Transport for London (TfL) has rejected Uber’s appeal for a full licence, instead granting the ride hailing firm a two-month private hire operator licence extension.
Despite applying for a full licence, Uber will instead be subject to “new conditions to ensure passenger safety” as part of its short-term extension.
Uber’s London licence
In 2017, Uber lost its licence after TfL deemed it to not be a “fit and proper operator”. However, a judge granted it a 15-month extension, which is due to expire tomorrow, for Uber to improve its “culture and governance”.
However, a recent survey suggests that the majority of the UK public are in favour of Uber being granted a longer licence extension. GlobalWebIndex surveyed 2,059 consumers and found that 51% are in favour of an Uber licence renewal, and only 12.3% are opposed.
Uber’s previous licence was revoked over public safety and security concerns after TFL criticised Uber for not carrying out background checks on drivers or reporting incidents to the police.
The ride-hailing firm has also been criticised for its pay and working conditions. In March, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that Uber drivers are “workers” and so are entitled to the minimum wage and holiday pay.
Since 2017, the company has introduced new safety features in the app regulations in terms of how many hours drivers can work.
Despite Uber receiving criticism for some of the ways it operates, GlobalWebIndex’s study found improved mobility for older people, greener cities and lower congestion are all benefits associated with Uber.
Some 23% of consumers believe that Uber is more socially responsible than it was two years ago.
The survey also shed light on the fact that Uber may be filling a gap left by a lack of public transport. Some 39% of respondents stated that more trains were needed and 41% cited more buses.
As a result, 30% felt that Uber should be granted either a long term licence of over three years, or a permanent licence to operate in the capital.
In a statement on Uber’s London licence, TfL said that “additional information will help inform any future licensing decision” from Uber. In response to TfL’s decision, Uber has said that it will continue “listening, learning and improving”.
“UK consumers have a clear preference in favour of Uber”
Katie Gilsenan, Senior Trends Analyst at GlobalWebIndex believes that Uber has improved its public image through a number of new initiatives:
“Uber has introduced several new initiatives in London to alleviate regulator concerns, including 24/7 telephone support and the ability to share journeys with friends and family. However, some of the most impressive developments we’ve seen by the company have resulted in entirely new products and services geared towards a more sustainable and more mobilised future.
“It’s clear that UK consumers have a clear preference in favour of Uber and its services. There’s real interest in progressing the way in which we get around in the future, making it more environmentally friendly, smarter, and generally more convenient for all. From the research, it’s apparent people see Uber as a key player in achieving several of these ambitions.”