News, Culture & Society

Uber will not be issued with new operating licence, Transport for London says

Uber will not be issued with an operating licence after its current deal expires on September 30, Transport for London (TfL) has announced.

TfL concluded that the minicab app is “not fit and proper” to operate in the capital due to concerns which have “public safety and security implications”.

These include its approach to reporting serious criminal offences and how it carries out background checks on its drivers.

Uber was given just a four-month temporary licence in May.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said in a statement: “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. Any operator of private hire services in London needs to play by the rules.”

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, finally drawing 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.

“Uber has not shown itself to be a fit and proper operator. It stands accused by the police of failing to properly handle serious allegations of rape and sexual assault of passengers.

“It had to be dragged through the courts to recognise its responsibility to provide even the most basic rights and protections to Uber drivers. Its business model is based on saturating London’s taxi and private hire market to drive its competition off the road.

“That’s why major cities across North America and Europe have already banned Uber from operating on their roads.”

There had been growing speculation that the app could be banned from London. Opponents of the firm claim it causes gridlocked roads and does not do enough to regulate its drivers.

Uber enables users to book cars using their smartphones, and is available in cities across the UK. Some 3.5 million passengers and 40,000 drivers use the Uber app in London.

Last month, Uber was accused by police of allowing a driver who sexually assaulted a passenger to strike again by not reporting the attack, along with other serious crimes.

In a strongly worded letter, Inspector Neil Billany of the Metropolitan Police’s taxi and private hire team suggested the company was putting concerns for its reputation over public safety.

The Uber app on a phone

He cited the case of a man who worked for Uber being allowed to stay on the books despite an allegation of sexual assault, leading to another “more serious” attack on a woman in his car.

A string of serious crimes it allegedly failed to report included more sexual assaults and an incident in which a driver produced what was thought to be pepper spray during a road-rage argument.

Uber said at the time it was “surprised by this letter” and claimed it does not reflect the “good working relationship we have with the police”.

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association said: “The Mayor has made the right call not to relicense Uber. Since it first came onto our streets Uber has broken the law, exploited its drivers and refused to take responsibility for the safety of passengers.

“We expect Uber will again embark on a spurious legal challenge against the Mayor and TfL, and we will urge the court to uphold this decision. This immoral company has no place on London’s streets.”

Sorry we are not currently accepting comments on this article.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk