London’s transport authority on Monday refused to renew an operating license for ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc — and blamed “unacceptable” safety risks for passengers.
“Transport for London (TfL) has concluded that it will not grant Uber London Ltd (Uber) a new private hire operator’s license in response to its latest application,” it said in a statement.
Uber, which has about 3.5 million customers and 50,000 drivers in London, called the move “wrong” and said it would appeal.
The TfL rejection is the latest setback to the firm’s London operation, which has suffered previous license suspensions in addition to protests from traditional black cab drivers.
In September, Uber was granted a two-month extension to its license, conditional on passenger safety improvements, following the expiry of a previous 15-month agreement.
TfL on Monday said there was a “pattern of failures,” including the use of unauthorized drivers on other drivers’ accounts, allowing them to pick up passengers.
This happened at least 14,000 times, endangering users, as it invalidated insurance, TfL said.
Some trips took place with unlicensed, suspended or dismissed drivers.
TfL added that it recognized steps that the company had taken to address such issues, but was concerned about the ease with which its checks and balances could be manipulated.
“Despite addressing some of these issues, TfL does not have confidence that similar issues will not reoccur in the future, which has led it to conclude that the company is not fit and proper at this time,” it said.
It was “unacceptable” that Uber had allowed passengers use taxi drivers who are “potentially unlicensed and uninsured,” TfL Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging Helen Chapman added.
Uber has 21 days to appeal, during which time it can continue to operate.
Uber would have to demonstrate on appeal that it has put in place sufficient measures to eliminate risks to passengers.
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