London mayor accuses Uber of using 'aggressive' tactics to put TfL under pressure

Uber loses London licenseWochit

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has accused Uber of using "aggressive" tactics in its ongoing battle with Transport for London, which on Friday ruled the taxi hailing app will have to cease operating in the capital from next month.

The city's transportation agency, Transport for London, said on Friday (22 September) that it would not renew Uber's licence when it expires on 30 September, citing a lack of corporate responsibility. The agency said the factors it considered included Uber's "approach to reporting serious criminal offences" and its use of software designed to evade the authorities.

The company, which has 3.5 million customers and 40,000 drivers in London, immediately pledged to appeal the decision but Khan said Uber's "army" of lawyers had put TfL under "unfair pressure".

Advertisement

"What you can't do, is have a situation where unfair pressure is brought on a quasi-judicial body where there are officials working incredibly hard," he said.

"I appreciate Uber has an army of PR experts, I appreciate Uber has an army of lawyers - they've also made aggressive threats about taking us to court."

On Friday, Uber's general manager in London Tom Elvidge blamed TfL and the London Mayor for caving in to "a small number of people" who wanted to restrict consumer choice.

In a series of tweets, the San Francisco-headquartered company said it had taken the decision to challenge the decision in the courts to "defend the livelihoods of drivers and the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use Uber".

"Drivers who use Uber in London are licensed by TfL and have been through the same enhanced DBS [Disclosure and Barring Service] background checks as black cab drivers," Uber added.

"We have always followed TfL rules on reporting serious incidents, with a dedicated team that works closely with the Metropolitan Police."

On Sunday, Khan said people angry about the decision by transport authorities to strip Uber of its license to operate in the city should blame the ride-hailing company itself.

Advertisement

"I have every sympathy with Uber drivers and customers affected by this decision, but their anger really should be directed at Uber," he explained.

More than 700,000 people have signed an online petition protesting the decision not to renew Uber's license, which was launched immediately after the ruling on Friday.

Meanwhile, abour shadow chancellor John McDonnell branded Uber a "disgrace" for failing to abide the law, claiming it only had itself to blame for the ruling.

"Hand on heart, I don't think I've ever used Uber," he said on ITV's Peston on Sunday.

Advertisement

"The company is a disgrace. You have to abide by the law. If the company was outside the law, what could Transport for London do?

"I think the company is at fault here. Four months ago they were told to get their act together and they didn't."

READ MORE
© Copyright 2017 IBTimes Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.