Thursday 23 January 2020 7:39 pm

TfL banned Uber over concerns it could not prevent breaches by its drivers

A letter released today revealed that TfL stripped Uber of its licence in London because of “serious doubts” it would be able to prevent breaches that put the public at risk.

The letter from TfL to Uber, dated 25 November, detailed some of the breaches that TfL was concerned about, which included drivers providing services without having proper insurance in place. 

TfL said the risk to the public of private hire drivers offering uninsured services are “grave and acute”.

Some breaches concerned drivers using another drivers’ login to provide services. 

TfL said this could lead to drivers with serious criminal records or medical issues providing private hire services.

The regulator said the risks to the public from this “are serious and substantial”.

TfL said the breaches stem in part from changes to Uber’s system which have then been exploited by drivers,

It said the breaches “raised serious doubts as to whether TfL could have sufficient confidence in [Uber’s] ability to prevent breaches of this kind – and indeed wholly new breaches that have never occurred previously – recurring.”

Helen Chapman, TfL’s director of licensing, regulation and charging, said: “We found Uber not fit and proper to hold a new private hire operator’s licence on 25 November. We note that Uber has submitted an appeal and it will now be for a magistrate to determine if they are fit and proper.”

Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for northern & eastern Europe, said: “We are appealing TfL’s decision. Safety is our top priority which is why we have robust systems and processes in place. We are committed to Londoners and are working closely with TfL to address their concerns and requests, as we have since 2017. When it comes to safety on our platform our work is never done and we will keep listening, learning and improving.”

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said: “This letter shows Uber’s disgraceful conduct was worse than we could have imagined. Time and again this unscrupulous company has failed to protect passengers.

“Uber has let unlicensed and uninsured drivers with fake certificates onto our streets, allowed fraudsters to charge innocent Londoners for fictitious journeys, and let drivers fake their own locations. TfL highlighted the enormous number of instances in which drivers had manipulated the app, causing huge risks to public safety.

“It is damning that in just one six-month period last year, there were nearly 28,000 safety related complaints on the Uber app. This shows a pattern of failure and incompetence from Uber. It is vital for the safety of Londoners that the courts keep Uber off the streets.”