Published: 12:19, 26 April 2019
| Updated: 13:41, 30 April 2019
Uber could be banned from operating in part of Kent after a council agreed to commission an independent legal report into the company.
A large number of taxi drivers attending last night’s full Medway Council meeting (April 25) to express their frustrations with the company, suggesting it has led to unfair competition and compromised safety for passengers.
Uber currently works in the area under a ‘Greater London’ licence issued by Transport for London, but the Medway Licensed Taxi Drivers Association has questioned whether this is lawful.
The council will now spend up to £10,000 on its own independent legal opinion regarding the matter, before deciding whether it can proceed with “cease and desist” actions.
Cllr Dan McDonald (Lab), who brought the motion forward, demanded fair competition for local taxi operators before they “disappear from our streets”.
He told colleagues: “The real difference between our drivers and Uber is very clear.
“All Medway drivers pass their knowledge test – Uber haven’t. All of our drivers are aware of the council’s licensing conditions – Uber are not.
“Are we waiting for something serious to happen?"
Cllr McDonald’s comments, as well as those made by other councillors in support of local taxi drivers, were met with rounds of applause.
On one occasion, a man in the public gallery pleaded with the council to “help us” due to worries that Uber is affecting livelihoods.
Deputy leader Cllr Howard Doe (Con) added: “If, which I strongly suspect, there may be grey areas here then I think this council has to write to government and press our MPs to change the law.
“I have no objection to them operating – what I have got an objection to is the way they’re operating.”
More by this authorDean Kilpatrick, local democracy reporter