Uber’s London Ban May Just Be the Beginning of a Global Ride-Hailing Backlash

Uber’s London Ban May Just Be the Beginning of a Global Ride-Hailing Backlash

Uber was banned from London in 2019 due to concerns about customer safety after it was discovered that the Uber app let drivers fake their identity in thousands of rides. Pressure to create more safety regulations for ride-hailing companies makes them more vulnerable to increased costs. As these companies regularly operate at a loss, new regulations could put them at higher risk for financial trouble. Regulators have been unapologetic, saying they must prioritize public safety.

Key findings

"For Uber, the loss of its license in London puts one of its biggest markets outside of the U.S at risk. The regulator found unlicensed users pretending to be Uber drivers and faking their identities in at least 14,000 trips."

Previously, ride-hailing apps have been under scrutiny for workers' rights. "A new California law is giving workers in the gig economy the right to a minimum wage. A similar battle will soon be underway in New York, where lawmakers are planning to take up gig worker legislation next year." New regulations on passenger safety combined with already-developing rules on worker wages and rights indicate a more restrictive market for ride-hailing companies in the future.

"Uber, which has a reputation for bullying its way into new markets and inspiring sometimes violent protests, is no stranger to controversy. It remains to be seen how it reacts to this new wave of scrutiny... Analysts including those at New Street and Loop Capital remain optimistic Uber will continue operating in London. The appeals process means that the company may not have to actually leave London for years, if ever."

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