Uber apologises after London ban
The chief executive of Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi, said he was sorry for the “mistakes we’ve made” after the taxi-hailing firm lost its London licence. Uber’s reign in the capital looks to be over, after Transport for London ( TFL) refused to renew the ride-sharing service’s licence. TFL said it concluded that Uber “is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence”.
In a statement posted on Twitter, TFL said that Uber’s approach and conduct “demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility”, and lists four points, including Uber’s failure to report serious criminal offences, its approach to medical certificates and its approach to how Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are obtained.
The news came as a huge blow to Uber, which has been beset by problems over recent months, though the decision by a major city to strip Uber of its licence marks a new low point for the company.
Uber responded by saying it will “immediately challenge” Tfl’s decision in the courts, but accepts it “must change”. Mr Khosrowshahi said: “While Uber has revolutionised the way people move in cities around the world, it’s equally true that we’ve got things wrong along the way. On behalf of everyone at Uber globally, I apologise for the mistakes we’ve made.”
How will it affect you?
If you’re a regular Uber passenger, you may be dismayed by Tfl’s decision: more than 3.5 million people who live and work in London use the service to travel, primarily because it’s cheaper and more convenient than hiring a black cab. Indeed, at the time of writing, more than 750,000 people had signed a petition to restore the firm’s licence.
Uber also has more than 40,000 drivers in London, who will now be deprived of regular income, although the company refused to grant them workers’ rights until forced to by a tribunal panel. It’s possible that Uber cars could remain on the roads while the appeal goes through the courts.
What do we think?
This was a surprise decision by TFL, but an understandable one: Uber repeatedly avoided taking responsibility for the criminal conduct of some of its drivers, its lax security checks and its disregard towards its workers, passengers and rivals. However, there’s a strong chance that the ruling will be overturned, as it was in Italy in July, if Uber agrees to compromise and improve its business practices – especially given the level of public support for the company.