Uber sits at the centre of what could be described as the ‘perfect storm’ in the gig economy marketplace as Transport for London today announced that they will not be renewing Uber’s licence to operate in London.
On one hand, the Government and consumers have embraced the technology, innovation and convenience that Uber provides. There is however widespread acceptance that this needs to be checked by ensuring that there is structure around the safety and protection of anyone using these services.
It will be interesting to see how Uber react. Given the amount of revenue Uber generates from London I would anticipate them fighting hard to make it work and not pull out like they did in Denmark.
It’s also important to remember that this is a decision based on minicab licensing in London, and doesn’t affect the wider cases around how the Uber drivers should be classified for employment and tax purposes. All those rights cases are still rumbling through the courts and we have no idea in what form the Good Work Plan will be implemented post the election next month. Interesting times for UK gig economy/marketplaces for sure.
Today’s decision shows how easily traditional laws which regulate a traditional way of doing business can easily scupper a new business model.