Gatwick taxi drivers call for action over claims Uber drivers are ignoring rules

Watch: Don Barnes works for Airport Cars Gatwick, the airport's official taxi partner, and says trade is being decimated.

Taxi drivers in and around Gatwick Airport say their livelihoods are being destroyed by Uber drivers, licenced in London, who they claim are flouting rules around passenger pick-ups.

Workers from the ride-hailing app firm being accused of treating the terminal like a taxi rank, waiting around for fares, when they should only be around the terminal for jobs which are pre-booked in advance.

Uber says its drivers abide by the same regulations as all other private hire operators.

Don Barnes works for Airport Cars Gatwick, the airport's official taxi partner, and says trade is being decimated.

Uber has agreed a sponsorship deal with Gatwick Credit: Don Barnes

He told ITV News, "There's drivers here that are working seven days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day.

"They've got bills to pay, they've got a car to maintain, they've got to put a roof over their head, they've got to feed their family. They are struggling. Some drivers are getting depressed over it.

"It's all because of Uber overtaking a good percentage of our work. And the rules are there."

Local taxi drivers say Uber's operations are being encouraged by Gatwick's decision to award them a sponsorship deal which has increased the presence of their logo on signage and pick-up bays.

Local taxi drivers are calling for Crawley Borough Council to take action Credit:

The airport said the advertisement agreement was open to other companies and the pick-up bays are not exclusive to Uber drivers.

A spokesperson for Gatwick Airport said, “Airport Cars, London Gatwick’s official taxi partner, continue to operate from directly outside the terminals.

"Passengers who chose to use Uber or other private hire vehicles can do so from designated pick-up zones designed to reduce congestion on local roads and provide a smooth passenger experience.”

Hundreds of taxi drivers planned to protest outside Crawley Borough Council on Friday.

The Unite union, which represents workers at Airport Cars Gatwick, is calling on the airport and council to take action.

A screenshot from Uber's website advising drivers how to pick-up at Gatwick Airport Credit: Uber

Unite regional officer Dominic Rothwell said: "Gatwick airport should not be hand in glove with a race to the bottom employer like Uber. Our members are fighting back against the airport and Uber but Crawley council’s lack of action in enforcing its own taxi licensing rules is leaving them at an unfair disadvantage.

"Ultimately, it is Gatwick and Uber that are causing this through the business model they have set up at the airport. Crawley council has the power to stop this by sanctioning Gatwick and Uber for deliberately breaking their taxi licensing laws.

"Crawley council must clampdown on London-based Uber cars picking up fares booked while they parked up in Crawley and clampdown hard."

A spokesperson for Crawley Borough Council said, "We are aware of the complaint and have been actively investigating. We anticipate producing findings in the near future."

An Uber spokesperson said, "Uber operates according to the high standards set across the industry and abides by the same regulations as all other private hire operators.

"Uber also leads the industry in providing every driver with a pension, holiday pay and sickness protection, as well as the right to be represented by GMB Union.”

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