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Council officer raises fears over lack of control of Uber drivers

Uber drivers are ditching their private hire licences with the Royal Borough and signing up for Transport for London (TfL) instead.

Greg Nelson, the council’s trading standards lead, told a meeting of the Royal Borough’s Licensing Panel on Tuesday that the switch means the council has less control over drivers operating in the area.

While Uber has an operating licence with the council, regulations do not prevent drivers signed up to the transport app from being registered with TfL but working elsewhere.

Mr Nelson said: “I’m not particularly happy with this because the whole purpose of licensing is we have some degree of control on the vehicles operating in our area.

“If Uber drivers are waiting somewhere in the Royal Borough, parked illegally, there is nothing we can do about their physical presence.”

Mr Nelson added that by relinquishing their licences, Uber drivers would not have to comply with the council’s proposed safeguarding training for Hackney Carriage and private hire drivers.

Cllr Maureen Hunt (Con, Hurley and Walthams) said: “Our taxi drivers are going to have to pay for this safeguarding training but Uber won’t.

“We have to look at the fairness of this.”

During the meeting at Maidenhead Town Hall, panel members recommended that private hire drivers registered with the council should pay for mandatory safeguarding training.

Royal Borough taxi driver Mohammed Yasin said after the meeting: “I’m not against the training but the cost shouldn’t be placed on the drivers.

“This is for public safety, why can’t the council locate funds from the public purse?

“Otherwise, this is an extra tax for taxi drivers.”

The cost of the training was discussed in part two of the meeting, which the public and press are not able to attend.

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