Uber London petition gains traction in response to TFL ban

The petition is edging very close to the one million signatures necessary to hand it over to the Mayor of London.

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CC Elekes Andor

Uber has gained 740,000 out of one million signatures required to make the UK Transport for London (TFL) take notice of a Change.org petition.

Last week, TFL announced that Uber's license to operate on London's streets would not be renewed after 30 September, which means that this Saturday is the last day passengers will be able to book an Uber to travel around the city -- unless an appeal is lodged.

The transport authority said the decision was made as Uber is not "fit and proper" to hold a private hire operator license in London.

While Uber is still able to operate in the UK outside of London -- at least, for now -- the UK capital is the ride-hailing service's bread and butter in the country. Without it, Uber is losing serious revenue, not to mention the potential impact Uber drivers in the city will feel.

"TFL considers that Uber's approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public and security implications," TFL said.

Traditional black cabs may have cheered and hosted more than a few street parties at the news, as the controversial service -- which allows users to book a ride through a mobile app -- has hit the standard taxi industry hard.

London Major Sadiq Khan also supported the decision, saying that "it would be wrong for TFL to continue to license Uber if there is in any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners' safety and security."

However, the company is gearing up to fight the decision. Uber launched a Change.org campaign over the weekend to bring dissenting voices together, and at the time of writing, has managed to secure 740,688 signatures out of a goal of one million.

Uber says that 3.5 million riders use Uber in the capital, and the livelihoods of 40,000 Uber drivers have been placed at risk due to the decision.

"This decision is affecting the real lives of a huge number of honest and hard-working drivers in London," Uber says. "This ban shows the world that London is far from being open and is closed to innovative companies, who bring choice to consumers and work opportunities to those who need them."

If Uber chooses to appeal, the company will be allowed to operate until the result. Uber will want to prevent the loss of its London license likely at any cost and has already attempted to create a line of dialogue with the TFL to make improvements, but it remains to be seen as to whether TFL or Khan will take any notice of the campaign.

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