Uber has come up with a new policy that mandates drivers in the UK to take a minimum of six-hour break after working non-stop for 10 hours. According to Reuters, the new policy will take effect from the coming week. Drivers, however, will be able to log into the app and accept rides while observing their break.
“While drivers only spend an average of 30 hours a week logged into our app, we want to do our part to ensure they don’t drive tired,” Uber’s UK head of policy Andrew Byrne said, per Reuters. “That’s why we’ve been sending drivers regular reminders to take rest breaks and why we’re now bringing in these new limits,” he added.
Uber’s new rest breaks policy might not be unconnected with some of the issues facing it in the UK; London in particular. If allowing drivers to take time off to rest after 10 hours of being on the road will help them be in the right frame of mind, then so be it.
The London transportation agency had last September refused Uber’s application for renewal of license. That landed like a jab below the belt for the car hailing company as the London license represents one of its biggest not just in Europe, but in other major markets globally. The company has been in the eyes of the storm in the last couple of months, with its reputation badly damaged by some of its recent policies.
TfL said Uber is “not fit and proper” to continue to provide its private services in London, citing the following reasons:
- Its approach to reporting serious criminal offences.
- Its approach to how medical certificates are obtained.
- Its approach to how Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are obtained.
- Its approach to explaining the use of Greyball in London – software that could be used to block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to the app and prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties.
As if that was not enough, Sheffield, one of UK’s largest cities, last month suspended the operating license it granted to Uber. Sheffield becomes the second UK city after London to suspend the license of the ride-hailing company.
The local council said its action is based on a failure of the company to respond to requests about its management. According to Bloomberg, Uber will no longer be allowed to operate within the city after December 18.
Uber, however, denied any wrongdoing; claiming it informed the council on October 5 that the named individual on its license needed to be changed since the person was leaving the ride-hailing company. In response however, the council, according to Uber, said it couldn’t change the name, which means Uber would need to apply for a new license.