Uber loses its license to operate in London

London’s transport authority announced that they will not be renewing Uber’s license, saying the company is ‘not fit and proper’ to operate in the city

(Photo: Metro News)
(Photo: Metro News)

Transport for London (TfL) cited Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences, and its use of software, which prevented regulators and law enforcement from monitoring the application.

Uber’s “approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues, which have potential public safety and security implications”, said TfL. They went on to list the following issues:

  • Its approach to reporting serious criminal offenses
  • Its approach to how medical certificates are obtained
  • Its approach to how Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) are obtained
  • Its approach to explaining the use of Greyball in London – a software, which could be used to block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to the app, preventing officials from undertaking their duties

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan maintained that he “fully supports” the decision to not renew the license, when it expires on 30 September.

“All companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – particularly when it comes to the safety of customers”, he said. “Providing an innovative service must not be at the expense of customer safety and security”.

In a statement, Uber said that it would “immediately challenge this [decision] in the courts”. In the meantime, the company may continue to operate while it appeals.

“Transport for London and the mayor have caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice”,, Uber said. “If this decision stands, it will put more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work and deprive Londoners of a convenient and affordable form of transport”, it went on.

Around 3.5 million Londoners have used Uber, with the traditional “Black Cab” taxi drivers having been amongst the most vocal opponents of Uber. They have campaigned to convince politicians and residents to steer clear of the company.

Around the world, Uber operates in nearly 700 cities and has sparked a number of controversies over passenger safety, driver pay and background checks. 

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