FOI request detail

Uber drivers in London

Request ID: FOI-1830-1920
Date published: 15 October 2019

You asked

I would like an up to date count of the number of Uber drivers in the Greater London Area.

We answered

Our ref: FOI-1830-1920

Thank you for your email received by us on 17 September 2019 asking for information about Private Hire operators in London.

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:

I would like an up to date count of the number of Uber drivers in the Greater London Area.

In accordance with the FOI Act we are not obliged to supply this information requested as it is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under section 41 and 43(2). In this instance a section 41 exemption has been applied as disclosure of the information you have requested was provided to TfL by a Third Party (the Operators) in confidence. The information is not in the public domain, and there was not a reasonable expectation that the withheld information would be made public by TfL. Therefore we consider that disclosure would constitute an actionable breach of confidence. Since section 41 confers an absolute exemption, it is not necessary to consider whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. Even if section 41 did not confer absolute exemption, there would be no special public interest in disclosure of this information that would justify a breach of confidence in this case.

We also consider in this instance that a section 43(2) exemption also applies as disclosure of driver numbers would allow competitors to get accurate data about their competitors’ fleet size. This would provide an insight into the company which would be of interest to other operators. 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 the section 43(2) exemption has been applied as it would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of private hire operators, and enable their competitors to access useful information about them which would potentially reduce the competitiveness of the private hire market. This could ultimately have a bearing on the value for money private hire vehicle users may expect to achieve from using the service and may overall negatively affect market forces shaping the private hire business in London.

An ICO decision has also been taken in our favour, which can be viewed via the following link:

We work with operators to ensure that they provide us with the details of drivers and vehicles they have used to fulfil private hire bookings, or have had available to them to fulfil bookings in a specified period. Support and guidance is given to operators to ensure that they comply with this requirement. Failing to provide this information may lead to licensing action being taken. Further details can be found by visiting our website

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Melissa Nichols
FOI Case Officer
Information Governance
Transport For London

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