In a shocking move, Uber has lost its license to operate in London, England.
Transport for London (TfL), the local arm of government responsible for the transport system in Greater London, informed Uber that their private license for hire will not be renewed once it expires on September 30. TfL posted a statement outlining some of the reasons for their decision.
“TfL’s regulation of London’s taxi and private hire trades is designed to ensure passenger safety. Private hire operators must meet rigorous regulations, and demonstrate to TfL that they do so, in order to operate. TfL must also be satisfied that an operator is fit and proper to hold a license,” the statement reads.
“TfL has concluded that Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license.”
The release goes on to say that Uber has a distinct lack of corporate responsibility relating to safety and security, including how they report criminal offenses, how medical certificates are obtained, and their use of a software called Greyball, which can be used to block regulatory bodies from gaining complete access to the app in order to undertake law enforcement duties.
TfL also damns Uber’s approach to obtaining Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks, which involves making safer recruitment decisions by determining which candidates may be unsuitable for their work, whether it be children or vulnerable adults. The checks also help to provide wider access to criminal record information.
There are over 40,000 Uber drivers in London, servicing more than 3.5 million customers a year. This ban could leave many frequent customers out to dry.
Uber responded quickly, issuing an appeal to the decision that will allow them to remain operational, at least until the appeal process is over.
“Transport for London and the Mayor have caved into a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice,” Uber said in a statement. “We intend to immediately challenge this in the courts.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has come out in support of TfL’s decision.
“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,” said Khan.
The ban comes as an ill-timed shock to Uber, as they recently unveiled plans to remove diesel-fuelled cars from their UK fleets by 2022. The ride-sharing app went as far as to promise that every UberX driver’s car in London would be electric or hybrid by 2019.
Uber has faced regulatory problems from every angle almost everywhere they go, whether it be from taxi groups or local branches of government.
Those looking for Uber to deliver their dinner in London have no reason to fret; UBEReats will be unaffected by the decision.