Uber has not been granted a new license to operate in London from Transport for London (TfL), due to numerous safety failures for passengers.
This decision also puts at risk the jobs of Uber’s 45,000 drivers in London. TfL commenting on the decision said it had identified a “pattern of failures” within Uber that puts the passenger at risk.
These included a change to Uber’s system which allows unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts.
According to TfL, this led to 14,000 fraudulent trips that were carried out in London in late 2018 and early 2019.
TfL also found that dismissed or suspended drivers had been able to create Uber accounts and pick up passengers.
Helen Chapman, director of licensing, regulation and charging 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.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said:
I know this decision may be unpopular with Uber users, but their safety is the paramount concern. Regulations are there to keep Londoners safe.
Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber said:
We understand we’re held to a high bar, as we should be. But this TfL decision is just wrong. Over the last 2 years we have fundamentally changed how we operate in London.
The business will appeal this decision and in the meantime be able to operate in London during the process. If Uber does lose the appeal some are worried this would leave a huge gap in the London ride-hailing market.
Still, Fiona Cincotta, market analyst at City Index, on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme said:
Here in London, there would be competition that would fill that void quite quickly.