Oof, Well there's another blow to Uber. The ride-hailing/taxi firm has just had it's licence suspended in Sheffield, over what's being described as an "administrative error'. So nothing evil has happened, and the company hasn't annoyed the council, someone just forgot to do some paperwork.
The issue in question is that Uber didn't change the name on the licence from former UK boss Jo Bertram, who announced she was leaving the company back in October. Sheffield city council claims that licences can't be transferred to a different person's name. Uber can still operate in Sheffield until 18th of December, and then beyond if it appeals the council's decision - something it confirmed it has plans to do.
A Sheffield city council spokesperson said:
“Uber’s licence was suspended last Friday (29 November) after the current licence holder failed to respond to requests, made by our licensing team, about the management of Uber.”
Uber claims to have informed Sheffield council of the need to change the name on 5th October, only to be told the name couldn't be changed and that it'd have to apply for a brand new licence. Uber has applied for a new licence, which the council is apparently in the middle of processing, but claims it's not had issues changing the name on its licences elsewhere in the UK. The company also denies having received the council's correspondence, claiming the letters had been sent to the wrong address.
It's a weird situation. The council hasn't suspended the licence for any particular wrongdoing or alleged dodgy practice (which was reportedly partly the case in London). It sounds like both parties are to blame as well. Uber for not understanding the local regulation, and Sheffield council for allegedly sending letters to the wrong place.
Either way it sounds like this issue should be resolved pretty quickly, unlike London. The new licence is being processed, and by filing an appeal Uber can continue operating until the situation is resolved and it returns to business as usual. [The Guardian]