The MLTDA and the question of the legality of Uber's operation within the Medway towns.
At the Full Council meeting on the 25/04/19, a motion was unanimously passed to ensure that Medway Council recognised the MLTDA legal advice in relation to the Transport for London licensed operator Uber operating in Medway. It is very clear that Uber are carrying on a business as a private hire vehicle operator in Medway, making provision for their services where they are not licensed to do so. This is in breach of the legislation that regulates the private hire industry to protect the public and to also ensure that, each local authority has the powers to regulate the private hire services in their area.
The detailed 15 page legal advice, written by an independent QC and commissioned by the Medway Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, states that if Uber are operating as a private hire operator in Medway, it is doing so illegally, contravening s46(1)(d) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 (LGMPA).
The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 was introduced to regulate taxis and private hire vehicles, drivers and operators. In this act each authority is given the powers to licence and regulate the taxi and private hire services within their boundary. The responsibility of a licensing authority is to protect the public.
Authorities responsible for granting licenses should have the ability to exercise full control over the operation of private hire vehicles and their operators within their area, in the interests of public safety.
Uber are licensed to operate in London and do not hold an operator’s licence for Medway – the vehicles and drivers currently operating in Medway are licensed by Transport for London (TfL).
Medway Council enforcement officers do not have powers to stop and check these vehicles or drivers. Due to being remotely licensed ,Transport for London have been very reluctant to ensure their drivers are legitimate and vehicles safe in Medway. TfL have pitifully only completed one four hour compliance and safety check on these vehicles and drivers within the last six years!
This is a major public safety issue. We simply don’t know who these drivers are and if they are insured or even licensed to drive.
Due to Uber NOT being licensed to operate in Medway and in doing so not using vehicles and drivers licensed and under the control and scrutiny of Medway Council. Uber are acting unlawfully with no little or no respect for the law or for Medway Council, the local regulator, whom has the responsibility to protect Medway residents.
Medway Council have :
No control over Uber or their drivers operations.
No control over Uber's extortionate surge pricing and fare structure.
No control over the conditions and standards of licensing.
No control over the vehicles emissions and standards.
No control over the volume of vehicles plying their trade in Medway causing ever more pollution and congestion to our streets.
No control to ensure that every journey that is undertaken in Medway is by a legitimate licensed driver in an insured and safe vehicle.
Since the motion that was passed at Full Council on the 25/04/2019, Medway Council have obtained independent QC legal advice regarding Uber's operations within the Medway Towns. This advice strongly mirrors the advice of the MLTDA and confirms there is a serious question to answer over the legalities of Uber's operations in Medway. In conclusion the advice strongly suggests a recommended course of legal action for Medway Council to take.
At Full Council on the 10/10/2019 a motion was again unanimously passed, with full cross party support to :
'take the appropriate legal action against Uber'.