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Unauthorized drivers were able to upload their photos to others’ accounts so that, on at least 14,000 trips, a driver other than the advertised one picked up passengers.
Uber’s license to carry passengers in London was not renewed Monday for the second time in just over two years over a “pattern of failures” on safety and security, according to the regulator Transport for London (TfL).
TfL said it had “identified a pattern of failures by the company including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk”, as unauthorized drivers were able to upload their photos to others’ accounts so that, on at least 14,000 trips, a driver other than the advertised one picked up passengers.
“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,” the regulator added.
As a response, the ride-sharing app said it would appeal. The process is likely to include court action and could drag on for months, allowing Uber’s roughly 45,000 drivers in London to keep taking rides despite its license been stripped.
London's Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted on Monday saying that he "supports the decision by TfL's licensing officials" and "completely understands why it was taken."
Back in 2017 the company initially lost its license as it failed to report serious criminal offenses and driver background checks. After addressing some of the issues raised by the TfL back then a magistrate later granted Uber a new license, which expired Monday.
Yet it is not the first time the Silicon Valley firm has run into regulatory barriers and a backlash. In places such as Copenhagen and Hungary, it has been forced to withdraw completely.
While United States California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a labor bill, which would require companies from the “gig economy” sector to reclassify their workers as employees, including ride-hailing and delivery services such as Uber or Lyft.
In the United Kingdom’s capital, one of its most important markets, black cab drivers who see Uber as a threat to their hard-won livelihoods have blocked streets in protest, arguing they are being unfairly undercut by an inferior service.
This comes as the more than 22,000 “cabbies” are required to memorize the thousands of streets and landmarks within a six-mile radius of central London and pass an extremely difficult test known as ‘The Knowledge’ in order to be licensed to pick up passengers on the street.
A requirement since 1865, the process can be costly and takes on average three to four years to complete. Drivers for Uber and ride-sharing apps helped nowadays by satellite navigation apps, face no such requirements.