Is it possible for Londoners to go back to an ‘Uber-less’ world?
Uber has definitely reached a milestone in the mobile app world, earning an award for being ‘The most controversial app’ of our times.
The company has faced constant threats coming from government regulators, consumer advocates, and labor unions, who have presented as many allegations as possible to ban their services from different cities and towns across the world.
This app has undoubtedly saved a lot of money from people’s pockets, by creating a competitive marketplace for taxi services, but many have questioned the way they screen their drivers and how ‘subtle’ they are to handle criminal offenses and other claims.
Nevertheless, an unexpected denial of its license renewal application, coming from London’s transportation authority (TfL), has shocked Londoners, and now many are wondering, is it possible to live in an Uber-less world?
Indeed, innovation frequently faces opposition, but for Uber, this hasn’t been a season, it has been the pavement of its whole business path. In a statement released on Friday, TfL has said that “Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license.”, basing their decision on an argument about the company’s corporate practices by saying that they “demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications.”
According to the company’s estimates, this decision will affect more than 40,000 licensed drivers who work for Uber and will also disturb more than 3.5 million users who use Uber services on a daily basis. In this regard, the company has said that “If this decision stands, it will put more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work and deprive Londoners of a convenient and affordable form of transport.”
Nevertheless, TfL is said to have a ‘watertight’ argument on Uber’s malpractices within the city, basing their denial in four elements, which are: 1. A flawed approach to report criminal offenses, 2. A flawed process to obtain medical certificates, 3. An unfit procedure to run Disclosure and Barring Service checks and 4. The use of a ‘Greyballing’ scheme to block officials from accessing the app.
The company has 21 days to file an appeal against TfL’s decision, and they have made clear they have the intention to do so. As this legal process might take months to reach closure, the app is expected to remain functioning for a while.
However, this might be the end of an era for Londoners who have enjoyed cheap taxi fares and are now facing the reality of what could be an Uber-less society. Many politicians have backed TfL’s decisions, as is the case of London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has said that “providing an innovative service is not an excuse for it being unsafe.”
It seems that the path of controversy is far from being over for this mobile giant.
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