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Uber just lost its licence to operate in London

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Dave Fawbert
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Uber app

They’re the upstart transport disruptor that’s been plagued by problems for the last year - and Uber now faces its biggest problem yet with the sensational news that Transport for London (TfL) has not renewed its licence to operate in London.

The move comes as TfL, which falls under the control of London mayor Sadiq Khan, has appeared to crack down on cheap taxi startups - Estonian rival Taxify was forced to stop operating after just a few days earlier this month after it circumnavigated the usual licence-procuring procedure by buying a company which already had one.

A statement from TfL reads: “TfL has concluded that 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

Its approach to how Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are obtained

Its 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”

Sadiq Khan posted on social media supporting TfL’s decision, writing:

“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 license 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.”

Uber have responded to the decision with the following:

And yes, that sound you can hear is the popping of champagne corks from Black Cab drivers.

(Image: Uber)

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Dave Fawbert

ShortList.com staff writer Dave’s primary passions are pop, prose, punning and power ballads (and alliteration). A lower division football enthusiast and long-suffering cricket fan, he is one of only 110 people followed on Twitter by Chas Hodges from Chas ‘n’ Dave. Follow Dave on Twitter like Chas: @davefawbert

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