In a surprise announcement on Friday morning, Transport For London (TFL) said 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”. Uber has come under further pressure in London after a union threatened legal action where the capital’s transport authority renews the taxi app’s license without guaranteeing more rights for drivers.
Uber claims it has 3.5 million users in London and 40,000 drivers. It has been operating in the capital since 2012 and has faced huge opposition from taxi drivers and other critics over their treatment.
In a legal letter sent this week, the GMB union warns Transport for London (TFL) for limiting their number in the city and the hours they can work would “breach the relevant standards of reasonableness and would accordingly be unlawful”. The GMB said, “It would apply for permission to seek a judicial review of the license agreement if TFL did not apply the new conditions.”
The union argues that Uber’s current business model in London necessitates drivers working excessive hours “to the detriment of the health and safety of Uber drivers in London and of other road users”.
TFL further said, “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”.
Tom Elvidge, Uber’s general manager for London, issued a furious response saying: “3.5 million Londoners who use our app, and more than 40,000 licensed drivers who rely on Uber to make a living, will be astounded by this decision. He further said, “By wanting to ban our app from the capital Transport for London and the Mayor have caved into a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice. If this decision stands, it will put more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work and deprive Londoners of a convenient and affordable form of transport. To defend the livelihoods of all those drivers, and the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use our app, we intend to immediately challenge this in the courts.”
Drivers who use Uber are licensed by Transport for London and have been through the same enhanced DBS background checks as black cab drivers. Our pioneering technology has gone further to enhance safety with every trip tracked and recorded by GPS.
Meanwhile, London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “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.”
Uber operates in more than 600 cities around the world, including more than 40 towns and cities here in the UK. This ban would show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies who bring choice to consumers.
By: Aviral Nigam