In a major setback to the ride-hailing company and 3.5 million users in one of the world’s richest cities, London has regarded Uber unqualified to operate a taxi service on Friday and removed it of its permit to operate from the end of next week.
Uber’s request for a new licence in London was denied because it is not a “fit and proper” operator of privately-held vehicles, the local regulator said.
The capital’s transport regulator additionally said the Silicon Valley technology giant’s licence would not be renewed when it expires on September 30.
Uber’s general manager in London, Tom Elvidge, said: “Transport for London (TfL) and the Mayor have caved into a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice.”
“We intend to immediately challenge this in the courts.”
Khan, the mayor of London, said he fully backed the ruling to strip Uber of its licence, saying all companies need to “play by the rules.”
He stated: “I want London to be at the forefront of innovation and new technology and to be a natural home for exciting new companies that help Londoners by providing a better and more affordable service.
“However, all companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – particularly when it comes to the safety of customers.”
However, Hands, also a minister for London, stated: “At the flick of a pen Sadiq Khan is threatening to put 40,000 people out of work and leave 3.5 million users of Uber stranded.
“Uber must address safety concerns and it is important there is a level playing field across the private hire market.
“But a blanket ban will cause massive inconvenience to millions of Londoners, all while showing that the Mayor of London is closed to business and innovation.”
Sam Gyimah, MP for East Surrey and a Conservative justice minister, asserted it was “possible to have effective regulation of Uber without penalising the consumers who benefit from more choice and lower prices.”
On Friday, Uber wrote to its users urging them to “defend the livelihoods” of its drivers and endorse an appeal asking the mayor to repeal TfL’s resolution.
Within five hours, an online appeal against the resolution had garnered more than 200,000 signatures.
The general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, Steve McNamara, which represents black-cab drivers, said Khan had made the right choice.
“Since it first came on to our streets Uber has broken the law, exploited its drivers and refused to take responsibility for the safety of passengers. This immoral company has no place on London’s streets,” he said.
Uber announced in a statement the ruling would “show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies”.
“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,” the group added.
Farrar, a co-petitioner in a landmark employment tribunal ruling against Uber, said: “To strip Uber of its licence after five years of laissez-faire regulation is a testament to a systemic failure at TfL.”
Mr Farrar also said that TfL should have stepped in ahead to protect drivers.
Aside from Uber’s drivers, some of London’s 3.5 million Uber users showed anxiety as to how TfL’s resolution would change their lives.
Rimi Char, a 43-year-old event planner, who uses Uber at least once a week, said: “It will definitely impact my life, I have got used to the ease and cost-effectiveness of using Uber, and I’ve always had positive experiences.”