Uber Faces London Expulsion

Uber has seen its license to trade revoked in its most lucrative European market after being labelled as “not fit and proper” to operate in London.

The BBC reports that Transport for London (TfL), as regulator of mobility services in the city, said the app service has not rectified major failings enough for it to be granted a new license to operate. Despite the ruling, Uber said it would continue to ply its trade pending an appeal against the decision.

Uber originally lost its license in 2017 because of serious passenger safety concerns but was granted a 15-month extension. It had received an additional two-month extension in September which expired last week.

TfL’s original concerns included Uber’s approach to carrying out background checks on drivers and reporting serious criminal offences. The company employed secret software, called “Greyball”, which could be used to block regulators from monitoring its app and, naturally, this has influenced the regulator’s decision.

Helen Chapman, director of licensing, regulation and charging at TfL, said: “As the regulator of private hire services in London we are required to make a decision today on whether Uber is fit and proper to hold a license. Safety is our absolute top priority. While we recognize Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured.”

The decision has been praised by London mayor, Sadiq Khan, who said: “Only in the last few months it has been established that 14,000 Uber journeys have involved fraudulent drivers uploading their photos to other driver accounts – with passengers’ safety potentially put at risk getting into cars with unlicensed and suspended drivers.”

Uber said the decision was “extraordinary and wrong”.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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