Controversy is attracted to Uber like flies on you-know-what. The latest evidence of this is a situation in London where Uber will not be allowed to operate after September 30, 2017. In a somewhat unusual move, Transport for London (TfL) said it informed Uber that it has been denied a private hire operator license because "Uber London is not fit and proper" to hold one. Ouch!
"TfL's regulation of London's taxi and private hire trades is designed to ensure passenger safety. Prive hire operators must meet rigorous regulations, demonstrate to TfL that they do so, in order to operate. TfL must also be satisfied that an operator is fit and proper to hold a license," TfL stated in a Twitter post. "TfL has concluded that Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license."
The decision to essentially ban the ridesharing service is good news for taxi drivers, but bad news for Uber, and potentially disastrous is other territories follow suit. In explaining its decision, TfL pointed to a "lack of corporate responsibility" at Uber, along with a number of issues that could potentially compromise public safety and security. TfL also took exception to Uber's previous use of special software (called Greyball) designed to help the outfit evade law enforcement.
Naturally, the news did not sit well with Uber, which plans to appeal.
"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," Uber said in a statement.
Meanwhile, rival ridesharing service Lyft is seeing a surge in online search queries. Lyft only operates in the US, but if the ban on Uber in London holds, it may want to consider expanding sooner than later.
Top Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Diablanco)