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Five-year licence keeps Uber on Cambridge streets

By Gemma Gardner

Phone ordering Uber ride. Picture: Nicolas McComber
Phone ordering Uber ride. Picture: Nicolas McComber

Uber's operating licence in Cambridge has been extended for five years, giving the taxi app company a welcome boost.

Cambridge City Council’s licensing sub-committee agreed at a meeting on Monday (December 18) to renew the private operator’s licence, which is held by Uber Britannia Limited.

In a statement, Uber’s head of cities for the UK, Fred Jones, welcomed the move.

“We’re delighted people in Cambridge can continue to use Uber,” he said. “For both licensed drivers and passengers in the area, the app brings more choice and control.”

Uber is currently fighting to keep operating in London where the city’s transport regulator said in September it was “not fit and proper” and stripped it of its licence.

The company is appealing the decision and its cars can remain on the streets of the capital until an appeals process is exhausted, which could take years.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor James Palmer had previously voiced his criticism of the Transport for London decision, which he said was a “hammer blow for consumer choice in London”.

After Monday’s decision, Mr Palmer said: “An outright ban would have been short-sighted and wrong.

“Since it started to operate, more than 70,000 people across Cambridge have used Uber. They use it because it is affordable and convenient to do so.”

He added: “Uber has been well used, not just by people in Cambridge but also the surrounding villages.

“As mayor, I support the freedom of people in Cambridgeshire to have a choice to use Uber if they want to.

“If there are any concerns the local licensing authority have with the way that Uber has operated then they should get around a table and discuss it.

“An outright ban would have been very bad for consumer choice. I’m pleased that the councillors have seen sense and that it hasn’t come to this.”

The firm was first issued with a licence on December 21, 2015 for one year – and then a further year last December.

In a report to the committee, it was revealed that the council had received six complaints about Uber in November 2016. It said these related to how bookings were made but an investigation cleared the firm.


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