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Uber has lost its license to operate in London, as per a statement released by Transport for London (TfL), the UK capital’s transport regulator.
The license will expire on September 30, but it will remain as Uber appeals TfL’s ruling.
This is how people are reacting to the news:
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London:
“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.”
UKIP’s Nigel Farage:
Right call. https://t.co/bvDcy6OGWp
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) September 22, 2017
Paul Graham, Y Combinator co-founder:
European politicians like startups in principle, but individual startups they want to crush.
— Paul Graham (@paulg) September 22, 2017
Very good day for London's Black Cab community & they deserve it.
No better trained, safer & more reliable taxi service in the world. #uber
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 22, 2017
— George Galloway (@georgegalloway) September 22, 2017
Frances O’Grady, head of the Trades Union Congress:
This should be a cautionary tale for gig economy employers. Unions will expose your nasty schemes to cheat workers out of rights. #Uber
— Frances O'Grady (@FrancesOGrady) September 22, 2017
Wes Streeting, Labour MP:
It means London is closed to companies that flout the rules and don't handle complaints about rape and sexual assault seriously. https://t.co/v7hX9iVgb8
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) September 22, 2017
The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA):
And the LTDA pic.twitter.com/cxYACygqTu
— James Titcomb (@jamestitcomb) September 22, 2017
Eileen Burbidge, chair of Tech City UK and partner at Passion Capital:
“London has always prided itself on being attractive to technology companies and open to innovations that bring new services and consumer benefits. Of course technology companies must operate within the law and comply with regulation. This can become a challenge when technology is so fast-moving that regulators have to work to keep up.
I’m disappointed to see this decision because it does suggest that London is being more protectionist than innovative, given how extraordinarily popular Uber is in London. Uber offers tremendous consumer benefit, choice and safety such as GPS tracking, which isn’t available in other forms of licensed transport, so I’d like to see the company and TfL work together to reach an agreement to renew Uber’s license in the capital. Technology is a tool which can be used for good and in conjunction with regulators I have every confidence that Uber along with other digital startups and established companies can always do so.”
Dan Lewis, Senior Infrastructure Adviser at the Institute of Directors:
“Large numbers of Londoners will be dismayed by Transport for London’s decision today to block Uber’s licence. Ride-hailing apps have brought enormous positive disruption to transport in the capital, and the taxi market has become much more competitive as result.
User safety is clearly very important and it is the role of the regulator to ensure any company operating private-hire licences meets appropriate security standards. In the short space of time now available for an appeal, we urge Uber to clarify how it will meet the standards outlined by the regulator. We also urge TfL to pay heed to London’s hard-fought and positive reputation as a hotbed for disruptive innovation and tech-driven competition. Regulatory hurdles should not be an insurmountable barrier to allowing consumers to use products if they find them useful.
With 40,000 jobs now at stake across London, there could also a big human cost to this decision. TfL and Uber must come together to find a way through this because the bottom line is that competition driven by consumer choice is the cornerstone of the UK’s future economic success.”
Law firm Leigh Day:
“Law firm Leigh Day have said they hope today’s decision by TfL, not to renew Uber’s licence to practice in London, will force the company to reconsider its approach to employment rights and the safety of its customers. Leigh Day had threatened TfL with legal action if it did not impose conditions on Uber’s Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) Operator’s licence. In a letter before action sent to TfL, lawyers Leigh Day, on behalf of the GMB, had threatened to file a judicial review claim against TfL if particular conditions weren’t imposed on Uber.In particular, it argued that Uber should be required to have in place a guaranteed income scheme for Uber drivers in London to allow Uber drivers to earn a London living wage without working excessive hours.However today’s shock announcement has seen TfL refuse to renew the licence and that the company is not ‘fit and proper’ to hold a licence. The statement from TfL also said Uber demonstrated a lack of corporate responsibility. GMB members were also represented by Leigh Day in their successful case against Uber in the Employment Tribunal regarding the employment status of workers and their right to holiday pay and the minimum wage. This case is currently being appealed by Uber.”
“We challenged Transport for London, as the licensing authority, over its decision to provide Uber with a licence to operate in London, without ensuring that workers’ rights are properly protected and that the company is operated responsibly within the city.Today’s decision is a clear indication that TfL agrees; it has decided Uber London Ltd as a company is not fit to provide its services in London.”
Andy Batty, UK General Manager at mytaxi:
“We welcome the fact that TfL has taken action against Uber, who have time and again proven themselves willing to ride roughshod over London’s regulations. We have long questioned whether Uber has been operating within the letter and the spirit of regulation in London. We believe that Uber’s business model is based on pumping large amounts of private equity money into maintaining artificially low prices in an attempt to drive out competition, in preparation for raising prices once it has gained a monopoly role in the market.
mytaxi is an innovative app-based business operating Europe-wide, but we stick within the rules and work with customers, drivers and TfL to maintain the highest standards and the best possible experience. Today’s news means that TFL agrees with us that Uber has not been providing London’s drivers and passengers with the standard of service they deserve, and so we welcome the news that TfL has decided to take action against companies that fail to abide by common standards.
We believe Londoners deserve the highest standards in safety, accessibility with a premium service that’s second to none. As a result of this, we want to encourage Uber passengers back to black cabs- until the end of the month mytaxi will undercut UberX prices by subsidising passengers with a minimum 30% discount off the meter fare, while offering the same convenience of app hailing and a higher standard of service. Customers deserve a seamless, technology-enabled fleet of professional taxis with drivers who are proud to offer a superior service and have devoted the equivalent of a degree to their trade. That’s what mytaxi is proud to offer in London.”
Markus Villig, Taxify CEO:
“TfL has made a clear statement today that the safety of passengers cannot be compromised. The safety of riders is Taxify’s top priority and we are currently working with TfL to ensure we comply with all of their regulatory requirements and safety standards.
To ensure customer safety Taxify’s team is committed to rigorous vetting procedures, including meeting every driver during the on-boarding process. Moreover, all drivers are required to have a private hire driver licence and must have passed all mandatory legal background checks.
We plan to launch in London when we have completed TfL’s regulatory approval process.”
“Decision follows GMB’s legal victory over Uber, forcing company to defend their record on drivers’ employment rights and public safety. GMB, the driver’s union, has scored an historic victory for workers’ rights and passenger safety after Transport For London (TfL) today refused to renew Uber’s license to operate in the capital.
In October 2016, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled in GMB’s favour – determining that Uber drivers are not self-employed, but workers entitled to basic workers’ rights including holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks.
On Monday September 18 2017, GMB and global consumer group SumOfUs handed in a 100,000-strong mass petition to City Hall calling on Transport for London (TfL) to force Uber to respect workers’ rights or get out of London. The £51 billion San-Francisco transport giant’s license to operate in London was under review having been granted a four month extension in May 2017 and due to expire on September 30th 2017.
72% of Londoners believe that TfL should require Uber to guarantee safeguards such as minimum wage and paid holidays for their drivers, according to a poll of adults in London conducted by YouGov on behalf of SumOfUs. Today, TfL has listened to the GMB and told Uber its license will not be renewed.”
Maria Ludkin, GMB Legal Director:
“This historic decision is a victory for GMB’s campaign to ensure drivers are given the rights they are entitled to – and that the public, drivers and passengers are kept safe. As a result of sustained pressure from drivers and the public, Uber has suffered yet another defeat – losing its license to operate in London.
It’s about time the company faced up to the huge consequences of GMB’s landmark employment tribunal victory – and changed its ways. No company can be behave like it’s above the law, and that includes Uber. No doubt other major cities will be looking at this decision and considering Uber’s future on their own streets.
GMB will always challenge bogus self-employment and tackling exploitation. This decision vindicates our campaign and should be a wake-up call to a company that has for far too long been in denial.”
Andrew Boff AM:
“This is a hugely damaging decision by Sadiq Khan that will effectively put 40,000 people out of work at the click of a finger.
The Mayor consistently tells us London is open but in shutting down the operations of an innovative market leader like Uber he has caused immense reputational damage to our city as a global business hub. With 3.5million registered users – almost half the city’s adult population – Uber has shown to be providing a hugely beneficial service to Londoners.
Sadiq Khan has ignored their needs and instead believed the smears and propaganda propagated by Uber’s rivals. Yes there are elements of the industry that need tweaking, yes there needs to be a reduction of bureaucracy for black cab drivers, but snuffing out the competition at the expense of thousands of employees and millions of customers is not the solution.
All allegations around passenger safety, especially those alleging assault, have to be taken seriously and referred to the police but I would expect the same standard to apply to all operators. In addition, TfL must answer questions about why its background checks on licence applicants appear to be failing. Uber provides the platform but it is TfL that conducts checks on the drivers.”
James Farrar, co-claimant in landmark employment tribunal decision against Uber and chair of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain’s (IWGB) United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) branch:
“This is a devastating blow for 30,000 Londoners who now face losing their job and being saddled with unmanageable vehicle related debt.
To strip Uber of it’s license after five years of laissez faire regulation is a testament to a systemic failure at TfL. Rather than banish Uber, TfL should have strengthened its regulatory oversight, curbed runaway licensing and protected the worker rights of drivers.
The Mayor must call for an urgent independent review of TfL to identify the causes of failure and prevent something like this from ever happening again.”
Chris Philp, Private Sec to Treasury (via Jason Farrell):
Chris Philp Private Sec to Treasury says of Uber decision: "It sends a terrible signal that London is anti-free market and anti-innovation"
— Jason Farrell (@JasonFarrellSky) September 22, 2017
And here’s how Uber reacted to Tfl’s decision:
“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.
By wanting to ban our app from the capital Transport for London and the Mayor have caved in to 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. We have always followed TfL rules on reporting serious incidents and have a dedicated team who work closely with the Metropolitan Police. As we have already told TfL, an independent review has found that ‘greyball’ has never been used or considered in the UK for the purposes cited by TfL. 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.”