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London Uber ban sparks fears in cities across the country

Fears are growing that Uber could be booted out of major UK cities in the wake of London's controversial decision to strip the taxi hailing app of its licence.

Transport for London (TfL) confirmed yesterday that they would not be renewing Uber's licence at the end of the month due to concerns they are failing to report crimes carried out by its drivers.

The firm, which employs more than 40,000 drivers in London and has 3.5 million customers in the capital, has slammed the decision and said it will appeal.

But it also fears the move will encourage other authorities across the UK to launch their own crackdown.

Uber's private hire licence will not be renewed after a bombshell decision by TfL today

Uber's private hire licence will not be renewed after a bombshell decision by TfL today

A black cab driver celebrates outside Paddington station yesterday after the decision to strip Uber of its licence in London was announced

A black cab driver celebrates outside Paddington station yesterday after the decision to strip Uber of its licence in London was announced

More than 140,000 people have signed a petition calling for the decision to be reversed

More than 140,000 people have signed a petition calling for the decision to be reversed

Major cities including Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle have said they are monitoring the situation.

Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson said he 'remains convinced that deregulation of the taxi trade is hurting competition, preventing licensing authorities from doing their jobs'.

He added that Liverpool City Council will keep an eye on what happens in London and could take action.

Uber's licence to operate in Manchester is not up for renewal until 2021 but the council's executive member for neighbourhoods, Councillor Nigel Murphy, said they will be monitoring the situation.

This approach echoes what Bristol and Newcastle have said.

In Brighton, taxi drivers have urged the council not to renew Uber's licence. The city's MP, Caroline Lucas, welcomed TfL's decision.

She said: '#Uber business model irresponsible to the core. Hope @Uber ups game & shows more corporate responsibility #gigeconomy.'

A spokesman for Cardiff City Council said there was no evidence to suggest Uber was breaching the terms of their licence in the city.

Meanwhile, a petition calling for TfL to reverse their decision has been signed by nearly 500,000 people in less than 24 hours.

The petition, started by Uber London, says: 'By wanting to ban our app from the capital, Transport for London and their chairman the Mayor have given in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice.

Transport for London announced the decision in this tweet, which is said to have been posted just one minute after it informed the firm

Transport for London announced the decision in this tweet, which is said to have been posted just one minute after it informed the firm

The decision is another setback for the firm, which has previously been banned by other cities

The decision is another setback for the firm, which has previously been banned by other cities

'If this decision stands, it will put more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work and deprive millions of Londoners of a convenient and affordable form of transport.

'This decision is affecting the real lives of a huge number of honest and hard-working drivers in London.'

Critics of Uber - which boasts more than 5 billion passengers in over 630 cities worldwide - insist it has failed to properly vet its drivers and is an example of the so-called 'gig economy' that gives workers no employment rights.

Worried Uber drivers and angry passengers yesterday joined a growing chorus of criticism - with delighted cabbies rejoicing at the potential downfall of their fiercest competitor.

Father-of-three Bangalie, who has been driving for the company for almost a year, fears he could be forced to claim benefits if Uber's appeal is not successful.

He said: 'My family are worried about the future of my job, even if I go on benefits I will not get the same amount of money.

'I have bills and rent to pay and mouths to feed, if I cannot do that there is going to be a problem. I could be signing up for job seekers in less than two weeks time.'

Passenger Lucy Williams, 30, from London, said: 'It's terrible, I get Ubers like three times a week and they've saved me a lot of money from black cabs.'

But black cab driver Kenneth Stein, 54, said: 'I have nothing against Uber drivers but we as black cab drivers are regulated to the hilt while they have next to no regulation.'

Uber said in a statement that the decision would 'show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies'.  The firm's current licence expires on September 30.

As part of their fightback, they are emailing all of their members individually to urge them to sign the petition.  

Many Londoners took to Twitter to complain about the TFL decision

Many Londoners took to Twitter to complain about the TFL decision

Others welcomed the decision by the city's authorities, saying the company was dangerous

Others welcomed the decision by the city's authorities, saying the company was dangerous

 But the firm has faced a barrage of criticism in recent years over the safety of customers, working rights for drivers and opposition from black cab drivers.

TfL concluded that the minicab app is 'not fit and proper' to operate in the capital due to concerns which have 'public safety and security implications'.

Transport for London said: 'TfL considers that Uber's approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications.' 

Mayor of Sadiq Khan, who was not involved in the decision but supports it, said: 'All companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect - particularly when it comes to the safety of customers.

'Providing an innovative service must not be at the expense of customer safety and security.' 

What happens now for Uber users? 

Uber's current licence expires on September 30, but today's ruling allows them to continue operating during the appeal process.

That should mean the minicabs are still available for hiring for at least a month after September 30, while the court appeal is heard.

Other similar apps are now piling in to try to mop up the customers Uber will leave behind.

Confirming Uber would appeal against the decision in court, Tom Elvidge, the firm's general manager in London, said: '3.5 million Londoners who use our app, and more than 40,000 licensed drivers who rely on Uber to make a living, will be astounded by this decision.

'By wanting to ban our app from the capital Transport for London and the Mayor have caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice. 

'If this decision stands, it will put more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work and deprive Londoners of a convenient and affordable form of transport.

'To defend the livelihoods of all those drivers, and the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use our app, we intend to immediately challenge this in the courts. '

He added: 'Uber operates in more than 600 cities around the world, including more than 40 towns and cities here in the UK. This ban would show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies who bring choice to consumers.' 

The firm's complaints were backed by London First, which campaigns for business in the capital.

The group's David Leam said: 'This will be seen as a Luddite decision by millions of Londoners and international visitors who use Uber, and will also hit London's reputation as a global tech hub. London needs to be open to new ideas, businesses and services.' 

But Labour MP Wes Streeting, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis, welcomed the decision, which he said would 'draw a line in the sand'. 

The Ilford North MP added: 'Uber has not shown itself to be a fit and proper operator.

'It stands accused by the police of failing to properly handle serious allegations of rape and sexual assault of passengers.

'It had to be dragged through the courts to recognise its responsibility to provide even the most basic rights and protections to Uber drivers.'

The number of private hire drivers in London has almost doubled to more than 116,000 from 65,000 in 2013/14. 

Drivers of traditional black London cabs held a protest this year against the minicab app. The app was seen as unfairly undercutting black cabs due to the lack of regulation of drivers

Uber driver James Farrar said: 'This is a devastating blow for 30,000 Londoners who now face losing their job and being saddled with unmanageable vehicle-related debt.

'To strip Uber of its licence after five years of laissez-faire regulation is a testament to a systemic failure at TfL.

'Rather than banish Uber, TfL should have strengthened its regulatory oversight, curbed runaway licensing and protected the worker rights of drivers.'

The GMB union handed in a petition with 100,000 signatures on Monday to TfL, calling on Uber to improve workers' rights or 'get out of London' ahead of the licence decision.

We brought down Uber, boast shameless unions

By Charlie Moore for MailOnline

Shameless unions today boasted they were responsible for banning Uber, bringing misery to 40,000 drivers and 3.5million customers. 

After TfL announced its decision to revoke the firm's licence, Trades Union Congress General Secretary Frances O'Grady said: 'Today's ruling shows the power of union campaigning. And it's a huge result for GMB.'

The ill-judged boast will fuel suspicions the decision was made to appease outdated black cab drivers who have long campaigned for their competition to be restricted or eliminated.

IEA director Mark Littlewood said: 'Banning Uber, and clamping down on the Gig Economy more generally, is a restriction upon freedom of choice, both for Uber's drivers and passengers. 

'In doing so, Transport for London has privileged the views of a powerful minority who wish to restrict consumer choice over the will of millions of ordinary Londoners.'

'Today's decision is an assault on drivers and customers alike, and a victory for protectionism.'

'I could be on the dole in two weeks': Uber driver tells of worries 

An Uber driver yesterday told how the decision to remove the Uber licence would leave him struggling to make ends meet.

Father-of-three Bangalie has been driving for the company for almost a year after finishing an Accounting and Finance degree at Greenwich University.

The 39-year-old of Woolwich, south east London, said he could be signing up for job seekers allowance in less than two weeks if the taxi company are unsuccessful in their appeal.

He said: 'I finished university this year and I needed a job that was convenient for me, if I didn't have this job I would be on benefits.

'This job is great for me because I can choose when I want to work, I am only doing it while I look for a job in accounting.'

Uber driver Bangalie said the decision could leave him unable to support his family

Uber driver Bangalie said the decision could leave him unable to support his family

He added: 'And it is so convenient for the passenger, when you jump in a black cab you do not know the driver and they could take you anywhere.'

'My family are worried about the future of my job, even if I go on benefits I will not get the same amount of money.

'I have bills and rent to pay and mouths to feed, if I cannot do that there is going to be a problem. I could be signing up for job seekers in less than two weeks time.'

He insisted the service was safe, adding: 'When you get into an Uber you know the driver, you have arranged where they will pick you up and where you are going. If anything happens you can track the driver down.

'My family are worried about the future of my job, even if I go on benefits I will not get the same amount of money.

'I have bills and rent to pay and mouths to feed, if I cannot do that there is going to be a problem. I could be signing up for job seekers in less than two weeks time.'

Black cab driver says previous system was not a level playing field

Kenneth Stein said black cabs were regulated 'to the hilt' while Uber were barely checked at all

Kenneth Stein said black cabs were regulated 'to the hilt' while Uber were barely checked at all

A black cab driver has welcomed the prospect of Uber losing their licence in the capital blaming the company for snarling up the capital with traffic jams.

Kenneth Stein, 54, claimed the firm's drivers were not subjected to the same stringent background checks as black cab drivers.

Mr Stein, who has driven black cabs for 15 years, said: 'I have nothing against with Uber drivers but we as black cab drivers are regulated to the hilt while they have next to no regulation.

'Uber have 120,000 cars and the whole of London is grid locked and it's mainly because of Uber, it is just shocking.

'If they had said we'll keep it to 24,000 Uber cars that would have been fine, but 120,000 is too many.

'It's people in high places have let them get this far so it is right they have lost their licence, but don't count your chickens yet.'

He added the best thing the black cab industry has done to embrace emerging technology which still relies on 'the knowledge' all drivers have to take was the introduction of card readers for customers.

He added: 'How many sexual assaults per year have been reported in Uber cabs? It is probably a lot more than they have said. '

Passengers rue loss of choice and say minicabs are more dangerous 

Londoners were generally unhappy about the decision in Kensington today, insisting it will not make them safer but will leave them out of pocket.

Lucy Williams, 30, from London said: 'It's terrible, I get Ubers like three times a week and they've saved me a lot of money from black cabs.

'I don't see why people have a safety problem because you watch the car on your map. I've never had any bad experiences, all my friends use them. I think it's great.

Lucy Williams was among the Londoners unhappy at the move

Pablo Galleguillos was among the Londoners unhappy at the move

Lucy Williams and Pablo Galleguillos were among the Londoners unhappy at the move

She added: 'It's back to minicabs now and minicabs are the worst, you've no idea who they are or where they are or anything and they don't care about their ratings. Uber cab drivers care about their rating.'

Pablo Galleguillos, 26, from Chile, added: 'I think it's really, really bad because you have to have a choice to use a taxi or use an Uber.

'I think everyone is using the phone, everyone is using the phone. I think it's really bad news.

'I've used both, normal taxis and Uber and Uber is much cheaper and they tell you the price instantly.'

Michael Dedza, 25, a swimming instructor from New York, USA, said: 'I have found Uber very safe. I once lost my phone in an Uber before and you know exactly what cab it was and I contacted them and they just dropped it off the next day.

'You know the driver's name and you know they are licensed because they have to be, I'm a really big fan and I think London would be missing out if Uber lost their licence.'

Emily Estlin said she feels safe in Uber-arranged cabs

Michael Dedza said he feels safe in Uber-arranged cabs

Emily Estlin and Michael Dedza both said they feel safe in Uber-arranged cabs

Emily Estlin, 28, a sommelier in London Bridge from Hackney, east London, said: 'I get an Uber almost every day because I'm always late for work.

'It's cheaper than a black cab and I always feel totally safe in an Uber and no bad things have ever happened to me.

'If Uber lose their licence I will have to get on the bus, which would take me a lot longer and if I wanted a taxi a black cab is pretty much twice the price. I'd happily sign a petition to keep Uber, it's great.'

Brendon Hurley, 28, said: 'I'm a big fan of Uber, if they weren't around I'd probably use a black cab but if there is a cheaper option you are always going to use it.

'I've just got out of the cab and the driver didn't mention the fact he might be out of a job.

'I have heard the horror stories about Uber but I've happily put my parents and friends in Uber taxis before and you are always going to get problems in some taxis, whether they are Uber's or black cabs.'

App user Rimi Char, a 43-year-old event planner, added: 'I have got used to the ease and cost effectiveness of using Uber and I've always had positive experiences.'

How Uber's reputation has been tainted by a series of cases where drivers have attacked passengers

The reputation Uber has gained for dangerous drivers has come from a series of court cases in the capital.

Scotland Yard criticised the firm after it emerged it failed to report 48 serious crimes. 

In July, driver Jahir Hussain was jailed for 12 years for raping drunken women he picked up outside east London bars.

His first victim awoke to find Hussain fondling her and undoing his belt on 12 October last year.

Uber driver Jahir Hussain was jailed for sex attacks on women

Uber driver Samson Haile was jailed for a sex attack on a women

Uber drivers Jahir Hussain and Samson Haile were both jailed for sex attacks on women

The woman lay still in the back of the cab frozen in fear as he raped her, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard. Father-of-four Hussain then carried out two attacks in quick succession in the early hours of 2 December.

He wasn't working for Uber at the time of the attacks, but the first of his two victims had booked an

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