Petition to keep Uber operating in London surpasses 500000 signatures
- Author: David Armstrong Sep 25, 2017,
Sep 25, 2017, 0:27
'We'd like to know what we can do, ' says company's London boss.
London's transportation authority, Transport for London (TfL), said Uber, whose current license would expire by September 30, was not fit to hold a private-hire operator license due to "public safety and security implications".
The regulator cited failures to report serious criminal offences, conduct sufficient background checks on drivers and other safety issues.
Londoners are so dismayed at Uber's disappearance from city's streets, that a petition set up by the company has gained more than 640,000 signatures in just two days.
Uber's new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, used a global email to staff to warn that TfL's decision could "have profound negative consequences for the 40,000 drivers who depend on Uber for work and the 3.5 million Londoners who rely on Uber to get around".
It is emphasized that the decision to ban the online service "shows the world that London is far from being open to innovative companies that offer consumers choice and opportunities for those who need them". The company and TfL should work together, and legal battles notwithstanding, to devise reforms that would make Uber compliant. "They have let down their drivers and customers by failing, in the view of TfL, to act as a fit and proper operator", Khan said in his latest statement.
Innovation director at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said: "It's not in the interests of our economy, people in London and in this case, drivers, to restrict new products and services". It succeeded in reversing regulatory decisions in London and in NY in 2015. In 2016, The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association blamed private auto hire companies like Uber for causing " unsustainable congestion", costing London £5.4 billion a year. The company says it will challenge the decision in the courts.
Uber drivers like James Farrar, the chairman of the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain's United Private Hire Drivers branch, wondered how they would pay their bills.
TFL decided not to renew the taxi app's licence from the end of the month, risking the jobs of 40,000 drivers. Of course, that must mean that their main competitors, the London Black Cabs (which have deep ties to the municipal government) must be much safer, right?
Mr McCluskey told Peston on Sunday he had never taken an Uber and added: "I'm one of these people that believes that Uber is part of this awful, race-to-the-bottom, culture that has developed in this country".