Uber has officially been denied a renewal of its London license after 2 years of extensions, allowing it to operate until an appeal. After that, if the appeal is unsuccessful, Uber will cease to operate in the UK’s capital city. For the company this will be a big loss, especially considering that 28% of global bookings in 2018 came from London, and the publicity surrounding the loss of license would be a nightmare. But, what happened, and how could this affect transport in London?

What Happened?

Uber first lost its license back in 2017 after Transport for London (TfL) decided there were too many safety concerns around the company. These were cited to be regarding Uber’s reporting of serious criminal offences alongside the way they carried out background checks on their fleets of drivers. They could’ve also been concerned about Google’s use of ‘Greyball’, a software that blocks monitoring of the app by regulators – although Uber did deny this had ever been used in the UK.

TfL granted an extension of a total 17 months with the intention that Uber would improve how their company is run and correct the issues raised.

Not ‘Fit and Proper’

In the latest news, Ubers license has been lost with no renewal of extension after regulators cited the company as not ‘fit and proper’ to work in the city. It did make changes to the way the Uber app works, but clearly they weren’t enough. 

TfL noted that, when accesses, they noted numerous failures that put the safety of Uber’s London passengers at risk. These included the fact that unauthorised drivers can now upload their own photo to other Uber accounts, allowing them to drive passengers without being a certified Uber driver, and also that suspended drivers were able to create new Uber driver accounts. In short, they couldn’t verify that passengers were safe getting into an Uber car. The problems amounted in a minimum of 14,000 fraudulent journeys in the city alone between the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019.

The Future of London Transport

If Uber’s license is revoked after their appeal, many will be left wondering ‘what happens to London transport now?’. Well, there are other companies ready to come in and take Uber’s place, including Green Tomato. After Uber’s mistakes, these companies will be far more cautious with their rules and regulations, ensuring passenger safety is always a top priority – although for us that’s always been our way.

If you think you could be at a loss when getting around the city after Uber vanishes, why not take a look at our green alternative to gas-guzzling car services in London? We have a fleet of low or zero-emission vehicles at Green Tomato so you can get around the city guilt-free.