Private Hire Licence of Uber London Ltd will not be renewed after September 30, though the company can continue to operate during the appeals process it is likely to commit to.
Transport for London (TfL) has informed Uber London Ltd that it will not be issued with a private hire operator licence after expiry of its current licence on September 30.
Uber is expected to appeal the decision, and will be allowed to continue to operate until the appeal process has been exhausted.
In a statement, TfL said that regulation of London’s taxi and private hire trades ‘is designed to ensure passenger safety,’ and private hire operators must meet rigorous regulations, and demonstrate to TfL that they do so, in order to operate. TfL must also be satisfied that an operator is fit and proper to hold a licence.
TfL said it has concluded that Uber London Ltd is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence.
The statement read: “TfL considers that Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrates a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications.
“These include its approach to reporting serious criminal offences, its approach to how medical certificates are obtained, its approach to how Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are obtained, and its approach to explaining the use of Greyball in London – software that could be used to block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to the app and prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties.
“The Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 includes provision to appeal a licensing decision within 21 days of it being communicated to the applicant. Uber London Ltd can continue to operate until any appeal processes have been exhausted.”
TfL said it would make no further comment pending any appeal of this decision.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, commented: “I want London to be at the forefront of innovation and new technology and to be a natural home for exciting new companies that help Londoners by providing a better and more affordable service. However, all companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – particularly when it comes to the safety of customers.
“Providing an innovative service must not be at the expense of customer safety and security.
“I fully support TfL’s decision. It would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety and security.
“Any operator of private hire services in London needs to play by the rules.”
Reacting to the news, Uber said: “The 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.
“By wanting to ban our app from the capital, TfL and the Mayor have caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice. If this decision stands, it will put more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work and deprive Londoners of a convenient and affordable form of transport.
“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.
“Uber operates in more than 600 cities around the world, including more than 40 towns and cities here in the UK. This ban would show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies who bring choice to consumers.”
Jennette Arnold, Chairman of the London Assembly, said: “We welcome Transport for London’s decision not to renew Uber’s licence. The London Assembly unanimously agreed for the licence not to be renewed, unless the company improved its working practices.
“Londoners’ safety must come first and the Assembly was concerned about the effects of Uber’s practices on its own drivers, other private hire operators and the London licenced taxi trade.
“If Uber wants to operate in London in the future, it really must up its game, in terms of safety and its working conditions.”