Transport for London has just taken the extraordinary step of banning Uber from London, announcing that the minicab company will not have its licence to operate renewed. The exact wording includes the bombshell that: "Uber London is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence." Blimey.
This shock news means that Uber's going to be barred from running across the entire city from the end of the next week, as the ride-hailing company's current licence expires on September 30. That's amazingly good news for the city's black cab drivers, devastating news for the fleet of Uber workers, and, well, probably quite bad news for anyone who's come to rely upon the convenience of having a car magically appear to take you somewhere because you clicked on a thing on your phone two minutes ago.
Transport for London announced the move in a bloody tweet of all places, explaining that it's made the decision for vague reasons to do with passenger safety, accusing Uber of a "lack of corporate responsibility" when it comes to reporting issues and safety concerns.
Uber is certain to take legal steps to try to keep its business running in the city -- particularly so as launching an appeal means it can carry on operating beyond the licence expiry date while the appeals process is running -- so expect much bluster from the company over the coming hours and days.
Uber has indeed announced a plan to appeal, saying:
"3.5 million Londoners who use our app, and more than 40,000 licensed drivers who rely on Uber to make a living, will be astounded by this decision.
"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."
Image credit: Uber