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Take a hike: was TfL right to revoke Uber’s licence?

Written by Eric Johansson on Wednesday, 11 October 2017. Posted in Disruption, Analysis

What do London's entrepreneurs think about TfL's decision to not renew Uber's licence to operate in London

Take a hike: was TfL right to revoke Uber’s licence?

To say that Dara Khosrowshahi's first month at Uber was challenging feels like an understatement. Not only did the new CEO of the ride-hailing unicorn take over a legacy littered with legal battles and scandals, he also had to deal with TfL refusing to renew the tech giant's licence to operate in London.

While Uber argued that the move was demonstrating how the British capital was unwelcoming to innovation, TfL shot back saying that the startup was simply not fit and safe to operate in the city. But whatever the outcome of the ongoing discussions will be one thing is sure: London's transportation system is about to change.

Carl Reader, startup coach and director, Selling a franchise

The reason TfL was forced into making this decision was partly due to incidents experienced by service users and partly as a result of taxi drivers concerned by the impact Uber has had on their business. I disagree that this undue pressure from taxi drivers indicates that London is closed to innovation. The spotlight is on Uber due to the company having seemingly overnight totally reengineered the pricing and delivery of the private-hire sector. Nevertheless this is just a small hurdle for Uber.

Edward Relf, founder and CEO, Laundrapp

Uber’s revoked licence is a terrible decision. The news is a blow for London. How can a city famed for being an influential entrepreneurial hub not be home to one of the world’s largest and most disruptive businesses? It’s senseless. 

Until Uber, I would avoid taking taxis; they are inconvenient and expensive. Uber solved this. There’s no wonder why 2.5 million Londoners use the service. Perhaps if TfL innovated and put customers at the heart of their service we wouldn’t be in this position.

Rune Sovndahl, co-founder and CEO, Fantastic Services

TfL not renewing Uber’s licence came as a surprise to everyone. Although it seems to be more of a negotiation tactic to push Uber to improve, this could have been approached in a different manner. If Uber was to be shut down, nearly 40,000 drivers would be left jobless and millions of users would all feel the repercussions. This is something that cannot be taken lightly and needs serious consideration.

Regardless of the outcome, one thing is for certain: Uber has to change their methods.

Steve Mosser, CEO, Sensee

I welcome the proposed ban. TfL was unsatisfied with Uber’s approach to public safety and don’t forget the reported poor treatment of Uber drivers.

It’s unfortunate that the livelihood for many may be at risk. However, we also need to understand the importance of this ‘nod’ to sustainable work and working with dignity. Consumer and worker safety is paramount, and Uber’s practices have demonstrated carelessness on both these fronts.

About the Author

Eric Johansson

As feature writer and resident Viking, Johansson ensures EB is filled with engaging and eclectic entrepreneurial stories. While one of our freshest faces, he has sharpened his editorial teeth by writing about business, entertainment and fitness.

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