- After years of back-and-forth with regulators, Uber could be kicked out of London by the end of 2020.
- The UK capital’s transport regulator blasted Uber on safety, saying 14,000 fraudulent rides took place where drivers hadn’t uploaded accurate photos to their profiles.
- Business Insider asked competitors Kapten, Bolt, Ola and Xooox how they planned to avoid the same fate as Uber in the city.
- Ola, the Indian ride-hailing app, announced on Friday it would launch in London this month.
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After a troubled few years battling transport authorities, Uber looks set to lose its license in London at some point in the next 12 months.
In November, London’s transport regulator Transport for London (TfL) refused to renew the ride-hailing firm’s license, highlighting a “pattern of failures” on safety and security. In some 14,000 cases, it said, Uber drivers had completed trips using an incorrect profile picture.
What happens if Uber leaves London?
Appealing the decision has kept Uber on the road for now, with an as-yet-to-be-determined court date set to resolve the matter once and for all – but when and if Uber is kicked out of London, what happens next?
Today, the Silicon Valley startup still dominates the London market, with around 45,000 drivers and millions of users. But competitors have been mobilizing, both to ensure they’re best placed to lure new drivers onto their platform and to scoop up Uber’s customer base.
Competitors capitalized on Uber’s troubles. French competitor Kapten, which launched in London in 2019, said in a statement: “London needs ride-hailing, but doesn’t need Uber.” It added: “We believe it is the duty of a responsible ride-hailing operator to work cooperatively with regulators.”
Around the same time another opponent, Bolt, sent its customers an email, claiming news of Uber’s woes had brought in “thousands of new sign-ups already”.
Catty putdowns aside, it’s clear the ride-hailing firms are eyeing the potential gap in the market. But with that opportunity comes risk: On the surface, none of these companies offer a discernibly different service to Uber, and will be subject to the same regulatory pressures.
Business Insider asked four of the best-known ride-hailing startups in London how they plan to avoid the troubles that have plagued Uber.
(Disclaimer: All figures below apply to London only.)
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