The Uber mobile phone app allows customers or passengers to book a taxi from the firm and pay for it using their phone.
The drivers called partner-drivers are all self employed. According to its website Uber operates in 60 countries. It is already in use in London, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham and now it has applied for a licence in Brighton and Hove.
Brighton & Hove's city council has been given more time to make its decision. Local taxi drivers are concerned - they say that if Uber is granted a licence its drivers should be subject to the same rules and guidelines that they have to observe. Uber says it does abide by the rules.
The row centres around whether the increased competition for fares will be fair, whether background checks will be as stringent as for taxi drivers and whether Uber private hire drivers will have to / will be able to provide vehicles accessible for specific groups of the community, such as people who use wheelchairs.
“In the UK Uber is fully licensed and regulated and abides by all private hire legislation. All partner-drivers operating on the Uber platform are fully licensed private hire drivers and have been through enhanced DBS checks, the same background check taxi drivers go through. In the UK Uber’s model has been scrutinised by over 30 regulators and found to be compliant."