Uber has been stripped of its license by the London transport regulator, Transport for London (TfL), after a number of its drivers were discovered using fake identities.
The regulators say that there have been as many as 14,000 cases of unauthorized trips using accounts which did not match the drivers’ verifications. These 14,000 trips were apparently taken with drivers fraudulently uploading their photos to other drivers’ accounts to allow suspended and unlicensed drivers to continue operating.
What was Uber’s response to the decision?
Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi responded to the decision by the transport authority, calling it “just wrong.”
The Uber CEO also stands by the company’s efforts to fundamentally change its operations to ensure passenger safety. This includes using facial recognition technology to ensure that the drivers and the approved Uber accounts belong to the same people.
These safety initiatives were deemed insufficient by TfL’s standards as there were ample cases where passenger safety had been compromised.
In one example cited by TfL, a driver had continued to use the Uber app despite the fact that his private license had been revoked after he’d been cited for distributing indecent images of children.
In acknowledgement of Uber’s efforts to increase security, Helen Chapman, TfL’s licensing director, said, “While we recognize Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured.”
What is Uber’s license history in London?
This isn’t the first time Uber has had its license stripped.
In 2017, Uber was stripped of its license for safety reasons but was granted two extensions to implement safety revisions. However, these extensions expired last month.
In the most recent removal of Uber’s license, London Mayor Sadiq Khan stated “I know this decision may be unpopular with Uber users, but their safety is the paramount concern. Regulations are there to keep Londoners safe.”
Uber is currently appealing the decision and will operate as usual until the safety issues have been sorted out.
Uber has 3.5 million regular riders and 45,000 licensed drivers in the city of London, resulting in millions of trips per week.