Uber denied London licence following 14,000 uninsured trips

Transport for London has announced it would not renew Uber’s private hire operator's licence, following “a pattern of failures”, including several breaches, which placed passengers at risk.

For instance, unauthorised drivers were able to exploit a weakness in the company’s systems to upload their photos to other driver accounts.

This allowed them to pick up passengers as though they were the booked driver, which occurred in at least 14,000 trips. All these journeys were uninsured.

TfL suggested that other breaches have also occurred, including several insurance-related issues, without providing further information. Some of these led TfL to prosecute the private hire company earlier this year for causing and permitting the use of vehicles without the correct hire or reward insurance in place.

The statutory body said it does not have confidence that Uber has a robust system for protecting passenger safety while managing changes to its app to fix these issues.

Director of licensing, regulation and charging at TfL, Helen Chapman said: “As the regulator of private hire services in London we are required to make a decision today on whether Uber is fit and proper to hold a licence.

“Safety is our absolute top priority,” she added. “While we recognise Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured.

“It is clearly concerning that these issues arose, but it is also concerning that we cannot be confident that similar issues won't happen again in future.”

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