Rival cab firm calls for cap on number of London Uber drivers

The number of Uber drivers in London should be capped to ensure "healthy competition and consumer choice", the boss of a rival minicab app has claimed.

Kabbee chief executive Justin Peters called for a limit on the proportion of minicab drivers overseen by one company if Uber overturns a decision not to renew its operating licence.

Some 116,000 minicab drivers hold licences in London and Uber says around 40,000 use its app in the city.

Transport for London (TfL) refused to renew the firm's licence last month on the grounds of "public safety and security implications".

Uber has said it will launch an appeal against the decision. It can continue to operate during that process.

Mr Peters has written to London mayor and TfL chairman Sadiq Khan, warning it is "very dangerous" to allow a private company to hold a monopoly in the transport sector.

In the letter, seen by the Press Association, the Kabbee boss wrote: "There should be a cap on the overall percentage of the minicab driver supply that can be overseen by an individual company.

"This will ensure healthy competition and consumer choice forever. I am guessing this would also reflect the desired outcome of the Government too."

In explaining its decision not to renew Uber's licence, TfL said it had concerns over the company's approach to reporting serious criminal offences, how drivers' medical certificates are obtained, how criminal record checks are carried out and its use of technology which allegedly helps it to evade law enforcement officials.

Mr Peters said Uber's licence should be renewed if it addresses the issues raised.

Theresa May last week described the proposed outlawing of Uber in London as a "disproportionate" move that puts thousands of jobs at risk.

But Mr Peters claimed job losses "will not be a natural consequence" of Uber losing its licence.

He said Uber drivers would "quickly secure ongoing work" as long as they were of the same quality of other minicab companies.

Theresa May (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)
Theresa May said outlawing Uber would be "disproportionate" (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

Uber's new chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi will meet TfL commissioner Mike Brown on Tuesday to discuss the licence renewal.

Mr Khosrowshahi took over at Uber in August after predecessor Travis Kalanick resigned, following a series of scandals.

The new boss has apologised for "the mistakes we've made" and accepted that the company had "got things wrong".

Uber will challenge the licence decision "with the knowledge that we must also change", he added.

More than 830,000 people have signed an online petition launched by Uber, urging TfL to reverse its ruling.

A spokesman for Uber said: "We're proud to have brought more choice and competition to this industry. With Uber, licensed drivers can choose if, when and where they drive and are totally free to work with other operators in London too."

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