Uber Appeals Process

MQT on 2017-11-16
Session date: 
November 16, 2017
Question By: 
David Kurten
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Are you concerned that Uber is still operating in London during its appeal, even though TfL did not renew their licence?


Answer for Uber Appeals Process

Answer for Uber Appeals Process

Answered By: 
The Mayor

TfL’s role in regulating taxi and private hire services in London is designed to ensure a number of things, including passenger safety and security.  In accordance with the private hire legislation passed by parliament, any private hire operator can continue to operate until the appeals process is concluded.  This includes Uber.  This is the law.  The Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 includes provision to appeal a licensing decision within 21 days of it being communicated to the applicant.  Uber (London) Limited appealed the decision on 13 October 2017 and continue to operate until any appeals process has been exhausted.




David Kurten AM:  Right, thank you, Mr Mayor.  Do you have any idea of how long the appeals process is going to last? 




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Good question.  It is a question I have asked as well.  My understanding is it could go on for a number of years.  Let me tell you why.  The appellant goes to the Magistrates Court and, depending on the decision, the losing party could appeal to the next court up and the reason why I have said a number of years because if you think about it there are four tiers: magistrates court going up all the way to the supreme court potentially so before all the appeals are exhausted, because obviously there has a delay to get a case heard before a court, so the best guesstimate I have been given is it could take a number of years, but I would be surprised if we did not have the first hearing in the early part of next year.




David Kurten AM:  Yes.  No, I understand that that is the law, so there has nothing you can do about that but you decided with TfL not to renew their licence on the basis of safety concerns and one of the things was raised by one of your own police commissioners, Inspector Billany [Head of the Metropolitan police taxi and private hire unit], who spoke of Uber, in some cases, referring allegations of criminal, serious criminal cases, to TfL rather than the police.  Have you put in any process to make sure that that does not happen again and that if there is a serious case, particularly allegations of sexual offences, that that would be dealt with by the police immediately rather than going through a period of months where, potentially, nothing is done?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  If you are a Londoner, if you are a consumer of private hire vehicles in London and you are being told the reason for a licence not being reviewed is safety and security, I understand your concern, you want reassurance that the minicab, that Uber’s going to be safe and secure.  The good news is we have invested in additional compliance officers.  We now have more than 300 compliance officers.  We have quadrupled the number of officers we had.  They understand they have got to make sure they are doing their bit to keep Londoners safe, people who use Ubers, minicabs and taxis safe.  They understand the reasons that TfL gave for not renewing the licence.  Similarly, Uber are under no misunderstanding, as indeed all private hire operators are, if there are reports of incidents to them, they need to report them to the police and not simply keep it to themselves or just report it to TfL.  TfL have made that quite clear, and It is important any private hire operator if there has an allegation made to them, they report it to the police who are the appropriate authorities.




David Kurten AM:  Okay, thanks.  In the summer, there was a report of 13,000 Uber drivers that hadn’t had proper DBS checks.  How is TfL progressing in making sure that those 13,000 drivers actually do get proper DBS criminal record checks through TfL to make sure that there has no issue with criminality?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  So if you recall previously it was possible to get a DBS check from a number of different private companies.  TfL said no, we want reassurance, and so you have got to use this one authorised company.  There was some short period of time given to allow these drivers to be checked with the proper authorities.  That time has elapsed now, so unless you have had the proper check done, you should not be driving and TfL are making sure that the checks are now done through them in a proper regime rather than others giving the DBS check needed.




David Kurten AM:  Can you tell me how many drivers there are who are registered with Uber as the operator?  Because I hear figures, 40,000, 50,000, but I do not know an exact figure.  Do you have that?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  The figure used by Uber, as I understand it, is 40,000 drivers registered with Uber, but do not forget you can be a driver with more than one private hire operator.  It is perfectly possible for you, as a minicab driver, to drive for a minicab firm in your town centre but also be an Uber registered driver as well.  But the figure used by Uber was 40,000, if you remember, in the various press releases they put out.




David Kurten AM:  Okay.  Now, the principle of private hire is that you have to stop and plan a route. It is different if you are a taxi driver who has done the Knowledge [of London test], and so there has been an issue with drivers receiving information when they are on the move and that can lead to safety concerns, obviously, if someone is taking a job when they are not stationary.  What has TfL done to make sure that the principle of private hire: that you get a job, you stop, you plan a route, is enforced and implemented, and so that there can be no issues with, you know, crashes, because people are doing things while they are moving?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Well, this is an issue raised by Caroline Pidgeon AM on a number of occasions in the past.  Her concern, as expressed by others as well, is about people using devices on their screen and being distracted and causing RTAs and other issues of safety but the law is quite clear: you should not be playing with devices if you are a private hire vehicle driver, or anybody else, when you are driving, these devices, you know, should be used when you are stationary and I am happy to refer you to previous answers I have given to Caroline Pidgeon about this, but it is a legitimate concern that many people have about the fact if you have not done the Knowledge and you are relying upon a sat nav device during the course of driving, you can either be receiving a call if you are an app-operated private hire vehicle driver, or using the sat nav to get from A to B and the law is quite clear: you mustn’t do that.  If you do do that, not only are you breaking the law and taking a risk with your personal safety and the safety of others.




David Kurten AM:  Indeed.  One of the things you mention in your Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan is possible fleet insurance but, you know, the private hire drivers need proper hire and reward insurance and there have been issues in the past of drivers not having that in some cases.  How are your plans progressing?  Or do you have any plans to make sure that big companies like Uber have fleet insurance, rather than just individual drivers having --




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Well, you will be aware It is another issue for which we are being taken to court by Uber  - in relation to our plans to level up the quality of private hire vehicles  - and I am not sure when that case is reaching court. I had a meeting with Assembly Member Bacon about this a few weeks ago, because of representations made by private hire vehicle drivers.  I think It is April but I am happy to be corrected, around April-ish is that court case, but there have been lots of court cases going on which Uber have a role to play in.




David Kurten AM:  Very good.  Thank you, Mr Mayor.