London’s transport regulator on Friday stripped Uber of its licence to operate from the end of the month, affecting over 40,000 drivers in a huge blow to the taxi app.
London’s transport authority (Transport for London (TfL) says it will not renew Uber’s license to operate in London when it expires at the end of the month. TfL claims 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.” Uber originally arrived in London five years ago, but rivals like Lyft, Via, and Juno do not operate in the city yet.
TfL cites Uber’s approach to serious criminal offences, medical certificates, disclosure and barring checks, and the company’s use of its Greyball software that TfL says blocks regulatory bodies from gaining full access to Uber’s app for law enforcement duties. Uber has reportedly used Greyball to provide a map of fake cars to users the company thought were regulators. This would prevent them from getting a ride and potentially catching the company violating the law.
Uber now has 21 days to appeal the ruling, but the company will be able to continue to operate in London until any appeals have been completed. “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,” says Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber in London. “By wanting to ban our app from the capital Transport for London and the Mayor have caved into 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.”