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

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

UPDATED: Man dies from injuries at Custom House construction site in Victoria

Government Street remains closed as investigation continues

VIJHL season could start Oct. 1, says league president

League awaiting final approval from local health authorities and viaSport

Netflix, Warner Bros filming 10-part series in Colwood

Filming takes place now until March 2021

Saanich explores options for adding shelters to parks

Covered areas would encourage safe outdoor socializing during rainy season

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Most Read