Uber was stripped of its London operating licence on Monday (November 25) for the second time in just over two years as the city’s regulator said the taxi app was not “fit and proper,” having put passenger safety at risk.
A change to Uber’s systems allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other drivers’ accounts, meaning they could pick up passengers as if they were the booked driver, which happened in at least 14,000 trips, Transport for London (TfL) said.
Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging at TfL, Helen Chapman, said the “unacceptable” practice allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who could potentially be “unlicensed and uninsured”.
The Silicon Valley-based company has 21 days to appeal the decision and can continue to operate throughout the process, which is likely to include court action.
Uber and TfL have been engaged in a long-running battle since the authority rejected a renewal request in 2017, citing shortcomings it said it found in the firm’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences and driver background checks, prompting legal action.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan acknowledged the decision may be unpopular with Uber users, but said their safety was of “paramount concern”.