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Uber’s Birmingham licence in limbo

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Uber’s application to continue operating in Birmingham is stuck in limbo as the city council awaits an appeal decision following the taxi firm’s London licence ban.

Uber’s licence to operate in Birmingham expires on 31 January 2020 and it has applied to the city council for a five-year extension.

However, as Uber is involved in legal proceedings with a taxi regulator in the capital, Birmingham City Council is unable to take a decision on its licence renewal application.

In November, Uber was stripped of its licence to operate in the capital with Transport for London (TfL) branding the firm ‘unfit’ as it revealed it had risked passenger safety.

TfL found that Uber’s systems allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts which meant they could pick up passengers seemingly as the booked driver.

Around 14,000 trips were made in this way, meaning all the journeys were uninsured and some customers rode with unlicensed drivers. One driver previously had their licence revoked.

Dismissed or suspended drivers were also able to create an Uber account to take on bookings, which compromised passenger safety and security, TfL said.

Uber is currently appealing this decision but the process can take months.

While the appeal is underway, Uber can continue to operate as normal, both in London and Birmingham.

Neither Birmingham City Council nor Uber were able to comment.