Transport for London on Friday announced that it was not renewing Uber’s licence to operate in the city dealing a sharp blow to the ride hailing app, tens of thousands of UK-based drivers and a sprawling customer base.
In a damning statement, the transport authority said that its regulation of London’s taxi and private hire trades is designed to ensure passenger safety.
Private hire operators must meet rigorous regulations, and demonstrate that they do so, in order to operate, it said. It also said that it must be satisfied that an operator is fit and proper to hold a licence.
“TfL has concluded that Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence”.
Can I still get a taxi with Uber, now it’s banned?
The group said that it considers that Uber’s approach and conduct “demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications”.
It said that it was concerned about Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences and its approach to how medical certificates are obtained, among other things.
The current licence expires on 30 September.
Under the Private Hire Vehicles Act of 1998, Uber can appeal the decision within 21 days. It can continue to operate until that appeal process have been exhausted.
The California-based company, that was founded just over eight years ago, has been under intense fire from a growing army of critics in the UK, who claim that it is unfairly skewing competition and that it has not done enough to crack down on incidents of violence involving its drivers.
The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, which has been one of the most vocal critics of Uber in London, said that TfL had put public safety first.
“Since it first came onto our streets Uber has broken the law, exploited its drivers and refused to take responsibility for the safety of passengers,” Steve McNamara, the General Secretary of the LTDA said.
“We expect Uber will again embark on a spurious legal challenge against the Mayor and TfL, and we will urge the court to uphold this decision. This immoral company has no place on London’s streets”.
The GMB Union hailed the decision as a “historic victory”.
“As a result of sustained pressure from drivers and the public, Uber has suffered yet another defeat – losing its license to operate in London,” Maria Ludkin, GMB’s legal director said.
“No company can be behave like it’s above the law, and that includes Uber. No doubt other major cities will be looking at this decision and considering Uber’s future on their own streets,” she added.