The city of London has stripped Uber of its license to operate from the end of next week in a huge blow to the taxi service and 3.5 million users in one of the world’s wealthiest cities.
The decision which was announced Friday was premised on a decision made by London’s transport authority, which concluded that the Silicon Valley technology giant was unfit to hold a private vehicle hire license and it would not be renewed when it expires on Sept. 30.
Uber, whose 40,000 drivers in London account for a third of private vehicles hired, said it would contest the decision and regulator Transport for London (TfL) will let it operate until the appeals process is exhausted.
”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,“ TfL said. ”TfL must also be satisfied that an operator is fit and proper to hold a license.
Specifically, TfL cited Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences, background checks on drivers and software called Greyball that could be used to block regulators from gaining full access to the app.
“Transport for London and the Mayor have caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice,” said Tom Elvidge, Uber’s general manager in London. “We intend to immediately challenge this in the courts.”
The loss of the license comes after a tumultuous few months for Uber, including a string of scandals involving allegations of sexism and bullying at the San Francisco-based start-up that forced out former CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick.