Uber was refused an operating license removal in London over “a lack of corporate responsibility,” Transport for London (TFL) said on Friday. The government body ruled to stop the ride-hailing service provider from operating in the UK capital after its existing license expires on September 30, although it will be allowed to continue doing business in the city while it’s appealing the decision. The San Francisco, California-based firm was deemed “not fit and proper” to be a private hire operator license holder over several issues which the TFL believes disqualify it from being allowed to operate in the London metropolitan area. The firm’s procedures of acquiring medical certificates and reporting criminal offenses, as well as its practices related to the usage of controversial officer-avoiding software Greyball were all described by the TFL as signs of corporate irresponsibility on Uber’s part, as were the company’s methods for obtaining Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.
Uber is able to appeal the agency’s decision based on the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act of 1998, which the company already confirmed as its next course of action, noting how it’s prepared to exhaust all legal remedies at its disposal before it reverts the TFL’s decision which it described as stemming from political pressure exerted by “a small number of people,” labeling it as being anti-consumerist as it limits the choice of transportation means in the city. The competent government body has yet to respond to those accusations and it’s unclear whether it’s planning to do so at all, with its decision providing no further comments on the matter.
Uber obtained its first private hire operator license in London in 2012 and paid only 3,000 pounds for it before gaining a 4-mount extension this May while the TFL was still drafting its new licensing system which would saw the company’s fees jump by over 96,500 percent even if it was deemed fit for a renewal. The local division of the firm claims that Uber employs 40,000 London drivers and has approximately 3.5 million riders in the city. Uber has 21 days to file an official appeal to the decision starting today, with the company already preparing its defense as local taxi drivers are presumably celebrating the TFL’s decision to kick the ride-hailing service provider out of the city after organizing protests against it for half a decade.