by Graham Pierrepoint
Uber has hardly had much of a successful year on a reputation front – the firm has seen controversy arise as a result of surge pricing during Trump protests at JFK Airport, alleged workplace sexism and arguments surrounding whether or not they provide fair competition to existing cab firms. One of the biggest sticking points for the taxi-hailing app remains the fact that both the city of London – and the entire country of Italy – have refused to honor the firm’s services further going forward. For Italy, it’s a matter of courts ruling that Uber simply did not provide fair competition – and in London, their licence was not renewed as a result of concerns regarding the running of their firm going unheeded. This week, it seems that similar problems have arisen yet again, with a major city in the north of England refusing to renew the firm’s licence.
Uber's Hard Times Explained (Wall Street Journal Live) ▶
Sheffield is considered a major hub in Yorkshire and it is therefore huge news that Uber’s licence is to expire in the northern city – allegedly due to the fact that certain questions and queries regarding the firm’s management went unanswered. Sheffield City Council advised publicly that this was the reason for such a decision – that they had requested information from Uber, but had not received any communication from them in return. As a result, the city of Sheffield has suspended the firm’s licence and ability to provide cabs throughout the area indefinitely – which will mean that they effectively cease service on 18th December, effectively putting a number of local drivers with the firm out of work.
Uber has fought back against the decision, stating that they had indeed supplied a valid application for a licence renewal on 16th October – but that it was still waiting to be processed, and that an ‘administrative error’ was to blame for the miscommunication in question. The firm also hit back at such insinuation that they had not tried to contact the council, stating: “While we are in regular contact with the council, we did not receive the correspondence the council refers to as they sent the letters to an incorrect address.”
Regardless of this latest issue, Uber is keen to appeal against the decision if matters cannot be resolved by the cut-off date – amid a year of incredible negativity facing the brand, it is the latest upset for the taxi moguls which they really could have done without!