London’s transport regulator, Transport for London (TfL) has decided against renewing Uber’s operating license, which expires by end of September. The ride-hailing service has reportedly 3.5 million users in the city. While Uber has the right to appeal within 21 days, it uncertain whether it will be allowed to operate within post expiration of its license while the appeal is being considered.
Uber has been going through tumultuous times in the past few months. In London itself, it faced criticism from unions, lawmakers, and black cab drivers over poor working conditions of its drivers. Making matters worse, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has reportedly backed the decision. Previously, Uber has been forced to leave several markets, including Denmark and Hungary due to new regulations. “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,” he said.
In May 2017, Uber agreed to pay cab drivers in New York City tens of millions of dollars after accepting that for more than two years, they were underpaid, as the company took a larger cut of fares. Each driver received $900, on an average, according to a report by the Guardian. The following month, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick took an indefinite ‘leave of absence’, after the company published a report suggesting a review of the CEO’s responsibilities due to the depreciating the workplace culture.
The same month, one of the board members, David Bonderman, was forced to step down after he made a sexist joke during an all-staff meeting. Amidst building pressure from investors, CEO Travis Kalanick too had to resign, one week after he announced his leave of absence. According to the New York Times, a group of Uber’s largest investors wrote a letter to Kalanick, which was delivered in person, demanding he step down. Banning Uber in London over safety concerns is the latest of the ride-hailing company’s woes.