Uber Kicked Out Of London For Not Playing By The Book

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Transport for London will not renew Uber‘s private hire operator licence when it expires on September 30, citing safety reasons.

TFL issued a statement on Friday saying the ride-hailing app is not “fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license.”

The decision will affect 3.5 million Londoners and 40,000 licensed drivers who rely on Uber.

CNBC reports:

“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,” Transport for London (TfL) said.

The final day of Uber’s license will be on Sep. 30. Uber, which has the right to appeal the decision within 21 days, did not offer an immediate comment. It is unclear whether Uber will be able to operate in October whilst any appeal is being considered.

In London, Uber has faced criticism from unions, lawmakers and traditional black cab drivers over working conditions.

Uber, which accounts for a third of private hire vehicles on London’s streets, said it would contest the decision.

Globally, Uber has endured a tumultuous few months after a string of scandals involving allegations of sexism and bullying at the company, leading to investor pressure which forced out former CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick.

The app has been forced to quit several countries including Denmark and Hungary and faced regulatory battles in multiple U.S. states and countries around the world.

‘Must play by the rules’

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he backed the decision.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

GMB, the driver’s union, and the Licensed Taxi Driver’s Association have both been fiercely opposed to Uber’s London operations.

“This historic decision is a victory for GMB’s campaign to ensure drivers are given the rights they are entitled to – and that the public, drivers and passengers are kept safe,” Maria Ludkin, legal director at GMB, said in a statement on Friday.

“As a result of sustained pressure from drivers and the public, Uber has suffered yet another defeat – losing its license to operate in London… It’s about time the company faced up to the huge consequences of GMB’s landmark employment tribunal victory – and changed its ways,” she added.

One of Uber’s British competitors in London, Addison Lee, is also awaiting a decision from TfL about a longer-term license. The company declined to comment on Friday.

A decision to not renew taxi app’s Uber private hire license in London does not affect takeaway food delivery service UberEATS, an Uber spokesman said on Friday.

Sterling slipped 0.2 percent on the news, before paring some of its losses to trade at $1.3558 shortly after midday.

Shares in rival Just Eat rose earlier on the decision by regulator Transport for London.

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Edmondo Burr
BA Economics/Statistics CEO