"They have let down their drivers and customers"
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has responded to TfL’s decision not to renew Uber’s private hire licence for the city. Watch Khan’s response in the video above.
The taxi giant is said to have around 40,000 drivers in London, with over 3.5 million Londoners using the app. Their current licence is due to expire next Saturday on September 30. Today, the capital’s transport body have announced that they will not be reissuing it. However, it is believed that the company will appeal.
“TfL’s regulation of London’s taxi and private hire trades is designed to ensure passenger safety,” said Transport For London in a statement. “Private hire operators must meet rigorous regulations, and demonstrate to TfL that they do do, in order to operate. TfL must also be satisfied that an operator is fit and proper to hold a licence.
“TfL has concluded that Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence.”
Read their full statement below.
Now in a statement issued to NME, Mr Khan has lent his support to Transport For London’s decision.
“I want London to be at the forefront of innovation and new technology and to be a natural home for exciting new companies that help Londoners by providing a better and more affordable service,” Mr Khan told NME. “However, all companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – particularly when it comes to the safety of customers. Providing an innovative service must not be at the expense of customer safety and security.
“I fully support TfL’s decision – it would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety and security.”
He added: “Any operator of private hire services in London needs to play by the rules.”
How long does Uber have left?
As Buzzfeed’s Political Editor Jim Waterson reports, Khan later added that it was unacceptable for Uber to continue to operate until they fall in line with TfL’s security terms – despite it’s staggering popularity. He added that Uber could continue to operate until the appeal process was over.
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“I know that Uber has become a popular service for many Londoners,” said Mr Khan. “But it would be wrong for TfL to licence Uber if there was any way this could pose a threat to to Londoners’ safety or security. As Mayor of London I welcome innovative new companies that help Londoners by providing an innovative service – but providing an innovative service is not an excuse for not following the rules.
“All companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – particularly when it comes to the safety of customers.”
He added: “I have every sympathy with Uber drivers and customers affected by this decision, but their anger really should be directed at Uber. They have let down their drivers and customers by failing , in the view of TfL, to act as a fit and proper operator.
“I suspect it will take some time before this situation with Uber fully plays out.”
Tom Elvidge, the General Manager of Uber in London, has confirmed that the ride-hailing service intends to immediately appeal against the decision.
“3.5 million Londoners who use our app, and more than 40,000 licensed drivers who rely on Uber to make a living, will be astounded by this decision”, Mr Elvidge said.
“By wanting to ban our app from the capital Transport for London and the Mayor have caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice. If this decision stands, it will put more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work and deprive Londoners of a convenient and affordable form of transport. To defend the livelihoods of all those drivers, and the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use our app, we intend to immediately challenge this in the courts.
“Drivers who use Uber are licensed by Transport for London and have been through the same enhanced DBS background checks as black cab drivers. Our pioneering technology has gone further to enhance safety with every trip tracked and recorded by GPS. We have always followed TfL rules on reporting serious incidents and have a dedicated team who work closely with the Metropolitan Police.”
He added: ‘Uber operates in more than 600 cities around the world, including more than 40 towns and cities here in the UK. This ban would show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies who bring choice to consumers.’