Private taxi app Uber is set to be banned from operating within England’s capital, as a result of Transport for London refusing to update its private hire license after its contract expires later this month, citing “public safety and security implications”.
For those not in the know, Uber allows you to select a pickup point and destination before searching for a local driver to take you on this journey. Drivers must have passed an interview process and should drive a vehicle that meets a certain standard, with many opting for electric cars. Once your driver has been selected, you’re given their name, license plate and a photo of them. When the ride is finished, both driver and passenger are asked to rate the other out of 5 stars, to ensure that the process was safe and successful.
Having access to this information is why many feel safe using Uber: it means that each driver is accountable for their actions, and encourages them to drive safely and provide a comfortable service. Failure to do so may result in harsher repercussions than those given to a local taxi driver for the same driving style.
However, while Uber has been a source of cheap, safe and reliable transport across the world for many, there have been criticisms of how it does not treat drivers as proper employees, and therefore does not guarantee them a minimum wage, or certain rights. Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has also expressed worries that the service may not scrutinise those who apply to be drivers enough, with a series of sexual assault allegations being levelled at individuals who were ‘working’ for Uber in London over the past two years.
So, what does this mean for UH students? Well, Uber is allowed to operate while it appeals the decision, meaning you can still use the service until October 21st at the earliest.
From that point onwards, it isn’t clear how Uber will operate for journeys outside of London. There are currently a number of Uber drivers working in Hatfield, with journeys in and out of London therefore possible. Will these be halted once you reach a certain distance from the city? Will Uber even continue to operate in our area at all?
While Hatfield is not a part of London, searching for a ride within the town redirects you to the London page of the service’s website. Despite this, however, the area highlighted as London on the said page does not extend to Hatfield.
It is unclear whether or not University of Hertfordshire students will still be able to grab an Uber, should the firm fail to appeal the decision, although we intend to update this article with more information as it comes in. While TfL is unlikely to have any say over other areas of the country, it is perfectly possible that nation wide councils could reciprocate the ban.
Are you bothered by the Uber ban? Let us know in the comments, or via Twitter @TridentMediaUK, and maybe you’ll appear in a future article.