In response to today’s decision by TFL to deny Uber a new license, the New Economics Foundation calls for ‘Khan’s Cars’ as a mutually-owned, publicly-regulated alternative to Uber.

Transport for London (TFL) and the Mayor of London have today made a huge intervention in the so-called ‘gig economy.’

The move comes in reaction to Uber’s poor record of responding to concerns regarding passenger safety and security, and will affect thousands of drivers and their families. The decision is likely to highlight other concerns about Uber’s operating practices, including those regarding the status and employment rights currently denied to Uber drivers.

The Foundation believes that now is the moment for TFL and the Mayor of London to go further to provide better working conditions for drivers and higher safety standards for passengers.

The Mayor’s next step should be to start the job of creating ‘Khan’s Cars’: a mutually owned taxi platform for London which would share benefits with drivers and users. Just as with ‘Boris bikes,’ this is an opportunity to improve transport for Londoners and could be developed in partnership with drivers and users.

Stefan Baskerville, Principal Director of Unions and Business at the Foundation, said:

“Digital platforms are here to stay and technology cannot be reversed. The question now is how they should be controlled and by whom, as well as the standards they set and how they treat people. It is time to develop alternative models which put people back in control.”

Alice Martin, Subject Lead for Work at the Foundation, said:

“TFL’s move will send ripples across the country where there has been a recent surge in private hire licenses given out to support Uber’s growth, particularly in the Midlands, Yorkshire and the North West.

We’ve been working with drivers in different parts of the UK who are developing their own platforms. The time has come for the Mayor to back a better alternative to Uber and lead the way for other local authorities to do the same.”

-ENDS –
** Spokespeople available for interview **

Notes to editors

[1] The New Economics Foundation is the UK’s only people-powered think tank. The Foundation works to build a new economy where people really take control. www.neweconomics.org
[2] Stats: The New Economics Foundation reported a 72% growth of the gig economy in London between 2010 and 2016
The total number of licensed taxi and private hire vehicles and licensed drivers in England reached record levels in 2017.
In 2017, 73% of all licensed vehicles in England were private hire vehicles, with 39% of these in London
The number of private hire only licenses given out to drivers in London has increased by 49.6% since 2015, with a 32.2% increase across the country as a whole
Growth is not just happening in the capital: the total number of licensed drivers increased in 170 out of 293 licensing authorities in England
[3] New Economics Foundation: ‘Massive Surge in London’s Gig Economy‘ 
[4] Department for Transport, Taxi and private hire vehicles statistics, England and Wales: 2017 tables.