It’s long been a question that we have thought about; and now that Uber has been given notice that it won’t receive a new license to operate as a private hire company in London. Just how do you ban a company when it doesn’t actually have a base in your area?
Uber has had some questionable press over the years. To be honest, we don’t actually know if these problems are on the same ratios that smaller cab operators have. Uber has thousands of drivers, so of course the chances of negative stories appearing about some of them are likely to be more. We don’t really want to get into the rights and wrongs of it, we can genuinely see both sides. We are massively for a free market, yet also understand people need to be kept safe.
Staying out of the rights and wrongs of why their license has been revoked, as that has been done, and is still being done to death online. We are going to think about the powers that Transport For London actually has, to us, it’s not many. At the moment Uber seems to be going through all the due processes of appeals etc – but then what?
If Uber refuses to turn off their software, just what can Transport For London actually do? As far as we know, not a lot. They can’t march into their offices in California and force the system offline. They can’t stop drivers working for them if that is what they choose to do.
One option for Transport For London might be to go to the High Court and ask for an injunction, but even if granted, just what can the High Court do to get Uber to stop? It has no jurisdiction in cyberspace. In a way it is similar to the High Court being unable to police the web with Super Injunctions.
It’s going to be a very interesting to see just how this is policed if Uber put two fingers up to Transport for London and continue anyway.
Time to break out the popcorn and watch this one from the cheap seats.