London cabbie
© Press Association
A black cab driver celebrates outside Paddington station today after the decision to strip Uber of its licence in London was announced
40,000 drivers out of work as 400,000 sign protest petition

A massive backlash has started after Uber was today stripped of its licence to operate in London with hundreds of thousands of passengers signing a petition to keep the app running.

Transport for London (TfL) sensationally announced the firm would be barred from working in the city from next month due to its failure to report crimes carried out by its drivers.

The Silicon Valley firm - which boasts more than 5 billion passengers in over 630 cities worldwide - fears the decision by regulators in London may now encourage authorities in other countries to launch their own crackdowns.

Passengers are outraged by the bombshell announcement, which they say will leave them unable to afford late-night lifts home and will put thousands of drivers out of work.

Ahead of a planned appeal, which will see the dispute dragged into court, at least 400,000 Londoners have signed a petition calling for the decision to be reversed.

But critics of Uber insist it has failed to properly vet its drivers and is an example of the so-called 'gig economy' that gives workers no employment rights.

Worried Uber drivers and angry passengers today joined a growing chorus of criticism - with delighted cabbies rejoicing at the potential downfall of their fiercest competitor.

Father-of-three Bangalie, who has been driving for the company for almost a year, fears he could be forced to claim benefits if Uber's appeal is not successful.

He said: 'My family are worried about the future of my job, even if I go on benefits I will not get the same amount of money.

'I have bills and rent to pay and mouths to feed, if I cannot do that there is going to be a problem. I could be signing up for job seekers in less than two weeks time.'

Passenger Lucy Williams, 30, from London, said: 'It's terrible, I get Ubers like three times a week and they've saved me a lot of money from black cabs.'

But black cab driver Kenneth Stein, 54, said: 'I have nothing against Uber drivers but we as black cab drivers are regulated to the hilt while they have next to no regulation.'
Uber petition London

More than 140,000 people have signed a petition calling for the decision to be reversed
Uber said in a statement that the decision would 'show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies'. The firm's current licence expires on September 30.

As part of their fightback, they are emailing all of their members individually to urge them to sign the petition.

At 4pm this afternoon, the number of signatures was rising at a rate of 2,000-a-minute.

But the firm has faced a barrage of criticism in recent years over the safety of customers, working rights for drivers and opposition from black cab drivers.

TfL concluded that the minicab app is 'not fit and proper' to operate in the capital due to concerns which have 'public safety and security implications'.
uber license london
© Transport London/Twitter
Transport for London said: '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 safety and security implications.'
Mayor of Sadiq Khan, who was not involved in the decision but supports it, said: 'All companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect - particularly when it comes to the safety of customers.

'Providing an innovative service must not be at the expense of customer safety and security.'

Confirming Uber would appeal against the decision in court, Tom Elvidge, the firm's general manager in London, said: '3.5 million Londoners who use our app, and more than 40,000 licensed drivers who rely on Uber to make a living, will be astounded by this decision.

'By wanting to ban our app from the capital, Transport for London and the Mayor have caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice.

'If this decision stands, it will put more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work and deprive Londoners of a convenient and affordable form of transport.

'To defend the livelihoods of all those drivers, and the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use our app, we intend to immediately challenge this in the courts. '

He added: 'Uber operates in more than 600 cities around the world, including more than 40 towns and cities here in the UK. This ban would show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies who bring choice to consumers.' Many Londoners took to Twitter to complain about the TFL decision this afternoon Others welcomed the decision by the city's authorities, saying the company was dangerous

The firm's complaints were backed by London First, which campaigns for business in the capital.

What happens now for Uber users?

Uber's current licence expires on September 30, but today's ruling allows them to continue operating during the appeal process.

That should mean the minicabs are still available for hiring for at least a month after September 30, while the court appeal is heard.

Other similar apps are now piling in to try to mop up the customers Uber will leave behind.

The group's David Leam said: 'This will be seen as a Luddite decision by millions of Londoners and international visitors who use Uber, and will also hit London's reputation as a global tech hub. London needs to be open to new ideas, businesses and services.'

But Labour MP Wes Streeting, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis, welcomed the decision, which he said would 'draw a line in the sand'.

The Ilford North MP added: 'Uber has not shown itself to be a fit and proper operator.

'It stands accused by the police of failing to properly handle serious allegations of rape and sexual assault of passengers.

'It had to be dragged through the courts to recognise its responsibility to provide even the most basic rights and protections to Uber drivers.'

The number of private hire drivers in London has almost doubled to more than 116,000 from 65,000 in 2013/14.
London cabbies protest Uber
© Press Association
Drivers of traditional black London cabs held a protest this year against the minicab app. The app was seen as unfairly undercutting black cabs due to the lack of regulation of drivers
Uber driver James Farrar said: 'This is a devastating blow for 30,000 Londoners who now face losing their job and being saddled with unmanageable vehicle-related debt.

'To strip Uber of its licence after five years of laissez-faire regulation is a testament to a systemic failure at TfL.

'Rather than banish Uber, TfL should have strengthened its regulatory oversight, curbed runaway licensing and protected the worker rights of drivers.'

The GMB union handed in a petition with 100,000 signatures on Monday to TfL, calling on Uber to improve workers' rights or 'get out of London' ahead of the licence decision.