LONDON - London’s transportation regulator Friday stripped taxi-hailing app Uber of its license to operate in the British capital because it said it failed to show adequate corporate responsibility that affected public safety and security.
Transport for London said Uber was not "fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license" and cited the San Francisco-headquartered firm's approach to handling criminal offenses and its use of software to block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to the app. Transport for London said such moves prevented "officials from undertaking regulator or law enforcement duties."
The ruling is the latest setback for a company that has been rocked by corporate cultural issues including allegations of sexism and aggressiveness. Dara Khosrowshahi took over from Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick as CEO earlier this year. In Europe, the company has been forced to pull out of Bulgaria and Denmark and may soon exit Italy. It also faces restrictions in France, Spain and Hungary.
Tom Elvidge, Uber's general manager in London, said in a statement that "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."
He added: "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."
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he supported Friday’s decision. He said any operator of taxi services in the city "needs to play by the rules" and "providing an innovative service must not be at the expense of customer safety and security."
Uber has 21 days to appeal the decision, during which time it can continue to operate. Uber operates in more than 600 cities around the world, according to the firm. It operates in more than 40 towns and cities in Britain not affected by Friday's ruling.
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