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Cabbies take stand against Uber

Taxi drivers in Medway have scored a minor victory in the fight against out-of-area drivers, including Uber, operating in the Towns.

At last Thursday’s (25th April) Full Council meeting, a motion was unanimously passed to force the council to consider legal advice that out of area drivers are breaking the law by picking up fares in Medway.

Uber app on a phone. Photo: freestocks.org
Uber app on a phone. Photo: freestocks.org

The 15 page report, written by a QC, was commissioned by the Medway Licenced Taxi Drivers Association (MLTDA). It states that out-of-area drivers operating in Medway are doing so illegally, contravening s46(1)(d) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 (LGMPA).

A new cross-party working group has been formed to ensure that discussions take place. Medway Council are now seeking their own advice on the legality of Uber’s operation.

Uber are licenced to operate in London and do not hold an operator’s licence for Medway – the vehicles currently operating in Medway are licenced by Transport for London (TfL).

Medway Taxi 'for hire' beacon. Picture: MLTDA
Medway Taxi ‘for hire’ beacon. Picture: MLTDA

Medway Council enforcement officers do not have powers to check these vehicles or drivers.

An MLTDA spokesman said: “This is a major public safety issue as we simply don’t know who these drivers are and if they are insured or even licenced to drive.”

The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act was introduced to regulate taxis and private hire vehicles, and their drivers. Authorities responsible for granting licences should have the ability to exercise full control over the operation of private hire vehicles within their area, in the interests of public safety.

The Council have been approached for comment.