Uber braces for clash with Sadiq Khan and TfL over London license


Severely affected by the lockdowns, Uber is bracing for what is expected to be one of its most dangerous crashes yet: a long-awaited showdown with Mayor Sadiq Khan and Transport for London.All eyes will be on the taxi app as she prepares to defend herself at Westminster Magistrates’ Court tomorrow over allegations she put passenger safety at risk.

The mayor of London wants Uber and its 45,000 drivers in the capital to get off the roads. A court case in November stripped Uber of its license in London after it discovered that more than 14,000 trips were made by drivers who had forged their identities on the app.

This is one of Uber’s last chances to appeal this decision. Its ability to maintain its largest market in Europe will depend on its ability to prove that it has changed its safety record.

TfL admits that Uber has made a number of “positive changes and improvements to its culture, leadership and systems” since its license was withdrawn. But he claims that changes are not enough.

TfL’s main concern is the alleged “open secret” of account sharing, whereby drivers share the same account and the same car. This may mean that the person picking up a passenger does not necessarily match the person listed on the app.

The regulator says this led to a case where a driver, who previously had his driver’s license, was able to take a trip.

TfL also last year reported concerns about the possibility for terminated or suspended drivers to create a new account and re-carry passengers. At the time, Dara Khosrowshahi, managing director of Uber, said TfL’s decision was “just plain wrong.” He claimed the company had “fundamentally changed” the way it operated in London.

Uber hopes security improvements will secure London’s future

In order to allay TfL’s fears, Uber has released a series of security improvements. For example, users and drivers can keep loved ones up to date on their trips by selecting up to five “trusted contacts” who can view their trips in real time.

Uber also introduced an emergency assistance button that calls authorities directly from the app.

Uber’s fight with TfL has been going on for some time. The London Transport Authority first rejected its license renewal in September 2017.

Despite the long dispute, Uber’s UK demise may still not be planned. “I expect Uber to get a new license,” says James Farrar, founder of the employment rights group Worker Info Exchange.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here