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Have TfL stepped on a legislative landmine over Uber

It was revealed this week that Sadiq Khan welcomes the ongoing dialogue between Uber and Transport for London in the quest to find a resolution over Ubers licensing issues. To those within the taxi industry, opinion is split between incredulity and pragmatism. In one camp you have the "NO, NAY, NEVER" brigade, who are deeply concerned over the possibilty of Uber being granted a license renewal, and not without good reason given the myriad of misdemeanours and major concerns surrounding the tech giant. In the other camp you have the pragmatists, the drivers who are resigned to the fact that Uber WILL be relicensed. It needs to be recognised that Transport for London do have to talk to Uber, they have no real choice in this, so to that effect Mayor Khan is right in welcoming dialogue. This doesn't mean that TfL will capitulate to Uber and their "don't ask for permission, ask for forgiveness" ethos. Dialogue has to take place and potentially concessions may well be made on both sides to facilitate Uber obtaining a new license. This situation, however, may have inadvertantly forced Transport for London to step onto a proverbial landmine. TfL refused to issue Uber with a new licence on the basis that they weren't a "fit and proper" operator. If TfL offer concessions to Uber and vice-versa, this then brings into question TfLs ability to withdraw a licence from ANY operator. TfL will of course argue that all cases are taken on an individual basis, and rightly so, but any given operator who has had their licence withdrawn for similar reasons have a valid argument that a precedent is now set, Uber then become the template for weakening TfLs hand. It also brings into question where both taxi and private hire drivers stand in relation to having their licence withdrawn for not being "fit and proper." There is an argument that drivers as well as operators could use the Uber situation against TfL. TfL are now damned if they do and damned if they don't in relation to issuing Uber a licence. Whatever happens over the coming months TfL are going to have to tread very carefully over the whole Uber issue.

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