Cab hire giant Uber operating in Adur and Worthing is a serious threat, a taxi driver has claimed.
Adur District Council’s licensing committee on Monday heard the smart phone app service was available to residents since launching in Brighton last week.
Driver Sean Ridley claimed the firm was operating ‘without a licence’ in the area – an allegation Uber has denied.
Councillors granted Adur Hackney drivers a tariff increase for the first time in eight years, in an attempt to standardise fares across the Sussex coast.
Mr Ridley, who previously opposed a fare increase, told councillors: “Elements of the trade last time deemed the increases to be too sharp and too high given the financial climate. However in the last week everything has changed.
“Uber is in operation in Brighton and we also have credible evidence they are operating without a licence in Adur and Worthing.
“We must take this threat seriously and one way which we intend to en masse is to get on an even tariff where customers know exactly what is what.”
In response, an Uber spokesman said it was possible their cars had taken jobs in Adur and Worthing.
But they said the law allowed it, providing cars were dispatched from areas where they were licensed.
This could include newly-licensed Brighton or from Havant or Portsmouth in the west. The spokesman said: “It’s perfectly legal for drivers licensed in other jurisdictions to carry out trips in a different area as long as they are pre-booked and dispatched from the operator’s licence they are registered to.
“The thing that riders love about Uber is no matter which town or city they use the service in they get the same assurances on partner-driver standards when they book through the app.”
Councillors unanimously approved the fare increase, which will now go out for public consultation.
Jonathan Campfield, chairman of Adur Hackney Licensed Drivers, said the new tariff would represent an increase of around 40p per journey. The tariff mirrors Brighton’s charges. It is hoped Worthing will follow suit.