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Uber loses London licence

Public safety concerns cited

18 July 2019

London’s transport regulator TfL says that it will not renew the company’s licence on the grounds that it is ‘not fit and proper” to operate.

In a statement, TfL says: “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.” These include its approach to reporting serious criminal offences and its use of a “greyball system” – software that could be used to block regulators from booking rides.

Around 3.5 million Londoners use the Uber app which connects them with some 40,000 drivers. Uber’s current licence expires on 30 September and it has 21 days to appeal. In a statement the company says it will challenge the ruling “immediately” and adds that the decision “shows the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies.”

Uber has had difficulties with other regulators including those in Paris, the Czech Republic and Austin, Texas and it  is being investigated by the US department of Justice over its use of greyball software. In May, the advocate-general of the European Court of Justice dismissed Uber’s claim that it is an EU-wide “information society service” and should be free to operate across member states without complying with local laws.