Monday 25 November 2019 11:55 am

Uber rivals sharpen their knives after ride-hailing app loses London licence

Uber’s biggest London competitor has accused the company of having a “toxic corporate culture” and for being a habitual regulation dodger in the wake of the app losing its London operating licence.

The announcement to ban the app came this morning in a sensational decision, which saw TfL find that Uber was “not fit and proper” to operate in London and would not be granted it a new operating licence.

Read more: TfL bans Uber from London after ‘pattern of failures’
Read more: Business groups mourn ‘dark day’ as Uber fails to renew London licence

Kapten, the second most popular ride-hailing app in London, quickly pounced saying “London doesn’t need Uber” and setting out reasons why customers should make the jump.

Kapten UK general manager Mariusz Zabrocki said: “Customers and drivers need to ask themselves if they should use an app under the shadow of repeating safety issues, dodging regulations and toxic corporate culture.

“At Kapten, our main aim at this point is to make sure all drivers and riders affected by the potential ban know that the future needn’t look so bleak, as Kapten will be available.”

TfL made its decision after safety breaches “left passengers at risk”. The transport body also said Uber did not have “a robust system for protecting passenger safety”.

TfL said the app was harbouring unlicensed and uninsured drivers in London.

It added that banned drivers were able to make new accounts and continue to operate, without Uber stopping them.

Uber has said it will launch a legal challenge to the decision and will be able to operate during this process.

Fellow ride-sharing app Bolt also released a statement shortly after TfL made the announcement.

A spokesperson said: “Recent events highlight the critical importance to public safety of not just checking but knowing who those drivers are and taking a deep interest in their overall wellbeing.

Read more: Uber rival Bolt sees surge in London rides three months after launch

“We spent a year working with TfL on our successful London licence application and we continue to pay the utmost attention to the credentials of drivers we permit to use our platform.

“With more than 30,000 drivers carefully onboarded onto the platform, we have quickly become a trusted player in the capital.”

Uber railed against this morning’s announcement, with UK general manager Jamie Heywood calling it “extraordinary and wrong”.

“We have fundamentally changed our business over the last two years and are setting the standard on safety,” he said.

Read more: Uber ‘under pressure’ to collect driver biometrics

“TfL found us to be a fit and proper operator just two months ago, and we continue to go above and beyond.

“On behalf of the 3.5 million riders and 45,000 licensed drivers who depend on Uber in London, we will continue to operate as normal and will do everything we can to work with TfL to resolve this situation.”