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Published by: Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford
Originally published in: 2020
Version: 1 July 2020

Abstract

In 2019, global ride-hailing company Uber Technologies (Uber) was in a precarious position in London, among its largest markets in the world. In 2017, Transport for London (TfL), the city's transportation regulator, had made a surprise decision to not renew Uber's operating licence, citing public safety concerns. Uber appealed and received a probationary licence, and now in 2019 was awaiting a more permanent verdict. As Uber attempted to sway TfL in its favour, other interest groups were lobbying politicians and regulators to ban, or at least curb, Uber's presence. The drivers of London's iconic black cabs argued that TfL let Uber operate between the lines of the otherwise strictly regulated industry, giving Uber a competitive edge. But Uber, buoyed by hundreds of thousands of loyal customers, asserted that its app enhanced competition, expanded customer choice, and created jobs. Uber was expecting a decision in September 2019, but instead TfL announced that it would grant a two-month extension as it reviewed additional information. By the end of the two months, TfL Commissioner Mike Brown would have to decide if TfL should grant Uber another licence. Meanwhile, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, up for re-election in May 2020, had to determine how to navigate the contentious debate.

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for postgraduate and executive education courses.

Geographical setting

Region:
Europe
Country:
United Kingdom

Featured companies

Transport for London
Type:
Government agency
Uber
Type:
Privately held

Featured protagonists

  • Mike Brown (male), Commissioner, Transport for London
  • Sadiq Khan (male), Mayor of London

About

Abstract

In 2019, global ride-hailing company Uber Technologies (Uber) was in a precarious position in London, among its largest markets in the world. In 2017, Transport for London (TfL), the city's transportation regulator, had made a surprise decision to not renew Uber's operating licence, citing public safety concerns. Uber appealed and received a probationary licence, and now in 2019 was awaiting a more permanent verdict. As Uber attempted to sway TfL in its favour, other interest groups were lobbying politicians and regulators to ban, or at least curb, Uber's presence. The drivers of London's iconic black cabs argued that TfL let Uber operate between the lines of the otherwise strictly regulated industry, giving Uber a competitive edge. But Uber, buoyed by hundreds of thousands of loyal customers, asserted that its app enhanced competition, expanded customer choice, and created jobs. Uber was expecting a decision in September 2019, but instead TfL announced that it would grant a two-month extension as it reviewed additional information. By the end of the two months, TfL Commissioner Mike Brown would have to decide if TfL should grant Uber another licence. Meanwhile, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, up for re-election in May 2020, had to determine how to navigate the contentious debate.

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for postgraduate and executive education courses.

Settings

Geographical setting

Region:
Europe
Country:
United Kingdom

Featured companies

Transport for London
Type:
Government agency
Uber
Type:
Privately held

Featured protagonists

  • Mike Brown (male), Commissioner, Transport for London
  • Sadiq Khan (male), Mayor of London

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