A man poses holding a smartphone showing the app for ride-sharing cab service Uber in London on Sept 22, 2017. (BEN FATHERS / AFP)
LONDON - London stripped Uber on Friday of its license to operate from the end of next week in a huge blow to the taxi service and 3.5 million users in one of the world's wealthiest cities.
The capital's transport authority said the Silicon Valley technology giant was not fit and proper to hold a private vehicle hire license and it would not be renewed when it expires on Sept 30.
Uber said regulator Transport for London (TfL) will let it operate until the appeals process is exhausted
Uber, whose 40,000 drivers in London account for a third of private vehicles hired, said it would contest the decision and regulator Transport for London (TfL) will let it operate until the appeals process is exhausted.
"Uber's approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications," TfL said. "TfL must also be satisfied that an operator is fit and proper to hold a license.
Specifically, TfL cited Uber's approach to reporting serious criminal offences, background checks on drivers and software called Greyball that could be used to block regulators from gaining full access to the app.
The loss of the license comes after a tumultuous few months for Uber, including a string of scandals involving allegations of sexism and bullying at the San Francisco-based start-up that forced out former CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick.
Uber, which is valued at about $70 billion and whose investors include Goldman Sachs, has faced protests around the world for shaking up long-established taxi markets.
The taxi app has also been forced to quit several countries, including Denmark and Hungary, and faced regulatory battles in multiple US states and around the world.
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