Transport for London, the local governing authority that oversees the transportation infrastructure in the Greater London Area, has decided not to renew Uber’s license in its jurisdiction. TFL cites problems with the ride-sharing company’s lack of “corporate responsibility.” The 40,000 Uber drivers who operate in London and the three and a half million Londoners who use the app are pretty sure that the TFL has caved into demands from the traditional black cab company, its drivers, and the union it represents.

How one gets around in London

London, like a lot of major cities, has a many ways to get around. Besides the famous underground tube system and the double-decker buses, the black cabs can take one from place to place in the UK’s capital.

Black cab drivers are required to spend years getting familiar with the streets of Greater London (apparently GPS is not used) before they are allowed to drive.

Uber is the latest way to get around in London. As in other cities, Uber drivers use their private cars equipped with a GPS system and software that allows them to be hailed by a smartphone app. Riding by Uber is far more convenient and less costly than using a cab. Naturally, the black cab company is incensed at the competition and have threatened legal action to get rid of Uber.

The controversy

The uproar in London is similar to the struggles the ride-sharing company has dealt with local governments around the world. Uber was obliged to leave Austin, Texas, for a while because of what the company regarded as that city’s onerous regulations.

Houston came close to losing its ride-sharing services as well for similar reasons. The Texas Legislature solved the problem by enacting statewide ride-sharing regulations that were agreeable to both companies such as Uber and Lyft and the state government.

Appeal to the mayor

The dust-up in London is, on one level, a fight between a bureaucracy’s desire for Uber to adhere to its rules and the vast majority of the people’s desire for a cheaper transportation alternative. About 187,000 people have already signed a petition, calling on Mayor Sadiq Khan to force the TFL to reverse the new rule and allow Uber to stay.

For now, Uber will be allowed to operate in London while a lengthy appeals process plays itself out. Whether or not Ride Sharing is authorized to stay in the UK’s capital will largely depend on how far its users are prepared to go.