Friday, June 21, 2024

Dozens of taxi drivers protest against Uber licence bid in York

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As The Press previously reported, taxi company Uber is applying for a private hire licence to operate in York. Uber cars can currently operate in York, but only if they have been licensed by a different local authority.

A report on the application to City of York Council’s licensing committee said: “Granting the licence will enable Uber to recruit York licensed drivers and vehicles on to their platform for passengers in York which they cannot currently do.

“Furthermore, the York licensed drivers will be lawfully able to undertake journeys for passengers in other authority areas.”

The application for a licence is being heard in City of York Council’s West Offices this evening (June 11).

Chair of York Taxi Association, Arshad Mahmood, said that Uber shouldn’t be given the licence, saying it will “massively” affect the livelihoods of local taxi drivers.

Muhammed Sulaman (left) and Arshad Mahmood (right) (Image: Harry Booth)

Speaking at the protest, Muhammed Sulaman, of York Taxi Association (YTA), said: “We are protesting because Uber are taking our jobs away.

“We’re struggling a lot, so we’re asking the council to protect us.”

YTA’s vice-chair, Shafqat Ali, added: “It’s going to affect the taxi and private hire trade in York.

“It’s already challenging enough to our livelihood.”

Some of the taxi and private hire drivers in York are represented by the GMB Union. Regional rep for the GMB, and chair of YTA, Arfan Asif was at the council’s offices and said: “It’s just a show of solidarity. The issue is simple, York is a separate entity to the rest of the county so keep it separate.”

Drivers from York Taxi Association gathered ahead of the meeting (Image: Harry Booth)

“Our meters are set by the council, for example if a journey costs us £11, Uber can undercut us and charge £5.

“They can then surge prices during busy times to make up for the loss, which we can’t do.”

Uber had its licence revoked by City of York Council in 2017, following a series of complaints.

Uber stated in its application that it comprehensively checks drivers who apply to work for them, and trips are monitored and recorded to keep passengers safe.

The company added it also uses technology to plan pick ups around traffic restrictions and it maintains a 24-hour helpline which councils can contact with safeguarding concerns.

The committee hearing begins at 5.30pm.

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