London bans Uber for the second time

London’s transport authority banned Uber for the second time on November 25th, 2019, because of the vulnerabilities in their app. It’s becoming easier for criminals to gain access to Uber stickers so they can pretend to be drivers.

They’re no stranger to controversy, but their stock prices are starting to scare the company after the 34% drop. Not only that, but their loss of the London market could put their other big markets at risk, like China and the United States.

Uber has gone on record to say they found and patched the vulnerability, but the London regulators still see a potential security risk. Recently, a driver was arrested for possessing indecent photos taken of children from his Uber vehicle.

Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi didn’t make peace like he had the first time Uber was banned in London. Instead, he took to twitter to mention how wrong the ban was. Uber has always been a security risk for customers; now it’s caught up with them.

What does this mean for the United States and China?

The United States has had its fair share of issues. In 2018, a woman was assaulted and raped moments after she entered a vehicle with a decal of the Uber symbol on the back. She was taken to a location and ambushed by several men. She attempted to sue the company, but it was thrown out of court. The judge warned the company that if these imposters weren’t dealt with, Uber could face serious consequences.

“Uber may need to improve background checks on drivers and even the app itself,”  Aitor Ortiz, Bloomberg Intelligence Analyst, stated, speaking of the issue in London. “This won’t guarantee Uber a new license, and threatens to reduce margins in a city where increasing competition from companies such as Ola, ViaVan and Bolt is adding to pressure on ride prices.”

In regard to China, Didi Chuxing received significant backlash in May 2018 when an Uber driver drove his father’s car to pick up and kill a woman in Zhengzhou in the middle of a large central intersection. Back in 2014, an Indian driver also abducted a woman and raped her in an isolated area. They were both taken to court and charged, but Uber doesn’t wish to take the blame for these actions – even when it comes to security risks.

More focus on customer safety and fairness is needed

Not only is Uber bad at conducting background checks for their employees, but they’re also bad at paying their employees and making sure their passengers are safe. Jeremy Corbyn, U.K. Labour Leader, officially stated that the Labour government would tolerate companies that exploit workers or aren’t dedicated to passenger safety.

If they come to power, it’s unlikely that the government will overturn the Uber ban anytime soon. Uber will also face significant fines if the United States decides to crack down on intolerant workplaces.

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California seeks to raise the minimum wage, while New York wants to up their gig economy legislation. New Jersey stated that the company Uber owes over $600 million for unpaid disability and unemployment insurance to its residents. Uber faces losses of over 3 billion dollars by the end of 2019, and it’s easy to say that Uber’s future doesn’t look good. 

Despite this, there are many investors who see Uber operating in London in the future, even with all the warnings that it likely won’t. With the appeal process in place, Uber may never leave London, or if they do, it won’t be for a very long time.

A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:

   If you’re sick of getting carted around by Uber, get a new car!

Or maybe Uber isn’t THAT bad! Just silence the creepy drivers!