More than 540,000 people in roughly 24 hours have signed a petition supporting Uber, which the city of London effectively outlawed Friday.
“By wanting to ban our app from the capital, Transport for London and their chairman the Mayor have given in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice,” the online petition reads, which Uber started. “If this decision stands, it will put more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work and deprive millions of Londoners of a convenient and affordable form of transport.”
Transport for London (TfL), the local government transportation agency, announced Friday that it rejected the ride-sharing giant’s application to renew its license to operate in the city, citing “a lack of corporate responsibility.”
“Private hire operators must meet rigorous regulations, and demonstrate to TfL that they do so, in order to operate,” TfL said in a statement. “TfL has concluded that Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence.” (RELATED: Judge Rules Uber Drivers In London Must Pass An English Test)
Uber, specifically Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber in London, vehemently refuted the regulatory body’s allegations.
“3.5 million Londoners who use our app, and more than 40,000 licensed drivers who rely on Uber to make a living will be astounded by this decision,” Elvidge said, according to TechCrunch. “To defend the livelihoods of all those drivers, and the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use our app, we intend to immediately challenge this in the courts.”
Regardless of the precise number of signatories, Elvidge’s prediction that London residents will be unpleasantly surprised appears to be correct.
As of 10:30 a.m. EST, the petition has more than 544,000 official signees. It is likely to meet its intended goal of 1,000,000 supporters some time relatively soon, given the rate of participation.
The petition will be delivered to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, according to the fine print at the end.
Khan stood up for his fellow public officials, saying that TfL is just appropriately following orders.
“TfL has been given rules by Parliament and their job is to make sure companies play by the rules,” Khan said Friday morning, according to the radio show LBC (Leading Britain’s Conversation). “TfL isn’t anti-private hire vehicle operators, what TfL is against is companies not playing by the rules so customers, members of staff and others should be angry at Uber for not playing by the rules, rather than TfL who are doing their job by making sure companies are playing by the rules.”
London is just one of several places to restrict or eliminate Uber and other ride-sharing services. (RELATED: Uber’s Been Using A Secretive Tool To Avoid Detection By Predatory Regulators)
Cities like Boston, Portland, Las Vegas and Paris and countries like Australia, Italy, China and South Korea, have at one point imposed rules that restrict, or altogether ban, Uber and similar companies, often due to the respective officials favoring the local, well-established taxi companies.
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