Can Uber reverse its ban in London?
Last week Transport for London (TfL) announced that Uber would not be issued with a new operating license once its current one expires at the end of the month.
In a full statement, TfL claimed that the car-sharing was not ‘fit and proper’ to operate in London as issues regarding ‘public safety and security implications’ remained unresolved. The taxi-hailing app has already planned to appeal against the TfL but must lodge an appeal within 28 days.
There were concerns that the standards that local taxis and black cabs had to adhere to were lowered by Uber since it began operating in the city in 2012. Many people condemned the way in which the firm conducted background drivers and its refusal to take responsibility when it came to serious criminal offences which involved the drivers and passengers.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan was in favour of the decision to ban the taxi service and said: “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.”
Many others also expressed their fears over how the drivers were treated and their salaries which failed to meet the national minimum wage. In response to this, Uber described its drivers as self-employed contractors rather than employees and argued that they were not legally entitled to minimum wage or holiday pay.
London black cab drivers have been heavily involved in the row and accused the firm of dominating trade since arriving in the city. Protests have taken place in various places including Uber’s HQ with many black cab drivers expressing how the firm is threatening the safety of passengers.
However, Uber has had a large presence in London over the years with over 40,000 licensed drivers reliant on the firm to make a living and around 3.5 million Londoners who regularly use the service. Unfortunately for many, its ban means that it will put thousands out of work and deprive the city of an affordable and convenient way to travel. Since the ban was announced, over 500,000 people have signed a petition to reverse TfL’s decision and bring Uber back to the city.
The company has had trouble elsewhere in the world with the company forced to leave the Texas city of Austin in 2016 due to its approach to background checks. However, changes were made and the company has since returned to operate in the area. Analysts are predicting that the same could happen in London and that the license would be renewed again in the future.