Uber’s London license pulled after ‘repeated safety failures’

Uber has lost its license to operate in London after ‘repeated safety failures’ Transport for London (TfL) has said.

The taxi firm will not be granted a new licence. Regulators say the taxi app was not “fit and proper” as a licence holder. Uber said it has made a number of positive changes to its operations, but seemingly this hasn’t been enough.

Uber first lost its licence in 2017 but was granted two extensions, the most recent of which expired on Sunday 24th November.

The firm will appeal and can continue to operate during that process.

About 45,000 drivers work for Uber in London, which is one of its top five markets globally.

TfL said it had identified a “pattern of failures” that placed passenger safety and security at risk. These included a change to Uber’s systems which allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts.

It meant at least 14,000 fraudulent trips were carried out in London in late 2018 and early 2019, TfL said.

The regulator also found dismissed or suspended drivers had been able to create Uber accounts and carry passengers.

Helen Chapman, Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging at TfL, said: “While we recognise Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured.”

Uber said the decision was “extraordinary and wrong”. It said it had audited every driver in London over the last two months and further strengthened its processes.

According to Uber, 24% of its sales come from just five cities, including London. The others are Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and São Paulo in Brazil.

Uber, owned by a US firm, pulled out of Denmark in 2017 because of new taxi laws that required drivers to have fare meters and seat sensors. Meanwhile Bulgaria and Hungary have withdrawn Uber’s right to operate. And in May, the ride-hailing firm pulled its UberXL service in Turkey.

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