Uber Loses License to Operate in London, Its Largest Presence in a European City

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Photo: Mark Warner on Flickr
Uber climbed incredibly quickly at the top of a market that it pretty much created by itself, going from a startup to one of the highest grossing companies out there in record time.
As it so often happens to people who win the big pot on the lottery, Uber seems to have failed to manage its success, and so this year it's been through a series of scandals that have ended up with the CEO, Travis Kalanick stepping down.

It didn't take Uber that long to find a replacement, and on August 30, Dara Khosrowshahi took up the job. He immediately began rebuilding the company, but that doesn't mean it's all smooth sailing for the new man in charge.

Less than a month from his appointment, Uber is struck with a potentially crippling decision that sees the ride-hailing giant unable to operate in London, its most important hub in Europe. The local transport authority, Transport for London (TfL), said it would not renew Uber's license which expires at the end of this month.

The officials explained the decision by invoking their responsibility toward the safety and well-being of the citizens, two areas where they consider Uber to lacking. The statement released today says that "TfL considers that Uber'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 release also stipulates that Uber can continue to operate until "any appeal processes have been exhausted," meaning the TfL won't enforce an outright ban starting October 1st. It also leaves open the possibility for Uber to carry on its activity if it can assure the authority on how it will do its business in the future.

The announcement comes just two weeks after the U.S. ride-hailing company announced an incentive for London-based drivers who switched to battery-powered vehicles. Uber said it would offer up to £5,000 ($6,000) to all of its drivers that made the switch to EVs, with a declared goal to have all its 40,000 London workers driver electric or hybrid cars by 2025.

That showed Uber was far from expecting this decision and it will probably do whatever it takes to remain active in one of the world's busiest urban areas. We'll see how this unfolds and whether other municipalities will follow London's example and force stricter procedures on Uber's part.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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