While Transport for London (TFL) have shocked many over their refusal to renew Uber’s license in London over cries of “public safety and security” concerns, it is worthwhile noting that it is actually TFL itself who are responsible for conducting the background checks of Uber drivers in London, thereby ensuring the safety of its passengers.
For over five years, Uber has operated in London and been subjected to TFL audits, which they have always passed with flying colors. Fred Jones, Uber’s UK head of cities, made the claim that in TFL’s most recent audit of Uber in London the organization found no errors or problems with the service.
“The last time they audited us to check we were playing by the rules, they found that there were zero errors in our processes.”
Further, Jones admitted that he found it rather odd that TFL were publicly announcing their fears over the safety of passengers using Uber in London, when it is TFL that conducts all of the necessary background checks on Uber drivers. All prospective Uber drivers that sign up on the app must be carefully vetted by TFL and have their paperwork in order to supply to Uber before they are allowed to drive for the company, according to the BBC.
“This was one of the strange things around the TFL notice yesterday is they are the ones who do all of the checks and license the drivers.”
Fans of the hugely popular Uber app in London had hoped that London Mayor Sadiq Khan might be progressive on the subject of innovation and technology and objectively review TFL’s non-renewal of Uber’s license, yet Khan has only said that those who are upset about TFL should vent their fury at Uber instead of TFL, as the Guardian report.
“I have every sympathy with Uber drivers and customers affected by this decision but their anger really should be directed at Uber.”
The vast majority of those who have been leaving comments on social media over TFL’s decision to ban Uber in London are firmly on the side of Uber and side with Fred Jones who believes that TFL eventually “caved to pressure from a small number of individuals and groups that want to protect the status quo and reduce consumer choice and competition from London.”
— Bloomberg (@business) September 23, 2017
Uber currently boasts 3.5 million users in London and has 40,000 drivers to assist them, and because of the increasingly exorbitant costs of cabs and public transport, Londoners have been exceptionally happy with Uber’s cost as well as its ease of use, allowing them to reach their destinations safely and in a cost-effective manner.
One Twitter user, Jekin Gala, complained on Twitter that even though his drop was only a mere mile away, the cost incurred when using a black cab would be a whopping £50, something he and others aren’t willing to part with any longer, especially if they have other transportation options like Uber.
— Jekin Gala (@jekingala99) September 22, 2017
Women have also reported feeling safer using Uber, especially at night, as they are able to order an Uber and have it arrive only moments later, rather than attempting to use a night bus or search everywhere for a cab by themselves.
There is now a campaign on Change.org to Save Your Uber in London, and nearly 600,000 people have signed it so far. Kajal Oedra at Change.org was astonished at the rapidity of this campaign.
“That is the fastest growing petition we’ve seen in the UK this year. The speed with which this grew shows how powerful online campaigning can be.”
Greg Hands is the government minister of London and is highly critical of TFL’s decision to ban Uber in London and also took Sadiq Khan to task, who he feels is threatening the livelihoods of many.
“At the flick of a pen Sadiq Khan is threatening to put 40,000 people out of work and leave 3.5 million users of Uber stranded. Blanket ban will cause massive inconvenience to millions of Londoners, showing that the mayor is closed to business & innovation. Once again the actions of Labour leave ordinary working people to pay the price for it.”
For the moment, Uber will be operating as usual in London until the appeals process has been completed and TFL makes their final decision on Uber’s license.
[Featured Image by Oli Scarff/Getty Images]