Friday, February 26News For London

Khan defends TFL’s rejection of Uber licence


Mayor Sadiq Khan insisted on welcoming innovative companies to help Londoners by providing affordable services, when he was answering a question about Uber licence in Mayor’s Question Time Thursday.

“I welcome innovative companies to help Londoners by providing a better more affordable service,” the Mayor said.

However, Khan reiterated his fully support to TFL’s decision and welcomed the London assembly support of that decision.

“But providing innovative service is not an excuse for not following the rules”, Sadiq Khan told the assembly. He added: “Regulation is there for reason.”

US ride-hailing company Uber was stripped of its London licence on September 22. Transport for London rejected Uber’s application for a new licence on the basis that the company was not “fit and proper” private car operator.

During Question Time, the Mayor of London said that he “was informed by the decision shortly before it was announced by TFL” three weeks ago.

Khan told the assembly that he had been clear that all companies in London must apply by the rules and adhere to the high standard London expects.

“The decision not to re-licence Uber was made by transport for London, in line with its responsibilities as the licencing and regulatory authority for taxi and private hire services in London.”

After the surprising rejection of Uber’s application, the company’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote an open letter apologising for “mistakes we’ve made” following the announcement on Friday.

Sadiq Khan confirmed that he requested a meeting to discuss with TFL how to address the concerns TFL raised because “the global CEO of the company apologised.”

The Conservative AM Andrew Boff questioned the Mayor saying “there will be a further meeting with Uber, is that correct?” after reminding him that he was quoted saying that it is improper for politicians to interfere.

Sadiq Khan replied to this question by saying “I asked the TFL commissioner to make himself so available and I am pleased that he did.”

Boff raised again the question that he is considering it proper to interfere at one point but improper at another point. He asked him also whether a new application of Uber is being considered.

The Mayor denied that he  intervened in this issue.

Replying to a question about the possible application for licence, Sadiq Khan explained that Uber can appeal in a period of three weeks after the application was rejected.

In the aftermath of the rejection, more than 600,000 people signed a petition calling for TFL to reverse its decision.  The campaign Save Your Uber in London was set up by the ride-sharing firm on the website.