Chances are, you've heard that Uber has been stripped of its license to operate in London — and a lot of people have a lot to say about it. Many, particularly women, are worried about traveling late at night, given that taking black cabs is more expensive — around 35% more, according to a study done earlier this year.
In a bold move, Transport for London (TfL), which hands out licenses for taxis in the U.K. capital, has refused to renew the company's license. TfL said it's not "fit and proper" to hold a private operator license due to numerous concerns over security and public safety, BBC News reported. The Met Police had accused Uber of failing to report serious crimes, including sexual assaults, to protect its reputation.
Announcing its decision this morning, TfL said Uber showed "a lack of corporate responsibility" and referred to its approach to reporting serious criminal offenses, among other factors. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he backed TfL's decision, adding: "It would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners' safety and security."
Uber has already said it will appeal, citing the "3.5 million Londoners who use our app, and more than 40,000 licensed drivers who rely on Uber to make a living." It has 21 days to appeal the decision.
As you can imagine, people have strong opinions about the news. Black cabbies and Addison Lee drivers are overjoyed.
But — and it's a big but — despite the celebratory tone of some people's reactions, a large portion of Londoners is very annoyed.
Some pointed out the potential safety risks of there being one fewer mode of late-night transport, and others highlighted the potential impact on the 40,000 Uber drivers who already had to endure poor working conditions.
Some believe it's unlikely Uber will be completely banned forever in London and that it's more likely the company will have to sort itself out and ensure customer safety, in which case, great. But if not, it might be time for Londoners to reacquaint themselves with the night bus. And thank god for the night tube.