TfL revokes Uber’s taxi licence in London on claims the company’s software could block regulators and impede law enforcement

Written by Sam Trendall on 22 September 2017 in News
News

But taxi app hits back and announces intention to appeal immediately

TfL pointed to concerns about Uber's approach to obtaining medical and criminal records checks  Credit: PA

Transport for London has revoked Uber’s licence to operate in the capital, claiming that the firm’s policies and operations “have potential public safety concerns”.

TfL today told the taxi app that, when its Uber London Limited subsidiary’s private hire operator licence runs out on 30 September, it will not be renewed. London’s public transport body assessed the company against a set of “rigorous regulations” that it claims are “designed to ensure passenger safety”.

“TfL has concluded that Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence,” the capital’s transport authority said. “TfL considers that Uber's approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications.”

Tfl flagged up four particular concerns about Uber’s conduct, beginning with “its approach to reporting serious criminal offences”. The transport body was also unhappy with the company’s conduct in respect of obtaining medical certificates, as well as criminal records checks from the government’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).


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Finally, TfL was concerned about Uber’s use of Greyball software, which it claims “could be used to block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to the app and prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law-enforcement duties.”

Uber has 21 days to appeal the decision and, Tom Elvidge, the company’s general manager in London, said that the firm would “immediately challenge this in the courts”.

“Drivers who use Uber are licensed by Transport for London and have been through the same enhanced DBS background checks as black cab drivers. Our pioneering technology has gone further to enhance safety with every trip tracked and recorded by GPS,” he added. 

“We have always followed TfL rules on reporting serious incidents and have a dedicated team who work closely with the Metropolitan Police. As we have already told TfL, an independent review has found that ‘greyball’ has never been used or considered in the UK for the purposes cited by TfL.”

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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