Uber refused London licence – but it can continue to operate for now
Cab app Uber's licence to operate in London will not be renewed because of passenger safety concerns – but it'll be able to continue operating for the time being.
Transport for London (TfL) – which regulates taxi and private hire services in the capital – says it's identified "several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk", so it won't renew Uber's licence at this time. It was due to expire at 11.59pm today (Monday).
The firm now has 21 days to appeal, during which it can continue to operate, and it can continue to do so throughout the appeals process.
Uber has called the situation "extraordinary and wrong" and has confirmed that it will be appealing against TfL's decision.
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Why is Uber's licence not being renewed?
TfL says that it has identified a "pattern of failures" by Uber, including several breaches that placed passengers' safety at risk.
It says it does not have confidence that similar issues will not reoccur and has concluded that the company is not "fit and proper" at this time.
TfL says one key issue was that a change to Uber's systems allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts. It says this allowed them to pick up passengers as though they were the booked driver, which occurred in at least 14,000 trips – putting passenger safety and security at risk.
It adds that another failure allowed dismissed or suspended drivers to create an Uber account and carry passengers, again compromising passenger safety and security.
When can Uber operate until?
Uber now has 21 days to appeal and can continue to operate during this time and throughout the appeals process, which could last months.
A similar set of circumstances happened two years ago and in that case Uber continued to operate and was eventually granted a licence.
What does Uber say?
Jamie Heywood, Uber's regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, said: "TfL's decision not to renew Uber's licence in London is extraordinary and wrong, and we will appeal.
"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."
What does TfL say?
TfL's director of licensing, regulation and charging Helen Chapman said: "As the regulator of private hire services in London, we are required to make a decision today on whether Uber is fit and proper to hold a licence.
"Safety is our absolute top priority. While we recognise Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured.
"It is clearly concerning that these issues arose, but it is also concerning that we cannot be confident that similar issues won't happen again in future."