An online petition supporting Uber’s bid to keep operating on London’s streets got half a million signatures in less than 24 hours. Uber issued the petition after Transport for London, a city transportation regulator, decreed Friday that it will rescind Uber’s license on September 30 due to safety concerns.
Transport for London said that Uber was not conducting sufficient background checks of drivers and was failing to report serious criminal offenses. London Mayor Sadiq Khan is the agency’s chair and spearheaded the decision, saying in a statement that he would not let his own daughters ride Uber as he does not think it is safe.
Uber is appealing the decision. Its drivers are allowed to keep accepting passengers while the appeal goes through the courts.
But the company also enlisted its customers with the petition, which stated that city officials had “caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice.” The petition received more than 540,000 signatures by 4 p.m. Saturday.
Khan suggested that the revocation would not have to be permanent. Uber can keep doing business in London if it can resolve city officials’ concerns and verify that it meets their standards of safety.
“I want to be absolutely clear that there is a place in London for all private hire companies that play by the rules,” Khan said. “I suspect it will take some time before this situation with Uber fully plays out.”
Seeking support from customers has worked for Uber in the past. The company issued petitions when facing potential bans in Toronto, Portland, Budapest, and Jakarta. Regulators in the first three cities have reportedly softened their stance. Budapest’s prohibitions on Uber remain in place for the time being, but negotiations continue.