Lon­don Mayor tight-lipped on Uber li­cence re­newal

HUR­DLES Firm has faced protests from driv­ers with sev­eral law­mak­ers call­ing for can­cel­la­tion of per­mit

Business Daily (Kenya) - - CORPORATE NEWS GLOBAL - Reuters

Lon­don Mayor Sadiq Khan de­clined to comment yes­ter­day on whether taxi app Uber will have its li­cence re­newed ahead of a de­ci­sion due by the end of month, say­ing that giv­ing a run­ning com­men­tary could prompt legal ac­tion af­ter­wards.

Uber, which has faced protests from driv­ers of Lon­don’s tra­di­tional black cabs, had its li­cence ex­tended in May for four months as the city’s trans­port reg­u­la­tor con­sid­ers sev­eral fac­tors in­clud­ing a new fees sys­tem which could raise the cost paid by larger pri­vate-hire firms.

Sev­eral law­mak­ers wrote a let­ter this week call­ing on Uber’s li­cence not to be re­newed, ac­cus­ing it of not be­ing a “fit and proper op­er­a­tor” and crit­i­cis­ing its record on safety and work­ing rights. Asked about the up­com­ing de­ci­sion dur­ing a ques­tion time ses­sion yes­ter­day, Mayor Khan said it would be

wrong to comment ahead of the an­nounce­ment.

“You would ap­pre­ci­ate I‘m sure how in­ap­pro­pri­ate it would be, bear­ing in mind that this is quasi­ju­di­cial role that is played, for me as the Mayor of Lon­don and Chair of (trans­port reg­u­la­tor) TFL to give a run­ning com­men­tary,” he said.

“If for no other rea­son, be­cause they would then chal­lenge that in the courts and say that the out-

come of the ap­pli­ca­tion had been pre-judged.”

Uber has faced crit­i­cism in re­cent months over work­ing con­di­tions and later this month it will ap­peal against a de­ci­sion by judges who ruled it should treat two of its driv­ers as work­ers and give them the min­i­mum wage and hol­i­day pay. In re­cent weeks, the app has an­nounced a se­ries of mea­sures in the UK cap­i­tal, in­clud­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of tip­ping and plans to stop us­ing diesel cars by the end of 2019.

On Thurs­day, Uber said it was mak­ing fur­ther im­prove­ments for

driv­ers by in­creas­ing some fares, al­low­ing in-app mes­sag­ing and com­mit­ting to faster and eas­ier ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­cesses.

Uber’s Gen­eral Man­ager in Lon­don Tom Elvidge said their cars re­mained a key part of life in the city.

“The app’s pop­u­lar­ity speaks for it­self with 3.5 mil­lion Lon­don­ers us­ing it to get a re­li­able ride. More than 40,000 li­censed pri­vate-hire driv­ers also rely on our app to make a liv­ing. We want to con­tinue con­tribut­ing to our city,” he said.

CHAL­LENGES Uber has faced crit­i­cism in re­cent months over driv­ers’ work­ing con­di­tions. - FILE

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