Uber's Temporary TfL Licence Infuriates London's Black-Cab Drivers

By Gavin Whenman on at

More details have emerged on the conditions Transport to London attached in September to Uber's two-month licence to operate in the capital and black-cab drivers aren't happy. Although to be fair, they won't be happy until we're all paying £10 for the privilege of travelling half a mile.

The ride-hailing company secured the licence extension in the latest boring twist in the interminable wranglings between Uber and TfL over a permanent permit. The saga first kicked off back in 2017 when TfL dramatically pulled its licence over concerns about the firm's attitude towards passenger safety.

According to documents obtained by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act, among the new conditions was a requirement Uber's drivers are licensed by TfL and registered with Uber and that the company check its drivers are not using fraudulent documents for their licence or insurance.

In a letter to TfL, the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, which represents London's black-cab drivers, made the obvious point that Uber should really have been doing this kind of vetting anyway:

“It is extraordinary that [Uber] needs to be told to undertake appropriate checks to verify that documentation provided by drivers is legitimate and to notify TfL where potentially fraudulent documentation is submitted.”

An Uber spokesperson claims the company has made “significant changes” to its business since TfL's 2017 decision:

“This includes launching new safety features for riders, introducing better protections for licensed drivers and we’ve improved our corporate governance and compliance."

With the two-month licence due to expire towards the end of November, Uber will likely be seeking either another extension or a permanent licence. [Guardian]