The Guardian view on Uber in London: obey the rules | Editorial

The Guardian view on Uber in London: obey the rules | Editorial
Many Londoners are horrified that the taxi app faces a ban. But this is a defining moment

The decision by Transport for London to withdraw Uber’s operating licence in the capital – it continues unhindered in its 19 other UK centres – feels like a catastrophe for its 40,000 drivers and for many of the 3.5 million people who use it every day. For Uber, it is a battle over the nature of its business – ride-sharing app or, as TfL says, a minicab firm subject to the same rules as other minicab operators. But in the bigger picture, this is a potentially defining confrontation between the demand for cheap services and the power of the regulator.

In a city where the cost of housing means many people travel long distances to work unsocial hours for low pay, Uber’s low fares and generally prompt service have been a lifeline. To them, TfL will look as if it has bowed down to pressure from the capital’s infamously protectionist black cabs. But Uber, reluctantly complying with TfL’s rule, is accused of failing to take passenger safety as seriously as it should, and using a software programme, Greyball, to foil scrutiny (which Uber denies). It has three weeks to appeal, and until the case is resolved, it can continue operating. If it wants to go on doing business in London in the long term, it has a straightforward remedy – obey the rules.

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Source: Guardian Transport

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