Uber loses its licence to operate in London

Nov 25, 2019

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Transport for London said on Monday that it will not grant Uber a new licence to operate in London.

According to a press release, Transport for London (TfL) said that the ride-hailing app was not “fit and proper” as a company to continue operating in the city. The organisation said that Uber made a number of changes to its company culture and security measures, but it had not done enough to extend the licence.

“Uber has made a number of positive changes and improvements to its culture, leadership and systems in the period since the Chief Magistrate granted it a licence in June 2018”, TfL said in a statement. “This includes interacting with TfL in a transparent and productive manner. However, TfL has identified a pattern of failures by the company including several breaches that places passengers and their safety at risk”.

According to the BBC, Uber has 21 days to appeal the decision and will do so, though it will be allowed to continue to operate during the process.

In 2017, Uber lost its licence to operate following a string of safety concerns. However, it was granted two extensions during which it was allowed to continue operating. Its most recent extension expired on Sunday, though TfL determined that Uber was still not fit enough to continue operating.

TfL expressed concern that it doesn’t have confidence that similar issues would occur in the future. A key issue that TfL identified was that unauthorised drivers were permitted to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts, allowing them to pick up passengers as though they were the booked driver. The TfL announced that at least 14,000 trips were completed with the known issue, which it says puts passengers’ safety and security at risk.

TfL also said that it found an issue that allowed dismissed or suspended drivers to create an Uber account and continue to carry passengers.

“While we recognise Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicenced and uninsured”, said Helen Chapman, director of licensing, regulation and charging at TfL.

Uber said that the decision was “extraordinary and wrong”, and that it had changed its business fundamentally during the past two years.

London is one of the top-five markets globally for Uber, with about 45,000 drivers working for the company.

Featured photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

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