Uber to introduce mandatory rest breaks for UK drivers

FILE PHOTO: A photo illustration shows the Uber app on a mobile telephone, as it is held up for a posed photograph, with a London Taxi in the background, in London, Britain November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Uber [UBER.UL] said on Tuesday its British drivers will have to take a six-hour break after they have accepted and made trips with passengers totaling 10 hours as the taxi app responds to criticism over excessive working hours.

Uber said last month nearly a third of its 50,000 drivers in Britain are logged into the app for more than 40 hours a week, whilst just under 8 percent are online for more than 60 hours.

It has been attacked by trade unions and lawmakers who say that some of its drivers are working too long, one of many criticisms it has faced about its business model as it battles to keep operating in London after being stripped of its license.

On Tuesday, the Silicon Valley firm said from next week drivers will have to take a continuous six-hour break after the time spent on trips with passengers and on their way to picking someone up reaches 10 hours.

“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,” said Uber’s UK Head of Policy Andrew Byrne.

“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.

He said the app planned to make other changes to the way it operates in the next few months.

Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison