Will they survive their car crash?
In a shocking twist of events for ride-hailing app Uber, Transport for London (TfL) has refused to renew its private hire operator license in London and slammed the company for lacking “corporate responsibility”. Uber management has stated that they will immediately challenge this ruling in the courts. This means that the taxi service will continue on London roads until the company has exhausted the appeals process, which could reportedly take months.
The ride-hailing app claims to have around 3.5m users in London and believes this decision can put at risk the jobs of over 40,000 drivers operating on its platform. Tom Elvidge, Uber’s general manager in London, stated: “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.”
Earlier today, the transport body had refused to renew the license stating that the company’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”.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan had also supported the decision when he stated: “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.”
Elvidge, however, claims: “Transport for London and the Mayor have caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice.”
The licence of Uber was due to be renewed at the end of September but the transport operator had been facing mounting pressure from stakeholders. A cross-party group of 10 MPs had earlier urged the transport body to strip Uber of its licence by signing a letter.
The MPs had also claimed that Uber is an “unfit and improper operator” in the light of recent accusations towards Uber’s apparent failure to report sex attacks by drivers on passengers and its questionable business practices.
Lauding the announcement, Labour MP Wes Streeting, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis, said: “This is a courageous decision by the mayor and Transport for London. It finally draws a line in the sand to make it clear that no company, however big and powerful, will be allowed to flout our laws and regulations or jeopardise Londoners’ safety without facing serious consequences.”