Gatwick taxi drivers in new protest over 'Uber destroying livelihoods'

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Gatwick taxi drivers are planning new protests over Uber ‘destroying their livelihoods.’

The drivers’ union Unite says that the Gatwick drivers are angry that Crawley Council is, it says, ‘failing to act against Uber damaging their livelihoods by breaking local licensing laws.’

Protests will take place at a full council meeting in Crawley today (Tuesday June 18.)

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It comes after Gatwick Airport began advertising Uber services to passengers and introduced Uber reserved bays.

A previous protest was held outside Crawley Town Hall in MayA previous protest was held outside Crawley Town Hall in May
A previous protest was held outside Crawley Town Hall in May

A Unite spokesperson said: “Currently, Uber has an unfair advantage over Crawley’s private hire taxis because it can circumvent the local authority’s licensing laws, resulting in Uber cars registered in London entering the town and waiting for passengers.

"Private hire taxis, on the other hand, cannot pick up fares outside of their licensing areas unless they have been pre-booked.

“The situation has led to an influx of London-based Uber cars into Crawley which are then parking up to poach private hire car business. Uber’s growing encroachment into Crawley’s taxi sector is damaging livelihoods and undermining the local economy, which is heavily dependent on Gatwick.”

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Unite regional officer Dominic Rothwell added: “Crawley Council needs to protect the local taxi trade, which is vital to Crawley’s economic wellbeing, by enforcing its own laws against Uber.

“The council needs to release its promised investigation into Uber’s behaviour and crackdown on both the company and Gatwick Airport, both of which are responsible for setting up a business model that is a direct contravention of the council’s licensing laws.

“The totally unfair practice of London-based Uber cars picking up fares booked while they are parked up in Crawley must end.”

A London Gatwick spokesperson said: “Airport Cars, London Gatwick’s official taxi partner, continue to operate from directly outside the terminals. Passengers who choose 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.”

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Gatwick taxi drivers staged a previous protest over the issue last month.

A spokesperson for Crawley Borough Council said: “We are aware of the complaint and have been actively investigating. More recently we have been provided with additional evidence, which means that our investigation has been extended. As this is a live investigation, we are unable to make further public comment at this time.”

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