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PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2019 6:21 am 
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Well this one *looks* a bit different, but look past the dramatic headline and there's not really much more than in the other council reactions. Just a bit of grandstanding and sabre-rattling from councillors and officials, I suspect, but of little real relevance as regards the cold, hard facts of the legal position.


Manchester council summon urgent talks with Uber as leaders consider decision to strip firm of licence

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk ... s-17324834

Leaders requested talks with the ride-hailing firm after Transport for London refused to grant the company a new licence

Manchester City Council has requested an emergency meeting with Uber executives after the taxi firm was stripped of its licence in London.

Council leaders have accused the company of 'undermining local licensing standards' by flooding the city with vehicles from other local authorities.

It comes two days after the ride-hailing firm were refused a new London licence, after at least 14,000 trips across the capital were made with drivers who were not the ones shown on the app.

Transport for London (TFL) announced it had not granted the new private hire operator's licence due to "several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk."

Its decision was described as "extraordinary and wrong" by Uber, which pledged to "continue to operate as normal" while it launches an appeal against the decision.

Manchester is one of a number of councils who now say they are considering a ban on the app.

Leaders have summoned Uber for urgent talks, amid concerns their business-model falls short of the safety standards implemented in their authority.

Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods at Manchester City Council, said: "Whilst Uber as an Operator provides many beneficial services to customers and has transformed the private hire industry, their business model does cause some concerns.

"Local licensing standards are undermined by the volume of drivers and vehicles working on the Uber platform - as well as some other operators in Manchester - that have been licensed by authorities with much lower standards and licence conditions.

“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.

“Whilst current legislation facilitates and allows this practice, we would hope that our licensed operators who wish to trade in the city, would work more closely with us and support the high standards that Manchester aims to provide to the travelling public.”

In an investigation launched by TFL found that a change to Uber's systems allowed unauthorised people to upload their photographs to legitimate driver accounts, enabling them to pick up passengers.

This resulted in 43 drivers making at least 14,000 uninsured trips across London, which put "safety and security at risk," the body warned.

Some of these drivers were unlicensed and one had received a police caution for distributing indecent images of children, TfL said.

Manchester council currently require an enhanced DBS check before issuing a private-hire licence, and proactively check the status of the DBS regularly throughout the three-year licence.

The council have expressed concerns about Uber drivers freely coming into the city from other local authorities, which do not implement the same rigid standards.

The current licence granted to the firm to operate in Manchester is due to expire on July 31 2021.

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.

"We have fundamentally changed our business over the last two years and are setting the standard on safety across the UK."


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2019 6:26 am 
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Manchester councillor wrote:
"Local licensing standards are undermined by the volume of drivers and vehicles working on the Uber platform - as well as some other operators in Manchester - that have been licensed by authorities with much lower standards and licence conditions.

“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.

“Whilst current legislation facilitates and allows this practice, we would hope that our licensed operators who wish to trade in the city, would work more closely with us and support the high standards that Manchester aims to provide to the travelling public.”


Which is just the cross-border stuff that we've heard a zillion times before, and which will almost certainly require central government to sort out, even assuming Westminster wants to.

Or maybe the Greater Manchester councils should get their act together with their megazone proposal - a while since we've heard anything about that. Maybe the theory is easier than actually doing it.

So maybe better to detract attention with a bit of irrelevant huffing and puffing about the TfL decision :roll:


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:43 pm 
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The council, any council, just need to ask Uber if local (ish) drivers can upload different pictures to their data units.

If the answer is yes then follow London's lead, simply on the basis of public safety.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:05 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
The council, any council, just need to ask Uber if local (ish) drivers can upload different pictures to their data units.


But isn't that a bit like asking if I could collude with a Brighton Streamline PHD (say) and do a shift in Brighton without anyone being any the wiser?

I'm assuming the answer is 'yes', but to that degree should Streamline's operator's licence be revoked?

Bottom line is that all systems can be gamed, abused and cheated, it's just a question of minimising the risk of abusing it. So I suspect Uber will just tighten up their procedures and app software, and the magistrate will play ball.

It's a bit like the Torbay one, which is presumably a bit more pen and paper than apps and clouds, but the same basic principles apply.

So if the council's systems allowed the driver to be badged without a DVLA licence for five months, does that means the council's systems are not fit for purpose?

Arguably, yes, but what's the betting they'll just tighten their systems and procedures up to lessen the chance of it happening again?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 8:50 am 
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I would expect that come the court case that Uber are going to point out that as big a number as 14,000 sounds that when considered against the number of journeys they complete in London a year that it's a very small percentage of its work. If they did 14 million jobs in a year that would be 1 in 1000 and I suspect they're doing far more than 14m jobs a year.

The PH's here don't have to display their photo on their Autocab profile so it would be trivial for an unscrupulous driver to loan their car and set to a mate while they went on holiday, the local ops have got 300+ cars so they'll just blend into the background as long as they don't wander into the office. Other drivers aren't going to notice if there's a different driver behind the wheel of a cab from one of the big jockeying companies.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 4:56 pm 
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I suppose it boils down to when Uber knew about the abuse, and how they reacted at that time.

Nothing stays secret in this trade, so I don't believe Uber were ignorant of the scams.

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