'All companies must play by the rules.'
You’ll have to find another way home after a big night out now – Uber will be losing its licence to operate in London. After five years of ferrying people to and from their destination in the English capital, Transport for London has said that it will not be renewing its licence which is due to run out next week.
The decision was announced this morning by TfL and they had harsh words for the car-ride app, stating that ‘Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence’.
While Uber has faced issues around the world with licensing, losing London will be a huge blow. According to The Evening Standard, over 3.5 million people use the app and 40,000 Uber drivers form their network in the capital alone.
TfL’s choice not to renew their licence boils down to their approach to ‘passenger safety’, which they said has demonstrated ‘a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications’.
They specifically pinpointed the methods by which Uber reports ‘serious criminal offences’, obtains medical certificates as well as their dealings with the Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service – a government body which prevents ‘unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children’ according to their website.
On top of that, Uber was also slammed for their use of Greyball – technology that essentially blocks the British government from accessing the full breadth of their data and app, which prevents them from ‘undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties’.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said, ‘All companies must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – particularly when it comes to the safety of customers.’
Uber’s licence officially runs out on September 30 and after that, who knows what’ll happen? They have twenty one days to appeal TfL’s decision and we don’t doubt that their lawyers are working overtime to see if there’s a solution.
Uber had a rocky start in the UK and particularly in London, where many black cab drivers protested its arrival – most notably back in February 2016 when roughly 8000 drivers parked their vehicles and blocked Whitehall, Westminster and West End roads for hours. They have also been scrutinised globally for other major issues such as background checks for their drivers as well as passenger safety – earlier this year, they faced Indian court after a woman raped by her Uber driver sued them for allegedly obtaining her medical records to colour her claims.