In a decision that has widespread implications in the UK, Uber, the San Francisco based tech company, has loss it’s license to operate in London. The move came as a surprise, as many in the city of London have come to rely on the app that Uber provides to move around town. The transportation tech company has the opportunity to appeal the decision which it will most certainly do. The London market is lucrative and though they have issues, Uber has support from both businesses and citizens in the city who utilize the companies service.
Reasons Behind the loss of License
There were a number of factors that prompted the TFL, which oversees the taxi and private hire sector of the city, to take this step. The most important of these, as stated by TFL, was providing a safe secure environment for the citizens of London to travel around the city. The regulatory body stated that, as a corporate entity, Uber has failed miserably in how they vet their drivers and do little to monitor and track criminal behaviors such as sexual assault perpetrated by its drivers. Because of this lack of professionalism and due diligence in performing background checks and driver monitor, many feel that Uber drivers do not meet the standards that drivers from other taxi companies must meet.
Pressure from rival taxi companies have also contributed influencing the ban on Uber. They suggest that Uber’s business model is not legal. They state that Uber’s drivers are employees rather than self employed and that Uber does not conform to the standards and regulations the an employer/employee relationship would involve, among these are workers rights.
Implications of the Loss of License
The reaction to Uber losing its license to operate in London has been vocal and has come from many. The number of Londoners who use Uber’s app to get around the city is somewhere in the range of 3.5 million according to the company. Banning Uber for these users would have an immediate impact and result in widespread inconvenience. Likewise ban of Uber in London would also have an immediate and devastating impact on those Londoners who work with the company as drivers. The number of drivers who make a living in London through Uber is about 40,000. The ban would effectively make all of them unemployed. The financial impact for these drivers and their families would be harmful to say the least.
Bolstered by support from a group that’s comprised of Uber app users, Uber drivers and employees and various government and business entities, Uber seeks to appeal The TFL’s decision to ban than company. No longer defiant in its approach with the regulatory body, Uber has taken the position adapt and be willing to discuss changes that would both satisfy safety and regulatory concerns while simultaneously preserving its core functions and identity as a business. At present, however, there is little dialog between the two sides in this regards. Uber has stated that the ban and loss of license to operate in London came without the TFL providing guidelines for necessary changes in how Uber needs to operate or a timetable to comply with said changes.