Taxi giant Uber has been deemed “not fit and proper” to hold a private vehicle hire licence in London with its current agreement due to expire next week.
Transport for London (TfL) stripped its licence to operate in the British capital saying Uber demonstrated a lack of “corporate responsibility”.
“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,” TfL said.
TfL said it would not renew its licence when it expires on September 30, saying “TfL must also be satisfied that an operator is fit and proper to hold a licence”.
Uber has appealed the decision and TfL has allowed the Silicon Valley technology giant’s 40,000 drivers — who account for 30 per cent of London’s private car hire business — to continue to operate until all legal avenues have been exhausted.
“Transport for London and the Mayor have caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice,” said Tom Elvidge, Uber’s general manager in London.
“We intend to immediately challenge this in the courts.”
In the meantime, Uber has launched a publicity campaign, urging users to sign a petition to keep its business on the road.
Help ensure Londoners have more, not fewer, transportation options—sign the petition. https://t.co/nheuOcYjQH
— Uber (@Uber) September 22, 2017
The decision comes after TfL cited Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences, background checks on drivers and software called Greyball that could be used to block regulators from gaining full access to the app.
Uber has faced criticised by unions and politicians and been embroiled in legal battles over workers’ rights.
London police reportedly complained in a letter published that Uber was either not disclosing, or taking too long, to report serious crimes including sexual assaults and this put the public at risk.
London’s mayor has backed TfL’s decision, having been a critic of Uber in the past.
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) September 22, 2017
Uber, which is valued at about $US70 billion and whose investors include Goldman Sachs, has faced protests around the world for shaking up long-established taxi markets.
London’s traditional black cab drivers have attacked Uber, saying it has undercut safety rules and threatened their livelihoods.
Black cab driver for 39 years, Walt Burrows, 71, welcomed the decision on Friday, saying Uber’s standards were “not up to scratch”.
“The black cab is an iconic part of London. What you get with a black cab is a metered fare and you know you’re safe,” he said.