TfL’s Uber ban is an attack on women’s safety and freedom

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Transport for London’s (TfL) decision not to renew Uber’s operating license is a deeply worrying one.

London’s transport overlords have declared that the ride-hailing app should not be allowed in the capital due to “public safety and security implications”. They clearly have never been a woman travelling at night in London.

As my friend Rachel Cunliffe puts it in the Spectator:

If I come out of a club or bar in the middle of the night, I do not want to be hanging around alone on the pavement for half an hour while my minicab fails to materialise, engaged in a frustrating negotiation with the operator about where exactly my driver is. I don’t want to trawl the streets in the hope of finding a black cab to hail down, only to be told my zone 3 address is too out of the way for them. And if I do manage to convince a driver to take me home, I don’t want to be forced to pay over the odds, because the taxi lobby has successfully bullied any competition off the roads

Uber has had a transformative, liberating effect for women.  Thanks to Uber we can safely get across London at a reasonable price. Thanks to Uber, to we no longer have to be accompanied home by a male friend “just to make sure”. The app allows users to easily share their whereabouts instead. Thanks to Uber, we do not have to rush to a cash point in the middle of the night to get money for a taxi home. The app is pre-loaded with card details and payment is taken automatically.

Obviously, I want the regulator and Uber itself to demand the highest safety standards of drivers. I cannot fully describe through the sense of independence a service like Uber has given to myself and millions of other women. I am not exaggerating much when I say it has been life-changing. The idea that forcing Uber off London’s streets makes travellers, especially women, safer is utterly farcical.

Please sign this petition to help keep Uber in London.

 

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My first book "Not Buying It", looking at post-truth in media and politics, is being published by Unbound

If you enjoy this blog please pledge here, to help make it happen and order your copy.

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