As of this morning, app-driven cab service Uber has lost it’s licence to operate in London as Transport For London has deemed it an improperly operating service. Their licence expires on September 30th, during which time Uber can continue to operate until they have exhausted their allowances to make appeals.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan justified the removal of Uber on LBC radio by stating that Uber refused to ‘play by the rules’ in regards to customer safety. TFL’s reasons for stripping Uber of it’s licence is that “Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility”, as the service has demonstrated a complete disregard for offences committed by drivers.
Black cab drivers have respond to the demise of it’s competitors, predictably, positively. Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Driver’s Association, responded with this:
James Farrar, chair of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain’s (IWGB), claimed that the TFL’s regulation of Uber had been a laissez-fair approach for the last 5 years, so to come down on them so fiercely now is ridiculous. He states that “rather than banish Uber, TfL should have strengthened its regulatory oversight, curbed runaway licensing and protected the worker rights of drivers.”
A trademark of London is and always will be the famous black cab, and as a Londoner I am personally fond of them. There was always something thrilling about taking one as a child. However, the experience is less magical when you watch those numbers tick up, up, up until you’ve paid an extortionate amount for your ride home. Hence why Uber has been extremely popular in London since it became available here; it is a (relatively) safe, efficient, and cost effective way to travel around the capital, especially for tourists who may not be able to navigate the public transport system. If black cabs wish to maintain a monopoly on travel in London, it might behoof them to make themselves more accessible financially.
It is important for everyone to remember that this is not just about the 3.5million users of Uber in London. This matter should primarily be centred around the 40,000 drivers who will now be out of a job. Though the problem stems from the carelessness of drivers, many of them are honest people trying to make a living in a city that is constantly getting more expensive to live in.
If you would like assist the cause of keeping Uber in London, you can sign the petition on change.org