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London Calling Uber No More

Uber, Transport for London, TfL, Licencing, London Taxis, London Public Transportation

Uber is no longer available to Londoners anymore thanks to a recent decision by Transport for London (TfL) that Uber’s current private hire operator’s license would not be re-issued when it expires this September 30th.

It seems the London government is no longer in the mood to grant human beings the freedom licenses arbitrarily needed to use their own vehicles to pick people up and deliver them to the destination of their choice.

It also seems that the London government is no longer willing to trust the little people, the ones who might decide to use that Uber app to solicit an Uber ride, to be able to discern what is or is not a “safe” ride.

Uber, working within the system, has vowed that it will challenge the arbitrary cancelling of the arbitrarily-assigned freedom licenses, licenses to use your own vehicle as you choose to use it (in this case, to get paid by someone to transport them from one point to another point).

Uber currently has about 40,000 drivers in London, meaning the arbitrary decision to cancel this particular version of a freedom license will cause nearly 40,000 people to lose incomes, many of whom were relying almost solely, if not solely, on this source of service providing for income.

Of course, TfL had to come up with some ostensible reasons for arbitrarily deciding to cancel the Uber licenses.  They said in their statement that Uber was not “fit and proper.”  They cited “concerns” that Uber’s methods for reporting driver offenses, how they screened for driver medical conditions and safety records were not sufficient, and finally that they were uncomfortable with Uber’s secret “Greyball” software to, as they put it, “dodge” transport officials.

TfL stated that, while the license expires September 30th, Uber can continue to operate while they appeal the decision.  They have been given 21 days to appeal.  They will be “allowed” to operate until the appeal process has been fully exhausted.

This decisions smacks of nothing more than protectionism of the more lucrative (for the TfL) traditional London Taxi service than it does actually protecting potential customers from unsafe Uber drivers.  Businesses such as Uber are a fundamental threat to the ability of government to control commerce and trade, to regulate the voluntary transactions of human beings.

In the licensing decision issued by TfL, they say, “TfL’s regulation of London’s taxi and private hire trades is designed to ensure passenger safety.  Private hire operators must meet rigorous regulations, and demonstrate to the TfL that they do so, in order to operate.  TfL must also be satisfied that an operator is fit and proper to hold a licence.”

Well, this paragraph goes to the heart of this entity’s claim of legitimacy in making a decision to protect the favored, more lucrative, industry, the traditional taxi service, even the public transportation service, at expense of the non-traditional, non-controlled, non-lucrative service of Uber.  So, how about we do an honest and frank translation of this example of govpreneur bs-speak.

“TfL’s regulation of London’s taxi and private hire trades is designed to ensure that the government of London gets its right and proper kickback from transport organizations and to protect any transportation services the London government runs.  We create a myriad of rules and regulations that raise the cost of business, thus keeping out competitors so as to protect our favored political allies, while also raising revenues in our ongoing govpreneur efforts.  TfL must be satisfied that a transportation service is run by our favored political allies, and that in the running of that service, TfL is assured a generous proportion of the profits.  Now, sod off, I’m having third elevensies.”

There you go, fixed it.

This decision is just yet another example of govpreneurship at work.  Remember, government is a business, an enterprise, but its products and services are not necessarily desired.  However, you will purchase them, because if you don’t, eventually, people with lethal weapons will knock on your door and bring you to account.

The TfL is simply an extension of a coercive enterprise, in this case the London government.  Without government, who would arbitrarily (or not so arbitrarily, if you realize why they’ve made this latest decision) deny people their fundamental human right to voluntary exchange?  Without government, who would prevent a customer-friendly, a more efficient method of acquiring transportation to go from one place to another purely in the interest of protecting legacy services?

Here is their statement in full:

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