Uber is currently facing the possibility of its operating expenses in London rising in a significant manner, with the local transport organization saying that all companies with over 10,000 vehicles will now be required to pay $2.9 million pounds ($3.93 million) to operate in the area. The San Francisco, California-based tech giant paid 3,000 pounds ($4066) for a five-year license in 2012, meaning that its next fee would represent a cost increase of 96,566 percent. In a statement issued on Monday, Transport for London detailed its newly revised licensing system which mandates different licenses based on company tiers determined by the number of vehicles a legal person operates. The system is officially being adopted this week and will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
Uber extended its London license in May by only four additional months despite originally seeking another five-year agreement with the local administration. The company was refused a longer license because Transport for London was still in the process of revising its licensing system which is now set to come into force. Provided that Uber agrees to pay close to $4 million for another license, it should be granted the necessary documentation without any issues, most industry watchers agree, even though some British politician previously called for its license to not be renewed amidst allegations of poor working conditions which Uber either dismissed or said is investigating. The firm's new license application is currently being reviewed by the London administration and will be processed by September 30. Uber currently employs approximately 40,000 drivers in the London metropolitan area and is hence subject to a larger fee that authorities believe will do a better job of reflecting the actual cost of regulating such a large ride-hailing service provider.
According to previous statements from competent officials, a significant portion of the fee will be directly dedicated to hiring more compliance officers and other staff meant to help supervise transportation businesses like Uber. While the tech giant has yet to issue a concrete comment on the matter, it previously publicly supported the concept of a multi-tiered licensing system like the one that London administration is now set to adopt. The company recently witnessed the launch of a new competitor in the area in the form of Taxify and is still being criticized by local taxi drivers for stealing their business, as is the case in the majority of other cities around the world in which it operates.