Uber stripped of private hire taxi license in London

News that could change the face of London roads: Uber’s been banned. The American smartphone app – which connects users with local private-hire taxi drivers – will not have its license to operate in London renewed after 30 September 2017, subject to an appeal. The writing was one the wall after Uber was only granted a four-month license extension back in May 2017.

Transport for London, the authority that oversees everything from London’s traffic lights to its tube network, has slammed Uber’s “lack of corporate responsibility”, and says “TfL has concluded Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license.”

Specifically, TfL called out Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences in its cars, its approach to awarding its drivers licenses, the medical certification of its drivers and an alleged use of ‘Greyball’ software that blocks regulatory bodies from accessing the app.

Interestingly, there’s no mention of congestion in the report. Uber’s argument has long been that its popularity reduces the less efficient use of private cars, so there’s a net reduction in the number of cars on the road. Uber has vehemently argued that its users don’t conform to the usual ‘rush hour’ model, with a quarter of all Uber trips happening between 12am and 5am. That’s obviously when London roads are at their quietest and up until recently, the Underground didn’t operate at all.

However, the number of private-hire vehicles flooding into London’s archaic road network has been unprecedented. Uber says the figure leapt by 87,000 between 2010 and 2017 – while the Department for Transport puts the number, including Uber’s rivals, north of 120,000. Journey times in the capital are reputedly 12 per cent slower than they were before the advent of Uber, with TfL’s bus ride revenues and black cab business both reporting huge downturns.

Meanwhile, second-hand values of hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight have leapt as drivers clamour to take advantage of the app’s stellar popularity. Cancelling Uber’s license will have far more expansive consequences than pleasing London’s army of black cabbies in their long-fought tirade against ride-sharing apps, but proponents of the ban point to Uber’s insistence the drivers are self-employed rather than employees, and therefore not subject to the same pay and conditions protections as more regulated bodies.

News that could change the face of London roads: Uber’s been banned. The American smartphone app – which connects users with local private-hire taxi drivers – will not have its license to operate in London renewed after 30 September 2017, subject to an appeal. The writing was one the wall after Uber was only granted a four-month license extension back in May 2017.

Transport for London, the authority that oversees everything from London’s traffic lights to its tube network, has slammed Uber’s “lack of corporate responsibility”, and says “TfL has concluded Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license.”

Specifically, TfL called out Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences in its cars, its approach to awarding its drivers licenses, the medical certification of its drivers and an alleged use of ‘Greyball’ software that blocks regulatory bodies from accessing the app.

Interestingly, there’s no mention of congestion in the report. Uber’s argument has long been that its popularity reduces the less efficient use of private cars, so there’s a net reduction in the number of cars on the road. Uber has vehemently argued that its users don’t conform to the usual ‘rush hour’ model, with a quarter of all Uber trips happening between 12am and 5am. That’s obviously when London roads are at their quietest and up until recently, the Underground didn’t operate at all.

However, the number of private-hire vehicles flooding into London’s archaic road network has been unprecedented. Uber says the figure leapt by 87,000 between 2010 and 2017 – while the Department for Transport puts the number, including Uber’s rivals, north of 120,000. Journey times in the capital are reputedly 12 per cent slower than they were before the advent of Uber, with TfL’s bus ride revenues and black cab business both reporting huge downturns.

Meanwhile, second-hand values of hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight have leapt as drivers clamour to take advantage of the app’s stellar popularity. Cancelling Uber’s license will have far more expansive consequences than pleasing London’s army of black cabbies in their long-fought tirade against ride-sharing apps, but proponents of the ban point to Uber’s insistence the drivers are self-employed rather than employees, and therefore not subject to the same pay and conditions protections as more regulated bodies.

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