Travel News

London Says “NO!” to Uber – But Uber Is Not Done Yet

Written by Charlie

London has said “NO” to Uber continuing to operate in the city. This will leave many thousands unemployed but it is not done for Uber yet.

Yesterday, news came out that the London taxi authority, Transport for London (TfL) announced they would not renew their license for Uber to operate in London.

Their decision was based on what they said was Uber being “not fit and proper” to operate in London. According to Bloomberg, “The agency cited a failure to do proper background checks on drivers, report crimes and a program called “Greyball” used to avoid regulators.” Their current license expires September 30.

London Says “NO!” to Uber

It was just a few months ago that Uber received a four month license to continue to operate and, apparently, many were shocked at TfL’s decision to not renew it again. The taxi companies have a lot of pull in London and this is very clearly a win for them as they fight against the huge Uber ride-sharing service.

Uber said that they have 40,000 drivers that will now be out of work but it may be a little more complicated for Uber than that. While Uber has long insisted that their drivers are “self-employed contractors” a union for drivers has said that they should be considered employees of Uber. This classification would allow them to receive more benefits and pay obligations from Uber so some of them may be hoping this ban helps Uber to adjust their position on some of these things if they hope to have the strong backing of drivers going forward, and likely from the regulatory body as well.

In a 90 day period, Uber received 3.5 million riders in London making it one of their biggest markets. Already, 500,000 people have signed a petition to call for Uber to be allowed to continue to operate (no word on how many of those are actually in London). It will clearly disrupt both the drivers, the locals, and the many tourists who feel comfortable when they can pull up the familiar Uber app and call a vehicle without having to touch cash or a credit card.

Uber Is Not Done Yet

Uber has 21 days to appeal and they already said they will definitely be appealing. While they are appealing, they will be allowed to continue to operate. This is in spite of their current license expiring in 7 days.

What does this mean if you are traveling to London? Until the appeal process is concluded, you will still be able to use Uber. I am sure Uber will put out some statement when it is decided what will happen with them for a more permanent situation.

Uber has become incredibly rich and powerful and my guess is that they may make some concessions to continue to operate in London. London is a very profitable market for them and they “employ” many thousands of drivers who use Uber as their sole source of income. While the Mayor of London and the Transport for London are against Uber, time will tell if Uber’s supporters win out.

As a traveler, what is your thoughts about Uber’s denial to continue in London? If you live in London, what do you think about this decision?

Featured image courtesy of MAHATHIR MOHD YASIN /

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


    • This is definitely not a new problem (and I certainly feel bad for anyone that loses a job). Every industry has faced this as new systems and processes come into an industry. At least it is not driverless cars replacing drivers yet.

  • just seems to me that London has a point. Here in NYC Uber gets away with behavior that sure sounds like it should be illegal. (Uber drivers routinely cancel pickups when they become aware that surge started and they can get paid more for new pickups. The cancelled passengers get charged $5 for the driver cancelling AND have to book again, this time at surge rates. Uber ignores the complaints other than refunding the $5. Uber declares that drivers are not told when surge begins but should be aware that drivers have other apps for that.)

  • “London” did not say no to Uber. There is a petition with over half a million names on it opposing this protectionist measure.

    The decision was taken by Transport for London, an incompetent, unresponsive bureaucracy in the pocket of vested interests. They didn’t consult with a single Londoner. They invented the claim that “Uber is unsafe” as that was the trumped-up pretext most likely to get acceptance among the credulous proper Charlie’s out there. If 500,000 Londoners sign a petition opposing this diktat you <> that the safety claim is utterly false.

    Charley, research before you write (or go and do something else). This is sloppy, inaccurate reporting.

    • Try reading the whole post. I mentioned (couple of times) the 500,000 on the petition. As far as Uber is concerned, it was the city of London that said no. It currently doesn’t matter what the actual citizens of London think about it until the TfL decides to actually listen to you all as they were the ones that could decide to not renew the license.
      And I do hope that Uber is allowed to continue as I feel the competition alone is good but I also enjoy the convenience of Uber.

      • Petitio now over 600k. Clearly the ‘safety’ argument was fabricated.

        Who does TfL represent? Clearly not consumers.

  • Never have used Uber or Lyft or any other such cabbie. The mayor of London is right on this call, as are the 10 members of parliament who urged to ban Uber. The issue revolves around horrific crimes committed by Uber drivers in the London area, including many which have been covered up by Uber. Crimes committed by Uber drivers upon their passengers include rape, robbery, throat slashings and murder. Reference Scotland Yard and the Metropolitan Police statistics. The least of the worries are out of work migrant Uber drivers, the greatest worry is whether you’ll arrive alive to your destination. Print the full story the next time.

    • ” The issue revolves around horrific crimes committed by Uber drivers in the London area, including many which have been covered up by Uber. Crimes committed by Uber drivers upon their passengers include rape, robbery, throat slashings and murder. ”

      Could you turn this into a compelling movie? 500,000 Uber riders (and counting) want to see it. It can be the first of your ‘fantasy’ series.

      One detail, ‘Never have used Uber or Lyft or any other such cabbie’. Have you considered that you are too ignorant of the facts to have any useful opinions on this issue?