Transport for London (TfL) announced that Uber will not be granted licence to operate in London after repeatedly failing safety measures.
The ride-hauling cab had lost its licence in 2017, the most recent of which expired on Sunday. BBC says the firm will appeal and continue to operate during the entire time.
Tfl explained to the media that Uber has a pattern of failure that place its passengers at risk. For instance, Uber allowed a system that enabled unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts. This implied that at least 14000 trips may have been carried out by fraudulent drivers who were given licence without appropriate checks. There may have been a thief or a kidnapper amongst the unauthorised drivers.
The regulator said he also found that suspended or dismissed drivers had the licence to create uber accounts and carry passengers. This act compromised passengers’ safety and security, the regulator said.
It only proved that Uber did not consider the safety of its drivers. Helen Chapman, director of Licensing Regulation and Charging at Tfl said:
“While we recognise Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured.”
Although there have not been reported cases of any unauthorised driver, the regulator thinks that safety should be a priority. “I know this may be unpopular with Uber users, but their safety is the paramount concern. Regulators are there to keep Londoners safe.”
However, Uber responded with a defence that the regulator’s decision was extreme and extraordinary. The regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, Jamie Heywood argued that the company follows a due process with its drivers. “Over the last two months, we have audited every driver in London and further strengthened our processes.”
If Uber doesn’t succeed at the appeal, some fear that it would create a large gap in the transport market. However, Fiona Cincotta thinks otherwise. She believes that the gap will be filled instantly with competitors waiting to bridge the gap. As far as business is concerned, some people are dancing to this news. It’s perhaps the appropriate time to launch a cab business.
The only bridge might be on the company itself. London is a key market for Uber and according to the company, 24% of its revenue comes from London, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Sao Paulo in Brazil.
London is not be the first city soon to experience the exit of Uber. Uber pulled out of Denmark in 2017; the company is banned in Bulgaria and Hungary; the UberXL service pulled out of Turkey.
Tfl can offer license of up to five years, but became stricter with their regulations of late. In September 2017, TfL refused to renew Uber’s license, citing the transporter’s lapses on carrying out appropriate checks.