Uber is getting banned in the U.K?
UBER, a multinational company that provides many services, but it is well known for its peer-to-peer ridesharing service. It was founded in March 2009 (Abt 10 years ago) by Travis Kalanick, Garrett Camp, and Ryan Graves. It was officially launched in the U.K in 2012, a license approved by Boris Johnson (Mayor of that time). Since then it has given its service to 63 countries and 785 metropolitan areas. The company has been rising since then, and also turn their way towards stock market this year in May, which isn’t going well though as it shares just went down by 4%.
For the past 1 to 2 years, it has been facing many failures related to customer safety. Transport for London (TfL) has recently announced that Uber will not get their new license to operate in London after this many repeated safety failures. Uber gets its first license expired in 2017 (the year when CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick was fired). But they did get a 15-months extension by the magistrate who gave them 2 moths extra after the completion of the last extension. Now this Monday, the time for that extension is also finished.
In September (2017), Uber’s license was expired and the appeal of a new one was declined by TfL, because of the safety concerns. Uber also used a private software “Greyball”, which was used to block regulators from monitoring the app, which was also a factor for their declining. Though Uber said that they never used it in the UK. TfL had also given a 15-months extension to the Uber with 2 months extra afterward to make their business better, but from then, nothing seems to be getting better. TfL now thinks of it as time-wasting. For them, they already should have banned Uber from the U.K. In 2017 but they let the magistrate decide this matter who then gave Uber extensions and now at this time too, the TfL left the decisions in magistrate’s hands. TfL can offer a license of up to 5 years but lately, it had straightened his rules & regulations.
Mayor of London (Sadiq Khan) also said, “I know this decision may not be liked by Uber users, but their safety is our first priority.”
There are 126,000 licensed black cab drives in London, whereas Uber has 45,000 of its drivers working in London, which makes the Uk, the No.5 market for Uber. According to Uber, London is one of those 5 cities, from where it gets its 24% sales. The others are New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles And São Paulo in Brazil. If London doesn’t approve of Uber’s license, it will give a huge impact on its business, operating results, and revenue.
CBI (Business lobby group) said, most of the customers still value Uber over a taxi or public transport, so they are encouraging both sides to find a solution. But for it’s rival (like Bolt and Kapten), it’s the gold time to get Uber out of the U.K. “Even if Uber didn’t get their license again from the U.k, the competitors like Bolt and Kapten will fill up that space real quick,” Fiona Cincotta, a market analyst at City Index told the BBC.
Uber did make some positive changes to its apps and also modified the terms of providing a license to someone to drive for Uber. But still, it’s facing issues about its security towards customers.
Jamie Heywood, who manages Uber’s UK operation, was asked by one of the BBC’s reporters about the case that TfL has sighted, Heywood replied by saying, “Safety is by sure our first and foremost priority. The case TfL has sighted is about the 43 drivers, who violated their terms which allow them to swap their photos with their friends, to let them drive instead. We reported this incident to TfL, we are the one who tells them first. We provide them the info about those drivers and also dismissed their accounts. After that, we reanalyze all the data about the London drivers and apply some strict rules. It was all because of those 43 drivers who violated our terms. But it was back then, not now. The case TfL has filed is totally wrong. We have approved a lot since back then.”
“We admit that Uber had made some improvements, but it is unbearable that Uber let passengers get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured,” said Helen Chapman.
Dara Khosrowshaki (CEO of Uber) tweeted that, “We understand we’re held to a higher bar, as we should be. But this decision taken by TfL is exceptionally inaccurate. From the last 2 years, we have structurally changed every single thing about how we used to operate in London. We have come so far – and we will keep going developing, for the millions of drivers and riders who are dependent on us.”
TfL has given reasons like:
1. They have found may failures in the safety section which can put rider’s life at risk.
2. The recent change in Uber’s system, which allowed an unauthorized driver to upload their picture to other (friend) Uber driver account.
3. About 14,000 of trips in London from late 2018 to early 2019 were frauds.
4. Suspended or dismissed drivers being able to still carry passengers, and Uber didn’t take any action on that.
For example, a driver continues working for Uber even when his private hire license had been expired/dismissed after he found guilty for distributing indecent images for children.
Uber has been banned from some places like;
1. Bulgaria And Hungary, because of the pressure from the local taxi unions.
2. Denmark, because of new taxi laws.
3. Turkey, the reason was not explained.
What does the rider’s from London are saying?
1. “I’m using Uber for a long time. My job sometimes requires me to do a night shift, so when it’s too dark, you know it’s hard to get public transport and even if you get one, it always feels unsafe. Whereas, whenever I use Uber, I always feel safe, always get a positive response and the drivers I met, were soo friendly and fun to talk with,” says Donna Stevens.
2. “A few months before, I complained Uber about a driver whose acts and talking made me feel unsafe and uncomfortable. I get out of that cab and walked home in the dark and it was 11 o’clock at night. In return for the complain, Uber gave me £5 instead of apologizing to me,” says Kay.
But fear not guys, Uber will not get vanished from the roads at once. TfL again has given this case in the hand of magistrate, he’s gonna take weeks, or maybe months to announce his result. Until then, you can take rides with uber despite having their license canceled.
What do you guys think about Uber safety in London? Should Uber get the license or should it get out of London streets? Must share your opinion in the given comment section below.