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Uber Getting Kicked Out of London
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Uber

Summary: The Transportation authority in London has not allowed Uber to renew its license, due to concerns over how it regulates its drivers.

Uber is not being issued a new private hire license, allowing them to operate in London, according to Transport for London (TfL). The licensing organization found that the ride-hailing app company was not fit and proper to be holding a private hire operator license in their city. Their current license runs until September 30.

  
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TfL based their decision due to the “public safety and security implications.” Uber has the option to appeal against the decision, which they indicated they plan to. Uber said London is “far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies.” They have 21 days to appeal and can continue to operate while the appeal is processed.

The way Uber handles background checks on their drivers and reports serious criminal offenses was a cause for concern for TfL. There are around 40,000 drivers using the Uber app in London and some 3.5 million passengers.

London Mayor of Sadiq Khan said, “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.” However, one driver said, “I don’t think it is a fair decision. Uber offers a flexible schedule, and a weekly income.”

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Critics of Uber claim the app as caused gridlocked roads and does not do enough to regulate drivers. Fred Jones, head of cities for Uber in the UK and Ireland, told BBC that their drivers are required to pass the same safety checks in London as the black cab and minicab drivers.

Some believe the app may end up being banned in London but that speculation has Uber drivers upset. Uber’s general manager in London, Tom Elvidge, said, “By wanting to ban our app from the capital, Transport for London and the mayor have caved into 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.”



Uber started an online petition to reverse the decision, gathering tens of thousands of signatures in just a few hours. The division seems to draw a line between those in official positions being opposed to Uber while the general public is in favor. Twitter user Gabriella Salazar tweeted, “As a woman who lives alone and goes outside after dark, I’m really annoyed. Uber is so useful (and cheap) when in uncomfy situations.”

Those applauding the decision include Labour MP Wes Streeting and General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association Steve McNamara. One person in a major position that is not happy with the decision is David Leam of London First. He said, “This will be seen as a Luddite decision by millions of Londoners and international visitors who use Uber, and will also hit London’s reputation as a global tech hub.”

Another person that thinks the TfL made a mistake is chairman of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain’s United Private Hire Drivers branch, James Farrar. He believes the ruling is a “devastating blow” to those drivers about to lose their income. He said, “To strip Uber of its license after five years of laissez-faire regulation is a testament to a systemic failure at TfL.”

Uber is no stranger to legal battles. They have been pushed out of cities and sued countless times for breaking the laws. Australia’s Northern Territory is currently deciding if Uber will be allowed to return to Darwin after a number of reforms were made that would allow for the app to open up. The ride-hailing company is also arguing its case in Denmark after four drivers were found to be in violation of their taxi meter law.

Do you think Uber should be held accountable for its freelance drivers? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about Uber’s recent legal battles, read these articles:

Photo: flickr.com



 

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