The organisation has declared Uber is not a ‘fit and proper’ operator, thanks to concerns over the company’s failings in corporate responsibility.
Transport for London is quoted as saying: “Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility” in relation to reporting serious crimes, obtaining medical certificates and other issues of compliance.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Uber’s fee for operating in London would rise from £3,000 to £3 million if it was granted a new five-year licence, following changes to the way Transport for London calculates operator charges.
Digital technology commentator and entrepreneur Theo Priestley, told DIGIT: “Other cities in the UK will watch how this plays out very carefully. I’ve no doubt it will simply force a swift renegotiation between Uber and Transport for London, rather than a complete and total ban. Uber ’employs’ thousands and thousands more use their service as an alternative to black cabs. Ride hailing is part of the London economy now, whether they like it or not.”
Karl Smith, the CEO of Paradigm Interactions, agreed: “Denial of customer driven and adopted change only forces and exposes issues in the service model. When Austin removed both Uber and Lyft they created a chain reaction for one of worst experiences for visitors to Austin during South by Southwest. Has TfL really considered the impact of service removal or are they expecting all people to immediately adopt an older and less useful way of travelling because it suits vested interests?”
Uber now has about 40,000 drivers in London, and is used by about 3.5 million customers. However the company has faced criticism worldwide in recent months, thanks to reports of a ‘toxic’ culture in which sexism and bias were reported, leading to the resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick in August. Uber has also been criticised for it’s role in the growth of the so-called ‘gig economy‘ in which drivers are treated as self-employed, with little or no employee rights.
Uber’s current private hire license expires on September 30th. The company has 21 days to appeal against the decision.