Uber and taxi drivers at breaking point over vandalism crisis in Portsmouth
TAXI and Uber drivers across the city have been left fuming after an increase in vehicle vandalism is leaving them out of pocket.
Vehicles have been keyed, car windows have been smashed and in one case acid was thrown over the bonnet and wheels of taxis and private hire vehicles including Uber, Aqua Cars and City Wide taxis.
Kieran Clark has worked for Uber for eight weeks and has already had his car vandalised twice.
The 21-year-old from Portsmouth said: ‘It causes such inconvenience to drivers due to the time it takes to clean up the mess as well as the financial implications of missing at least a day’s work to fix the damage and the cost of the repair itself.’
Colleague Peter Baltateanu from Romania has worked for Uber for three years and said the problem has become much worse in the last few years.
The 36-year-old said: ‘We have a Facebook group of Uber and private hire vehicles in the city and people are posting on there once or twice a day about it.
‘It is really awful that we are being targeted because we are just making a living and it can really disrupt how much we can work when we then have to go and get it fixed.’
Uber employees told The News that Portsmouth City Council enforces that Uber stickers be visible on cars at all times even if they aren’t being used as taxis.
Peter said: ‘When we park up for the night, people then break in thinking there will be cash inside but Uber runs a cashless system and most taxis take money out anyway.’
Kieran added: ‘I know a majority of Portsmouth licensed drivers have suggested that the council could allow us to remove livery from the side of the cars to make them less of a target.
‘As Havant licensed cars are allowed to be used without livery I don’t see why this should be a problem for us to do the same and if it stops the vandalism then it can only be a positive option.’
A spokeswoman for Portsmouth City Council said: ‘The issue has been raised with us and we are working with taxi drivers and looking at options to minimise the number of incidents.’
Six other drivers also contacted The News regarding damage to their cars.
Hampshire police said that statistics on specific taxi and private hire car vandalism was not held.