Uber Private Hire Operators License

Lee Ward made this Freedom of Information request to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

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The request was successful.

Dear Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council,

UBER Britannia Ltd (UBER) applied to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (the Council) for a private hire operator’s licence (renewal).

In the course of determining such an application, a council is entitled, pursuant to section 57 of the
Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, to ask for such information as it may
reasonably require to enable it to determine the application.

Can you please answer the following questions:

(1) Did the Council exercise its right to ask UBER questions?

(2) If the answer to question (1) is ‘yes’, please advise what questions were asked.

For the avoidance of doubt, I appreciate the answers to such questions may be regarded as being
commercially sensitive, so I do not ask for the answers given by UBER to any questions that may
have been asked by the Council.

I do not ask for copies of correspondence passing between the Council and UBER, because I
am not concerned with who was corresponding with whom or when. In the circumstances, all I
ask for is a list of all the questions asked and am not concerned as to whether they were asked all
at once or whether questions initially asked resulted in the posing of further questions. If,
however, it is easier to the Council to provide a suitably redacted copy of the correspondence it
sent posing such questions, I would be happy to receive the requested information in that format.

I appreciate that such questions may have been asked wholly or in part as a result of legal advice
received by the Council, but in precisely the same way that such questions would have ceased to
be subject to legal professional privilege when they were asked of UBER, I do not consider that
such questions could be exempt from disclosure under the legal professional privilege exemption.

I confirm that neither do I do seek to see a copy of any legal advice that may have been received
by the Council in relation to any questions that may have been asked of UBER by the Council.

3. Can UBER provide details of their ‘zonal’ system.

4. Does the UBER App differentiate between vehicles licensed by different Licensing
authorities?

5. Do customers using the UBER App to book a vehicle have a choice of which Licensing
Authority that vehicle is licensed with?

6. Can UBER explain how these bookings are allocated and recorded?

7. Are these bookings recorded with each individual private hire operator?

8. Is there a maximum range that an operator in a particular Licensing Authority can despatch
a booking to?

9. We understand that the Uber system accepts a booking from a passenger via the
smartphone application which is then routed via Uber operator’s servers to the nearest
available driver based upon the location of the passenger. Can you confirm that the
booking is first received within the premises stated on your application as the registered operating office for Uber associated with the councils Operators License?

10. Will there be a server or other device located permanently in the premises specified in the
application capable of receiving, recording and despatching a booking, (i.e. at the office registered on the Operators License)?

11. A search of the Data Protection Public Register reveals that Uber London Ltd is registered
but there does not appear to be any registration for Uber Britannia Ltd. Can this be
explained please?

12. The Equality Act 2010 requires that a private hire operator must not discriminate against a
person requiring a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) by not providing such a vehicle.
As well as being prohibited from discriminating by not providing the service, a service
provider has a duty to make reasonable adjustments and it could be argued that a large
private hire operator ought to be able to provide WAV’s. Could you advise whether or not
Uber can offer this service?

13. Under the Deregulation Act 2015 bookings can be sub-contracted between operators in
different licensed districts. In such cases the booking must be recorded by each operator
prior to despatch to the driver. Can you confirm this is the case with the Uber App?

14. Where a booking is offered to, and declined by, a driver licensed with one authority, and
which is then offered to and accepted by another driver who is licensed with a different
authority, then sub-contracting would result. Can Uber explain how this process works on their platform?

15. What provision does Uber propose to make in the licensed area of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough for the invitation or acceptance of bookings for a private hire vehicle?

16. It would appear from my consideration of the latest iteration of Uber’s terms and conditions
(11 January 2016, https://www.uber.com/legal/gbr/terms) (“the Terms and Conditions”) that
UBL has no role in the provision of the Uber Rider App to potential passengers. This
appears to be a service provided by Uber BV (“UBV”) in accordance with Part 2, paragraph
2. Am I correct?

17. Where is the “Uber system” referred to, and which Uber entity operates it?

18. What is meant by “the criteria set by the local operator through the use of its dispatch
tools”?

19. Is the system checking to see which partner-driver is nearest to the passenger and is
available to conduct a trip a task which is undertaken automatically and without
intervention from UBL.?

20. What input, if any, does UBL have in this process? How, does the relevant operator
“accept the booking on behalf of the partner-driver”?

21. What input dopes UBL have in the process – ‘The nearest driver accepts the request via
the smartphone app’?

22. In what sense is there a “dispatch” of a vehicle “from” UBL, given that UBL is the agent of
the driver for the booking services and asserts it does not provide transportation services
(Part 1, paragraph 3 of the Terms of Conditions)?

23. Please particularise the equipment proposed to be contained in the Operating Base.

24. Can I assume that, in general, the process of inviting and accepting bookings will be
conducted entirely automatically by the Uber system?

25. Can I assume that the software tools permitting the monitoring of vehicles (location, status
and journey details), communication with drivers and amendment of allocation criteria are
tools that UBL may choose to access from time to time, but do not have to be actively
operated for any given booking to be invited and accepted?

26. Please clarify the basis on which it is asserted that the Uber systems are “managed,
monitored, and, ultimately, controlled by UBL staff”?

27. If UBL makes provision for the invitation or acceptance of bookings for private hire vehicles
merely as agent for each proprietor/driver, then in what sense are those proprietor/driver
principals themselves not making provision?

28. What do you suggest are the “limited purposes” of Part II of the 1976 Act for which the
deeming provision takes effect?

29. Please clarify whether it is UBL’s position that, if licensed as an operator by this Authority
and functioning as such, it does not propose to accept any contractual liability to
passengers in respect of bookings for the hire of a private hire vehicle with a driver, where
both the vehicle and the driver are licensed by this Authority?

30. Please Confirm whether or not “out of town” hackney carriages are now operating on the
Uber platform, and, if so, when this practice commenced.

31. For the purposes of its application to this Authority, does UBL intend to amend the
Representations and if so in what form?

32. What contractual provisions prevail for customers whose journeys are provided by “out of
town” hackney carriages?

33. Do “out of town” hackney carriages operate surge pricing when on the platform? If so, what
if any steps have been taken to ensure that the fares so charged do not contravene the
provisions of s.67 of the 1976 Act?

34. What address was supplied by the applicant for the Operators License as the registered place that it will operate from?

35. What conditions have been placed on the Operators License issued by the council to Uber?

36. Has Uber changed the operating address registered with the council over the past 3 years?

37. What exemptions have been given to Uber by the council in regards to the Operators License granted?

Yours faithfully,

Lee Ward

Accesstoinformation, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Lee Ward,

 

Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Freedom of Information Request 824-17.

 

Thank you for your request for information dated 8^th November 2017,
relating to Uber Private Hire Operators License, this has been allocated
reference FOI 824-17.

 

We will process your request as soon as possible and provide you with our
response within 20 working days.

 

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Josh Cockram

Information Assistant

Customer, Information and Digital
Finance & Customer Services

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council         

 

Tel: (01709) 222596      
Internal from new: 22596 

 

Email: [1][email address]

Visit our website: [2]www.rotherham.gov.uk

 

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Dear Accesstoinformation,

I am still waiting on a response to my FOI and it is now overdue.

Yours sincerely,

Lee Ward

Accesstoinformation, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

4 Attachments

Dear Lee Ward,

 

 

Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Freedom of Information Request 824 -17

 

 

Thank you for your request received on the 08/11/2017, please find our
response attached.

 

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

 

 

John Blain

Information Support Officer 
Information Governance Unit

Finance and Customer Services Directorate   
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council 

 

Tel: (01709) 254426          
Internal: 54426

 

Email:  john.blain[1]@rotherham.gov.uk        
Visit our website:  <[2]http://www.rotherham.gov.uk>

 

P Before printing, think about the environment.

 

 

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