In a shock decision by the transport authorities in London, Uber’s license to operate in the city has been rejected. According to Transport for London, its decision was based on it finding “several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk”.
In September, Uber had been given a two-month extension after concerns were raised. There were several conditions attached to this, including addressing security concerns like how the company deals with serious crimes that are reported by passengers.
Among other concerns that were raised, TfL highlighted the background checks being used by Uber, like criminal record checks and medical checks, as well as its use of technology, which it’s claimed allowed the company to avoid law enforcement in some cases.
Helen Chapman, TfL’s director of licensing, regulation and charging, said: “As the regulator of private hire services in London we are required to make a decision today on whether Uber is fit and proper to hold a licence.Safety is our absolute top priority.”
“While we recognise Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured. It is clearly concerning that these issues arose, but it is also concerning that we cannot be confident that similar issues won’t happen again in future.”
Uber says it will appeal the decision, and that the safety of its customers is a top priority. It described the removal of its licence as “extraordinary and wrong”. Uber will still be able to operate for now while the appeal is heard and reviewed.
Responding to TfL’s decision, Jamie Heywood, Uber’s general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, said: “TfL’s decision not to renew Uber’s licence in London is extraordinary and wrong, and we will appeal. We have fundamentally changed our business over the last two years and are setting the standard on safety.”
“TfL found us to be a fit and proper operator just two months ago, and we continue to go above and beyond. On behalf of the 3.5 million riders and 45,000 licensed drivers who depend on Uber in London, we will continue to operate as normal and will do everything we can to work with TfL to resolve this situation.”