FOI request detail

Taxi Licensing - Questions posed by TFL to UBER London Ltd

Request ID: FOI-1275-1718
Date published: 27 September 2017

You asked

Dear Freedom of Information Team TFL has licensed UBER London Ltd (UBER) as a private hire operator. In the course of determining such an application, TFL is entitled to ask for such information as it may reasonably require to enable it to determine the application /application for renewal. Can you please answer the following questions: (1) Did the TFL exercise its right to ask UBER questions? (2) If the answer to question (1) is ‘yes’, please advise what questions were asked. Having granted a licence, TFL is entitled to ask questions of the licence holder to satisfy itself whether there have been any material changes since the licence was granted / renewed. (3) Has TFL exercised its right to ask UBER questions since the grant of the licence? (4) If the answer to question (3) is ‘yes’, please advise what questions were asked. For the avoidance of doubt, I appreciate the answers to such questions may be regarded as being commercially sensitive, so I do not ask for the answers given by UBER to any questions that may have been asked by TFL. I do not ask for copies of correspondence passing between TFL and UBER, because I am not concerned with who was corresponding with whom or when. In the circumstances, all I ask for is a list of all the questions asked and am not concerned as to whether they were asked all at once or whether questions initially asked resulted in the posing of further questions. If, however, it is easier to TFL to provide a suitably redacted copy of the correspondence it sent posing such questions, I would be happy to receive the requested information in that format. I appreciate that such questions may have been asked wholly or in part as a result of legal advice received by TFL, but in precisely the same way that such questions would have ceased to be subject to legal professional privilege when they were asked of UBER, I do not consider that such questions could be exempt from disclosure under the legal professional privilege exemption. I confirm that neither do I do seek to see a copy of any legal advice that may have been received by TFL in relation to any questions that may have been asked of UBER by TFL.

We answered

Our ref: FOI-1275-1718/GH

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 28 August 2017 asking for information about TfL and Uber. I am sorry for the delay in replying.

Your request has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy. I can confirm that we do hold the information you require.

Transport for London (TfL) carried out pre-licensing checks for Uber when they were originally licensed in London in 2012. Further checks were also carried out in 2014. At each stage TfL asked questions of Uber in order to satisfy ourselves that they met all requirements to operate as a private hire operator in London. This is a standard process undertaken for all applicants to operate as a private hire operator in London.

In order to provide you with a list of questions asked during the application and since the original licence was issued would require searching through all of our records relating to Uber. Such a search would only identify those questions which have been recorded, and would easily exceed the ‘appropriate limit’ of £450 set by the Freedom of Information (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.

Under section 12 of the FOI Act, we are not obliged to comply with requests if we estimate that the cost of determining whether we hold the information, locating and retrieving it and extracting it from other information would exceed the appropriate limit. In this instance, we estimate that the time required to answer your request would exceed 18 hours which, at £25 per hour (the rate stipulated by the Regulations), exceeds the ‘appropriate limit’.

Although your request can take the form of a question, rather than a request for specific documents, TfL does not have to answer your question if it would require the creation of new information or the provision of a judgement, explanation, advice or opinion that was not already recorded at the time of your request. If you have specific questions relating to these topics we may be more easily able to respond to these than to a request for any information held.

If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Graham Hurt

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

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