Uber denied licence to operate in London in shock move that bans cars from city's streets

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Uber denied licence to operate in London in shock move that bans cars from city's streets

Uber denied licence to operate in London in shock move that bans cars from city's streets

Uber has been stripped of its licence to operate in London in a shock move to ban cars from the city streets.

The ride-sharing company has launched an unprecedented attack on Transport for London in mid-September, accusing the transport body of bending to minority interests and closing the door on high-tech companies.

Transport of London denied Uber’s application to renew its private hire licence effectively barring the ride-hailing app from running its business in the capital. They even went further and accused the company of a string of failings that it said made it unfit to operate.

Uber promised to lodge an appeal and as part of their launched a public lobbying campaign to overturn the ban. Its aim is to mobilise its 3.5m users in London against London’s mayor Sadiq Khan and the Transport of London.

The company claims that the decision by the London authorities would put 40,000 drivers out of work thanks to “a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice”. The company will be able to keep running in London during the appeal, which is likely to take months.

Uber’s license expired on September 30 but its roughly 40,000 drivers will be able to take passengers for the Silicon Valley company until an appeals process has been exhausted, which could take several months.

Uber’s licence expired on September 30 as it was deemed not “fit and proper” to hold a licence. The company has been accused of ”a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications”, namely how it reports criminal offences, it's handling of drivers’ background checks and the use of software known as “Greyball” allegedly designed to evade regulators.

The Uber app that links up drivers with passengers using a smartphone’s GPS technology was launched in London back in 2012 but since then it has had no shortage of opponents, who accuse it of adding to congestion, ruining London’s established taxi trade, and treating its own drivers poorly.

Black cab groups had demanded that the Transport of London authority deny Uber a licence, saying they would take legal action if it allowed the company to continue.

Tom Elvidge, Uber’s general manager for London, issued a furious response that sought to pit the company on the side of consumers and drivers, who are not employees of Uber but contractors who are paid per job.
“By wanting to ban our app from the capital Transport for London and the Mayor have caved into a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice. If this decision stands, it will put more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work and deprive Londoners of a convenient and affordable form of transport,”

“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.”

The is another huge blow to Uber after Uber’s founder Travis Kalanick was forced to step down amid allegations of corporate impropriety and a widespread culture problem, triggered by allegations of sexism from a former employee Susan Fowler.

The claims against Uber has led to an internal investigation that ultimately led the company to fire dozens of staff. They have also Uber faced regulatory attacks and government investigations in multiple countries and cities over alleged improprieties.

Uber has generally relied on huge public campaigns to encourage regulators back down and in the situation of London, it has launched a petition against the ban that has garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures within hours.

Uber has until Oct. 13 to submit its appeal, which will be reviewed by a judge.


Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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