Breaking News – Uber has just lost its license to operate in London. This recent surprise move came from the city regulator. The Transport for London (TfL) stated that Uber is “not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license”.
The general manager Uber in London, Tom Elvidge said that he and the city’s 40,000 drivers was astounded by the decision of the TfL.
“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,” he said.
Reasons for Rejecting Uber’s London License
As imagined, there was a multitude of reasons for this alarming decision. TfL pointed out Uber’s undesirable approach in reporting crimes and criminal offenses. This past August, a senior officer of the London Metropolitan Police submitted a notice to TfL complaining that Uber was slow to report a passenger accusation accusing her driver of sexually assaulting her. TfL said they also had concerns as to how Uber acquired the criminal records and medical checks of their drivers. Apparently, the final factor that caused this decision was the “Greyball” software used by the company. This is an application that is internal and which Uber might have utilized to block regulator’s oversight of the popular Uber app.
“This shows that Uber can’t have its own way everywhere in the world where it tries to launch,” says Chris Jones, chief analyst with research firm Canalys.
When Uber’s London Operation Will Cease
Uber’s license is set to expire on September 30, but this action doesn’t mean that the 3.5 million Londoners who use Uber will have to immediately reconsider their transportation alternatives. Uber can still legally operate for another 21 days while it appeals the decision. Of course, such a decision will come as a shock to all these people who use Uber routinely.
Uber Competitors are Digging This Decision
Officials are stating that this should be a stark warning to other transportation companies and not an opportunity for them. As might be imagined, companies seem to be licking their lips over this news rather than taking it as a warning. For instance, MyTaxi is notifying their select customers to push its 50 percent reduction in weekend rates and stating that these will be cheaper than Uber’s, “who have just been found not fit and proper”.
Other services are already taking advantage of Uber’s misfortune in London. Uber has provided food delivery in the past and JustEat is already seeing a spike in its stock price.
However, not all competitors are going to benefit. Experts do not seem to think that this news will cause the United States rival called Lyft – which has offered an app along with ride-sharing similar to Uber’s – to jump into the UK market anytime soon. While this might seem like a very obvious location to launch, they have witnessed the things that Uber has experienced and does not really want to risk going through the same ordeals.
Elvidge added that all Uber drivers go through identical record checks as cab drivers do and also said the firm uses “a dedicated team” which works very closely with Met Police. He has also cited an independent review that cleared Uber of considering employing Greyball within the UK.
Amazingly, Uber has just lost its license to operate in London.