Uber


ON: BY: Chris Hannah

Many people will have hear in the news that Transport for London (TfL) has informed Uber, that their current private hire license will not be extended, and therefore expire on the 30th September.

This was posted by the London mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter, and also any nearly every other local news outlet.

You can read full statement from TfL, but here is the main bit:

Transport for London (TfL) has today (Friday 22 September) informed Uber London Limited that it will not be issued with a private hire operator licence after expiry of its current licence on 30 September. TfL's regulation of London's taxi and private hire trades is designed to ensure passenger safety. Private hire operators must meet rigorous regulations, and demonstrate to TfL that they do so, in order to operate. TfL must also be satisfied that an operator is fit and proper to hold a licence.

TfL has concluded that Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence.

TfL considers that Uber's approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications.

Uber can of course appeal this decision, and while the appeal process is ongoing, they will still be able to operate under their current license. So there’s a great possibility that the 30th September will not be the last day of Ubers in London in any scenario.

I wasn’t going to post too much about this story though, as it’s been quite widespread, and I think everyone knows the gist of it.

But I’ve received two emails from Uber about this, and I don’t particularly like the way they’re going about it. We all know that Uber as a company, isn’t the best example for good public relations, but I think their emails sound a bit stupid.

The first which was sent on the 22nd September, titled “Save your Uber in London”:

Dear Chris,

As you may have heard, the Mayor and Transport for London have announced they will not be renewing Uber’s licence to operate in our city when it expires on 30 September.

We are sure Londoners will be as astounded as we are by this decision. By trying to ban the app from the capital, the Mayor and Transport for London have caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice.

Not only will this decision deprive you of the choice of a convenient way of getting about town, it will also put more than 40,000 licensed drivers who rely on our app out of work.

We will be immediately challenging this decision in court.

If you want to continue using the Uber app in London - and to defend the livelihoods of 40,000 licensed drivers - please sign this petition urging the Mayor to think again.

Okay, so they’re trying to tell everyone that TfL and the London Mayor have decided to “ban” Uber. I don’t personally see it as an attack on their company, or in fact the drivers or customers of Uber. Sure, the Black cabs have a bit too much power in London, and I’ve noticed non-Uber taxi drivers dislike towards Uber. But these are small problems, and to be honest, I don’t quite care for them.

Uber as a service, is a great idea, and in my eyes I can only see the benefits. But they seem as a whole, quite stroppy.

I noticed this even more in their email they sent today (24th September) titled “Help keep your Uber in London”:

Dear Chris,

Since we emailed you on Friday about the decision not to renew Uber’s licence to operate in the capital when it expires on 30 September, we’ve been overwhelmed by the public support shown - thank you.

More than 600,000 people have signed a petition to keep our app in London and we’ve heard thousands of stories from people who want Uber to remain in our city.

If you don’t support this decision and haven’t yet added your name to the Save Your Uber in London petition, you can do so by clicking the link below.
 
So apparently a petition will change TfL and Sadiq Khan’s mind on Uber renewing their license.

We do a lot of petitions here in the UK, mostly about minor, insignificant things, but even after there was an online petition to stop Trump from entering the UK became popular, it still didn’t change anything.

Plus anyway, I don’t think a simple count of public opinion is relevant. We all know how stupid the general public can be.

I’ve seen things about how Uber is safer for women, and people of colour, and now they’ll have to get a night bus, and be “alone in the dark”. I don’t care. These are issues of their own, and emotions should not be involved in a decision like this.

I won’t be signing the petition to “Save Uber”, but that also doesn’t mean I want to see Uber being banned from operating in London.

I think that Uber should understand that Sadiq Khan is the Mayor of London, and TfL are the local government body responsible for transport system in London. And therefore, have to abide by all the rules given to them.

Then, and only then, can they complain about any unfair behaviour. Because there’s most likely a bit of bias on either sides. But it doesn’t mean people being “outraged” at a certain decision should mean it should be reversed.