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Uber is fighting to keep its licence in another UK city

York council voted not to renew the company's licence, which expires on Christmas Eve.
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S3 Studio via Getty Images

Council members in York have voted not to renew Uber's operating licence, condemning the ride-hailing company to its third UK city ban in as many months. At a meeting held by the York Council's Gambling, Licensing and Regulatory Committee on Tuesday, the committee deemed Uber to not be a fit and proper operator. It raised concerns about the massive data breach Uber suffered -- and subsequently hid -- in October 2016, and the number of complaints it had received about its service. The company's current 12-month licence is currently due to expire on Christmas Eve.

In total, York council received 296 complaints relating to private hire and hackney carriage drivers. More than half of them were attributed to Uber. Saf Din, chairman of the York Hackney Carriage Drivers Association, told attendees that Uber was "systematically abusing" local laws and attempting to utilise loopholes by allowing drivers registered in other cities to operate within York. "The trade does not object to fair competition, but Uber are not a fair player in the public transport world in the UK," he added.

Before this week, Uber had already fallen foul of Transport for London, which decided not to renew the company's operating licence across the capital in September, and in Sheffield, where the council suspended the service in late November because it "failed to respond to requests, made by our licensing team, about the management of Uber."

"This is a disappointing vote for the riders and drivers who use our app in the city. More choice and competition is a good thing for both consumers and licensed drivers in the area. Passengers tell us they love being able to track their car on a live map, pay without cash and get a receipt with their fare and the route taken, said Neil McGonigle, General Manager for Uber in York. "Licensed drivers partner with us because with Uber they can choose if, when and where they drive. We will review the details of the decision once we receive the formal notice from the council."

In a statement today, Sheffield council confirmed that the ban has now been lifted after the company "provided satisfactory replies to the questions asked by Sheffield City Council about the management of Uber." The council still has to approve Uber's recent application to continue operating in the city, which will be made in "early 2018."

Uber now has three weeks to decide whether it will appeal York council's decision at a magistrates' court. Should it do so, it will be allowed to operate in the city until a ruling is made, which is what it currently does in London.

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