In a recent shock decision, Transport for London (TfL), has decided not to renew Uber’s licence in the capital when it expires on the 30 September.

In a statement released by TfL, they confirm the decision was reached following careful consideration that ‘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.’

TfL went on to label these potential implications, which include their:

  • Approach to reporting serious criminal offences
  • Approach to how medical certificates are obtained
  • Approach to how Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are obtained
  • Approach to explaining the use of Greyball in London, software that could be used to block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to the app and prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties

In a follow-up tweet, @TfL confirmed that Uber London Ltd can continue to operate until any appeal processes have been exhausted.

Concessions

Following the news Tom Elvidge, the general manager for Uber London, admitted that the ride hailing app would be willing to make concessions. He said:

“While we haven’t been asked to make any changes, we’d like to know what we can do.”

Elvidge added:

“That requires a dialogue we sadly haven’t been able to have.”

Any concessions by Uber would likely be around passenger safety and benefits for drivers, limits on their working hours, and holiday pay. Although considering the lack of communication between TfL and Uber, it is likely that any concessions at this stage wouldn’t be welcomed.

This isn’t the first time that the ride hailing app has tried and failed to hold meetings with the powers that be in the capital. Numerous attempts to meet with Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, have been rejected according to a source close to Uber.

Uber Appeal 

Despite the conciliatory language from Mr Elvidge, Uber released a series of tweets saying it would challenge the decision “in the courts to defend the livelihoods of drivers and the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use Uber.”

“Drivers who use Uber in London are licensed by TfL and have been through the same enhanced DBS [Disclosure and Barring Service] background checks as black cab drivers.

“We have always followed TfL rules on reporting serious incidents, with a dedicated team that works closely with the Metropolitan Police.”

Uber has 21 days to appeal TfL’s decision and while it may be an uphill battle for Uber, the public have made their feelings clear with over 737,000 people signing an online petition to save the beleaguered company. 

Whose side are you on?

It’s clear that TfL isn’t interested in negotiating. They seem happy to remove them from the capital altogether and return the market share to long suffering black cab drivers, but is this the fair choice?

Khan has since welcomed the apology and seems to be keen on pushing for a compromise, something he didn’t seem overly interested in before the online petition from a huge number of his constituents. Khan now seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place, so it remains to be seen whether this will be his 127 hours scenario. Either way he’s likely to come out of this situation losing more than an arm.

Despite Uber being the dirty word in the private hire and taxi circuit in the capital, their service is used and appreciated by millions of Londoners who are making their voices heard through online petitions. So, if the decision makers are doing this for the people of the capital, then surely negotiation is the way forward.

Negotiation is also needed to protect the 40,000 + employees of Uber who are at risk should TfL stand by their decision. I’m sure that TfL don’t want to see people out of work, but by failing to at least speak with Uber they are negatively affecting their livelihood.

It would be interesting to see what this will mean for the future of Uber in the UK. What do you think? Are they worth saving or do you think their time has finally come to an end?