Taxi firm Uber is likely to remain on London roads for more than a year despite being banned by Transport for London bigwigs.
An appeal against TfL’s ruling – which denied the controversial company a licence extension last week – is likely to continue beyond 12 months, allowing Uber’s 40,000 drivers to stay in work.
The popular app, used by 3.5 million Londoners, failed to gain its licence on four grounds – including failures to report sexual assaults on passengers by drivers.
Taxi firm Uber is likely to remain on London roads for more than a year despite being banned by Transport for London bigwigs
They also faced criticism for failing to obtain thorough criminal record checks for their drivers.
TfL forced 13,000 drivers, many of whom work for Uber, into compulsory, enhanced criminal checks this month as a ‘precautionary measure’.
The initial background checks were carried out by a third party but TfL deemed them inadequate following a review.
They have now given drivers 28 days to repeat the process with their own contractor, the GB group.
However some slammed the criticism of Uber on this basis, claiming the responsibility for vetting drivers instead lies with TfL rather than Uber, or equivalent, minicab operators.
This added fuel to the suggestions that attacks on Uber had been trumped up following pressure on London mayor Sadiq Khan by lobbyists.
The mayor has denied being involved in the decision to not renew Uber’s licence.
However, his register of interests show he remains a member of the GMB – the union that represents many taxi drivers.
Head of cities for Uber in the UK, Fred Jones, said the company were not entirely clear what TfL’s ‘concerns might be.’
An appeal against TfL’s ruling – which denied the controversial company a licence extension last week – is likely to continue beyond 12 months, allowing Uber’s 40,000 drivers to stay in work
The Times reported on Sunday that Uber had undergone ten inspections in the past four years – and had been been given a clean bill of health by TfL each time.
Andrew Boff, a Conservative member of the London Assembly, told The Times: ‘Operators don’t do background checks. This is a TfL responsibility. It is TfL that issues the licences so clearly they’ve not been doing their job. Some of these accusations just appear made up; they lack details.’
Following the ruling, Uber now has 21 days to put forward an appeal, which will be heard by Westminster magistrates’ court.
The company can keep operating in London until the appeal is concluded.
Taxi licensing consultant Patrick Nolan said the process ‘could last 12 months or more’ and agreed that TfL could be vulnerable over criminal records checks.
‘This is a role that the licensing authority is responsible for, not the company with which or for whom the driver works,’ he said.