Uber losses its license to operate in London

Uber lost its license to operate today in London, the UK’s capitol. Its license to operate was due to expire today.

The local transport regulator, Transport for London (TfL), cited the San Francisco-based ride-hailing giant for a pattern of failures saying it was not ‘fit and proper’ to operate.

TfL would not renew the company’s license because it found the company put the safety and security of its passengers at risk.

TfL said that Uber’s operating system made it possible for unauthorized drivers to pick up passengers. It also found the company allowing drivers to drive without a license.

The TfL said Uber’s computer systems allowed unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other driver’s accounts and pick up customers as if they were the assigned Uber driver. And because of this all those rides were uninsured

According to the TfL citation this happened on at least 14,000 trips where unauthorized drivers were were able to manipulate Uber’s computer systems. In one case the TfL found that a driver whose license had been revoked by TfL was able to use the security gap in Uber’s systems to pick up passengers.

Another infraction was cited by the TfL against Uber in that former drivers who had been fired or suspended were able to avoid punishment by simply creating a new Uber account and continue giving rides to passengers. 

This is not the first time Uber has had its license suspended. It was first suspended back in 2017 due to TfL’s concerns with Uber’s approach to passenger safety. In 2018 the company was given a temporary 15 month  reprieve to operate in London, then last September it was granted a two month permit.

3.5 million people use Uber’s app and its services in London. 

The company has 21 days to appeal TfL’s decision during which it will be allowed to operate and the company says it does intend to appeal.

Uber’s regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, Jamie Heywood, said that Uber will appeal TfL’s extraordinary and wrong decision. Heywood said the company is setting the standard on safety by changing its business over the last two years which moved the TfL to find Uber to be ‘fit and proper to operate two months ago. He says the company will continue to go above snd beyond to meet that standard.