London’s transportation licensing body, Transport for London, announced today that it will not renew Uber’s license to operate when it expires on Sept. 30. The decision is a shot across the bow to Uber, which has flirted with controversy yet had little actual blowback thus far.

The London agency deemed the ride-hailing company not “fit and proper to hold a private hire license.” Uber has the right to appeal the decision within 21 days, and the company will be able to operate until the appeal process is finished.

This isn’t the first time a city has broken up with Uber. Uber previously left Austin after a city referendum directed the company to use fingerprint-based background checks, a deal breaker for the company. (Uber returned in 2017 after Texas overruled a municipal ride-sharing law.)

Up until now, the convenience that Uber provides has been embraced by the public so much that scandal upon scandal has not seriously affected its business. Like most companies that provide essential services, people are really reluctant to drop it if the alternative is inconvenient.

But London’s move shows that even if attrition of a company’s reputation doesn’t affect consumer choices, it can still embolden regulators who otherwise would not take the political risk of slapping the wrist of a beloved company for a sin that is difficult for consumers to understand.

Tech goodwill

Uber’s app made getting taxi orders easier, and the convenience gave the company substantial goodwill with the public, as most things that make life easier do. Hailing a taxi from a phone and automating payment options saves time, energy, and has brought efficiency to an age-old business.

Many game-changing tech companies enjoy similar goodwill, which has given them some slack. Creating life-changing products has shielded these firms because the public hesitates to acknowledge their sins.

For instance, Amazon’s warehouse conditions and cannibalization of smaller companies is easily ignored in favor of “free” two-day shipping. Apple’s contractors’ hellish factories were glossed over and forgotten. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged on Thursday that its platform was used by Russia to influence the presidential election, but with the exception of growing cries and Congressional interest for Facebook to deal with its bot problem, there appears to be little to no consequences. It doesn’t matter that Facebook, along with Google, has basically created a duopoly in the ad business.

That’s because all these companies are in a realm that’s within the limits of a long leash due to the utility and popularity of the products they’ve created.

Uber’s scandals have tested the limits of its long leash

Scandal after scandal has brought Uber’s goodwill closer to the end of its leash. Its alleged workplace culture of sexual harassmentscabs during a taxi strike over the travel ban that resulted in the “#DeleteUber” hashtag, a confrontation between Uber’s ex-CEO Travis Kalanick and a driver caught on video, have done little to damage the company.

Looking at ridership statistics, Yahoo Finance noted that ridership had not particularly changed or declined following these continued scandals, suggesting that perhaps an Uber-scandal fatigue was setting in. As one rider told Yahoo Finance, he’ll enjoy Uber’s venture-capital subsidized rides until he can’t anymore.

London said it decided to drop Uber because of safety, specifically its approach to reporting crime during rides, driver background checks, and its software tool “Greyball,” which Uber used to stymie government regulators by showing them a different map than regular riders.

Consumer sentiment

Uber may remain relatively confident that the strength of its product will continue to carry it through the scandals, as it has already. Despite the troubles, it still dominates its nearest rival Lyft in terms of use. But London’s move — perhaps also emboldened by a strong Black Cab lobby — shows what can happen to a company if it loses its shield of public support through scandal.


Uber Technologies Inc. faced a fresh round of turmoil Thursday, with its global operations chief resigning and a major investor suing the ride-hailing company’s former CEO.

Ryan Graves told Uber staff in an email Thursday that he will transition out of his role as senior vice president of global operations in mid-September. Graves will remain on Uber’s board.

That board — and its support for former CEO Travis Kalanick — was the subject of a lawsuit filed Thursday in Delaware Chancery Court by Benchmark Capital Partners.

Benchmark holds 13 percent of Uber’s stock. It claims Kalanick is trying to pack Uber’s board with his allies and eventually return to his post as CEO. The venture capital firm says that would harm Uber’s shareholders, employees, drivers and customers.

A spokesperson for Kalanick said the lawsuit is “completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations.”

In the lawsuit, Benchmark claims Kalanick concealed material information from investors when he created three new board seats in 2016 and gave himself the right to appoint people to those seats. Among other things, Benchmark said, Kalanick knew Uber might be accused of stealing trade secrets from Waymo, Google’s self-driving car unit. Waymo sued Uber earlier this year.

The lawsuit also says Kalanick didn’t discuss his failure to curb Uber’s pervasive culture of discrimination and sexual harassment.

Kalanick resigned under pressure in June after a monthslong investigation into harassment and other behavior problems at the San Francisco-based company. But he quickly appointed himself to one of the three board seats. The other two remain vacant.

Benchmark says Kalanick has acquired “a disproportionate level of influence over the board, ensuring that he would continue to have an outsized role in Uber’s strategic direction even if forced to resign as CEO.” The firm says Kalanick has already interfered in the board’s attempts to hire a new CEO.

Benchmark wants to remove the three additional seats and return the board to eight members. It’s also asking the court to prevent Kalanick from participating in board meetings.

Uber said it had no comment on the lawsuit. But in a statement, Kalanick’s spokesperson said the lawsuit is an attempt to deprive Kalanick of his rights as an Uber founder and shareholder.

“Travis will continue to act in the interests of Uber and all of its stakeholders and is confident that these entirely baseless claims will be rejected,” the statement said.


Lawsuit claims Uber ignored attempted murder conviction of driver who later raped passenger

Uber driver uses Heroin!!

WANAQUE — Police arrested a 25-year-old Uber driver on Sunday morning who told police he had just injected heroin an hour before.

According to Wanaque Police Capt. Ken Fackina, a pair of officers stopped to check on a vehicle parked along Furnace Avenue at 9:38 a.m. and found the driver, Gabriel Bernard, of Garfield, slumped over the wheel sleeping.

Officer John Galinus and Sgt. Mark Kershaw spoke with Bernard, who displayed signs of being under the influence, according to Fackina, who said that while speaking with him, Bernard indicated he was an Uber driver and was resting.

“He said he had been driving around all night and was waiting there,” Fackina said.

After further questioning, Bernard admitted to injecting heroin about an hour earlier and being in possession of heroin and syringes, Fackina said.

Using heroin so early in the morning, the captain noted, is not surprising.

“With heroin users, it is not uncommon for them to need a morning pickup,” Fackina said.

The officers allegedly located the heroin and the syringes in the vehicle and placed the man under arrest.

Uber spokesperson Susan Hendrick confirmed that Bernard was an Uber driver.

“As soon as we were made aware, he was banned access,” said Hendrick, adding that if cleared, then Bernard account could be reactivated.

She said that Bernard passed motor vehicle and criminal background checks, which generally look for criminal activity and driving-while-intoxicated offenses. Hendrick said she did not know how long Bernard worked as an Uber driver.

She affirmed that Uber has a clear “no drug tolerance” policy.

“The account of any driver found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while using the Uber app will be permanently deactivated. Uber may also deactivate the account of any driver who receives several unconfirmed complaints of drug or alcohol use,” Uber’s online community policy states.

Bernard was transported to headquarters and charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a hypodermic needle and possession of CDS in a motor vehicle, before being released pending a court date, police said.

Bernard’s arrest is just the latest of Uber’s troubles. CBS yesterday reported Los Angeles police arresting an Uber driver on sexual assault charges. Police told CBS the suspect had five previous felony convictions.

In February, Gov. Chris Christie signed regulations requiring Uber NJ to conduct police background checks and instill a zero abuse policy for Uber and Lyft drivers.

UBER CEO and Google!!!

Uber’s recently fired CEO, Travis Kalanick, knew that his top self-driving car engineer had Google files in his possession in March 2016, according to newly filed court documents.

The admission was made by Uber lawyers as part of a response to Waymo discovery demands. Uber lawyers served the response on June 8, and it was revealed in a public court motion (PDF) filed by Waymo lawyers late yesterday.

According to Uber, former self-driving car chief Anthony Levandowski told Kalanick that “he had identified five discs in his possession containing Google information.” Kalanick told Levandowski not to bring any Google information into Uber. Levandowski later told Uber he destroyed the discs, and Uber never got the discs, according to Uber lawyers.

Waymo sued Uber in February, claiming that the company had trade secrets brought in by Levandowski, an engineer who once worked at Google but quit abruptly in January 2016. Levandowski went on to found his own self-driving car startup, which was purchased by Uber for $680 million. Google has accused Levandowski, who is not a defendant in the case, of downloading more than 14,000 files that contained Google trade secrets and taking them with him. Levandowski has not denied those allegations and has declined to answer most questions, instead asserting his Fifth Amendment rights.

The motion, reported on earlier today by Bloomberg, states that Uber has violated its discovery obligations and asks for a hearing to consider whether Uber should be held in contempt.

US District Judge William Alsup ordered Uber last month to do everything in its power to search for and return Google’s files. Levandowski didn’t comply with Uber’s demands and was fired.

Meanwhile, Uber has been mired in other controversies. The company has ushered in a series of changes following an internal investigation into its alleged corporate culture of sexual harassment and bullying. That led to CEO Kalanick resigning this week.

Here’s Uber’s full response regarding the five discs, as quoted by Waymo:

On or about March 11, 2016, Mr. Levandowski reported to [Travis] Kalanick, Nina Qi and Cameron Poetzscher at Uber as well as Lior Ron that he had identified five discs in his possession containing Google information. Mr. Kalanick conveyed to Mr. Levandowski in response that Mr. Levandowski should not bring any Google information into Uber and that Uber did not want any Google information. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Levandowski communicated to Uber that he had destroyed the discs.




Uber Benefits!

The only person who benefits from using uber ,is uber. As a consumer ppl like it cause it is more affordable than a taxi, but at what cost. Uber drivers are not required to carry commercial insurance (UBER insurance while on the app and customer in car, but they have denied claims even then), they do not have fingerprint background checks, are they employees?



A Hawaii Uber Driver Has Been Charged With Raping a Teenage Passenger

A 24-year-old Hawaii Uber driver was charged with sexual assault in the first degree yesterday morning. His accuser, a 16-year-old from Makiki, says that after leaving a local mall and dropping off her friends first, the driver, named Luke Wadahara, started making wrong turns, eventually pulling over and attacking her.

This is not the first time an Uber driver has been accused of raping a passenger. Drivers in Los Angeles, Boston and Delhi, among others, have been charged and/or convicted of such a crime.

The rider in the recent Hawaii case alleges the incident occurred early Sunday, April 17 and that she eventually was able to fight off Mr. Wadahara, escape and run home. Police say she was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Hawaii Now News reports that Honolulu City Council members say the incident adds to the ongoing debate regarding ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft in Honolulu. Officials have already been questioning if drivers need more government oversight, and both the city and the state are considering implementing new rules surrounding ride-sharing. Councilman Ron Menor, who chairs the committee on Public Health, Safety and Welfare, said he wants the city to regulate background checks. Another councilwoman, Ann Kobayashi, is also worried about who is driving Ubers.

“We have to keep track of whose (sic) out there driving…that driver should be in a central database, right now he’s not,” Ms. Kobayashi told Hawaii Now News.

Uber has issued the following comment regarding the incident:

“Our thoughts are with the rider. The driver in question has been deactivated from the Uber platform, and we’ve reached out to law enforcement and will continue to assist in any way we can.”