Sadiq Khan has lashed out at Uber by criticising the firm’s response to its London ban, while also shaming the app for allowing a driver to operate after it was found he possessed “obscene photos of a child”.
Transport for London (TfL) refused to renew Uber’s licence last month due to a “pattern of failures” around passenger safety, however it can still operate while appealing the ban.
An investigation found there were unlicensed and uninsured drivers on the app, while some drivers banned by Uber had found ways of continuing to operate on the platform.
Uber’s UK general manager Jamie Heywood called the decision not to grant a new licence as “extraordinary and wrong”, while chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi called it “just wrong”.
Khan slammed Uber’s response yesterday, telling Bloomberg it was “brash” and “aggressive”.
Today, the mayor of London doubled-down on his criticism.
Speaking to LBC, Khan said: “I can now tell you there was an example of a driver having obscene photos of a child on their social media drive.
“Yet those drivers who had been suspended or dismissed were able to play the system and drive people around.
“How can TfL not err on the side of caution? I don’t care how big Uber is.”
A total of 43 drivers are known to have abused Uber’s system, accounting for an estimated 14,000 journeys.
An Uber employee told City A.M. that the company had been aware of the issue since May and had reported it to TfL at the time.
The app was denied a long-term licence in September and instead was granted just a two-month probationary extension to prove it could “ensure passenger safety”.
The company claims it has done much to improve this area and is now at the forefront of safety initiatives in the industry.
An Uber spokesperson said: “Over the last two months we have audited every driver in London and further strengthened our processes.
“We have robust systems and checks in place to confirm the identity of drivers and will soon be introducing a new facial matching process, which we believe is a first in London taxi and private hire.”
Uber also recently installed a “discrimination button” in London to make it easier for passengers to report drivers and vice versa.