Uber had its licence to operate in London withdrawn on Monday after the city’s transport body cited a “pattern of failures” including unauthorised drivers making over 14,000 trips.
Transport for London (TfL) said the ride-sharing company had several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk and that while attempts were made to address some it “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.”
Despite Uber making some positive changes since its last licence was granted, according to TfL, it said its investigations had led it to conclude that the company was not “fit and proper at this time”.
A key issue in the agency’s decision was a change to Uber’s system which allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to the accounts of other drivers. “This allowed them to pick up passengers as though they were the booked driver, which occurred in at least 14,000 trips,” TfL said adding that it meant none of those trips were insured.
What’s more, dismissed or suspended drivers were able to create Uber accounts and transport passengers, which the TfL also listed as a failure to ensure the safety and security of its customers. TfL noted that Uber’s systems seemed “comparatively easily manipulated” and said “This pattern of regulatory breaches led TfL to commission an independent assessment of Uber’s ability to prevent incidents of this nature happening again,” the TfL said.
“This work has led TfL to conclude that it currently does not have confidence that Uber has a robust system for protecting passenger safety, while managing changes to its app.”
Uber has three weeks to appeal the decision during which it can continue to operate pending any appeal and throughout any potential appeals process.
Previously, Uber had its licence stripped by TfL in 2017 after issues with how it conducted background checks and reported breaches by drivers.
A 15-month reprieve was granted to Uber by a judge last year, followed by a two-month permit in September of this year as it worked to address those and other issues.
Uber, which has some 45,000 drivers in London, has appealed the decision and can continue operate until a ruling is made.