Uber Stripped of its License to Operate in London

Shares of Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE: UBER) are down about 1.5% on Monday after the company was stripped of its license to operate in London over safety concerns.

Transport of London, the city’s transport regulator, said it has identified “a pattern of failures” by Uber, including several safety breaches. 

Transport of London said a change to Uber’s systems allowed unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts, allowing them to pick up passengers as if they were the booked driver. 

It also identified that dismissed or suspended drivers were able to create an alternative Uber account and carry passengers. Other serious breaches have also occurred, including several insurance-related issues, according to the regulator. 

“Safety is our absolute top priority,” said Helen Chapman, Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging at Transport for London. “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 the future.”

Uber is calling the ban “extraordinary and wrong”. It has 21 days to appeal, during which time the company will operate as usual throughout London. 

Transport of London previously suspended Uber’s license to operate in 2017 over public safety concerns. Following the decision, Uber was granted a 15-month probationary license. Most recently, it was awarded a two month license in September.