Taxi operator Uber has lost it’s licence to operate in London after what TfL claim was repeated safety failures.
TfL London said the Uber was not “fit and proper” as a licence holder, despite having made a number of positive changes to its operations.
This is not the first time the Taxi app has lost its licence. It lost it’s licence in 2017 but was granted two extensions, the most recent of which expires on Monday by a magistrate.
TfL identified failures that placed passengers safety at risk. These included a change to Uber’s systems which allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts.
It meant there were at least 14,000 fraudulent trips in London in late 2018 and early 2019, TfL said. The regulator also found dismissed or suspended drivers had been able to create Uber accounts and carry passengers.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “I know this decision may be unpopular with Uber users, but their safety is the paramount concern. Regulations are there to keep Londoners safe.”
Uber countered the decision by saying that the decision was “extraordinary and wrong”. It said it had audited every driver in London over the past two months and strengthened its processes.
Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted: “We understand we’re held to a high bar, as we should be. But this TfL decision is just wrong. Over the last 2 years we have fundamentally changed how we operate in London.”
According to Uber, 24% of its sales come from just five cities, including London. The others are Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and São Paulo in Brazil.
In a public filing, it said: “Any inability to operate in London, as well as the publicity concerning any such termination or non-renewal, would adversely affect our business, revenue, and operating results.
London is one of Uber’s top five markets globally and it has about 45,000 drivers in the city. Overall, there are 126,000 licensed private hire and black cabs in the capital.
The firm is appealing and a decision from magistrates court could take weeks and Uber will retain its licence during this period.