Uber’s ability to keep operating in London is on a knife edge as Transport for London (TfL) considers whether to remove its licence over concerns about the identification of drivers.
The biggest taxi-hailing app could have its permit denied for the second time in just over two years.
TfL’s decision will be announced tomorrow, when Uber’s two-month probationary licence expires. The body is said to be mulling the “nuclear option” and “actively considering” a ban, according to Sky News.
TfL reportedly told Uber last week that the company had not adequately addressed concerns over its process for identifying drivers. That prompted the Silicon Valley giant, which has 3.5m London customers and a market value of $50bn (£40bn), to engage in intensive talks with TfL to try to win it over ahead of the deadline.
Uber’s drive into cities around the world has led to battles with transport authorities over safety concerns and legal fights with traditional taxi firms.
The company, now led by Dara Khosrowshahi, was hit with its first London ban in September 2017, when mayor Sadiq Khan said it was not playing by the rules.
That decision was overturned by the courts in June last year and Uber was given a 15-month licence. Khan is due to stand for re-election in May, meaning a ban for Uber could be a risky move for him because of the app’s popularity.
The company would have a brief window to appeal if TfL refused to grant a licence. However, it would probably be allowed to operate during the appeal process.
TfL said that “no decision has been made”.