Ban. Appeal. Reprieve. Repeat. London Bans Uber, Again

At some stage Uber will surely realise that it is not the victim of a conspiracy to keep its low-cost ride-hailing app out of the capital, but rather a great idea backed up by interesting software that just missed our point -- safety.

Governance has to underpin all advances in IT, and when a brand that has become synonymous with requesting a taxi from an app fails, it cannot be too surprised at the outcome.

The company has been dogged by issues ever since it launched, around how it monitors its drivers to ensure the safety of passengers. In fact, these questions have been around so long one could be forgiven for wondering how things are going wrong. 

However, that would appear what is happening as TfL has identified 14,000 trips where passengers would not have been insured.

This was because someone had cut and pasted their photograph into the profile of an existing, registered Uber driver so they could appear to be legitimate. However, they were, of course, not the registered Uber driver, and so were not insured.

The other big problem was the ease at which TfL found that drivers who were facing disciplinary action from Uber, or who had been sacked from the app, could just open up another account and carry on working as if nothing had happened. 

Londoners may have their qualms about the cost of a black cab ride, but it would probably be fair to say they take comfort that their driver will always be qualified, registered, insured and safe.

The same just cannot be said for Uber. To begin with they were believed to not be taking incidents with drivers seriously enough, and were not transparent on reporting issues. The crux of the issue, however, which Uber just hasn't be able to deal with, is how people know the guy who has picked them up is a real Uber driver, or someone sharing his account who has just uploaded his photo on a profile? How do they know this is a fully registered driver who is insured? How do they know they are safe?

If you cannot help customers answer that simple question, then it cannot be a major surprise that TfL will deem you unfit to operate.

We haven't heard the end of Uber, of course. There will be an appeal process and the possibility of getting another short-term extension and promising, again, that its systems will do better and it is making progress. 

Remember, though, it was only operating already on a short-term licence to give it time to show it could deliver on promised improvements. TfL says it has not come up to scratch. Uber denies this and claims the decision is "extraordinary and wrong."

What is for sure is that its fate will be decided within the next 21 days.

Expect another short-term extension to improve its operations and reassure the regulator it can protect the public's safety before the cycle gets repeated again. 

1 comment about "Ban. Appeal. Reprieve. Repeat. London Bans Uber, Again".
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  1. David Beck from Retired, November 25, 2019 at 12:56 p.m.

    If you think your black cab driver will "always be qualified, registered, insured and safe", you are an idiot. Ever think what happens when a driver is ill? Who is driving the cab then; brother, cousin, mate?

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