Transport for London (TfL) announced Uber “is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence” and it will not renew its licence after it expires on 30 September, though the ride-hailing app maker can continue to operate “until any appeal processes have been exhausted”.
TfL has today informed Uber that it will not be issued with a private hire operator licence. pic.twitter.com/nlYD0ny2qo
— Transport for London (@TfL) September 22, 2017
Tom Elvidge, GM of Uber in London, hit back at a decision which is a huge blow to the company: “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.”
TfL said Uber’s: “approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications,” including reporting serious criminal offences.
It also raised issue with the app company’s explanation of 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.”
Elvidge said TfL: “caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice”.
He said Greyball is not used for the purposes cited by TfL, adding: “we have always followed TfL rules on reporting serious incidents and have a dedicated team who work closely with the Metropolitan Police.”
TfL stated 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 was licensed as a private hire operator in 2012.
London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, said he fully supports the decision because, while he wants the city “to be at the forefront of innovation and new technology”, all companies “must play by the rules.”
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) September 22, 2017
In an emailed statement to Mobile World Live, Nicolas Beraudo, MD EMEA at App Annie said city transportation has been totally reimagined thanks to mobile apps.
He said the recent news “will be a big disappointment to their 3.5 million users in London. While this will present an opportunity for other players, we hope it will give rise to new innovative ways to travel round the city, such as Gett and Citymapper’s new taxi-bus hybrid”.
According to App Annie, Uber is the top taxi app in the UK based on average monthly active users between January and August 2017, on both iOS and Android. The number two spot goes to Gett, followed by Addison Lee, Hailo and mytaxi.
The ruling is the first major test for new Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who was hired to replace former CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick in August.
Kalanick quit the company in June following pressure from shareholders.