Uber has been stripped of its operating licence in London for the second time in two years.
Regulators blamed a 'pattern of failures' with safety and security for the decision. According to reports the company implemented a change to its systems that allowed people to upload photos to other drivers' accounts, effectively meaning that unapproved drivers could pose as approved Uber drivers and pick up passengers. This happened around 14,000 times in London, according to Transport for London (TfL).
Uber in London
Uber is looking to appeal the decision, and can continue to operate during the appeal process, which could be drawn out over several months.
"TfL has identified a pattern of failures by the company including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk," TfL said earlier today. "Despite addressing some of these issues, TfL does not have confidence that similar issues will not reoccur in the future, which has led it to conclude that the company is not fit and proper at this time."
This isn't the first time Uber and TfL have come to blows. In 2017 the regulator denied Uber a licence renewal for operating in the capital after there were issues with its process for reporting criminal activity and checking drivers. Uber then got a temporary 15-month licence after it agreed to make changes.
In September, despite seeking a five-year renewal, Uber was given a two-month extension to its licence. At the time TfL demanded even more conditions to the way the ride-sharing firm operated, meanwhile Uber itself said it would introduce a discrimination button which would allow drivers and passengers to report abuse. It also promised to introduce enhanced safety checks and a direct line to the emergency services..
"Over the last two months we have audited every driver in London," Uber's North East Europe boss Jamie Heywood said. "We have robust systems and checks in place to confirm the identity of drivers and will soon be introducing a new facial matching process, which we believe is a first in London taxi and private hire."