London will not renew the Uber licence. The company applied for a new licence, with the current one expiring on 30 September, but the Transport for London, backed by London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, rejected the application because “Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility”, in relation to reporting criminal offences and obtaining driver background checks.
Transport for London also said that it was concerned by the Uber’s use of Greyball, a software tool used by the company to identify and deny service to riders Uber suspects of violating its terms of service.
Commenting the news, Mayor Sadiq Khan said:“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 protests are raising against this decision, due to the fact that, only in London, Uber has 40,000 drivers and 3.5 millions of clients. Greg Hands, trade secretary and 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 commented the decision in a statement, saying that it shows “the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies” and that “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”.
One of Uber’s drivers in London, James Farrar, who also campaigned for better working conditions and chair of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain’s private hire drivers’ branch, said:“To strip Uber of its licence after five years of laissez-faire regulation is a testament to a systemic failure at TfL”
This new problem comes after months very difficult for Uber, with the company that appointed a new CEO in order to change its behavior and public image.
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