Uber To Discontinue Operations in London
By Faith Magbanua, September 24, 2017 01:09 AM
The renewal for Uber's license to operate in London won't be possible this year because it has been discovered that its practices endanger public safety and security according to the statement released this Friday by local regulator Transport for London.
This announcement is another blow to a company already facing several questions regarding its corporate culture.
According to Transport for London, the company, whose app is used by 3.5 million passengers and 40,000 drivers in London, isn't "fit and proper" to hold a license to operate a private-hire vehicle service.
What exactly is Uber?
Uber was founded in 2009 as UberCab by Garrett Camp, the cofounder of StumbleUpon, and Travis Kalanick, who had sold his Red Swoosh startup for $19 million in 2007.
Also known as Uber Technologies Inc., it is an American technology company headquartered in San Francisco, California, United States, operating in 633 cities worldwide. It develops, markets and operates the Uber car transportation and food delivery mobile apps. Uber drivers use their own cars, and drivers can rent a car to drive with Uber if they do not own a car.
The name "Uber" is a reference to the common (and somewhat slangy) word "uber", meaning "topmost" or "super", and having its origins in the German word über, meaning "above"
In a recent decision, Transport for London singled out Uber's approach to reporting serious criminal offenses and how it conducts background checks on drivers.
"TfL considers that Uber's approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications," the regulator said in a statement.
To add to that, TfL also took issue with Uber's explanation of software that could be used to block regulators from gaining full access to the app and "prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties."
According to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, he said that he supported the decision, saying that any operator of taxi services in the city "needs to play by the rules."
"Providing an innovative service must not be at the expense of customer safety and security," he said. "I fully support TfL's decision - it would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners' safety and security."
Police in London accused Uber last month of not reporting a sexual assault by a driver on a passenger, allowing the driver to strike again. Metropolitan Police Inspector Neil Billany suggested in a letter that the company was putting concerns for its reputation over public safety.
Uber was first licensed to operate in the city in 2012 and will see its current license expire on Sept. 30. The company said it plans to appeal the regulator's decision, and will continue to operate until the appeals process is exhausted.
Uber also accused the city of caving in to special interests "who want to restrict consumer choice."
"Uber operates in more than 600 cities around the world, including more than 40 towns and cities here in the U.K.," the company said. "This ban would show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies who bring choice to consumers."
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