Uber's not been doing particularly well with the various cities in the UK over the past several months. First London refuses to renew its operating licence, essentially banning the service from the city in the process, Sheffield accidentally suspended the service because of an "administrative error", and then York refused to renew its licence because of concerns over last year's data breach. Now Birmingham is mulling over whether to renew the service's licence or not.
Birmingham Council let Uber's one year operating licence expire last month, granting a temporary extension to let the company continue operating as it makes its decision. Apparently the council wants more information about Uber's business model before the final ruling, with Councillor Des Flood arguing that there are still "safeguarding concerns" and loopholes that need to be addressed.
Flood also criticised the fact that Uber received a temporary extension by the council "behind closed doors" while he and other licencing chiefs were kept in the dark. He said:
"I think the whole operation is so big it's beyond officer delegation it should be before this committee or a sub-committee rather than officer's delegation. That does surprise me.
I am disappointed to say the least that I have to ask a question in March about a decision which has taken place without us being informed, about something which in terms of safeguarding is a real, real concern which needs to be resolved."
Committee chairman Councillor Barbara Dring confirmed she had been made aware of the extension, and apologised for not telling her colleagues on the committee. She also suggested that the delay in Birmingham's licence renewal may be due to Uber's appeal against its London ban. That case isn't supposed to be heard in court in full until June, however.
An Uber spokesperson said:
“Our licence renewal application in Birmingham is still being processed and in the meantime the existing licence has been extended. In recent months we have been granted licences by a number of councils across the UK including Sheffield, Cambridge, Nottingham and Leicester.”