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Uber Loses London Operating License, Again

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi

image: World Economic Forum / Faruk Pinjo via CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license

Uber has lost its license to operate in the city of London, marking the second time in just over two years that such situation is occurring. The London license cease, announced on Monday, was due to Uber's app not being “fit and proper” in regards to passenger safety, London's transportation regulator said. The decision to not renew the license comes at the end of a two-month probationary extension period that was added to a prior 15-month running license.

Uber was required by Transport for London (TfL), London's transportation regulator, to address issues regarding checks on drivers, insurance and safety, but seems to have not satisfied TfL, which said it had identified “pattern of failures” in regards to those requirements. The transportation regulator cited a case where a change to Uber's systems allowed unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other drivers' accounts, entailing they could pickup passengers as if they were the booked driver.

TfL said such situation, that is unauthorized drivers picking up passengers as if they were the booked driver, occurred in at least 14,000 trips. “This means all the journeys were uninsured and some passenger journeys took place with unlicensed drivers, one of which had previously had their licence revoked by TfL,” TfL said.

“It is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured,” TfL's Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging, Helen Chapman said. Uber has 21 days to appeal TfL's decision, and has already said it'll do so. The company will still be allowed to operate during the appeal time frame

“TfL’s decision not to renew Uber’s licence in London is extraordinary and wrong, and we will appeal,” Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, said in a statement. “We have fundamentally changed our business over the last two years and are setting the standard on safety. TfL found us to be a fit and proper operator just two months ago, and we continue to go above and beyond.”

“On behalf of the 3.5 million riders and 45,000 licensed drivers who depend on Uber in London, we will continue to operate as normal and will do everything we can to work with TfL to resolve this situation.” She said.





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