Councils are forcing Uber to rethink its UK expansion plans

Uber has decided not to push ahead with plans to expand into at least nine towns and cities across the UK, according to a report in The Sunday Times.

The taxi-app has reportedly withdrawn applications for operating licences in Oxford, Hull, Bournemouth, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, and Sandwell in the West Midlands.

The decision was reportedly made after Uber was asked a series of questions about the way it operates by the Local Government Association.

Uber insists that it is simply an “agent” with an app that connects passengers with drivers that work for themselves but the questions challenge this assertion.

The Sunday Times cited the following question: “If Uber has no involvement in the contract between the customer and the driver of the vehicle, who accepts the booking? If Uber accepts the booking, how does it have no involvement in the contract between the customer and the driver?”

Oxford city council reportedly said that Uber failed to provide certain details about how its app would operate in Oxford, while the company has been refused a licence in Reading and told it won’t be given one in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.

The Sunday Times report comes as Uber’s future in London remains uncertain. Uber was banned by transport regulator Transport for London (TfL) on September 22. Uber appealed the ban last Friday. It will continue to operate until a verdict has been passed on the appeal.

Uber also has a fight on its hands in Brighton and it could lose its licence to operate there when it expires next month. The company reportedly broke a promise to use only local drivers and vehicles.

An Uber spokesperson told Business Insider: “Uber has been granted more than 80 licences by councils. Over the last year a small number of licence applications lapsed while we focused on other areas.

“On rare occasions we’ve not pursued applications as proposed conditions didn’t fit with how our app works.”

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