Thanks to the prevalence of fraudulent drivers in what Transport for London dubbed a “pattern of failures” putting “passenger safety and security at risk,” Uber is about to lose its operating license in the city.
More specifically, the license expired on Monday, but Uber will be temporarily allowed to continue operating in the UK capital.
The 21-day grace period is given to allow the company a chance to have Transport for London’s decision not to renew its license appealed. If the regulator refuses the appeal, Uber will have to cease all operations in the city immediately.
Should that happen, the driving platform will have lost one of its biggest markets in the world: London accounts for roughly 3.5 million users.
The sad part? This isn’t a unique situation.
Uber hasn’t had the best of luck with the law lately. Let’s take a look at some of its recent legal battles around the world.
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time Uber ran into trouble in London.
The ride-hailing app also lost its London license in September 2017 and was forced to operate on a temporary license while changing the company’s executive structure in the UK and implementing new safety measures to protect passengers.
They were then awarded a 15-month license, which is now expired due to the company’s failure to meet Transport for London’s regulatory demands to prevent fraudulent activity.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Uber recently had their lawsuit dismissed by a New York Court. The company was attempting to challenge the city’s limit on the number of ride-hailing drivers on the street.
Just a few months before that, New York implemented new regulations limiting the amount of time any individual Uber driver is able to spend logged in without any passengers.
The regulation was a 2-prong approach to dealing with the city’s infamous congestion and raising the minimum pay for Uber (and Lyft) drivers, which both companies lambasted as discrimination.
Almost simultaneously, an Uber driver from California sued the company for “a willful violation of California law” by continuing to misclassify drivers as “independent contractors.”
On May 3, Maurice Blackburn (a law firm) filed a class-action lawsuit against Uber “in response to losses suffered by drivers, license owners, and operators” after Uber entered the local market.
The backbone of the lawsuit is the fact that the company began illegally offering the UberX service in 4 states.
While Australian law was amended to give Uber a legal footing since, the lawsuit is now focusing on the period preceding that change.
Uber tried (and failed) to break into the German market several times now.
Uber Black – the limousine chauffeur service – was discontinued in 2014 due to a breach of the local Public Transport Act (Personenbeförderungsgesetz).
The Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) upheld that ruling in December 2018 after Uber tried to appeal.
As a result, Uber is now only allowed to operate Uber Black and Uber Taxi in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, and Munich.
However, drivers also have to travel to a dispatch center to confirm ride requests before they’re allowed to pick passengers up.
Last year, Uber was forced to temporarily suspend all activities in Vienna for failing to comply with regulations similar to that of Germany.
The company had to create a dispatch center for ride orders, where drivers would have to leave from and return to. After 2 days, the company was able to continue operations.
Earlier this year, Uber also had to temporarily suspend operations once again for failing to comply with regulations requiring the company to have a subsidiary and trade license.
The Dutch Public Prosecution Office announced in May this year that Uber had to pay a fine of €2,025,000 (plus €309,409 in “criminally earned capital”) for illegal operations between July 2014 and November 2015.
Last year, Uber was also fined a combined total of about $1.17 million by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office ($491,284) and the Dutch Data Protection Authority ($679,257) after failing to protect the personal information of 2.7 million UK and 174,000 Dutch Uber users.
Uber appears to have better luck in India than anywhere else in the world.
After a legal practitioner filed a complaint against both companies in 2018, accusing Uber and Ola alike of price-fixing, the Competition Commission of India ruled neither party was guilty.