Uber has lost its licence to operate in London, as per a statement released by Transport for London (TfL), the UK capital’s transport regulator.
The licence will expire on September 30, but it will remain as Uber appeals TfL’s ruling.
This is how people are reacting to the news:
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London:
“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.
I fully support TfL’s decision – it would be wrong if TfL continued to licence Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety and security.
Any operator of private hire services in London needs to play by the rules.”
The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA):
Andy Batty, UK General Manager at mytaxi:
“We welcome the fact that TfL has taken action against Uber, who have time and again proven themselves willing to ride roughshod over London’s regulations. We have long questioned whether Uber has been operating within the letter and the spirit of regulation in London. We believe that Uber’s business model is based on pumping large amounts of private equity money into maintaining artificially low prices in an attempt to drive out competition, in preparation for raising prices once it has gained a monopoly role in the market.
mytaxi is an innovative app-based business operating Europe-wide, but we stick within the rules and work with customers, drivers and TfL to maintain the highest standards and the best possible experience. Today’s news means that TFL agrees with us that Uber has not been providing London’s drivers and passengers with the standard of service they deserve, and so we welcome the news that TfL has decided to take action against companies that fail to abide by common standards.
We believe Londoners deserve the highest standards in safety, accessibility with a premium service that’s second to none. As a result of this, we want to encourage Uber passengers back to black cabs- until the end of the month mytaxi will undercut UberX prices by subsidising passengers with a minimum 30% discount off the meter fare, while offering the same convenience of app hailing and a higher standard of service. Customers deserve a seamless, technology-enabled fleet of professional taxis with drivers who are proud to offer a superior service and have devoted the equivalent of a degree to their trade. That’s what mytaxi is proud to offer in London.”
Decision follows GMB’s legal victory over Uber, forcing company to defend their record on drivers’ employment rights and public safety. GMB, the driver’s union, has scored an historic victory for workers’ rights and passenger safety after Transport For London (TfL) today refused to renew Uber’s licence to operate in the capital.
In October 2016, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled in GMB’s favour – determining that Uber drivers are not self-employed, but workers entitled to basic workers’ rights including holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks.
On Monday September 18 2017, GMB and global consumer group SumOfUs handed in a 100,000-strong mass petition to City Hall calling on Transport for London (TfL) to force Uber to respect workers’ rights or get out of London. The £51 billion San-Francisco transport giant’s licence to operate in London was under review having been granted a four month extension in May 2017 and due to expire on September 30th 2017.
72% of Londoners believe that TfL should require Uber to guarantee safeguards such as minimum wage and paid holidays for their drivers, according to a poll of adults in London conducted by YouGov on behalf of SumOfUs. Today, TfL has listened to the GMB and told Uber its licence will not be renewed.
Maria Ludkin, GMB Legal Director:
“This historic decision is a victory for GMB’s campaign to ensure drivers are given the rights they are entitled to – and that the public, drivers and passengers are kept safe. As a result of sustained pressure from drivers and the public, Uber has suffered yet another defeat – losing its licence to operate in London.
It’s about time the company faced up to the huge consequences of GMB’s landmark employment tribunal victory – and changed its ways. No company can be behave like it’s above the law, and that includes Uber. No doubt other major cities will be looking at this decision and considering Uber’s future on their own streets.
GMB will always challenge bogus self-employment and tackling exploitation. This decision vindicates our campaign and should be a wake-up call to a company that has for far too long been in denial.”
Andrew Boff AM:
“This is a hugely damaging decision by Sadiq Khan that will effectively put 40,000 people out of work at the click of a finger.
The Mayor consistently tells us London is open but in shutting down the operations of an innovative market leader like Uber he has caused immense reputational damage to our city as a global business hub. With 3.5million registered users – almost half the city’s adult population – Uber has shown to be providing a hugely beneficial service to Londoners.
Sadiq Khan has ignored their needs and instead believed the smears and propaganda propagated by Uber’s rivals. Yes there are elements of the industry that need tweaking, yes there needs to be a reduction of bureaucracy for black cab drivers, but snuffing out the competition at the expense of thousands of employees and millions of customers is not the solution.
All allegations around passenger safety, especially those alleging assault, have to be taken seriously and referred to the police but I would expect the same standard to apply to all operators. In addition, TfL must answer questions about why its background checks on licence applicants appear to be failing. Uber provides the platform but it is TfL that conducts checks on the drivers.”
James Farrar, co-claimant in landmark employment tribunal decision against Uber and chair of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain’s (IWGB) United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) branch:
“This is a devastating blow for 30,000 Londoners who now face losing their job and being saddled with unmanageable vehicle related debt.
To strip Uber of it’s licence after five years of laissez faire regulation is a testament to a systemic failure at TfL. Rather than banish Uber, TfL should have strengthened its regulatory oversight, curbed runaway licensing and protected the worker rights of drivers.
The Mayor must call for an urgent independent review of TfL to identify the causes of failure and prevent something like this from ever happening again.”
And here’s how Uber reacted to Tfl’s decision:
“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.
To defend the livelihoods of all those drivers, and the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use our app, we intend to immediately challenge this in the courts.
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. As we have already told TfL, an independent review has found that ‘greyball’ has never been used or considered in the UK for the purposes cited by TfL.
Uber operates in more than 600 cities around the world, including more than 40 towns and cities here in the UK. This ban would show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies who bring choice to consumers.”