TfL brands Uber unfit to operate in London

TfL brands Uber unfit to operate in London

Transport for London has informed Uber that it will not be issued with a private hire operator licence after expiry of its current licence on September 30th.

The decision means as many as 40,000 Uber operated cars could be removed from the city’s streets in little over a week.

However, Uber has said it will appeal, meaning little change will be since in the near term.

The regulator has criticised the ride hailing app for its approach to reporting serious criminal offences, as well as its approach to how medical certificates are obtained.

Transport for London was also unimpressed with Uber’s approach to how enhanced disclosure and barring service checks are obtained.

Despite arguing he wanted the city to be “at the forefront of innovation and new technology”, mayor of London Sadiq Khan said in a statement: “I fully support TfL’s decision - it would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety and security.

“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.”

The move was welcomed by London black cab operators, who have long campaign against the perceived threat of Uber.

General secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, Steve McNamara, said: “The mayor has made the right call not to relicense Uber.

“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.

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“This immoral company has no place on London’s streets.”

Consumers, however, are likely to be less impressed.

Tom Elvidge, Uber general manager for London, issued a withering response, stating “London is closed to innovative companies who bring choice to consumers”.

He added: “Some 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.

“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.

“We have always followed TfL rules on reporting serious incidents and have a dedicated team who work closely with the Metropolitan Police.”

TfL said the 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.

In this instance, TfL has concluded that Uber London 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 Uber’s 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, however, includes provision to appeal a licensing decision within 21 days of it being communicated to the applicant.

Uber London can continue to operate until any appeal processes have been exhausted.