Uber were the innovative and highly convenient taxi service that simply took off in London following its launch in 2012. However, after a spatter of disputes that saw Uber drivers attacked by black cab drivers and rows over fair treatment of its employees, Transport for London (TfL) have now denied the company a licence renewal.
The Decision and Response
This controversial decision comes after concerns over customer safety and possible failings to carry out correct checks on Uber staff. TfL have since made an ethical decision based on the company’s conduct rather than their abundant popularity and economic contribution to the city.
Since the damaging decision to terminate Uber’s licence, commencing September 30th, the company have announced they will fight the ruling. However, most recently, Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi has admitted the company’s guilt in its past behaviour.
As reported in the Guardian, Khosrowshahi said, “The truth is that there is a high cost to a bad reputation.”
“It’s critical that we act with integrity in everything we do, and learn how to be a better partner to every city we operate in. That doesn’t mean abandoning our principles – we will vigorously appeal TfL’s decision – but rather building trust through our actions and our behaviour.”
The decision has indeed resulted in divided opinion. Around 40,000 Uber drivers could soon be out of work and 3.5 million regular users will be highly inconvenienced. On the other hand, Hackney Cab drivers and Sadiq Khan have welcomed the verdict.
One major reason for the mayor’s backing of the rejected licence renewal is regarding Ubers use of Greyball software. Greyball blocks regulatory bodies from fully accessing the app. This therefore limits abilities to carry out law enforcement duties, another major factor in TfL’s decision.
Alex Williamson, Corporate Account Director for Londonoffices is a regular Uber customer and says, “Uber provide a great service to London that contributes to the ‘tech city’ Sadiq Khan is trying to create; I cannot see London taking a step back by losing Uber altogether. With growth from 0-40,000 drivers over a 5-year period there was always going to be teething problems. Now is the time for Uber to iron out the issues presented by TfL and return with a stronger, safer and more effective service. Competitors will soon take advantage if Uber fail to hit the mark.”
While the fate of the Silicon Valley born business rests in the balance within London, here are some alternative taxi-hailing apps you may want to try.
Alternatives to Uber
Gett – A global business that began in Israel, Gett’s slogan is ‘driven by quality’. Sending out black cabs at the tap of a finger they offer a highly convenient service. Similarly to Uber, drivers also have quality ratings.
Addison Lee – Recently endorsed by artist Not3s, Addison Lee are quickly gaining popularity throughout the city. Being a more premium facility, the service is ideal for impressing clients. No surge charges and fixed fees displayed in the app have further contributed to their popularity.
MiniCabit – Providing a slightly different service, the MiniCabit app is more like a comparison site. They conveniently compile a list of car hire companies in range of your location giving you a choice of services. The app allows you to choose the route you prefer while prices stay competitive.
Is this a drastic decision or a necessary measure? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.