Uber to be banned from London

Uber will not have its London licence renewed. Picture: PA Wire/Press Association
Uber will not have its London licence renewed. Picture: PA Wire/Press Association
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UBER has lost its licence to operate in London, Transport for London has announced.

TfL concluded the minicab app, which also runs in Portsmouth and Chichester, is ‘not fit and proper’ to operate in the capital due to concerns which have ‘public safety and security implications’.

These include its approach to reporting serious criminal offences and how it carries out background checks on its drivers.

Its licence ends at the end of September.

In London, the firm was given a four-month temporary licence in May.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said in a statement: ‘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.’

Labour MP Wes Streeting, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis, said it was a courageous decision by Mr Sadiq and the TfL.

‘Uber has not shown itself to be a fit and proper operator,’ he said.

‘It stands accused by the police of failing to properly handle serious allegations of rape and sexual assault of passengers.

‘It had to be dragged through the courts to recognise its responsibility to provide even the most basic rights and protections to Uber drivers.

‘Its business model is based on saturating London’s taxi and private hire market to drive its competition off the road.’

Uber enables users to book cars using their smartphones, and is available in cities across the UK.

Some 3.5m passengers and 40,000 drivers use the Uber app in London.

Last month Uber was accused by police of allowing a driver who sexually assaulted a passenger to strike again by not reporting the attack, along with other serious crimes.

TfL said Uber is allowed to launch an appeal against the decision within 21 days and can continue operating ‘until any appeal processes have been exhausted’.

Confirming Uber would appeal against the decision in court, Tom Elvidge, the firm’s general manager in London, said: ‘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 Transport for London 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.

‘Drivers who use Uber are licensed by Transport for London and have been through the same enhanced DBS background checks as black cab drivers. Our pioneering technology has gone further to enhance safety with every trip tracked and recorded by GPS.

‘We have always followed TfL rules on reporting serious incidents and have a dedicated team who work closely with the Metropolitan Police.’