Uber in London; Is This the End?

Few days ago, Transport for London (TFL) refused to renew the license of taxi-hailing company Uber, and announced that it was unfit and improper to have a private hire operator licence. TFL, which is the capital’s travel watchdog, released a press report and said that it would not extend Uber’s license at the end of its current tenure which will end on the 30th of September.

According to the organisation, its regulation of London’s taxi and private hire system is meant to provide complete safety for the passenger.

Transport for London, went on to say that private hire operators must adhere to strict standards, and demonstrate to TFL that they do so if they must be allowed to operate in the capital. “TFL must be convinced that an operator is fit and proper to have a license,” the report added.

TFL also went on to point out that amongst Uber’s shortcomings was a total absence of corporate responsibility in relation to certain issues in its London operations. They include:

  • Its method of reporting dangerous criminal offences
  • Its approach towards obtaining medical certificates
  • Its method of obtaining Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
  • Its way of explaining how Greyball is used in London- Greyball is a program that could be used to prevent regulatory bodies form fully accessing the app. It has the potential to interfere with regulatory or carrying out law enforcement responsibilities.

Uber has 21 days (from date of report) to appeal the actions of TFL via a formal communication process. According to The Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act of 1998, companies can appeal a licensing decision within 21 days from when it was made known.

The announcement comes as no surprise following an earlier letter written by a group of MPs, urging the TfL not to renew Uber’s operating license because of its involvement in several safety concerns.

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