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Drivers claim time frame for Uber licensing changes will leave 100 people out of work in Sheffield

Uber is changing its licensing criteria
Uber is changing its licensing criteria

Uber drivers have hit out at changes to licensing criteria which they claim will leave dozens of drivers out of work in Sheffield.

Under new changes plans by Uber, drivers will only be able to operate within the region where they are licensed after mid-March.

The company said it is introducing the changes after feedback from local authorities which said because of the way the app works it makes it hard to regulate the drivers operating in their area.

But drivers in the city, who have licences from authorities elsewhere in the country, claim the three week deadline they have been given by Uber to get one from Sheffield Council is not long enough and will leave around 100 drivers out of work.

They hope to meet with Uber bosses on Tuesday to discuss the situation.

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Driver Ismail Hersi, who has a London licence, said: "Under the changes drivers can only now drive in the region they have been licensed, but many of the drivers don't have the Sheffield license which means over 100 drivers will be without job after this date.

"Uber has not given the drivers enough time to change their license.

"Drivers will be struggling as most of them will be without work and many of them will struggle to pay their car finance or even support their families

"I have a London licence but have worked in Sheffield for over a year and had no problems. I can't go to London to work as I have a young family and live in Sheffield."

Uber driver Mohammed Ayub, who has a licence from Rossendale Borough Council, said: "I totally agree with the changes Uber wants to bring in, but the timescale is just unreasonable.

"Many of the drivers have mortgages to pay for and cars on finances. Around 100 drivers will be out of work because of these changes."

"When we met with Uber last year they told us there was no risk to us by getting licences from elsewhere."

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Sulaman Ayub, who also has a licence from Rossedale, said: "They told us if there were any risks then they would give us six months notice of any risks but they haven't.

"Three weeks isn't enough time to get a new licence or another job."

When Uber made the announcement over the changes, it said in a statement: "While cross-border driving is something the law allows for and is common in private hire journeys across England and Wales, we’ve heard from local licensing authorities that the way our app works can make it hard for them to oversee what some drivers are doing in their jurisdiction.

"That’s why next month we are making a significant change which will mean drivers will only be able to use our app within the region where they are licensed as a private hire driver.

"A driver will still be free to choose where they want to drive, but to do so they will need to be licensed by an authority within the region where they want to drive.

"While we will of course keep everything under review we believe this change strikes the right balance for the drivers, riders and cities we serve.

"It will help local licensing authorities tackle the challenge they currently face in regulating drivers in their area when they are licensed in another part of the country; passengers will still be able to take affordable long distance trips; and drivers will be able to carry out those longer trips without being forced to drive back without a fare paying passenger."

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