In the wake of Uber being stripped of its license to operate in London, the company’s newly-appointed CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has penned an open letter to Londoners, apologising for “mistakes” made by the ride sharing platform.
On Friday, 22 September, Transport for London (TfL) informed Uber that it would not renew the company’s private hire operator license, which is set to expire at the end of this month.
In a press release, TfL stated that Uber “is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence”, adding that the company’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”. The issues cited by TfL included Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences and obtaining background checks on drivers as well as its approach to explaining these use of ‘Greyball’ software.
In relation to Greyball, the TfL is concerned the software could be used to a) block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to the app and b) prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties. Although Uber’s license expires on 30 September, it able to continue operating in London until any appeal processes have been exhausted.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, indicated support for TfL’s decision, stating that any licensed operators “needs to play by the rules” and that it would be “wrong” if the regulator continued to license Uber if doing so could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety and security.
“I welcome innovative new companies that help Londoners by providing a better and more affordable service – but providing an innovative service is not an excuse for not following the rules,” he said in a statement. “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.
“I have every sympathy with Uber drivers and customers affected by this decision but their anger really should be directed at Uber. They have let down their drivers and customers by failing, in the view of TfL, to act as a fit and proper operator.
“I suspect it will take some time before this situation with Uber fully plays out. In the meantime, I will continue my work to help support innovative businesses in London and to create a vibrant and safe taxi and private hire market.”
Dara Khosrowshahi, who became Uber’s CEO, last month, after Travis Kalanick resigned from the role amidst controversy, issued an open letter to Londoners via Facebook, this morning (AEST). In the letter, he apologised, on behalf of Uber, “for the mistakes we’ve made”.
He added, “We will appeal this decision on behalf of millions of Londoners, but we do so with knowledge that we must also change… You have my commitment that we will work with London to make things right and keep this great global city moving safely.”