It was announced today that Uber’s license for operating in London won’t be renewed once the current one expires on September 30, 2017. Uber has 21 days to appeal the decision, and during that time they can continue to operate (that means they can potentially continue to operate until October 13, 2017).
Here’s Transport for London’s statement about their decision:
Transport for London (TfL) has today (Friday 22 September) informed Uber London Limited that it will not be issued with a private hire operator licence after expiry of its current licence on 30 September.
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 licence.
TfL has concluded that Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence.
TfL 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. These include:
- Its approach to reporting serious criminal offences.
- Its approach to how medical certificates are obtained.
- Its approach to how Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are obtained.
- Its approach to explaining the use of Greyball in London – software that could be used to block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to the app and prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties.
The Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 includes provision to appeal a licensing decision within 21 days of it being communicated to the applicant. Uber London Limited can continue to operate until any appeal processes have been exhausted.
Uber plans to appeal the decision, and Uber’s general manager for London said the following:
3.5 million Londoners who use our app, and more than 40,000 licensed drivers who rely on Uber to make a living, will be astounded by this decision. 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. If this decision stands, it will put more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work and deprive Londoners of a convenient and affordable form of transport.
This would be a huge development if it sticks. Fortunately London at least has (fairly) good public transportation, but even so, Uber has made a big difference every time I’ve visited London. I’ll be very curious to see if Uber has any luck appealing this decision.
What do you make of Transport for London not renewing Uber’s license?