Ride hailing cab service Uber has been stripped of its licence to operate in London and will not be issued with a private hire operator licence again after ths expiry of its current licence on September 30, Transport for London (TfL) has said.
TfL's regulation of London's taxi and private hire trades is designed to ensure passenger safety. Private hire operators must meet rigorous regulations, and 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 licence.
According to TfL, Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence. TfL considers that 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. These include its approach to reporting serious criminal offences, its approach to how medical certificates are obtained and the approach to how Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are obtained.
Uber’s approach to explaining the use of Greyball in London - software that could be used to block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to the app and prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties, said TfL.
According to The Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998, Uber can challenge the licensing decision within 21 days and can continue to operate until any appeal processes have been exhausted.
Uber London Limited was licenced as a Private Hire (PH) Operator in 2012. On 26 May TfL granted a 4-month PH Operator Licence whilst it concluded its consideration of a five year licence.
In August, American travel company Expedia’s boss Dara Khosrowshahi was named as new Uber CEO after Uber Co-founder Travis Kalanick resigned in June after months of turmoil at the firm, departure of senior executives and pressure from investors and shareholders.
Earlier, Uber said its sales reached $1.75 billion in the second quarter, up 17 per cent from the previous quarter, but losing a licence London means more loss in revenue.
As Uber's new CEO, Khosrowshahi will have a difucult but possible job ahead of him to amend the company’s image and internal culture, cruising through legal battles, and to reduce the financial losses.