FOI request detail

How many Private Hire Drivers are affiliated to Uber

Request ID: FOI-0094-1718
Date published: 12 May 2017

You asked

How many licensed TfL Private Hire Drivers does Uber London have on its platform? An operator must give TfL the details of all drivers who are working for them. When did Uber last supply TfL with these figures?

We answered

 

TfL Ref: 0094-1718

 

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 12 April 2017 asking for information about Uber London Limited.

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our Information Access Policy. I can confirm that we hold the information you require. You asked for:

 

How many licensed TfL Private Hire Drivers does Uber London have on its platform? An operator must give TfL the details of all drivers who are working for them. When did Uber last supply TfL with these figures?

 

Uber are subject to the same licensing requirements as all other private hire operators in London, including the requirement to provide details on a weekly basis of the drivers and vehicles they use to fulfil private hire bookings.

 

However, in accordance with the FOI Act we are not obliged to supply this information as it is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under section 43(2) and section 41 of the FOI Act.

 

In this instance section 43(2) exemption has been applied to the number of drivers and vehicles registered with any operator, as it is commercially sensitive. Disclosure of this information would enable rival companies to have an insight into any operator’s business model and undermine their position in the competitive market place.

 

The use of this exemption is subject to an assessment of the public interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned. We recognise the need for openness and transparency by public authorities, but in this instance feel that the balance lies in favour of withholding the information to ensure that Uber London, as with any other private hire operator, can continue to be able to operate effectively without being placed at a commercial disadvantage.

 

Section 41 has been applied as this information was provided to us in confidence by every operator. We consider that this information possesses the necessary quality of confidence as it was submitted under an understanding that it would be held in confidence. As stated above, the information could undermine every operator’s commercial interests if it were to be released into the public domain. It could also have an affect on the flow of accurate information to TfL as private hire companies could be reluctant to provide us with the number of drivers and vehicles registered to them given the likely commercial repercussions to their trade.

 

Since section 41 is an absolute exemption, as such we have not gone on to consider the balance of the public interest, except to the extent of noting that there is no special public interest in disclosure of this information that would justify a breach of confidence in this case.

 

If this is not the information you are looking for, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Sara Thomas

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

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