Uber has officially lost its London operating licence in a major blow to the 3.5 million passengers and 45,000 licensed drivers who depend on Uber in the capital.
The decision to strip the popular ride-hailing service of its London licence comes after Transport for London (TfL) claimed that the company had “placed passengers and their safety at risk” after several breaches in which Uber “had allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured”.
According to TfL, there were 14,000 fraudulent trips carried out in London in late 2018 and early 2019, this was partly due to a change to Uber’s systems which allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts. It was also found that dismissed or suspended drivers had been able to create Uber accounts and carry passengers.
Uber have denounced the decision to suspend their licence in London, saying that the verdict was “extraordinary and wrong”, and claimed that it had fundamentally changed its business model and improved its security procedures over the last two years.
What happens next?
Uber now has 21 days to challenge the decision and have released a statement in which they have confirmed that they plan to appeal TfL’s verdict to strip them off their operating licence in London. While Uber have been officially stripped of their existing licence by TfL to operate in the capital, both passengers and drivers can still continue to use the app service during the appeal process.
How will this affect passengers?
Passengers were quick to offer their views on Uber having their licence suspended in London, with many criticising TfL for the decision. While many who support the move to ban Uber in the capital see this as a win for black cab drivers who have seen business decline since the arrival of the popular ride-hailing service, many angry social media users have highlighted the extraordinary price difference between hailing a black cab and using Uber, with one user blasting the verdict: “Black cabs are simply not affordable for the majority of Londoners. It once cost me £115 for a ride from West London to East London and the cabbie was demanding a £20 tip on top of it. How is that fair pricing!? Couldn’t care less about their difficult navigation courses.”
Another frustrated user picked fault with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan claiming that the decision to revoke Uber’s licence in the capital was purely a political move: “Once again, the Mayor of London puts political posturing before the people of London with the ridiculous decision to refuse Uber an operating licence. ”
Speaking of the London Mayor, Mr Khan went on to release a statement on Twitter, stating: “I know this decision may be unpopular with Uber users, but their safety is the paramount concern. Regulations are there to keep Londoners safe.
While Uber is currently challenging the decision of revolving its licence in London, this is not the first time that Uber and TfL have come to blows, with the rail-hailing app losing its licence in 2017 only to be granted a further two-year extension.
How will this affect drivers?
Uber still remains the most popular ride-hailing app for drivers to earn a living in the UK, with Uber drivers earning approximately £15 per hour.
With Uber’s licence in London now suspended, many drivers who use the ride-hailing app will now find themselves in a difficult position as they find alternative means to earn an income. While drivers will still be able to use Uber as the company begins its appeal to challenge the decision by TfL, many drivers may now be considering their options in the lead up to Christmas. And what are those options? While Uber may face a permanent ban in the capital pending an appeal, it isn’t the only ride-hailing app in London.
Bolt arrived in London in 2017 and has already over 30,000 drivers on its books, where an average full-time Bolt driver in London can earn over £1,200 a month.
Kapten is a French start-up that has now become a popular alternative to Uber in London with over 16,000 drivers in the capital alone. Drivers of Kapten can expect an average hourly rate of around £19.
ViaVan is a joint venture between ride-sharing start-up Via and Mercedes-Benz Vans. Drivers of this new car- pooling app on average can expect to make £17 £25 per hour.
A new ride-hailing app available in London, Manchester, York and Luton, Xooox allows cab companies and drivers to remain independent, where drivers can earn between £3 to £5 per mile.
What Get Licensed Says
Uber losing out on its licence in London is not only a blow to customers in the city, but to the 45,000 licensed drivers who use the popular ride-hailing app as a means of full-time employment or extra income. While there are other alternative means for drivers to make a living, we hope that Uber can win its appeal and continue getting passengers from point A to point B and providing the opportunity for vehicle owners to earn a living in the capital.