Shaun Bailey: Uber ban shows London is not open for business

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Conservative candidate for London Mayor, Shaun Bailey, has criticised Mayor Sadiq Khan and Transport for London (TfL) over their decision not to renew Uber’s licence.

He told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer his mayoral election rival “should have made TfL supervise Uber properly”.

“We’ve had this great big idea that London is open for business, this sends a clear message that it is not open for business,” he said.

“If this is about safety there’s many parts of our transport network that are not safe that the Mayor could and should concentrate on more. Look at the Central line, over 3,000 sexual assaults.”

On Monday Uber’s application for a new London operating licence was refused after at least 14,000 trips were made with uninsured drivers who were not the ones shown on the app.

TfL said there were “several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk”.

The transport body said some of the drivers involved in the uninsured trips were unlicensed, and one had received a police caution for distributing indecent images of children.

Mr Khan, who is the chairman of TfL, said the decision “may be unpopular with Uber users” but “regulations are there to keep Londoners safe”.

Former London mayor Ken Livingstone told talkRADIO he believed the decision was about safety.

“It’s not really about politics. The safety issues that have come up, clearly Sadiq Khan’s got to deal with that and he’s done that,” he said.

“If I’d not lost to Boris when they’d applied I would have turned them down because the clear impact of all of this was to undermine the wages and conditions of black cab and mini cab drivers.”

Uber has called the decision “extraordinary and wrong”, and plans to “continue to operate as normal” while an appeal goes through the courts.

The ride sharing app said its London operation has 45,000 licensed drivers and 3.5 million customers.

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