TfL refuses to renew Uber licence for London
Transport for London (TfL) is to strip Uber of its licence to operate in the capital after concluding that Uber London Limited “is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence”.
In a statement, TfL said it considered 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 included its approaches to how medical certificates and DBS checks are obtained and to reporting serious criminal offences.
In August this year a Met police inspector accused Uber of not reporting a sexual assault on a woman by one of its drivers, leading to a second assault on a different woman by the same driver a few months later.
In a statement, Uber said it intends to immediately challenge the decision in the courts and said the ban would show the world that “far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies who bring choice to consumers”.
Commenting on Facebook, London Mayor Sadiq Khan threw his weight behind the TfL decision, saying: “All companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – particularly when it comes to the safety of customers. Providing an innovative service must not be at the expense of customer safety and security.”
GMB, the union for professional drivers, also greeted the decision after the London Employment Tribunal ruled in October 2016 that Uber had acted unlawfully by not providing drivers with basic workers’ rights.
Maria Ludkin, GMB legal director, said: “No company can 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.”
However, London Assembly member Andrew Boff slammed the move, which he said will effectively put 40,000 drivers out of work and cause “major reputational damage” to the capital.
Boff commented: “With 3.5 million registered users – almost half the city’s adult population – Uber has shown to be providing a hugely beneficial service to Londoners.
“Sadiq Khan has ignored their needs and instead believed the smears and propaganda propagated by Uber’s rivals.
“Yes there are elements of the industry that need tweaking, yes there needs to be a reduction of bureaucracy for black cab drivers, but snuffing out the competition at the expense of thousands of employees and millions of customers is not the solution.”