Transport for London (TfL) on Monday said that it will not grant Uber London Limited (Uber) a new private hire operator's licence in response to its latest application.
As the regulator of taxi and private hire services in London, TfL is required to make a decision on Uber's fitness and propriety before its current licence expires.
TfL said that Uber has made a number of "positive changes and improvements to its culture, leadership and systems" in the period since the Chief Magistrate granted it a licence in June 2018. This includes "interacting with TfL in a transparent and productive manner."
However, said it TfL "has identified a pattern of failures by the company including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk."
"Despite addressing some of these issues, TfL does not have confidence that similar issues will not reoccur in the future, which has led it to conclude that the company is not fit and proper at this time," Uber added.
In September Uber was granted a two-month licence as TfL required further information on these issues, such as tge fact that a change to Uber's systems allowed unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts. This allowed them to pick up passengers as though they were the booked driver, which occurred in at least 14,000 trips. This means all the journeys were uninsured and some passenger journeys took place with unlicensed drivers, one of which had previously had their licence revoked by TfL.
TfL said that another failure allowed dismissed or suspended drivers to create an Uber account and carry passengers, again compromising passenger safety and security.
TfL also identified other insurance-related issues. Some of these led TfL to prosecute Uber earlier this year for causing and permitting the use of vehicles without the correct hire or reward insurance in place.
This pattern of regulatory breaches led TfL to commission an independent assessment of Uber's ability to prevent incidents of this nature happening again.
Legislation means that Uber now has 21 days to appeal, during which it can continue to operate pending any appeal and throughout any potential appeals process. Uber may seek to implement changes to demonstrate to a magistrate that it is fit and proper by the time of the appeal.
While Uber continues to operate, TfL will continue to scrutinize the private hire operator, which includes the need for Uber to meet the 20 conditions set by TfL in September 2019, and particular attention will be paid to ensuring that the management have robust controls in place to manage changes to the Uber app so that passenger safety is not put at risk.
Uber, which has roughly 45,000 drivers in London, said that the decision not to renew its London license “is extraordinary and wrong.”
“We have fundamentally changed our business over the last two years and are setting the standard on safety,” Uber said, noting that Transport for London had found the company to be fit and proper operator two months ago.