My reaction to TFL’s decision not to renew the license of Uber in London.
Let’s hope this really is about genuine disagreements, not a political move and that these problems can be resolved. There are millions of Uber customers who rely on this service who will not forgive TFL or Uber if agreement can not be reached and the service ceases.
I hear what the Mayor is saying. Safety is vital but axing a service which 3.5 million Londoners have registered for and employs 40,000 drivers, is not the way you improve safety. If there are problems you don’t axe a service, you fix the problems.
The Mayor has also said he expects Uber to stick within the rules. The Mayor may not control TFL but he is the Mayor of London and has been seeking to justify the ban.
I agree that any firm must adhere to the regulations but I also expect innovative firms to push the boundaries of possibilities. We all understand that regulators have a duty to step in when their are concerns over safety, but crucially they should not limit innovation with those rules. Safety and innovation need not be rivals.
My fear is that this is just part of a wider battle and debate about the way London is changing but we can not ignore the benefits of new innovative services. For example, 42% of Londoners who used Uber recently say they used their car less because of the existence of alternatives like Uber.
Londoners want to use Uber and services like it, and London needs services like this too. I’m on the side of innovation, tech, freedom, choice…… and safety.
The world is changing, sadly I fear this is an occasion where we are taking a step back.
London is meant to be a innovative, exciting city and a global hub for tech. Let’s ensure it continues to be so.