Your Ride is Cancelled: Uber’s licence revoked in London

January 13, 2020


2 min read

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What's going on here?

In 2017, Uber’s licence was revoked by Transport for London (TfL) as the company was not deemed ‘fit and proper’ to be operating in London. Uber was since granted two extensions on its licence to improve its safety measures, which expired earlier this week. As TfL was not satisfied with Uber’s measures, Uber’s licence was revoked permanently.

What does this mean?

Unsurprisingly, Uber is unhappy with this decision and is attempting to appeal it. It is likely that a technological improvement will be required to satisfy TfL’s safety concerns. 

Uber may need to turn towards recording biometric data of its drivers by providing facial scans or drivers’ fingerprints in order to confirm the driver using the app is registered and licensed by TfL, as well as actually being the driver that the rider has booked. 

Uber currently has about 45,000 drivers in London, so any such measures would be widespread and potentially lengthy to implement.

What's the big picture effect?

Considering the potential need to to implement biometric data, Uber may need to quickly expand its privacy and technology team in order to fall within regulations, as well as ensuring that their drivers stay on board. Whilst Uber is still able to operate while an appeal is ongoing, Uber would still have to work quickly to make these changes and convince TfL that the safety measures will work. 

This story also raises questions for other ride-hailing apps such as Bolt and Kapten and their place in London. As of yet, TfL has not targeted these other companies, or required them to implement new measures in order to be able to operate in London. London is a city which brings in some of the most revenue for these ride-hailing apps, including Uber, therefore, any changes to their operation may have large effects on the company’s bottom line. Whether the other companies will also be questioned by TfL yet remains unclear

Do you think Uber has been unfairly targeted? Or, given unfair targets? Or, do you think that safety is paramount and TfL was right to take extreme measures in order to secure safety for passengers?

Report written by Harina Chandhok

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