Uber has been denied a license renewal bid to continue operations in the city London. This is no doubt a low blow for the taxi-hailing company – considering that this is its largest market in Europe. Transport for London (TfL) is the transport regulator in the city; they have cited the reason for this rejection as Uber being ‘improper and unfit’ to hold the private hire license for its operations. More specifically, TfL has a raft of issues that it has raised. The factors all inform the damning decision to reject Uber.
One of the issues raised is Uber’s approach to reporting and handling offenses that are of criminal nature. The transport regulator also has a problem with the way Uber conducts background checks on its drivers to determine criminal record. TfL also has a bone to pick with Uber’s approach on how medical certificates are obtained. TfL is also not pleased with the alleged use of Greyball in London. This refers to a software that can be used to conceal app operations from law enforcement officials. This refusal for renewal is not the end; Uber has moved to the courts to appeal.
According to an official statement by the General Manager of Uber London Tom Elvidge, there are 40,000 duly licensed drivers who will be on losing end where jobs are concerned. In addition, London has 3.5 million users of the app. Mr. Elvidge adds that this will impact both convenience and jobs on a wide scale. Uber operates in more than 600 countries around the world and losing the London market is unfortunate. The company has had issues in some cities where there was a momentary ban like in Austin, Texas and New Delhi in India. You will remember that Uber sold its business in China to a front running rival Didi Chuxing.
Uber has defended itself on the issues of background checks and overall safety concerns. In addition, they deny using software to bar vetting by authorities. In fact, Uber’s new chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi has termed the London decision as ‘unfair’. This was in a statement sent to all the employees. Mr, Khosrowshahi however admitted that the company was not perfect and in a tweet urged cities to work with the company to make things right. Whether the company will win the appeal is a wait and see, for now, Uber users in London can continue using the app until an appeal decision is made. The current operating London license for the taxi-hailing company expires 30th September.