App and ride service Uber not 'fit and proper' to operate in London

Posted:
in General Discussion
Government body Transport for London will not grant Uber a new license to operate in London, saying that despite improvements, it maintained a "pattern of failures.". Drivers can continue working while Uber appeals the decision.

Uber's app contains the ability to share your ride details
Uber's app contains the ability to share your ride details


The app and ride company Uber is to lose its licence to operate in London, one of its largest markets, after Transport for London declared it not "fit and proper." The decision follows a previous one in 2017 which saw Uber granted two extensions to its license on the condition that it address problems with the service. According to Transport for London, insufficient improvements have been made.

Helen Chapman, Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging at TfL, said:

"While we recognize Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured," Helen Chapman, of Transport for London, told BBC News

"I know this decision may be unpopular with Uber users, but their safety is the paramount concern," said London Mayor Sadiq Khan. "Regulations are there to keep Londoners safe."

Approximately 45,000 drivers work for Uber in the city, but Transport for London said that it had identified a "pattern of failures by the company including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk."

"A key issue identified was that a change to Uber's systems allowed unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts," says Transport for London in a press release.

"This allowed them to pick up passengers as though they were the booked driver," it continued, "which occurred in at least 14,000 trips - putting passenger safety and security at risk. This means all the journeys were uninsured and some passenger journeys took place with unlicensed drivers, one of which had previously had their licence revoked by TfL."

We understand we're held to a high bar, as we should be. But this TfL decision is just wrong. Over the last 2 years we have fundamentally changed how we operate in London. We have come very far -- and we will keep going, for the millions of drivers and riders who rely on us.

-- dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos)


Uber has responded publicly over Twitter, calling the decision "just wrong," and saying it has "fundamentally changed how we operate in London."

The company plans to appeal the decision and while that it goes through that process, its London drivers can continue to work. It was via a similar court process that Uber got to continue despite the 2017 decision to not renew its license.

Uber has been heavily running television and streaming ads in the UK promoting the safety of its service and the convenience of the iPhone app.






The company has also previously broken Apple rules for submissions in the App Store.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,662member
    "... Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured"  I wonder if this is true in the USA too?  "
  • Reply 2 of 53
    Uber is full of it. Their business model was always centered around not having to follow the same laws and regulations that other companies in the same market were required to follow. Their excuse for not following them was simply "our customers use an app" and nothing else. Personally, I find it bizarre that they got away with it as long as they did.
    DAalsethneo-techelijahgFileMakerFellercy_starkmandysamoriaviclauyycrandominternetperson
  • Reply 3 of 53
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,783member
    A bit of good news for a Monday. 
    FileMakerFellercy_starkmanbaconstangdysamoriaviclauyyc
  • Reply 4 of 53
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 1,005member
    Uber is full of it. Their business model was always centered around not having to follow the same laws and regulations that other companies in the same market were required to follow. Their excuse for not following them was simply "our customers use an app" and nothing else. Personally, I find it bizarre that they got away with it as long as they did.
    I basically agree with you.  However, Uber and similar services legally take advantage of differences in the way pre-booked car services and cars picked up on the streets are regulated in many countries. To say "our customers use an app" is just shorthand for saying that the service is not a taxi service but a car hire service.  In some places, the high cost of entry (through expensive "medallions" etc.)  made taxi service way too expensive and ripe for some kind of competition. In a free country, why shouldn't a person be able to transport someone else for a fee? Should you need permission from the government to do anything?  If you're not in a free country, you have bigger problems than this.

    I lived for several years in a sort of crap-hole country where cabs coexisted with people more often just hailing random cars to get places.  You'd put your hand up and some car would stop, you would tell the driver where you're going and negotiate a price if they're willing to take you there. This was very common but in retrospect rather dangerous.  A service like Uber or Lyft is probably much safer (I read the article, so with caveats.) I lived in another place where the cab drivers are very professional (uniforms and everything) and maybe on a salary - no tips expected.   uber or Lyft might wipe them out and I think the government basically put an end to them. Last time I was there the Lyft (or Uber?) app would book you a taxi.
    edited November 2019 randominternetperson
  • Reply 5 of 53
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,990member
    Uber is full of it. Their business model was always centered around not having to follow the same laws and regulations that other companies in the same market were required to follow. Their excuse for not following them was simply "our customers use an app" and nothing else. Personally, I find it bizarre that they got away with it as long as they did.

    "The same laws and regulations" means "participate in the government-controlled monopoly."   This is not about being "fit and proper."  Nor is it about safety.  It's about money.  Government sets onerous licensing requirements with huge fees.  Once they are in bed with the service providers, they, in turn, block out all competition.   The same has happened in the United States, with taxi medallions.  This is no different than the mafia controlling the trash business.  The only real difference is it's government doing the leg breaking.  
    croffordredraider11muthuk_vanalingamlkruppdewmerazorpitrinosaur
  • Reply 6 of 53

    "The same laws and regulations" means "participate in the government-controlled monopoly."   This is not about being "fit and proper."  Nor is it about safety.  It's about money.  Government sets onerous licensing requirements with huge fees.  Once they are in bed with the service providers, they, in turn, block out all competition.   The same has happened in the United States, with taxi medallions.  This is no different than the mafia controlling the trash business.  The only real difference is it's government doing the leg breaking.  
    This
    rinosaur
  • Reply 7 of 53
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 529member
    MacPro said:
    "... Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured"  I wonder if this is true in the USA too?  "
    I would probably say yes since they have complete disregard for laws and regulations.
    cy_starkmanbaconstangrandominternetperson
  • Reply 8 of 53
    nhtnht Posts: 4,522member
    sdw2001 said:
    Uber is full of it. Their business model was always centered around not having to follow the same laws and regulations that other companies in the same market were required to follow. Their excuse for not following them was simply "our customers use an app" and nothing else. Personally, I find it bizarre that they got away with it as long as they did.

    "The same laws and regulations" means "participate in the government-controlled monopoly."   This is not about being "fit and proper."  Nor is it about safety.  It's about money.  Government sets onerous licensing requirements with huge fees.  Once they are in bed with the service providers, they, in turn, block out all competition.   The same has happened in the United States, with taxi medallions.  This is no different than the mafia controlling the trash business.  The only real difference is it's government doing the leg breaking.  
    The difference is you get to vote for your city council, mayor and the laws. If you see no difference then I suggest you move to a place without a government. What?  You don't want to without your own private army?  I wonder why. 
    neo-techchiaStrangeDaysmdriftmeyeruraharaFileMakerFellerpscooter63baconstang
  • Reply 9 of 53
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 529member

    sdw2001 said:
    Uber is full of it. Their business model was always centered around not having to follow the same laws and regulations that other companies in the same market were required to follow. Their excuse for not following them was simply "our customers use an app" and nothing else. Personally, I find it bizarre that they got away with it as long as they did.

    "The same laws and regulations" means "participate in the government-controlled monopoly."   This is not about being "fit and proper."  Nor is it about safety.  It's about money.  Government sets onerous licensing requirements with huge fees.  Once they are in bed with the service providers, they, in turn, block out all competition.   The same has happened in the United States, with taxi medallions.  This is no different than the mafia controlling the trash business.  The only real difference is it's government doing the leg breaking.  
    It may be about money, but when there is a system in place in the form of laws and regulations you have to follow them. Uber, Lyft, the various scooter companies, VRBO, HomeAway, etc made the decision to steamroll cities and then get the regulations adopted for them. The cities sat on the sidelines until they were inundated and now have to go back and fix the problems.

    As for medallions you are talking serious money. In NYC you have to have one to operate a cab (transport people) and they are costly and the system is dependent upon selling them to someone else when you retire. Prior to Uber/Lyft I never had a problem getting a cab within a minute or two in NYC as was more than satisfied with the service so there was no need for Uber/Lyft and all they have done is flood the city with more cars. Their model makes sense in areas without public transportation of any type. Of course neither of them have turned anything close to a profit and most likely never will at the rate they bleed cash. Going public was a lifeline of cash as they could not raise anymore private equity. What we will most likely end up with is a mess to clean up when they go under with the cab service crushed and no one to take us where we need to go.
    StrangeDaysFileMakerFellerbaconstang
  • Reply 10 of 53
    neilmneilm Posts: 979member
    sdw2001 said:
    Uber is full of it. Their business model was always centered around not having to follow the same laws and regulations that other companies in the same market were required to follow. Their excuse for not following them was simply "our customers use an app" and nothing else. Personally, I find it bizarre that they got away with it as long as they did.

    "The same laws and regulations" means "participate in the government-controlled monopoly."   This is not about being "fit and proper."  Nor is it about safety.  It's about money.  Government sets onerous licensing requirements with huge fees.  Once they are in bed with the service providers, they, in turn, block out all competition.   The same has happened in the United States, with taxi medallions.  This is no different than the mafia controlling the trash business.  The only real difference is it's government doing the leg breaking.  
    Wrong. You clearly know nothing about the taxi system in London. Look it up: there's no expensive medallion system, nor is the number of issued licenses subject to a limit. Since 1865, the principal requirement for a taxi driver in London is the Knowledge of London, a series of oral tests that generally takes close to 3 years to learn and pass.

    Part of the issue here is the way auto insurance commonly works in the UK. Depending on the policy you buy, it's common for a car to be insured only for specified drivers — say you and your wife, but not your brother-in-law or some other person you might lend it to. If your wife crashes the car it's covered, but not the brother-in-law or other person. The article clearly cites this issue with Uber drivers substituting for one another and leaving passengers without valid insurance coverage in case of a crash.

    I've taken many Ubers and appreciate the customer convenience their technology has brought to the market, but face it, Uber as a company are slime.
    hydrogenchiaStrangeDayselijahgmdriftmeyeruraharaFileMakerFellerDAalsethbaconstangrandominternetperson
  • Reply 11 of 53
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,990member
    nht said:
    sdw2001 said:
    Uber is full of it. Their business model was always centered around not having to follow the same laws and regulations that other companies in the same market were required to follow. Their excuse for not following them was simply "our customers use an app" and nothing else. Personally, I find it bizarre that they got away with it as long as they did.

    "The same laws and regulations" means "participate in the government-controlled monopoly."   This is not about being "fit and proper."  Nor is it about safety.  It's about money.  Government sets onerous licensing requirements with huge fees.  Once they are in bed with the service providers, they, in turn, block out all competition.   The same has happened in the United States, with taxi medallions.  This is no different than the mafia controlling the trash business.  The only real difference is it's government doing the leg breaking.  
    The difference is you get to vote for your city council, mayor and the laws. If you see no difference then I suggest you move to a place without a government. What?  You don't want to without your own private army?  I wonder why. 

    I am not a pure libertarian, but nice try.  I support things like public infrastructure, roads, bridges, airports, schools and hospitals.  I support law enforcement and the armed forces.  What I do not support is pure corruption and a tyrannical government that tells people what businesses they can run.  Both the UK and the US have such governments, at various levels.  Sure, we can vote.  But that vote has become so far removed from the real decision making process that it has been rendered largely irrelevant.  What, did you think they put this to a referendum?  
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 53
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,990member

    neilm said:
    sdw2001 said:
    Uber is full of it. Their business model was always centered around not having to follow the same laws and regulations that other companies in the same market were required to follow. Their excuse for not following them was simply "our customers use an app" and nothing else. Personally, I find it bizarre that they got away with it as long as they did.

    "The same laws and regulations" means "participate in the government-controlled monopoly."   This is not about being "fit and proper."  Nor is it about safety.  It's about money.  Government sets onerous licensing requirements with huge fees.  Once they are in bed with the service providers, they, in turn, block out all competition.   The same has happened in the United States, with taxi medallions.  This is no different than the mafia controlling the trash business.  The only real difference is it's government doing the leg breaking.  
    Wrong. You clearly know nothing about the taxi system in London. Look it up: there's no expensive medallion system, nor is the number of issued licenses subject to a limit. Since 1865, the principal requirement for a taxi driver in London is the Knowledge of London, a series of oral tests that generally takes close to 3 years to learn and pass.

    Part of the issue here is the way auto insurance commonly works in the UK. Depending on the policy you buy, it's common for a car to be insured only for specified drivers — say you and your wife, but not your brother-in-law or some other person you might lend it to. If your wife crashes the car it's covered, but not the brother-in-law or other person. The article clearly cites this issue with Uber drivers substituting for one another and leaving passengers without valid insurance coverage in case of a crash.

    I've taken many Ubers and appreciate the customer convenience their technology has brought to the market, but face it, Uber as a company are slime.

    I don't claim to know the taxi system in London.  That said, I highly doubt that it's the free market subject to reasonable licensing requirements you claim.  
    coolfactor
  • Reply 13 of 53
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,990member

    jimh2 said:

    sdw2001 said:
    Uber is full of it. Their business model was always centered around not having to follow the same laws and regulations that other companies in the same market were required to follow. Their excuse for not following them was simply "our customers use an app" and nothing else. Personally, I find it bizarre that they got away with it as long as they did.

    "The same laws and regulations" means "participate in the government-controlled monopoly."   This is not about being "fit and proper."  Nor is it about safety.  It's about money.  Government sets onerous licensing requirements with huge fees.  Once they are in bed with the service providers, they, in turn, block out all competition.   The same has happened in the United States, with taxi medallions.  This is no different than the mafia controlling the trash business.  The only real difference is it's government doing the leg breaking.  
    It may be about money, but when there is a system in place in the form of laws and regulations you have to follow them. Uber, Lyft, the various scooter companies, VRBO, HomeAway, etc made the decision to steamroll cities and then get the regulations adopted for them. The cities sat on the sidelines until they were inundated and now have to go back and fix the problems.

    As for medallions you are talking serious money. In NYC you have to have one to operate a cab (transport people) and they are costly and the system is dependent upon selling them to someone else when you retire. Prior to Uber/Lyft I never had a problem getting a cab within a minute or two in NYC as was more than satisfied with the service so there was no need for Uber/Lyft and all they have done is flood the city with more cars. Their model makes sense in areas without public transportation of any type. Of course neither of them have turned anything close to a profit and most likely never will at the rate they bleed cash. Going public was a lifeline of cash as they could not raise anymore private equity. What we will most likely end up with is a mess to clean up when they go under with the cab service crushed and no one to take us where we need to go.

    I obviously support following regulations, though the nature and wisdom of this regulations is up for debate.  The problem is government never keeps up with the market and technology.  Government taxes hotels, for example.  But do they have a right to tax me renting my house for the weekend? Why do they get to tax the company helping the transaction?  I don't have the answers.  
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 53
    jimh2 said:

    Prior to Uber/Lyft I never had a problem getting a cab within a minute or two in NYC
    Then you haven't been in most parts of New York.

    And you haven't been in areas where tons of people are all searching for a cab at the same time.

    Did you only go to tourist areas?

    Ride-sharing services have drastically changed the transportation landscape in NYC for the better.

    (I have no financial interest at all in ride-sharing; I'm just a satisfied rider)
    edited November 2019 muthuk_vanalingamjeffharrisJaiOh81
  • Reply 15 of 53
    sdw2001 said:
    nht said:
    sdw2001 said:
    Uber is full of it. Their business model was always centered around not having to follow the same laws and regulations that other companies in the same market were required to follow. Their excuse for not following them was simply "our customers use an app" and nothing else. Personally, I find it bizarre that they got away with it as long as they did.

    "The same laws and regulations" means "participate in the government-controlled monopoly."   This is not about being "fit and proper."  Nor is it about safety.  It's about money.  Government sets onerous licensing requirements with huge fees.  Once they are in bed with the service providers, they, in turn, block out all competition.   The same has happened in the United States, with taxi medallions.  This is no different than the mafia controlling the trash business.  The only real difference is it's government doing the leg breaking.  
    The difference is you get to vote for your city council, mayor and the laws. If you see no difference then I suggest you move to a place without a government. What?  You don't want to without your own private army?  I wonder why. 

    I am not a pure libertarian, but nice try.  I support things like public infrastructure, roads, bridges, airports, schools and hospitals.  I support law enforcement and the armed forces.  What I do not support is pure corruption and a tyrannical government that tells people what businesses they can run.  Both the UK and the US have such governments, at various levels.  Sure, we can vote.  But that vote has become so far removed from the real decision making process that it has been rendered largely irrelevant.  What, did you think they put this to a referendum?  

    Spot on!!!
  • Reply 16 of 53
    Sucks for London, my trip there this summer would have been way more difficult to get around without it. I'm sure Uber and London will figure something out.
  • Reply 17 of 53
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 1,208member
    sdw2001 said:

    jimh2 said:

    sdw2001 said:
    Uber is full of it. Their business model was always centered around not having to follow the same laws and regulations that other companies in the same market were required to follow. Their excuse for not following them was simply "our customers use an app" and nothing else. Personally, I find it bizarre that they got away with it as long as they did.

    "The same laws and regulations" means "participate in the government-controlled monopoly."   This is not about being "fit and proper."  Nor is it about safety.  It's about money.  Government sets onerous licensing requirements with huge fees.  Once they are in bed with the service providers, they, in turn, block out all competition.   The same has happened in the United States, with taxi medallions.  This is no different than the mafia controlling the trash business.  The only real difference is it's government doing the leg breaking.  
    It may be about money, but when there is a system in place in the form of laws and regulations you have to follow them. Uber, Lyft, the various scooter companies, VRBO, HomeAway, etc made the decision to steamroll cities and then get the regulations adopted for them. The cities sat on the sidelines until they were inundated and now have to go back and fix the problems.

    As for medallions you are talking serious money. In NYC you have to have one to operate a cab (transport people) and they are costly and the system is dependent upon selling them to someone else when you retire. Prior to Uber/Lyft I never had a problem getting a cab within a minute or two in NYC as was more than satisfied with the service so there was no need for Uber/Lyft and all they have done is flood the city with more cars. Their model makes sense in areas without public transportation of any type. Of course neither of them have turned anything close to a profit and most likely never will at the rate they bleed cash. Going public was a lifeline of cash as they could not raise anymore private equity. What we will most likely end up with is a mess to clean up when they go under with the cab service crushed and no one to take us where we need to go.

    I obviously support following regulations, though the nature and wisdom of this regulations is up for debate.  The problem is government never keeps up with the market and technology.  Government taxes hotels, for example.  But do they have a right to tax me renting my house for the weekend? Why do they get to tax the company helping the transaction?  I don't have the answers.  
    You renting your house is considered income, and is taxed as such, if you report it of course. Don’t forget that you really don’t own your property either, in the US at least.  You merely rent it from the State government. If you don’t pay your property taxes for a long enough period, they can confiscate it from you. 
  • Reply 18 of 53
    williamh said:
    Uber is full of it. Their business model was always centered around not having to follow the same laws and regulations that other companies in the same market were required to follow. Their excuse for not following them was simply "our customers use an app" and nothing else. Personally, I find it bizarre that they got away with it as long as they did.
    I basically agree with you.  However, Uber and similar services legally take advantage of differences in the way pre-booked car services and cars picked up on the streets are regulated in many countries. To say "our customers use an app" is just shorthand for saying that the service is not a taxi service but a car hire service.  In some places, the high cost of entry (through expensive "medallions" etc.)  made taxi service way too expensive and ripe for some kind of competition. In a free country, why shouldn't a person be able to transport someone else for a fee? Should you need permission from the government to do anything?  If you're not in a free country, you have bigger problems than this.
    Yes, most/many commercial endeavors require permission from the government, even in free countries. Awarding of licenses to operate is the "carrot" and revoking licenses to operate is the "stick". Licenses are incentives for an operator to follow the various laws and regulations that govern being a good operator. Without operating licenses and the potential to revoke them, bad operators could do whatever they wanted without fear of consequence. You can come up with your own scenarios for this, but an easy one is a bar license -- the license (rather, the fear of losing it) is what ensures the bar owner is going to follow lawful operating hours, not be a nuisance to residential neighbors, etc.. It's a piece of leverage all stakeholders are mindful of. 

    So you ask why shouldn't anyone be able to transport people for profit? Ok, why shouldn't anyone be able to operate a bar in their living room? Or a strip club? Or a mining operation in their backyard? Etc etc... Regulation, zoning, licensing, all of this serves a purpose of ensuring operators work cooperatively for the greater civic good, both of their business and their community.
    edited November 2019 chiahydrogenFileMakerFellerpscooter63dysamoria
  • Reply 19 of 53
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,990member
    hexclock said:
    sdw2001 said:

    jimh2 said:

    sdw2001 said:
    Uber is full of it. Their business model was always centered around not having to follow the same laws and regulations that other companies in the same market were required to follow. Their excuse for not following them was simply "our customers use an app" and nothing else. Personally, I find it bizarre that they got away with it as long as they did.

    "The same laws and regulations" means "participate in the government-controlled monopoly."   This is not about being "fit and proper."  Nor is it about safety.  It's about money.  Government sets onerous licensing requirements with huge fees.  Once they are in bed with the service providers, they, in turn, block out all competition.   The same has happened in the United States, with taxi medallions.  This is no different than the mafia controlling the trash business.  The only real difference is it's government doing the leg breaking.  
    It may be about money, but when there is a system in place in the form of laws and regulations you have to follow them. Uber, Lyft, the various scooter companies, VRBO, HomeAway, etc made the decision to steamroll cities and then get the regulations adopted for them. The cities sat on the sidelines until they were inundated and now have to go back and fix the problems.

    As for medallions you are talking serious money. In NYC you have to have one to operate a cab (transport people) and they are costly and the system is dependent upon selling them to someone else when you retire. Prior to Uber/Lyft I never had a problem getting a cab within a minute or two in NYC as was more than satisfied with the service so there was no need for Uber/Lyft and all they have done is flood the city with more cars. Their model makes sense in areas without public transportation of any type. Of course neither of them have turned anything close to a profit and most likely never will at the rate they bleed cash. Going public was a lifeline of cash as they could not raise anymore private equity. What we will most likely end up with is a mess to clean up when they go under with the cab service crushed and no one to take us where we need to go.

    I obviously support following regulations, though the nature and wisdom of this regulations is up for debate.  The problem is government never keeps up with the market and technology.  Government taxes hotels, for example.  But do they have a right to tax me renting my house for the weekend? Why do they get to tax the company helping the transaction?  I don't have the answers.  
    You renting your house is considered income, and is taxed as such, if you report it of course. Don’t forget that you really don’t own your property either, in the US at least.  You merely rent it from the State government. If you don’t pay your property taxes for a long enough period, they can confiscate it from you. 

    That's true, and a separate issue.  I was actually referring to "use" taxes, which can be even higher than income taxes.  Property taxes are another matter.....a total mess.  
  • Reply 20 of 53
    sdw2001 said:
    Uber is full of it. Their business model was always centered around not having to follow the same laws and regulations that other companies in the same market were required to follow. Their excuse for not following them was simply "our customers use an app" and nothing else. Personally, I find it bizarre that they got away with it as long as they did.

    "The same laws and regulations" means "participate in the government-controlled monopoly."   This is not about being "fit and proper."  Nor is it about safety.  It's about money.  Government sets onerous licensing requirements with huge fees.  Once they are in bed with the service providers, they, in turn, block out all competition.   The same has happened in the United States, with taxi medallions.  This is no different than the mafia controlling the trash business.  The only real difference is it's government doing the leg breaking.  
    Huh? They already get fees. The issue is un-insured drivers being able to drive via the app. I'm sure if an uninsured driver crashed and broke your legs, you'd be quite upset that the regulatory body allowed uninsured drivers.
    chiaFileMakerFellerbaconstangdysamoria
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