Uber, the troubled amateur cab company, has experienced yet another setback in its plan to take over the world. The city of London just revoked Uber’s license to operate in the city. Transport For London (TfL) released a statement saying that Uber’s license would formally expire on September 30th. Uber says that it will appeal the decision and will operate as usual until the matter is settled.
“Private hire operators must meet rigorous regulations, and demonstrate to TfL that they do so, in order to operate,” the transportation regulation agency said in a statement. “TfL has concluded that Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license.”
The regulatory agency went on to say that it was revoking the license because of Uber’s “approach and conduct” had demonstrated a “lack of corporate responsibility.” The agency specifically called out Uber’s approach to reporting crime, its approach to background checks, and its use of Greyball, software that allowed it to circumvent detection by governments.
Uber just released a statement from Tom Elvidge, General Manager of Uber in London saying that it would appeal the decision.
“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,” Elvidge said.
“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,” Elvidge continued.
“To defend the livelihoods of all those drivers, and the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use our app, we intend to immediately challenge this in the courts,” Elvidge said.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, released a statement saying that he supports the decision made by Transport for London and said that Uber was not prioritizing customer safety.
“I want London to be at the forefront of innovation and new technology and to be a natural home for exciting new companies that help Londoners by providing a better and more affordable service,” Khan said in a statement.
“However, 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,” Khan continued.
Consumers on social media were not so happy...
But taxi companies and taxi trade organizations in London cheered the decision.
“The Mayor has made the right call not to relicense Uber,” Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association said in a statement.
“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,” McNamara continued. “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,” said McNamara.
Under the rules, Uber has 21 days to file its appeal, and can legally operate during this period. The feeling on social media is that Uber would eventually prevail, but only time will tell. If history is any guide, the city of London will eventually fall to the tech behemoth. Once people get used to services like Uber it’s tough to take them away.
Update, 8:50am: Uber is sending out messages to every one of its customers in London about the decision and asking them to sign a petition.