As of August September 2017, more than 3.5 million Londoners use Uber to get around, and more than 40,000 rely on the service for jobs. However, despite its widespread popularity, TfL have decided against renewing Uber’s licence citing a number of issues in the way they operate. The announcement comes following a string of accusations against the company around the world, not just in London.
What are the Problems?
The major issue mentioned surrounding the Uber ban is due to the company’s failure to swiftly and effectively process any complaints that are brought against drivers. In one such instance, the company was notified of assault by a driver but Uber failed to act. Not long after, the driver was involved in an even more aggressive assault that should have been avoided. Uber apologised saying it didn’t take the issue seriously enough. However, the problem still exists that, rather than directly reporting such instances to the police immediately, Uber chooses to follow the route of notifying TfL which takes much longer to see any sort of results.
What has been Uber’s Response?
It’s understandable that, following the announcement, Uber has been publicly very hurt. However, instead of fighting back in outrage against the ruling, the new Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, has been very understanding of the situation. He has made a number of announcements to the press but a now public email that was sent around the company helps put his views across most clearly. He expresses concern surrounding the 40,000 jobs that are now at risk within London. He goes on to point out that Uber “has led the way on partnerships with local groups to increase the number of wheelchair-accessible and electric vehicles on the road” and that those efforts will now grind to a halt. He does make it clear he isn’t in full agreement with the claims brought against the company but has chosen to take them on board and reflect on the comments.
What will the Future Hold?
Khosrowshahi, in stating they will take all of TfL’s feedback on board, wishes to be allowed back into the London market as soon as possible. They wish to meet personally with TfL and Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who admires and encourages this approach. Khan has made it clear though that he encourages disruptive technology and innovative solutions around London but expresses clearly, “you’ve got to play by the rules.”
500,000 people have already signed a petition to urge TfL to reverse the decision and seek a different form of resolution regarding recent issues. Following the news, other UK cities have started to express concern about Uber operating beyond their means, but it’s unclear as of yet if any further repercussions can be expected.