Nov 25, 2019

London declines to renew Uber's operating license

Photo: Olly Curtis/Future via Getty Images

London's transportation agency declined Monday to renew Uber's license to operate, citing a "pattern of failures by the company including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk."

Why it matters: London is one of Uber's biggest markets, so this is a significant blow to the company.

  • In September 2018, an appeals court granted Uber a 15-month provisional license (which was extended by two more), giving the company an opportunity to work with Transport for London to address its concerns.
  • The regulator's cited breaches this time include the ability for drivers to upload their photos to other accounts and create new accounts after being suspended.
  • Uber will be able to continue operating in the city while it appeals the decision.

From Uber:

TfL's decision not to renew Uber’s license in London is extraordinary and wrong, and we will appeal. We have fundamentally changed our business over the last two years and are setting the standard on safety. TfL found us to be a fit and proper operator just two months ago, and we continue to go above and beyond. On behalf of the 3.5 million riders and 45,000 licensed drivers who depend on Uber in London, we will continue to operate as normal and will do everything we can to work with TfL to resolve this situation.

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Uber struggles with 'open secret' of shared driver accounts

Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images

Since London decided to revoke Uber's operating license, the city's transportation regulator found that 14,000 rides in late 2018 and early 2019 were completed by unverified drivers who had "rented" a real driver's account, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Uber says shared driver accounts are a global problem, including in the U.S. An Uber spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal the company has adjusted its policies in London to combat the issue, but it still not a "silver bullet."

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Uber is testing ad displays for its cars

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Some Uber drivers have independently been putting ad displays on top of their cars, but now the ride-hailing company has teamed with startup Cargo for a small test of officially deploying ads to drivers in Atlanta.

Why it matters: This could be a new revenue source for Uber, which has been under heavy pressure to move towards profitability.

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