Uber Pushes to Appeal the London Ban

September 25, 2017 - 2 minutes read

It looks like London app developers are about to have a harder time getting around the city (well, unless they use its very accessible and wide-ranging public transit system). On Friday, Transport for London, the capital’s transportation authority, decided not to renew Uber’s operating license because of the startup’s lack of “corporate responsibility.” Uber’s use of Greyball, a software the company developed to identify certain riders and deny them service, was one of the big reasons for TfL’s decision. The regulators were also concerned about the ride-hailing giant’s approach to reporting crimes that take place during rides.

For app developers who have kept up with headlines over the last year or so, it’s hard to argue with the accusation that Uber is unethical. But Uber is fighting back — and why wouldn’t they? Getting banned from one of the major cities of the world is not a good look for business. Freshly hired CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has vowed to repeal the decision and to make necessary changes to get back in Transport for London’s good graces. “It’s critical that we act with integrity in everything we do, and learn how to be a better partner to every city we operate in,” he wrote in an email to Uber’s employees.

A Change.org petition to keep Uber in London has already gathered 750,000 signatures at the time of writing and will likely gather many more before the day is out. But does the company deserve another chance? While some Uber die-hards argue have accused the city of being anti-innovation, it seems more accurate to characterize the ban as anti-shady corporate practices. After all, the concerns cited had to do with abusive policies towards the consumer. London’s regulatory action against the company looks like an effective way to push Uber to be better, which is something even its most gung ho defenders should want. Uber hasn’t left London yet. During the appeals process, the company will still be able to operate in London, so any app developers who want to can still hail a ride.

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