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Britons divided over London's Uber ban

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MIDWEST CITY, Okla.- The Transport for London (TFL) decided not to renew Uber’s license to operate in the city. Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London and chairman of the TFL, labeled the ride-hailing company “not fit and proper” to operate in London, affecting 3.5 million Uber users and 40,000 of their drivers. Since then, there has been a petition signed by over 800,000 people to restore Uber’s license which expires Sept. 30th, but there are others who want TFL to stand their ground, creating the latest issue to divide the citizens of the United Kingdom.

TfL cited failure to report serious offenses committed by drivers, as well as failure to conduct sufficient background checks on drivers, as some of the grounds for not renewing their license.To add flames to the fire, prior to losing their license, Uber was accused by the Metropolitan Police of failing to report sexual crimes, highlighting an incident where an unreported Uber driver went on to assault another woman.

Still, there are many females Londoners who argue that Uber keeps them safer than other options available. Under the trending hashtag #saveuber many have expressed how Uber has prevented them from walking home at night along dangerous streets and stopped them from being harassed. In contrast, under the hashtag #deleteuber many women expressed disgust, agreeing that the “immoral company has no place on London's street” as stated by General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association, Steve McNamara.

Uber has stepped in and offered a competitive and affordable service, taking away the monopoly that the traditional black cabs have had on the market. Black cabs have developed a reputation for being overpriced and unfriendly and there are some who believe Uber has been banned in an effort to drive business back towards black cabs, which has led to the hashtag #boycottblackcabs. In 2016 roughly 8,000 black cab drivers took the street in 2016 to protest Uber affecting their wages.

Through their online petition, Uber has attempted to paint themselves as a company that brings "choice to consumers" and job opportunities to those who need them describing themselves as an “innovative” company in London. However, the public has been quick to criticize the company for using loopholes in the UK and the EU to avoid paying taxes, loopholes that companies solely based in the UK are unable to use, allowing Uber to undercut the prices of other ride-sharing services.

Although Uber initially approached being stripped of their license with what Khan described as “aggressive threats”, a few days later, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi apologized saying, "On behalf of everyone at Uber globally, I apologize for the mistakes we've made." Khan acknowledged the apology and encouraged talks between Uber and the TFL. However, with Uber’s rival Lyft attempting to hone in on the London market, and people around the world who have similar stories about Uber pushing their communities to take similar action as London, we have yet to see if Uber will fully recover.

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Alicea Walley

Alicea Walley is a work-at-home mom of one with a degree of English Law and Spanish...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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