vehicle that is no more than three years old when applying, a mandatory DBS check which is re-evaluated quarterly and regular patrols by council officers to ensure drivers comply with the license. 

An Uber spokeswoman said: “We work closely with licensing authorities across the country and want to reassure all councils that we have robust processes in place. TfL’s decision not to renew Uber’s licence in London is extraordinary and wrong, and we will appeal.”

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