Bath & North East Somerset Council respond to concerns over Bath-operating Bristol-registered Ubers

Bath & North East Somerset Council has responded to concerns that Uber minicabs registered in Bristol are operating in Bath.

The council has said it is “considering” the issue, raised by one reader in response to last week’s Bath Chronicle story about the lack of availability of Uber cars in the city.

In the UK it is not illegal for private hire cars to take fares in areas other than the one in which they are registered.

But there are concerns Bath-registered cabs are losing business to Uber drivers based in the neighbouring city.

Earlier this year one Bristol cab driver told the Bristol Post he had lost “10 to 15 per cent” of his earnings on last year amid a rash of London-registered Ubers taking fares in Bristol.

Uber launched in Bath on June 24. A B&NES Council spokesman said: “The operation of Uber taxis in Bath & North East Somerset was discussed at a licencing committee hearing in October 2015.

“At that meeting questions were raised about the operation of Uber as it is a new entry into the marketplace. Officers have therefore continued to monitor the operation of Uber drivers in the district.

“The council is aware of concerns expressed over allegations that Uber drivers who are licensed in Bristol have been picking up fares in Bath & North East Somerset.

“These concerns are being considered by the council. The council aims to ensure that the public are protected and that private vehicle hire and hackney carriages operate safely and in accordance with their licensing requirements.”

As with any private hire company Uber cars can sometimes be called to take fares to destinations outside the area in which they are registered.

But as the app searches out the nearest cars as soon as a user requests one, Bristol-registered vehicles finished with taking fares to Bath can then be called on to take Bath jobs.

An Uber spokesman said the company, which now operates in more than 20 UK towns and cities, encourages its drivers to work in the authority where they are licensed but “does not instruct partners on where they should work”.

He added: “Private hire drivers are able to start or end a trip anywhere in the UK provided that their private hire licence and vehicle licence match the licensed operator that processes their booking.”