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Uber Loses License in London

Uber loses its license to operate in London

 Uber: Posted 9/22/17: Natasha Lomas (@riptari)

Uber continues to be a company that is constantly in battles with cities and municipalities; Uber received a huge blow to business in the UK.  In a relatively surprising ruling, London’s transport regulator has rejected its application to renew its license to operate in the city.

Transport for London (TfL) said it has concluded that Uber is “not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license”.  “TfL’s regulation of London’s taxi and private hire trades is designed to ensure passenger safety. Private hire operators must meet rigorous regulations, and demonstrate to TfL that they do so, in order to operate. TfL must also be satisfied that an operator is fit and proper to hold a license,” it continued.

Moreover, the TfL regulator added that Uber’s “approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications” — pertaining to the following issues:

  • Policy for reporting serious criminal offenses
  • Policy for obtaining medical certificates
  • Policy for obtaining background checks to ensure workers do not have a criminal record
  • Its proprietary software that could be used to block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to the app
  • Its proprietary software that could prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties

Uber is expected to appeal. Tom Elvidge of Uber in London, said: “3.5 million Londoners who use our app, and more than 40,000 licensed drivers who rely on Uber to make a living, will be astounded by this decision. By wanting to ban our app from the capital Transport for London and the Mayor have caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice. 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. To defend the livelihoods of all those drivers, and the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use our app, we intend to immediately challenge this in the courts.”

In the same statement, he said “Drivers who use Uber are licensed by Transport for London and have been through the same enhanced DBS background checks as black cab drivers. Our pioneering technology has gone further to enhance safety with every trip tracked and recorded by GPS. We have always followed TfL rules on reporting serious incidents and have a dedicated team who work closely with the Metropolitan Police. As we have already told TfL, an independent review has found that ‘greyball’ has never been used or considered in the UK for the purposes cited by TfL.”

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan backed the regulator’s decision, writing. “I want London to be at the forefront of innovation and new technology and to be a natural home for exciting new companies that help Londoners by providing a better and more affordable service,” said Kahn. “However, all companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – particularly when it comes to the safety of customers. Providing an innovative service must not be at the expense of customer safety and security,” he continued.

Uber’s current London operating license is set to expire on September 30.  In May, Uber’s current license was extended by TfL as the regulator continued to decide if it should grant Uber another full five year term.  The major criticisms taken into account concerned workers’ rights and public safety.

London’s Met Police accused Uber of failing to report sex attacks by drivers on its platform.  Additionally, the GMB Union helped bring two test cases to a UK employment tribunal accusing Uber of acting unlawfully by not providing drivers with basic workers’ rights like holiday pay and the minimum wage.

In October the tribunal delivered its verdict, rejecting Uber’s argument that the drivers in question were self-employed contractors — instead judging them to be workers, setting a legal precedent for other Uber drivers to challenge the company. (Although Uber has appealed the ruling.)  The GMB union handed a petition to TfL this month urging it to insist on limits to Uber driver hours as a condition of renewing Uber’s license.

“It’s about time the company faced up to the huge consequences of GMB’s landmark employment tribunal victory — and changed its ways,” said Maria Ludkin, GMB legal director. “No company can be behave like it’s above the law, and that includes Uber. No doubt other major cities will be looking at this decision and considering Uber’s future on their own streets,” she continued.

In addition to this London ruling, Uber is awaiting a highly significant ruling by Europe’s top court on the classification of its business — to provide clarity to regulators on whether it’s a transportation company or just an enabling tech platform as Uber tries to claim.  Earlier this year an influential advisor to the court deemed Uber’s activity is indeed to provide transportation services, rather than merely being an intermediary platform. A final ruling by the court is expected three to six months after the AG’s opinion — so likely by November.

In the United States, Uber’s use of proprietary software to try and evade regulators has also drawn the attention of US regulators — and is reportedly being investigated by the Department of Justice. It’s also under investigation by the FBI for use of another software program designed to target rival ride-hailing startup, Lyft.

All of these current issues are adding to a litany of additional scandals in recent times “from accusations of an internal culture of sexism and sexual harassment, to accusations of IP theft from rival Alphabet, to an FCC investigation into privacy and security failures that resulted in Uber agreeing to two decades of external audits.”

It’s worth noting that Uber is not the only ride-hailing startup to fall foul of TfL. Earlier this month a European startup called Taxify was told by the regulator to cease operating in the city almost immediately after it had launched — after the startup had sought to fast-track the licensing processing by acquiring an existing cab firm (yet apparently without gaining approval for a change in the licensing conditions). The GMB union had written to TfL flagging concerns over Taxify’s license status.

The startup immediately complied with TfL’s order to cease operating. And says now it still plans to launch in London once it has completed TfL’s regulatory approval process.  Taxify pitches its model as more driver-friendly than Uber, and had hoped to win drivers in London by taking a lower commission on rides than Uber and offering some other measures such as the ability to define a radius for pick ups so they don’t have to stray too far from home.

Uber or Lyft Accident in New Orleans?
Ridesharing companies, as opposed to traditional cab services, are a relatively new business service. As a result, many of the laws governing these services are trying to catch up. This process has generated a great deal of frustration and confusion. The best example of this confusion is displayed in an Uber or Lyft driver’s insurance coverage.

Ridesharing service providers consider their drivers third party contractors, and they claim to only provide a technology that enables drivers to seek out passengers. As a result, this would potentially leave both drivers and passengers uncovered if an accident occurs. Companies like Uber or Lyft will try to shield themselves from any wrongdoing or potential coverage requirement. To determine whether you are covered by a driver’s insurance, the company policy, or your own coverage, contact the New Orleans Uber accident lawyers and New Orleans Lyft accident lawyers at Crescent City Law.

Free Initial Consultation | 504-264-9492

At Crescent City Law, we understand the physical and emotional pain that an accident can have on you and your family. Having years of experience in representing people injured or that lost loved ones gives us the leverage and skills to fight for the compensation that you deserve. We remain committed to focusing on you and your case; we take your injury personally.

If you or a loved one has been hurt or injured in an Uber of Lyft accident in New Orleans, contact the accident lawyers of Crescent City Law. Let us sort out the facts and details of the case and protect your rights, while you focus on your recovery. You will not be required to pay legal fees until I have recovered a verdict or settlement for you.

Contact us today by filling out a contact form or by calling 504-264-9492 to schedule a free consultation. Evening, weekend and off-site meetings are available by appointment.


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