Ride-hailing app Uber has been provisionally banned from operating in London, in a massive development that’s being hailed as a win for the traditional, old-fashioned black cab driver.
Transport for London (TfL) said in a statement that Uber’s ‘approach and conduct’ were ‘not fit and proper’ to hold a private hire licence. Its current one expires on September 30, but legally the firm is granted a 21-day stay of execution during which it can appeal the decision – and continue to operate.
The shock ruling criticises Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences, presumably committed by its drivers, its approach to how medical certificates were obtained, to how its criminal record checks were obtained and its use of software designed to block the police from gaining ‘full access’ to the app.
Uber claims to have 3.5 million users in London – almost half the city’s population. Some 40,000 drivers also operate under its banners, it says. It has been operating since 2012 but has faced stiff criticism from black cab drivers, who have to undergo much stricter background checks and competence tests before being allowed to work. It’s expected that Uber will appeal, and make promises of big changes in order to keep its licence.
GMB, the taxi drivers’ union, released a statement shortly after TfL issued the news. Maria Ludkin, GMB legal director, said:
“No company can behave like it’s above the law, and that includes Uber. As a result of sustained pressure from drivers and the public, Uber has suffered yet another defeat. It’s about time the company… changed its ways.”
Do you use Uber in London? Will you revert to using Black Cabs? Will it make your life more difficult?