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Why London Just Banned Uber (Again)

On Monday, Transport for London (TfL), the body responsible for transit in the city, banned the popular rideshare service Uber from operating within the United Kingdom’s capital. This is not the first time Uber has run afoul of the TfL since it began operating in London in 2012. Back in 2017, Uber lost its license to operate in London when it was banned for “safety and security” concerns, including failure to report “serious criminal offenses.” Back in September of this year, the TfL put Uber on a type of probation–a temporary two-month operating license–over what they say is a “pattern of failures” surrounding passenger safety. When Uber reapplied for its license after the two-month period, the TfL says that its concerns about passenger safety were not met and banned Uber in the city of Lonon for the second time.

In a statement, TfL explained that it would not be offering Uber a renewed private operator’s license on the back of a license reapplication made by the ride-hailing service. While TfL conceded that Uber has made a number of positive changes to its operations since it was given a license to operate in the city back in the summer of 2018, the body explained that, “…TfL has identified a pattern of failures by the company including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk.”

Unauthorized Drivers Are a Big Problem

Clarifying, the body said, “A key issue identified was that a change to Uber’s systems allowed unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts. “This allowed them to pick up passengers as though they were the booked driver, which occurred in at least 14,000 trips – putting passenger safety and security at risk. This means all the journeys were uninsured and some passenger journeys took place with unlicensed drivers, one of which had previously had their license revoked by TfL,” it added. Additionally, TfL has said, “Another failure allowed dismissed or suspended drivers to create an Uber account and carry passengers, again compromising passenger safety and security.”

21 Days to Change

Due to this and additional breaches, TfL says that it was forced to undertake an “…independent assessment of Uber’s ability to prevent incidents of this nature happening again.” However, Uber has 21 days to appeal the ban by TfL and during this time, it can operate within London.

Speaking out about the ban, Helen Chapman, Director of Licensing, Regulation, and Charging at TfL, said, “As the regulator of private hire services in London we are required to make a decision today on whether Uber is fit and proper to hold a license. Safety is our absolute top priority. While we recognize Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured.”

“It is clearly concerning that these issues arose, but it is also concerning that we cannot be confident that similar issues won’t happen again in the future. If they choose to appeal, Uber will have the opportunity to publicly demonstrate to a magistrate whether it has put in place sufficient measures to ensure potential safety risks to passengers are eliminated. If they do appeal, Uber can continue to operate and we will closely scrutinize the company to ensure the management has robust controls in place to ensure safety is not compromised during any changes to the app,” Chapman added.

Uber, which is used by approximately 3.5million people in the UK capital, said it indeed plans to appeal.

Comments are Closed.
mhrb November 27, 2019

Thank god someone is standing up to them.

Irpworks November 27, 2019

Dear government, I've had authorized taxi drivers rob me, drop me and my wife off in completely wrong places, and treat me like trash. Please stop trying to "protect" me and let the market work.

FTA November 27, 2019

Only thing you did wrong was being far too kind to her