App-based ride-sharing platform, Uber, have been awarded a new booking office licence in Glasgow, despite fierce opposition from several quarters, including trade union; Unite the Union.
Renovation work at Uber’s former premises in West George Street left the private hire giants seeking a new base. According to sources, the new premises will be less than half a mile away in Buchanan Street; a decision that has received a hostile response.
Objections from the Greater Glasgow Private Hire Association, Glasgow Taxis and Unite were all dismissed by licensing officials. Unite the Union Chairman, Calum Anderson, has insisted they will go to the ombudsman to appeal the move.
Mr Anderson argued:
“Uber simply do not meet the criteria for a base licence. We have to ask the question why the committee chose not to follow the licensing laws. I think we’ll be going on to the ombudsman to look at the way the council has acted on this. They seem to have a scant disregard for the Civic Government Scotland Act which is what we all have to adhere to, except for Uber.”
The Civic Government Scotland Act states that the use of premises is for ‘the carrying on of a business which consists to any extent of the taking of bookings, by any means of communication, from members of the public for the hire of a relevant vehicle’.
Opposition of Uber’s new booking licence insist bookings via the app will go through an office in the Netherlands, essentially taking the jobs of locals in Glasgow. This is however something that Uber have denied.
After the licence was granted, Kieran Harte, Head of Cities for Uber Scotland, said:
“We welcome today’s decision and look forward to continuing to grow the business in Glasgow for the many drivers and passengers that use the app.”
Despite fierce opposition, Uber now operates in hundreds of cities globally. You can use the app to arrange a private hire vehicle in cities throughout the UK; including Glasgow, Edinburgh, London and Manchester.