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London Puts the Brakes on Uber

Regulators in Uber’s biggest European market have informed the company that they will not be renewing its license to operate after it expires on September 30. Transport for London (TfL), which oversees public and private transportation (such as the London tube and the city’s famous black cab network) stated that Uber is not “fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license.”

TfL cited a number of what they see as issues with Uber: inadequate background checks for drivers, a problem with reporting crimes, and a program called “Greyball” which Uber has allegedly used to operate in areas where the service is not legal.

London is home to an estimated 40,000 Uber drivers (compared to an estimate from The New York Times of 21,000 traditional black cab drivers) and 3.5 million people use the app at least once every 90 days.

Uber has 21 days to appeal the decision, and the company is already putting the wheels in motion on that effort. Is is important to note that Uber can still operate during the appeals process. Tom Elvidge, the general manager of Uber in London, said, “We intend to immediately challenge this in the courts.” There is a petition in the works to be sent to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and it already has more than 20,000 signatories, according to Recode.

Black cab drivers have long opposed the ride-sharing giant’s expansion in the British capital, and Steve McNamara, the general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association lauded the decision, saying, “The Mayor has made the right call not to relicense Uber.”

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