22 Sep 2017

Uber loses licence to operate in London

11:00 pm on 22 September 2017

London's transport regulator has stripped Uber of its licence to operate from the end of the month, affecting over 40,000 drivers in a huge blow to the taxi app.

Uber

Around 40,000 drivers in London are affected. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

In New Zealand, Uber is available in main centres and Wellington Airport recently welcomed Uber drivers, but a taxi company boss said the move threatened traditional taxi firms.

A new transport law comes into effect in New Zealand in October and recognises ride sharing services like Uber as part of the transport network.

Transport for London said Uber's approach and conduct demonstrated a lack of corporate responsibility and there was potential public safety and security implications.

In a decision, the authority said there were potential security implications regarding Uber's approach to reporting criminal offences, how drivers obtained medical certificates and its approach to disclosing driver vetting checks.

The final day of Uber's licence will be on 30 September.

In London, the firm has faced criticism from unions, lawmakers and traditional black cab drivers over working conditions.

Uber, which has the right to appeal the decision within 21 days, did not offer an immediate comment. It is unclear whether Uber will be able to operate in October whilst any appeal is being considered.

Globally, Uber has endured a tumultuous few months after a string of scandals involving allegations of sexism and bullying at the company, leading to investor pressure which forced out former CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick.

The app has been forced to quit several countries including Denmark and Hungary and faced regulatory battles in multiple US states and countries around the world.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he backed the decision.

"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.

"It would be wrong if (Transport for London) continue to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners' safety and security."

- REUTERS

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