Transport for London (TfL) has rejected Uber’s application for a new licence on the basis that the ride-hailing company is not “fit and proper”.
Uber will immediately mount a court challenge to the ruling by TfL. The current licence expires on 30 September but Uber has 21 days to appeal and can continue to operate until that process expires.
TfL said that it had rejected the US ride-hailing company’s application to renew its licence because “Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility”. This is with particular reference to the US-based company’s record of not reporting serious criminal offences, obtaining medical certificates or driver background checks.
The licensing body also said it was concerned by Uber’s use of Greyball software that can block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to its app.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said he fully supported the decision to revoke Uber’s licence, insisting that “I want London to be at the forefront of innovation and new technology and to be a natural home for exciting new companies that help Londoners by providing a better and more affordable service. However, 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. Providing an innovative service must not be at the expense of customer safety and security. 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.”
Jennette Arnold OBE AM, Chair of the London Assembly, said: “We welcome Transport for London’s decision not to renew Uber’s licence. The London Assembly unanimously agreed for the licence not to be renewed, unless the company improved its working practices. Londoners’ safety must come first and the Assembly was concerned about the effects of Uber’s practices on its own drivers, other private hire operators and the London licenced taxi trade. If Uber wants to operate in London in the future, it really must up its game, in terms of safety and its working conditions.”
Uber said that the decision would “show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies. 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,” the company added. “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.”