Uber just lost its license to operate in London

Uber just lost its license to operate in London
[Photo: Unsplash user Arvydas Venckus]

In an unexpected announcement today, Transport for London has said that it will not renew Uber’s private hire operating license when the current one expires on September 30. In a statement, TfL said they have concluded that Uber is not “fit and proper” to hold the license. TfL says that Uber has demonstrated a lack of corporate responsibility, including:

  • on its approach to reporting serious crimes
  • on how it obtains medical certificates
  • on how it obtains Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks
  • and, most damningly, its use of its Greyball software to block regulatory bodies from the app and its data from officials undertaking regulatory and enforcement duties

Uber has not yet issued a statement on the matter.

Here is what London mayor Sadiq Khan had to say about the decision:

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.

Update: Uber has now issued this response from Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber in London:

“3.5 million Londoners who use our app, and more than 40,000 licensed drivers who rely on Uber to make a living, will be astounded by this decision.

By wanting to ban our app from the capital Transport for London and the Mayor have caved in to 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.”