Addison Lee seeks more London drivers after Uber licence loss

Uber’s problems stem from background check, criminal reporting issues
||Last Updated: 10/02/2017
Addison Lee
An Addison Lee delivery van drives through central London, Sept. 22. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) — Premium car service Addison Lee plans to increase driver numbers in London by up to a quarter, it said on Friday, just as rival Uber is set to lose its licence in Britain's capital.

London's transport regulator said last Friday it was stripping Uber of its operating licence, which will end on Sept. 30, citing problems with the company's approach to reporting serious criminal offenses and background checks.

Its 40,000 drivers can still provide rides with the San Francisco-based company until an appeals process ends, which could take months, but many are concerned for their livelihoods.

Addison Lee, the second biggest private hire operator in London behind Uber, has around 3,600 drivers, which will rise to around 4,450 under the plan.

A further 100 drivers will be added to its Tristar brand, who will also mainly be in London.

"With demand growing and Christmas approaching, Addison Lee wants to add to the pool of talented drivers providing our passengers with a premium service," Chief Executive Andy Boland said in a statement.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters the announcement was also linked to competitor Uber's troubles.

"The campaign was driven not only by Addison Lee’s growth but by the current market situation where Uber drivers are uncertain about the future,” the source said.

Like Uber, Addison Lee treats its drivers as self-employed, entitling them to only basic protections, rather than workers, a category of employment law that also means they would be paid the minimum wage and holiday pay, among other benefits.

Earlier this week, a tribunal ruled that a group of Addison Lee's drivers were workers. The firm is still considering whether to contest the verdict. 

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