Transport for London, London city’s transport authority is refusing to extend the operating license of Uber. This is in an attempt to end the company’s operation in the city.
Why Uber is unfit for London
The Authority sees Uber as unfit to operate in London. It has thus refused to extend Uber’s license to operate in the capital. Meanwhile, Uber has recently come out of a two-month probationary extension granted in September. But, London’s transport authority is not happy with Uber’s operations. This relates to issues concerning checks on drivers, insurance , and safety of passengers
According to Transport for London, there are a “pattern of failures” by Uber, and several breaches that places passengers and their safety at risk.
In a statement, the authority states: “Despite addressing some of these issues, TfL does not have confidence that similar issues will not reoccur in the future. Hence, the decision that the company is not fit and proper at this time.”
However, Uber has the option to appeal the decision. The company has 21 days within which it can appeal. Following the appeal, it can still operate on the streets of London pending the outcome.
Meanwhile the initial decision to rescind Uber’s license in London was made in September 2017 because of security breaches. The company however persuaded judges to award it a 15-month licence to continue operations.
Subsequently, Uber has made some positive improvements, but its operations have safety concerns. Notably, the company’s system permits fraudulent drivers to upload their photos to other drivers’ accounts. This security lapse has resulted in at least 14000 trips involving 43 drivers, where another person who is not the booked driver picked up passengers, according to TfL.
It appears TfL recently became aware of the severity of the problem. But most incidents commenced between late 2018 and early 2019. The latest offence was reported a couple of weeks ago. Some among the 43 unauthorised drivers had revoked licenses. One driver had been formally cautioned for distributing indecent images of children.
London is Uber’s largest European market
Uber admits there were issues with operations but states that it had implemented technical fixes to resolve it. London represents one of the top five cities for the ride-hailing company. The others are New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sao Paolo. Uber operates with close to 50,000 drivers in the city alone and boasts of an average of 3.5 million riders who depend on it. London represents Uber’s largest European market. The company’s shares fell 6% in New York, following the announcement.
Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager, has expressed dissatisfaction with the decision and Uber’s intention to appeal
Uber, a pacesetter in its line of business
TfL’s decision adds to a difficult year for the ride hailing company. The company went through a disappointing initial public offering in May. Uber has since lost some executive turnovers and, also several rounds of layoffs. In addition to the never-ending public scrutiny over the safety of its passengers.
It is a pioneer in its line of business, hence must be a pace setter for new or smaller entrants. Uber has approximately 110 million worldwide users, and a 69% market share in the United States for ride-sharing. It also has a 25% market share for food delivery in the US.