– London’s Transport Authority has refused to renew Uber’s license
– The Authority said the company is not a “fit and proper” private car hire operator
– Uber’s current license expires 30th September
– The company has vowed to challenge the decision in court immediately
– London mayor Sadiq Khan backed Transport For London’s decision
Uber has been stripped of its London licence in a surprise move that has triggered protests from drivers at the ride-hailing company and government ministers.
The firm’s application for a new licence in London was rejected on the basis that the company is not a “fit and proper” private car hire operator.
Uber’s cars will not disappear immediately as its current licence expires on 30 September and it plans to challenge the ruling by London’s transport authority in the courts immediately. The hailing app can continue to operate for its 3.5 million users in the capital until the firm has exhausted the appeals process. Uber has 21 days to launch an appeal but can continue to operate until the process expires – which could take months.
The decision by Transport for London was backed by London mayor Sadiq Khan, employment rights campaigners, and the trade body for the capital’s black-cab drivers, who have been staunch opponents of the US-based company.
However, it drew immediate criticism from Uber users, drivers and Greg Hands, the trade secretary.
TfL said that it had rejected the company’s application to renew its licence because “Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility” in relation to reporting serious criminal offences, obtaining medical certificates and driver background checks.
The licensing body also said it was concerned by Uber’s use of Greyball, software that can be used to block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to its app and undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties.
Khan said he fully supported the decision to revoke Uber’s licence, saying all companies needed to “play by the rules”.
“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.”
But Hands, who is also minister for London, said:
“At the flick of a pen Sadiq Khan is threatening to put 40,000 people out of work and leave 3.5 million users of Uber stranded.
“Uber must address safety concerns and it is important there is a level playing field across the private hire market.
“But a blanket ban will cause massive inconvenience to millions of Londoners, all while showing that the Mayor of London is closed to business and innovation.”
Uber said in a statement that the decision would
“show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies”.
“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,”
the company added.
The company wrote to users on Friday asking them to “defend the livelihoods” of its drivers and sign a petition asking the mayor to reverse TfL’s decision.
The majority of Uber users opposed the decision to revoke the company’s licence.