Uber loses London operating licence due to a pattern of failures

Uber London

The online taxi app platform Uber has ljust ost its licence to operate private hire vehicles in London after authorities found that more than 14,000 trips were taken with uninsured drivers.

Transport for London announced the decision not to renew the ride-hailing firm’s licence at the end of a two-month probationary extension granted in September. Uber was told then it needed to address issues with checks on drivers, insurance and safety, but has failed to satisfy the capital’s transport authorities.

TfL said on Monday it had identified a “pattern of failures” by Uber, including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk.

In a statement, TfL said: “Despite addressing some of these issues, TfL does not have confidence that similar issues will not reoccur in the future, which has led it to conclude that the company is not fit and proper at this time.”

The decision will not see Uber cars disappear from London immediately, as the firm has said it will appeal and can continue to operate pending the outcome provided it launches official proceedings within 21 days.

When TfL first rejected Uber’s licence renewal, in September 2017, the firm eventually persuaded judges to award it a 15-month licence to continue.

The latest offence reported was less than three weeks ago. Some of the trips were conducted by drivers whose licences had been revoked, including one driver who was cautioned for distributing indecent images of children.

“TfL’s decision not to renew Uber’s licence in London is extraordinary and wrong, and we will appeal,” Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, said in a statement. “We have fundamentally changed our business over the last two years and are setting the standard on safety. TfL found us to be a fit and proper operator just two months ago, and we continue to go above and beyond.”

“On behalf of the 3.5 million riders and 45,000 licensed drivers who depend on Uber in London, we will continue to operate as normal and will do everything we can to work with TfL to resolve this situation.”

London is Uber’s biggest European market and a key driver of its revenues beyond the U.S. It’s faced increased competition in the U.K. capital from the likes of Estonian start-up Bolt and French rival Kapten.

In its announcement, London’s transport authority said it held issue with a change made to Uber’s identification systems that allowed unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts. According to TfL, this allowed them to pick up riders as though they were the booked driver in at least 14,000 trips.

Uber now has 21 days to appeal the decision and will be allowed to operate during that time. In response to TfL’s move, the company said it intended to appeal.

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