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Uber reportedly halts UK expansion following questioning by councils


Uber has reportedly abandoned its plans to expand into nine UK cities and towns.

According to The Sunday Times, the popular ride-hailing app may also lose its license in Brighton after failing to fulfill promises to only use local vehicles and drivers.

Uber has reportedly withdrawn its applications for operating licenses in Oxford, Hull, Bournemouth, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sandwell (West Midlands).

The decision was seemingly taken after the business was asked a series of questions by the Local Government Association in a bid to challenge the claim that it was simply an agent that “does not provide transportation services”. Instead, Uber insists it operates an app with the purpose of connecting “independent contractors”.

Oxford city council told The Sunday Times that Uber’s application had fallen through after the firm failed to provide “vital details” about the way in which its service would operate.  The publication also reports that other councils in the UK confirmed that Uber had withdrawn its license application.

Uber has also reportedly been refused a license to operate in Reading and has been notified that it will not be given one in Southend-on-Sea (Essex). Despite this, Uber continues to serve some areas by sending cars from other locations where it does hold an operating license.

A company spokesperson said: “Uber has been granted more than 80 licences by councils. Over the last year a small number of licence applications lapsed while we focused on other areas.

“On rare occasions, we’ve not pursued applications as proposed conditions didn’t fit with how our app works.”

The news comes after Transport for London failed to renew Uber’s private hire operating license at the end of September. Uber has since then appealed the decision.