nsucurrent.com February 22, 2018

After the Uber ban in London, could Sydney be next?

27 September 2017, 12:31 | Ruby West

London Uber ban regulators are finally catching up with technology

File 20170925 17414

In recent years, there have been several claims of sexual assaults by Uber drivers.

Uber's CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, issued an apology to Londoners on Monday (25 September), acknowledging the U.S. company had "got things wrong along the way" as it expanded. The heavy-handed and regressive decision to try and banish Uber from the capital's streets is a slap in the face for the millions of Londoners who chose the service, and a potentially devastating blow to the 40,000 drivers who rely on it to make a living.

Following the Tfl decision in London, Uber - which is used by 3.5 million people and 40,000 drivers in London - said it planned to appeal.

However, in relation to Uber's approach in reporting criminal offences (a criticism referred to in TfL's decision), when asked why Uber does not report criminal offences directly to the police as opposed to notifying TfL first, which prolongs the process, Uber explained that they will "follow the rules".

"We intend to immediately challenge this in the courts", said Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber in London.

Uber called on Monday for talks with London's transport regulator as soon as possible and pledged to make improvements in the way it reports serious incidents in a bid to retain its licence.

Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan was quick to endorse the decision of an agency he supervises. She also deplored use of software that allows drivers to avoid being spotted in areas where y are not allowed to work and to provide dubious medical certificates.

Louise Harper-King of OnePoll.com, which carried out the study, said: "Despite the criticism of Uber in some quarters, the results show Londoners want to see Uber's licence renewed". Mayor Kahn's political opponents have been quick to point out that he received £30,000 from the union during his campaign to be London Mayor.

Uber CEO apologies to Londoners on behalf of company.

Now, as brand-new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi deals with a stunning rebuke from London, the playbook gets another page: fight, but offer some diplomatic humility.

TfL forced 13,000 drivers, many of whom work for Uber, into compulsory, enhanced criminal checks this month as a "precautionary measure".

Uber is looking to fix its relationship with London.

Fred Jones, Uber's United Kingdom head of cities, said the mayor and TfL had "caved to pressure from a small number of individuals and groups that want to protect the status quo and reduce consumer choice and competition from London". TfL is allegedly responsible for both vetting the backgrounds of all private hire drivers and ensuring that they are medically fit before issuing them with a licence, therefore this part of the process is not handled by Uber.

It cited instances in which Uber failed to report serious criminal offences as well as its penchant to deceive regulators in its decision to not renew its license when it expires on September 30.

Previous year the United Kingdom courts ruled that Uber drivers should be considered employees, forming a landmark decision that could have implications for other gig economy services.

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