Uber vows to appeal after losing licence in London

Transit authority refused to renew licence because of fake drivers

In this Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016 file photo, London taxis block the roads during a protest in central London, concerned with unfair competition from services such as Uber. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

London’s transit authority on Monday refused to renew Uber’s operating license over concerns about impostor drivers, with the ride-hailing company vowing to appeal the decision as it struggles to secure its future in the British capital.

It’s the latest chapter in Uber’s rocky history with London transport officials, who have subjected the San Francisco-based tech company to ever tighter scrutiny over concerns about passenger safety and security.

Uber called the decision “extraordinary and wrong,” and has 21 days to file an appeal, which it said it would do. It can continue operating during the appeals process.

Transport for London cited “several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk” in its decision not to extend Uber’s license, which expires at midnight Monday. Among other things, unauthorized drivers carried out thousands of rides, the regulator said.

“While we recognize Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured,” said Helen Chapman, director of licensing and regulation at Transport for London, known as TFL.

“We cannot be confident that similar issues won’t happen again in future.”

The company fired back, pointing out that TFL had found it fit and proper in its most recent license renewal in September.

“We understand we’re held to a high bar, as we should be. But this TFL decision is just wrong,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted. “Over the last 2 years we have fundamentally changed how we operate in London.”

The denial in a lucrative European market is a big setback for Uber as it struggles to turn a profit. The company posted a $1.16 billion loss in the latest quarter and Khosrowshahi forecast it wouldn’t make a profit until 2021. Shares fell 1.3% in New York.

TFL had already been keeping Uber on a tight leash. It had revoked Uber’s license once before, in 2017, but a court later granted it a license lasting 15 months, which TFL then extended for two more months in September, but added 20 conditions.

In the latest decision, the transit authority said it was concerned Uber’s systems “seem to have been comparatively easily manipulated” by drivers.

One key issue was a change to Uber’s systems allowing unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other driver accounts.

READ MORE: B.C. to allow Uber-style ride hailing services to operate in late 2019

This let them pick up passengers as though they were the booked Uber driver on at least 14,000 trips, which means all those journeys were uninsured, TFL said.

The change also resulted in some passengers travelling with unlicensed drivers, including one whose license was previously revoked by TFL.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

2020 Budget: ICBC shortfall continues ahead of new rate-reduction plan

ICBC operating with $91-million deficit for 2019-2020 fiscal year

Victoria police ask victims of human trafficking to come forward in light of recent arrests

Four people from Vancouver Island were arrested in Saskatchewan on Jan. 28

Forest industry supporters and convoy arrive at B.C. legislature

Rally delivers petition in favour of ‘working forests’

UPDATE: Three protesters arrested for mischief after blocking driveway access to Premier John Horgan’s Langford home

Protestors claimed they would make a citizen’s arrest of the Premier, according to West Shore RCMP

Scholarship launched to honour three men who died in Sooke River

Sooke School District award will be given annually to a student graduating from EMCS

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Budget 2020: B.C. adds tax to sweet drinks and sodas

All soda, vending machine drinks will be subject to higher PST

Budget 2020: B.C. unveils new grant for students, phases out debt-relief program

For the first time, diploma, certificate students qualify for yearly post-secondary grant

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. NDP taps top tax bracket for more revenue

Minimum wage set to pass $15 an hour by 2021

Budget 2020: Not much new for B.C.’s struggling forest industry

Focus on wood waste utilization, efficiency, ministry budget cut

Skull reconstruction gives new insight into unknown man found in B.C. cemetery

RCMP released a 3-D skull reconstruction of a man who was found dead on July 2, 1998

Ten poisoned eagles rushed to veterinary hospital in Nanaimo

Eagles stricken after eating flesh of euthanized animal at Nanaimo Regional Landfill

Trudeau says Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades a critical moment for country

First Nations leaders suggest it may be time to peacefully end the blockades

Most Read