London’s transport authority has revoked the operating licence for ride-hailing app Uber over the American company’s attitude to customer safety and “lack of corporate responsibility”.
Friday’s decision (22 September) by Transport for London (TfL) will close down the world’s most valuable start-up in the British capital from 1 October.
Uber’s General Manager for London Tom Elvidge said “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”.
But TfL said it was not happy with the company’s approach to reporting criminal offenses, complying with London’s strict rules on driver checks and medical certificates and the use of software to stop regulators enforcing the law.
“To defend the livelihoods of all those drivers, and the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use our app, we intend to immediately challenge this in the courts,” Elvidge said.
Under UK law, Uber has 21 days to appeal the decision and can continue to operate while the appeal process is ongoing.
“Our pioneering technology has gone further to enhance safety with every trip tracked and recorded by GPS,” Elvidge added, refuting TfL’s accusation that Uber failed to protect customer safety. He also stressed that Uber drivers undergo the same background checks as London’s black cab drivers.
Uber has had a challenging year in Europe. A June 2017 ruling by the EU’s top court saw Uber as a traditional transport company, not a digital platform. Member states now have the right to regulate the company as such or to ban it if they see fit.
France, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands have all taken steps to rein in Uber to protect their traditional taxi services.
In a jibe at a traditionally pro-business city, Elvidge said TfL’s decision shows the world that “far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies who bring choice to consumers”.
— Jorge Valero (@europressos) September 22, 2017