Uber licence under threat in London

Transport for London (TfL) won’t grant a new license to Uber for operations in London, owning to its continual safety failures.

Despite being a licence holder, the Uber taxi app was not “fit and proper” alleged the regulator. According to sources, Uber had lost its licence in 2017, but was given two extensions, which is now expiring on Monday.

In the wake of the latest decision, Helen Chapman, director of licensing at TfL, said: “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.”

Furthermore, TfL also determined that it had experienced a “pattern of failures” in London which risked passenger safety. Some of such changes include hiring unauthorized drivers to upload photos to accounts of other Uber drivers.

As a result, the firm had atleast 14,000 fraudulent trips in the capital city in late 2018 and early 2019.

In reaction, Uber said the decision taken by London is “extraordinary and wrong”. The company said it had audited every driver in London over the past two months and tightened its processes.

On the global scale, London provides one of the top five markets for Uber. The firm has 45,000 drivers and 126,000 licensed private black and hire cabs. The company confirms 24% of its sales come from only five cities, including London, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and São Paulo in Brazil.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan stated: “I know this decision may be unpopular with Uber users, but their safety is the paramount concern. Regulations are there to keep Londoners safe.”

Based on reports, the firm will appeal and can continue to operate during the process. Should Uber be unsuccessful in its appeal, experts allege, Uber drivers will move to rival ride-sharing firms such as Kapten and Bolt.

In the meanwhile, Uber is facing threats from regulators around the world, owning to the way the firm deals with competition concerns and passenger safety.

In 2017, Uber was cancelled from Denmark with regards to new taxi laws that obligated drivers to have fare meters and seat sensors.

Uber services were cancelled from both Hungary and Bulgaria, due to pressures from local taxi unions. Turkey also pulled services of UberXL without stating a reason.