Ridesharing

Uber Says ID Flaw Was Fixed Before London Ban

ridehailing giant says app was fixed

Uber claims that the flaw in its app that allowed drivers to make unauthorized trips was fixed before its recent London ban.

On Monday (Nov. 25), London’s transport regulator, Transport for London (TfL), pulled Uber’s license to operate in the city, marking the second time the rideshare giant has been banned there. The company’s license was pulled in London over safety concerns in September of 2017.

This time around, the London transportation regulator has accused Uber of not adequately verifying drivers’ identities to safeguard the service for passengers. At least 14,000 trips involved drivers who weren’t who they said they were.

But Uber is set to file an appeal, saying that it discovered a flaw in its app in May that allowed 43 people to make unauthorized trips and immediately informed regulators. The issue has also been fixed. The company said it will continue operating in London during the appeals process, which could take years.

“The gap was closed,” Jamie Heywood, head of the company’s U.K. business, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “We stopped drivers implicated from taking new trips, then did full audits of all drivers in London.”

But London officials pointed out that Uber was still working to eliminate the flaw in its app as recently as October, and the issue could still come up in the future.

Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi called the decision “just wrong” on Twitter. “We understand we’re held to a high bar, as we should be. But this TfL decision is just wrong. Over the last 2 years we have fundamentally changed how we operate in London. We have come very far — and we will keep going, for the millions of drivers and riders who rely on us,” he wrote.

Uber shares were down about 1.5 percent in New York trading Monday (Nov. 25) afternoon.

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