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App and ride service Uber not 'fit and proper' to operate in London

Uber's app contains the ability to share your ride details

Government body Transport for London will not grant Uber a new license to operate in London, saying that despite improvements, it maintained a "pattern of failures.". Drivers can continue working while Uber appeals the decision.

The app and ride company Uber is to lose its licence to operate in London, one of its largest markets, after Transport for London declared it not "fit and proper." The decision follows a previous one in 2017 which saw Uber granted two extensions to its license on the condition that it address problems with the service. According to Transport for London, insufficient improvements have been made.

Helen Chapman, Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging at TfL, said:

"While we recognize Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured," Helen Chapman, of Transport for London, told BBC News

"I know this decision may be unpopular with Uber users, but their safety is the paramount concern," said London Mayor Sadiq Khan. "Regulations are there to keep Londoners safe."

Approximately 45,000 drivers work for Uber in the city, but Transport for London said that it had identified a "pattern of failures by the company including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk."

"A key issue identified was that a change to Uber's systems allowed unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts," says Transport for London in a press release.

"This allowed them to pick up passengers as though they were the booked driver," it continued, "which occurred in at least 14,000 trips - putting passenger safety and security at risk. This means all the journeys were uninsured and some passenger journeys took place with unlicensed drivers, one of which had previously had their licence revoked by TfL."

Uber has responded publicly over Twitter, calling the decision "just wrong," and saying it has "fundamentally changed how we operate in London."

The company plans to appeal the decision and while that it goes through that process, its London drivers can continue to work. It was via a similar court process that Uber got to continue despite the 2017 decision to not renew its license.

Uber has been heavily running television and streaming ads in the UK promoting the safety of its service and the convenience of the iPhone app.

The company has also previously broken Apple rules for submissions in the App Store.