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Bits: Uber loses its London licence – or does it?, £5 off a 16-25 Railcard

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News in brief:

Uber loses its London private hire licence

Yesterday’s breaking news about Uber losing its taxi licence in London was a surprise for many.

Transport for London has announced that Uber’s current five year licence, which expires on 30th September, will not be renewed due to the company’s operations not being ‘fit and proper’.

It is true that the company has had some negative press lately regarding the drivers working conditions, but no one expected Uber to be banned from London’s streets.

Uber will, however, appeal and until a final ruling is passed, drivers are allowed to continue working for the app.

If you look at the Transport for London statement:

“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. These include:

Its approach to reporting serious criminal offences.
Its approach to how medical certificates are obtained.
Its approach to how Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are obtained.
Its approach to explaining the use of Greyball in London – software that could be used to block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to the app and prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties.”

….. there is nothing here that Uber cannot fix.  It seems more likely that TfL is taking the licence renewal window, which only comes around every five years, to force change from the company that it has not been rushing to make.

If you’ve redeemed your Tesco Clubcard vouchers for Uber credit, you might want to use it up in the next few weeks – just in case.  You can read more about the Tesco Clubcard / Uber partnership in this article.  It is actually one of the best uses of Clubcard vouchers, arguably better than Avios, giving you 3 x their face value.

£5 off 16-25 Railcards this weekend

If you know anyone heading off or back to university, you can pick up a 16-25 Railcard for them this weekend at £5 off.

Code 5offsep takes the price down from £30 to £25 for a year.  You need to buy on the official railcard website here by Sunday night.  You need to enter the code on the first application page (it will say ‘code accepted’) but the discount will not show until the payment page.

Comments (43)

  • Sam wardill says:

    A bit of a draconian negotiatong tactic (especially in the light of brexit). Makes us look like a bit of a Luddite nation.

    • the real harry1 says:

      so far all the posters have missed the bit about the criminal offences – Uber has a high incidence of sexual assaults reported against drivers (high compared to other taxi companies) – and a poor record in reporting those to police and getting the drivers responsible removed from service.

      • the real harry1 says:

        There were others paying the price, and it was too often vulnerable women. In August, Uber was accused by the Metropolitan Police of allowing a driver who sexually assaulted a passenger to strike again by not reporting the attack as well as other serious crimes. Rather than reporting criminal complaints to the police, the tech start-up logged them with TfL, causing delays of up to seven months before crimes were investigated.
        Inspector Neil Billany of the Met’s taxi and private hire team suggested that the reason for this was because the company was attempting to protect its reputation. When they were reported, the rough estimate is that between February 2015 and 2017 there were 48 sex attacks involving people who were Uber drivers at the time the attacks were reported.
        http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/uber-ban-london-ride-hailing-app-company-employees-taxi-drivers-customer-safety-women-protect-a7961231.html

        • Ian says:

          If you are sexually assaulted you tell the police not the cab firm. It’s easy to make fictitious claims to a cab firm because you didn’t like the driver…. Or are a relative of a black cab driver.

          • Will says:

            Exactly.
            I don’t think uber is a shining example of standards of morality but surely it’s the responsibility of the person who claims to have been assaulted to report it to the police immediately.

            I think more should be highlighted about the positive aspects for Uber, like the fact most of the cars are hybrid or electric compared to diesel black cabs.

            The really interesting thing here to be is that when a driverless uber or uber clone becomes a reality all of the arguments fall away reference safety and workers rights so really if I was a young black cab driver I’d be training for another career ASAP.

      • Anna says:

        Why on earth was it being left to Uber to report these assaults? They should be reported directly and immediately to the police otherwise there is a risk of losing evidence.

        • Ian says:

          Exactly. Something very dubious about these claims.

        • RussellH says:

          I have not seen any suggesttion of “it being left to Uber to report these assaults”, and of course aussaulted persons should make their own report to the police.

          But given that as recently as last August the Metropolitan Police singled out Uber for a failure to report sex attacks by its drivers promptly, one can only assume that there is a statutary duty upon taxis, minicabs and operators such as Uber to report these attacks too, and the fact of the police complaint surely indicates strongly that while other undertakings are complying with that duty, Uber is not.

          The basic problem with Uber appears to be that they feel that rules are meant for other, not themselves.

          • Alan says:

            Indeed. Interestingly I’ve found in other UK cities where I’ve used Uber (Glasgow, York and Edinburgh this year) the drivers have always been private hire, with the usual council licensing badge, etc. They just use the app as a way to supplement their income. Perhaps the London market has been a bit different with more drivers that hadn’t gone through the same checks. As an example, most councils require drivers to meet the more stringent DVLA Group 2 rules for medical conditions, something I’d imagine Uber don’t require.

          • Will says:

            London Uber’s have to have a council issued private hire license too.

            From that point of view, if the council are taking responsibility for issuing licenses then they need to make it clear if it is their responsibility or Uber’s to run criminal checks on the driver.
            The fact that they issue licenses does cloud the water over who is responsible as surely a license should not be granted to a sex offender.

        • Kathy says:

          It’s not unusual for assault victims not to want to report to police immediately, or not to want to report at all, because the reporting process can be traumatic in itself. Reporting to Uber doesn’t require you to have a physical examination or give evidence in court and allows you to feel like you’ve done your bit to stop other women being attacked.

          • the real harry1 says:

            Well said.

            Shame HFP is deleting a serious post I made. Uber is seriously negative & potentially dangerous for single women – it’s particularly [some of] the drivers & the company ethos that cause the danger – deleting posts that point that out won’t make the issue go away.

          • the real harry1 says:

            we’re not allowed to reference Rotherham etc on HFP!

            non-European background Uber drivers are assaulting single females – admittedly just a few – yet we’re not allowed to point out the facts?

            It’s Afghan, Somali, Middle East drivers disrespecting females in our country.

          • Will says:

            While I accept that it’s potentially traumatic to report a sexual assault to the police we’re entering into very dangerous territory if your suggesting that simply reporting a sexual assault to a business with no evidence results in someone losing their job.

            If it’s the law that Uber should be reporting these things to the police immediately then they’re clearly in breach. If it’s not the law and it’s seen as wise for it to be then rather than take their operating license away the correct resolution is to implement the law change and then enforce compliance on them (and then take their license away if they fail to comply)

          • Kathy says:

            Will, that’s the reason why not reporting assaults to the police is grounds for their license to not be renewed. It does not mean drivers automatically lose their job if someone reports, it’s simply that reports must be passed to the police so they can be investigated because victims very often don’t contact the police directly themselves.

            Also sexual predators are notoriously repeat offenders – very often they are caught because of multiple women making reports against the same driver. So you want reports to be logged properly even if the victim doesn’t want charged pressed, so you have got the full picture.

          • will says:

            From what I’ve read, Uber passed the reports in question to TfL who ultimately issued the drivers in question with their licenses and also ran the background checks.

            I think both TfL and the police need to make the policy on who is responsible for reporting such incidents and what private hire firms are obliged to do both with respect to recording the incident and taking any action against the driver.

            We’re in a situation where TfL run the checks and issue the licence to the individual driver and then they are pointing fingers at Uber for not vetting drivers.

            I’m very much against the concept of unsubstantiated claims against anyone being held on record and used against them in the future. That’s open season for anyone who takes a dislike to someone else to smear them without any repercussions on themselves.

            As much as it is important to protect the public and uphold the law, we have to remember that the drivers are also human beings who need protection themselves from false accusation which can ruin their lives. There is a mechanism in place within the bounds of the law to deal with assault, if we make records of unfounded allegations it’s very hard for drivers to defend themselves against false accusations as they would not require proof in order to leave a record somewhere.

  • Jovanna says:

    Is Uber over? That’s the question Eddie Mair was asking on PM yesterday. My goodness! It’s all a bit Chicken Licken. I wonder what they thought about that in up in Rotherham…

  • Lady London says:

    Hum. That list of charges against Uber looks like it has been drafted by the LDTA (the London Taxi Drivers Association which is kind of the union of the drivers driving black cabs – the longstanding traditional London taxis).

    • RussellH says:

      The complaint about the non reporting of sex attacks comes from the Metropolitan Police

  • Tony says:

    Anyone would think London doesn’t have a public transport system that is the envy of the rest of the UK. A tube and bus network that the rest of us can only dream about. Black cab and private hire coverage and supply that is massively more than any other major city.
    Clearly it’s a heavy handed tactic by the Mayor to Uber to be a better company but ultimately Uber will comply rather than lose such a major market.

    • Rob says:

      The odd thing with Uber – whilst people generally focus on the low cost – is that it is actually of most use to the better off. Because they keep raising fares to meet demand, as long as you are price inelastic you will get something even in the worse weather, unlike a black cab.

  • Nick says:

    Hmmm, a cheaper, comfortable, usually more environmentally friendly Prius, or an uncomfortable, boneshaker black cab? I think that the Mayor will regret this decision, which Sam above, rightly states, makes us look like Ludites.

    The Uber petition is now up to nearly 500,000 signatures already.

    https://www.change.org/p/save-your-uber-in-london-saveyouruber?utm_medium=email&utm_source=petition_signer_receipt&utm_campaign=triggered&j=142975&sfmc_sub=553122886&l=32_HTML&u=27195019&mid=7233052&jb=89008

    • RussellH says:

      The text of that petiton – referring to “our app” implies to me that it was drafted by Uber itself, so hardly an independently organised petition!

      Sorry – just read to the bottom of the page – it clearly stated “Uber London started this petition”

      Is there a counter petition anywhere? How might I find out?

  • Matt C says:

    This could significantly devalue the AmEx Platinum benefits. What are they going to replace the free Uber credit with, I wonder?

  • Ian says:

    Clearly Uber will not be going anywhere. There will not be any break in service in London.

    I find all the criticism of Transport for London rather ridiculous. It is Uber who have been failing to comply with the rules, TfL are simply enforcing them.

    As we all know, unless Uber is forced to, they will quite happily flout laws left right and center.

  • Matt says:

    There’s nothing to stop Uber buying another minicab firm with a recently renewed licence. The new company will need to do health/CRB checks for all 40,000+ drivers which will take some time, but I’d guess it’s a better option than exiting London.

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