Hundreds of thousands of people have signed a petition calling for taxi-hailing app Uber to be allowed to continue in the capital.
On Friday, Transport for London said it would not renew Uber’s private hire licence after finding it is “not fit and proper” to hold one.
In the early hours of Saturday, a petition on Change.org had gathered signatures from more than 420,000 people who wanted the company to keep operating in London.
The petition said: “The 3.5 million Londoners who rely on Uber to get a safe, reliable and affordable ride around the best city in the world will be astounded by the decision to ban Uber from the capital.
“This ban shows the world that London is far from being open and is closed to innovative companies, who bring choice to consumers and work opportunities to those who need them.”
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TfL had said the taxi-hailing app had demonstrated “a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications”.
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The authority highlighted Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences, obtaining medical certificates and background checks on drivers, and its explanation of the use of “greyball” software that it said could be used to thwart regulators.
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Uber’s general manager in London Tom Elvidge said: “By wanting to ban our app from the capital, Transport for London and the mayor have caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice.
“If this decision stands, it will put more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work and deprive Londoners of a convenient and affordable form of transport.
“To defend the livelihoods of all those drivers, and the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use our app, we intend to immediately challenge this in the courts.”
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James Farrar, chairman of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain’s United Private Hire Drivers branch, said drivers faced “losing their job and being saddled with unmanageable vehicle-related debt”.
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Uber was licensed as a private hire company in London in 2012 and has since grown rapidly – posing a challenge to the capital’s traditional black cabs – but it has been caught up in the backlash against the so-called gig economy.
In May its licence was renewed by TfL, but only for a period of four months, amid continued opposition and threats of legal challenges from the GMB union and Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association.
Uber’s current licence expires on 30 September.
Source: Sky News