After the 30th of September, the private car company Uber will no longer be legally allowed to operate in the city of London. Transport for London (TFL) has announced that it will not be renewing Uber’s licence because it says the company is not “fit and proper.”
TFL stated that Uber showed “a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications”. They said that some of the main issues included not reporting serious crimes in a good enough manner (presumably referring to sexual assaults committed by the drivers).
Uber responded saying that it would fight the decision.
Right now there are about 40,000 Uber drivers in the city who serve about 3.5 million customers a year. But the real question here is about free markets. The London Black Cab had the market sewn up tightly for a long long time, and then Uber turned up offering what is seen as a more modern experience.
And while it is right to allow the market the freedom to make its own decisions (which will inevitably end up being a better deal for the consumer), there is a real issue with sexual assaults and other legal issues at play. We know for a fact that many newcomers to the UK share their cars and their accounts for Uber, I personally know of one car under one licence being driven by four different guys who all live together. And this is not safe.
There is no way to really track who is in which car, or if they are legally allowed to drive, or even be in the country. Until all Uber drivers are following the laws set out, then perhaps TFL is right to stop them operating?