Allowing Uber drivers into York from lockdown areas ‘potentially lethal’ says taxi leader

An Uber car and a York taxi pass each other in the city centre. Photograph: Richard McDougall
30 Sep 2020 @ 5.04 pm
| News

Taxi drivers say the council should press for a ban on Uber cars from local lockdown areas operating in York.

Uber drivers are still regularly travelling into York from areas of West Yorkshire under tighter restrictions due to their relatively-high Covid rates.

Concern about this practice led City of York Council’s licensing committee chair Cllr Ashley Mason to ask the Home Office for clarification on the rules.

The government responded by saying people are permitted to travel outside the affected areas for work, including Uber drivers, as long as they implement Covid-19 secure measures.

“Whilst we appreciate and understand resident concerns regarding taxi drivers coming to work in our city from areas currently under stricter public health measures, it is for the government to implement any further guidance which would discourage this,” Cllr Mason said.

“We continue to work with the police, public health and public protection teams in the city to ensure that all taxi and private hire vehicle operators adhere to enhanced public health measures.”

Deadly infection

But Wendy Loveday, chair of the York Private Hire Association, says this doesn’t go far enough.

She told YorkMix: “Rather than asking for clarification from central government, maybe York’s leaders and opposition would now lobby the government to change the wishy-washy advice given by people in positions of powers to affect immediate changes to keep everyone safe.

“They’ve proven that they can throw together new laws in wherever they want, so the government needs to crack on and stop these drivers travelling from infected areas. 

“It is potentially lethal to allow these out of town Uber drivers to travel through to York from the highly infected West Yorkshire areas with every chance of them carrying this deadly infection, and them then getting a bunch of unsuspecting students into their cars who incorrectly assume that they are in a locally-licensed vehicle. 

“It is irresponsible of the Uber drivers to even travel through to York during this crisis, but it doesn’t surprise me that they do as they are quite happy to break every rule and law across the globe due to the example set by Uber the faceless monster. “

Cllr Mason said York taxi operators have been requested to put infection control measures in place, including the installation of protective screens between the driver and passengers and the requirement for passengers and drivers to use face coverings and hand sanitiser.

He added: “We also will continue to make the case for local authorities to be given more powers to ensure that the progress that has been made through our collective effort is maintained.”