As smartphones reached every hook and corner of the world, use of mobile apps to get the everyday services became more common. Uber, the taxi-hailing service, is one amongst those companies who have acquired a lot of business through their mobile app. In fact, the website for booking cabs was developed much later.
Yesterday, Uber’s largest market in the UK, London was taken away by storm when the Transport for London authority declined to renew its license for operating in London after September 30th, when it expires. The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan said that he is not against the revoking of the license, but all companies must follow the rules and regulations.
The decision came as a result of the negative brand publicity of Uber in London, owing to the popularity of assumed scandals, allegations of sexism and bullying customers. This was evident when the Transport for London authority mentioned that Uber has portrayed ‘lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues having potential public safety and security implications‘.
Yet, as many as 400,000 London residents have signed the petition asking Transport for London authority to reverse its decision. They are growing strong in number, tweeting that they prefer Uber over Black Cabs. Interestingly, the Black Cab drivers of London were also at the backend of depriving Uber it’s license for the coming year.
The Black Cab Drivers might be afraid that Uber is going to steal their market, but wait. Uber still has a 21 day period to launch an appeal to Transport for London authority, with strong points and shall continue to operate until the issue is solved. With a user base of around 3.5 million and driver base of 40,000 in London, the company’s shutting down should not come so easily.
The serious implications of this denial would be:
- Loss of employment for 40,000 Uber London drivers.
- Stress on daily traveling of 3.5 million Londoners who were avid Uber users.
- Decrease in popularity in 632 other cities where Uber operates.
- Black Cabs charging higher fares for having less supply than demand for public transport.
- Sharp fall in revenue of the great company that has come a long way since 2009.
Well, the cost for the bad reputation is huge. Uber has been accused by Transport for London authority for either not disclosing or taking too long to report the crimes that were associated with their drivers.
Also, the use of Greyball, the shielding software in Uber app, which prevented the authorities from monitoring Uber cabs, was another reason that contributed to the ban on Uber’s operation in London. The feature has been used to evade law enforcement in a number of cities, which can be dangerous for the public.
This shall be a great lesson for Uber to revise its policies and improve its services to such an extent that nobody them questions them again. The 2009 start-up that rose to a magnificent $70 billion this year, has better aims and goals. It should not see doom coming in the form of this blow and people eventually forgetting its name.