Uber has lost its license to operate in London, following findings that drivers had faked their identities to register on the platform, according to BBC News.
The city’s transit authority, Transport for London (TfL), declined to renew the company’s license at the end of a two-month probationary extension. The ridesharing platform had been warned that it needed to address safety issues when its license renewal was first rejected in 2017, and has since been granted two extensions. But authorities now say many of the problems haven’t been properly addressed, citing a “pattern of failures” to ensure passenger safety.
“Despite addressing some of these issues, TfL does not have confidence that similar issues will not reoccur in the future, which has led it to conclude that the company is not fit and proper at this time,” the transit authority said in a statement.
TfL said a change in the platform had allowed unauthorized drivers to upload their own photos to approved accounts. They said this had led to at least 14,000 trips taken with 43 drivers under fake identities in late 2018 and early 2019. They also found that drivers who had already been dismissed or suspended were able to start new accounts.
Uber said it notified TfL of the issue in May, and had fixed the technical issues behind the problem. But TfL said it had only recently learned the extent of the problem, and noted that the latest incident occurred less than three weeks ago.
London is among Uber’s largest markets, with 45,000 drivers operating.
The company will appeal the decision, but if it’s unsuccessful, drivers could opt to work with rival platforms like Bolt or Kapten. For now, Uber drivers can continue to operate, as long as the company initiates its appeal within 21 days.
“TfL’s decision not to renew Uber’s license in London is extraordinary and wrong, and we will appeal,” said Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, Jamie Heywood. “On behalf of the 3.5 million riders and 45,000 licensed drivers who depend on Uber in London, we will continue to operate as normal and will do everything we can to work with TfL to resolve this situation.”
According to London Mayor Sadiq Kahn:
“I know this decision may be unpopular with Uber users, but their safety is the paramount concern. Regulations are there to keep Londoners safe.”
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