San Francisco-based Uber will not be reissued a licence to operate in London, the local government agency responsible for transport in the UK’s capital said on Friday, September 22.
Transport For London (TfL) said in a statement that it “has concluded that Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence.”
TfL has today informed Uber that it will not be issued with a private hire operator licence. pic.twitter.com/nlYD0ny2qo
— Transport for London (@TfL) September 22, 2017
The company was first licensed in 2012 and was granted a four-month licence in May while TfL considered whether to issue a new five-year licence. That licence expires on September 30, and under the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act, Uber has 21 days to appeal the decision and can continue to operate while the appeals process is ongoing.
Private hire taxi operators must meet rigorous regulations and TfL said that “Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility” which could have “public safety and security implications,” singling out its approach to reporting serious criminal offences, how medical certificates are obtained, and its use of software that can be used to block regulatory bodies from its app, which could “prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties.”
Uber London’s general manager Tom Elvidge told the BBC: “By wanting to ban our app from the capital, Transport for London and the mayor have caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice,” a reference to London’s public hire black taxi operators who have staged several demonstrations against Uber.
“If this decision stands, it will put more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work,” Elvidge said, adding that Uber intends to “immediately challenge this in the courts.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that he stands by the TfL decision. “I fully support TfL’s decision – it would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety and security.”
Uber started an online petition to ask mayor Khan to reverse the decision. More than 225,000 people signed in less than five hours.
Uber has been banned in some cities and countries around the globe for varying reasons including safety concerns, lack of regulations, and driver background checks.