Uber’s worldwide expansion aspirations will have more hurdles to deal with after Transport for London announced that it's considering introducing a number of new regulations which would ban or restrict Uber’s rise-sharing service.
Transport for London (TFL) is launching a consultation into rules to govern taxis and private hire car services and will consider a number of proposals including forcing operators to provide booking details at least five minutes before journey.
Such measures would impact Uber’s model which picks customers up on average three minutes after they request a car. The transport authority will also look into forcing operators to provide a pre-booking service up to seven days in advance, something which Uber does not currently offer.
TFL, which is overseen by London mayor Boris Johnson, had initially taken a somewhat relaxed stance on Uber’s growth throughout the capital however in recent months it has become increasingly concerned by the increase in traffic on London’s roads and has also come under pressure from angered taxi drivers.
Garrett Emmerson, chief operating officer for surface transport at TfL, said the consultation has been launched “in order to inform and improve the regulations that govern the capital’s private hire trade” and that it would ensure “Londoners can continue to benefit from the service provided by licensed private hire vehicles”.
Emmerson added that “in recent years the private hire industry has grown exponentially and technology has also developed rapidly”.
The draft proposals also include forcing drivers to work for one operator at a time and restrictions on ride sharing, something which would hault Uber’s plans to introduce its UberPool service in London.
Uber was quick to criticise the plans. Its UK head, Jo Bertram, said: "These bureaucratic new rules will not improve your ride and have been designed to address the concerns of black cab drivers, who feel under pressure from increased competition. But the answer is to reduce the onerous regulations cabbies face today – not increase them for everyone else.”
TFL’s consultation is the latest in a series of crackdowns against the San Francisco based ride hailing app service. Earlier this week, the New South Wales government suspended the vehicle registrations of 40 Uber drivers and promised harsher measures for those breaching regulations designed to prevent unlicensed ride-sharing.