Uber may seem like a cheap way to travel, but it comes with a huge cost to Londoners.
In September 2017, the Mayor of London rightly refused to renew Uber’s licence in London on grounds of blatant disregard for passenger safety and failure to comply with TfL regulations.
When Westminster Magistrates Court overturned the Mayor’s decision last year, Uber said it had cleaned up its act and deserved a second chance, but has since continued to let Londoners down. The firm does not deserve a place on our streets.
This is why we called on the Mayor of London to refuse to grant Uber another licence when its probationary licence expired on Wednesday 25 September this year.
Over 3,000 letters were sent, but the Mayor and TfL still gave Uber another 2 months to try and change its operations for the better.
Granting Uber the shortest operator’s licence ever shows that the Mayor doesn’t trust Uber and neither should Londoners.
It’s time the Mayor pulled the plug on Uber’s immoral operation for good.
Failing to keep you safe
Uber is still failing to keep Londoners safe from harm.
Its drivers have been found to be driving without insurance, operating in areas in which they are not welcome, and assaulting passengers.
Just last year, Uber admitted it had investigated over 2,500 drivers in London alone for serious offences including sexual assaults, stalking and dangerous driving.
Since then, there have been frightening reports of Uber drivers borrowing other drivers’ log in details to carry out horrific sexual assaults. After contesting claims made against its drivers, Uber has forked out tens of thousands of pounds in out-of-court settlements for failing to prevent opportunistic predators from abusing the system and preying on passengers.
In July this year, Westminster Magistrates Court fined Uber £28,800 for contravening the terms of its probationary licence by allowing its drivers to pick up Londoners in vehicles without the required insurance and failing to keep adequate records.
Uber has also refused to stop picking up passengers in areas in which it is not licensed locally and has been asked to end its operations. This includes local authorities bordering London like Brentwood Council, who asked Uber to remove the borough from the Greater London operating region of its probationary TfL licence.
Failing to pay its fair share
Uber makes billions of pounds, but does as little as possible to contribute to London.
This year, HM Revenue and Customs investigated Uber over allegations it owes more than £1 billion in unpaid tax in the UK. The firm refuses to pay 20% VAT on fares, on grounds that it merely acts as a digital intermediary between its ‘self-employed’ drivers and passengers.
In response to the introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone charge for private hire vehicles in April this year, Uber also refused to cough up for its impact on pollution, passing the charge onto passengers in the form of a ‘Clean Air Fee’. Meanwhile, Uber continues to flood London with tens of thousands of drivers who spend over half of their shift roaming around London waiting for bookings, emitting pollution and clogging up London’s roads.
Failing to protect your data
Uber’s terms and conditions allow it to access everything from your calendar to the last webpage you browsed. It is unclear how the firm uses this data, and it has failed to keep it safe.
In November last year, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office fined Uber £385,000 for the data breach in late 2016 which saw hackers steal data from 82,000 UK drivers and 2.7 million UK users.
Uber only publicly disclosed the hacking a year after it happened, having paid a £78,400 ransom to hackers to delete the data. The ICO said that the data breach was the result of “avoidable data security flaws”, that Uber displayed a “complete disregard” for those customers and drivers who had their data stolen, while putting them at an “increased risk of fraud”.