A petition to get Uber in Reading has been launched after the local authority was challenged for not letting the taxi service operate previously.

Although the company is allowed to operate its Uber Eats food delivery service in Reading, it is not allowed to provide rides to customers.

That’s because Uber tried and failed to get a licence to operate in 2016 following a decision by Reading Borough Council’s licensing application sub committee.

Now, new Reading resident Gemma Beetlestone has challenged that decision.

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Miss Beetlestone said: “I have just moved to Reading and couldn’t believe when I found out that Uber was banned from operating here. It is against anti-competitive laws and I want to take it to the council.

“A consumer should have the right to choose who they use and it shouldn’t be dictated by the council.”

She has set up a petition calling for Uber to be allowed to operate in Reading, which you can sign through Change.org.

Notably, Uber competitor Ola cabs had its taxi licence approved by the council in 2019.

But Miss Beetlestone has complained that approved cab services do not offer the same level of customer service.

Reading Chronicle: Taxis outside a rank. A new arrival in Reading has called for Uber to be introduced. Credit: PublicDomainPictures via PixabayTaxis outside a rank. A new arrival in Reading has called for Uber to be introduced. Credit: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

Explaining why Uber does not operate in Reading but other services do, a council spokesperson said: “The Council refused an application for a Private Hire Vehicle Operators Licence for Uber in March 2016 on the grounds that the Sub-Committee did not consider the applicant to be a fit and proper person to hold such a licence by reason of:

  • Not being able to manage the operation within the standard conditions that were attached to private hire vehicle operator’s licence;
  • Not being able to show that he could comply with current conditions that could lead to vehicles not operating according to the Council’s private hire operator conditions;
  • There being insufficient evidence as to the demand for the service in Reading;
  • There being no clear evidence as to the number of vehicles needed to operate the service
  • There being no clear evidence as to how the Uber office was to be manned on a daily basis.

“In contrast, OLA complied with Reading’s licensing conditions and were subsequently granted a Private Hire Operator licence.

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“Anyone can apply for a Private Hire Operator licence, including Uber. They would however need to comply with Reading’s conditions in order to be successful.

“For context, Reading currently has 35 Private Hire companies licensed in the town with the majority now using some form of app based booking service. Reading’s Hackney Carriage fleet also use apps for bookings, in addition to taxi ranks.”

It is understood that Uber has made no fresh attempts to obtain a licence in Reading since being rejected in 2016.