New information on Uber’s licence refusal demonstrates serious TfL concerns. Letters sent by Transport for London to Uber revealing why it refused its licence to operate contain explosive allegations around the company’s conduct in the capital.
The newly-released letters outline a series of failures from Uber to protect passengers and other road users, including:
A global phishing scam, involving manipulation of GPS signals to create fictitious journeys for which passengers are charged;
The use of fake insurance certificates, and Uber’s failure to check start and end dates for insurance;
Drivers with fraudulent private hire licences using the app to transport passengers;
Unlicensed Vehicles used to transport passengers;
Drivers fraudulently replacing account profile pictures with photos of a different individual, to allow others to pick up passengers using their log-in details;
Drivers using online videos which demonstrated how to fake their locations at airports, to allow drivers to jump queues or find out destinations before beginning trips.
The letter confirms that Uber received 27,799 safety-related complaints between 1 December 2018 and 31 May 2019.
Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said: “This letter shows Uber’s disgraceful conduct was worse than we could have imagined. Time and again this unscrupulous company has failed to protect passengers.
“Uber has let unlicensed and uninsured drivers with fake certificates onto our streets, allowed fraudsters to charge innocent Londoners for fictitious journeys, and let drivers fake their own locations. TfL highlighted the enormous number of instances in which drivers had manipulated the app, causing huge risks to public safety. “It is damning that in just one six-month period last year, there were nearly 28,000 safety related complaints on the Uber app. This shows a pattern of failure and incompetence from Uber. It is vital for the safety of Londoners that the courts keep Uber off the streets.”
On 25 November 2019, the transport regulators TfL rejected Uber's application for a new operator's licence in the capital.
TfL had said they had identified a pattern of failures by the company including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk.
Despite addressing some of these issues, TfL did not have confidence that similar issues will not reoccur in the future, which has led it to conclude that the company is not fit and proper at this time.
Uber are set to appeal the decision.