TFL Ban Uber: What Now?


27 November 2019

By Elizabeth Bradshaw

London’s transport authority told Uber it would not extend its licence to operate in the London.

Uber have indicated that they will appeal the decision made by Transport for London. London’s Transport Agency first revoked Uber’s Private Hire License in 2017 in a dispute over safety. Since then Uber won its appeal and then received a two-month licence in September, which lapsed on Sunday. Users will still be able to use the service while Uber appeals. Uber branded the move as “extraordinary and wrong”, while London Mayor Sadiq Khan said there had been 14,000 fraudulent trips in London in late 2018 and early 2019, and that “safety is the paramount concern”.

Those that have raised concerns with specific drivers have had their concerns met with account suspension or poor customer service, showing passengers that matters have not been taken seriously and risking the safety of future passengers. Those who work with Uber were not necessarily aware of the safety breaches. Understandably, Drivers have concerns for their own livelihoods which in turn punish those who are safety conscious. Uber was praised by many of their own drivers for having regard to their drivers safety as the company allows drivers not to carry cash.

The decision has mixed feelings; some passengers are disappointed by the decision as Uber offers cheaper transport with a modern approach to keeping the customer up to date with travel notifications rather than a traditional black cab. There are still concerns that passengers should be secure and safe. There is an environmental benefit on the basis that, if car travel becomes cheaper and Uber was to remain, less people would use their own vehicles in the city, reducing congestion and pollution.

TFL made the decision as there was not enough being done to ensure that drivers were who were they said they were or that drivers spoke sufficient English to communicate with passengers. 14,000 Uber journeys were completed by fraudulent drivers who were able to upload their photos to other driver’s accounts. This allowed drivers to drive for Uber without being properly licensed by both TFL and Uber. Uber has around 45,000 drivers in the capital and the decision provides uncertainty. Uber can continue to operate whilst the decision is appealed but until Uber and TFL reach a new mutually convenient arrangement a driver faces the prospect of being out of work. Rivals Bolt and Kapten will continue to dominate the market if Uber becomes no more in the capital. Until an agreement is reached it opens doors to provide better protection for drivers also.

The decision will have a big impact on Uber, at the present time is not a profitable organisation as it is funded by venture capitalists like the Saudi governments investment arm. Greater requirements in terms of driver training or other checks will make it harder to reach profitability. Looking at the history of the dispute TFL ultimately knows that more transport options are better for the London travel population, but at the moment TFL can push for higher standards. After 2017 dispute Uber introduced a number of policies including a 24 hour support line, new safety training for drivers and most recently a button on the app to report discrimination. In short, it is suspected the differences will be ironed out as it is in the interest of both parties to do so.

The decision at the moment, only relates to London. The decision could mean that it has a knock on effect on other cities also.

Should you wish to operate a taxi you must get your taxi or private hire vehicle inspected and licensed by your local council. You must get a licence for each vehicle. The vehicle must have no more than 8 passenger seats and you will be subject to Inspections and have the appropriate insurance

The council may check your vehicle to make sure:

• it’s roadworthy

• it’s comfortable and clean

• the taximeter works properly

• the doors are safe and secure

You’ll also need insurance that:

• covers you for hire and reward

• includes you as the named driver

The council decides how often it tests vehicles but can’t test more than 3 times in a year. You must fix any problems within 2 months of failing a test. You can lose your vehicle licence if you don’t. Conditions may be imposed and you have a right to appeal if any applications are refused.

At Gepp Solicitors, our expert solicitorscan advise you on all aspects concerning your licence and provide advice on appeals as well as represent you at a Crown Court or Magistrates Court should the matter continue to Court.