Uber losing licence could cost London's night time economy millions each year

Uber losing its licence could cost London’s night time economy millions of pounds a year, businesses warned today.

Banning the popular cab-sharing app would hit restaurants, clubs and bars as customers found their late-night travel options affected, it was claimed - standard.co.uk said.

One restaurateur expressed fears she could lose up to 10 per cent of her business as diners chose to stay closer to home.

The claims came amid a growing backlash against Transport for London’s decision to strip Uber of its licence after finding the Silicon Valley company “not fit and proper” to operate in the capital, where it has 3.5 million customers.

Dzuyen Dang, 31, co-owner of celebrity haunt Nam Long in South Kensington, said there was “no doubt” a ban on Uber would impact London’s night time economy.

The manager of the upmarket bar and restaurant, where the likes of Kate Moss, Prince William and Mick Jagger have had nights out, said: “We could lose up to 10 per cent of customers, the more experimental ones who come from further afield on their night out because it’s easy and affordable to get an Uber.

“That replicated across London could mean millions coming out of businesses.

“It could also create some licensing issues as well. The ease people have been getting Ubers means that there are less people hanging around venues like us waiting for taxis in the small hours which can lead to noise issues for neighbours.”

Across the city, Isaac Houston, assistant manager at Flat Iron steakhouse in Shoreditch, said a ban would “affect businesses and the way people dine”.

The 25-year-old said: “People will be dining for shorter amounts of time and not stay for that extra cocktail which could affect takings.

“The way people get about is Uber, and I think it will make people more cautious when they go out because they aren’t guaranteed a way home.”

Noah Mackie, 19, from the nearby Old Blue Last pub said: “The amount of people we get in here is massive compared to the amount of people we see waiting at the bus stop at the end of the night, so most of our customers are probably getting Ubers home. Uber is the easy option to get home and that might put people off if it goes.”

However Alan Miller, chairman of the Night Time Industries Association, said he did not believe the ban would severely affect trade.

The former bar owner said: “It will impact people a little bit. But if not Uber, someone else will jump in.”

Aside from the nightime economy, NHS staff and hospital patients have also emerged as a group asking for TfL to look again at its decision.

One man, who did not wish to be named, said he relied on Uber to ferry his elderly mother from their home in south east London to regular medical appointments.

He said: “Without this I would have to miss work and her health would absolutely suffer. At worst, she’d feel less independent and I’m sure it’d hasten her decline.

“Using Uber I can organise these trips without having to be there as she’ll just phone me when she wants to leave.”

A Twitter user posted: “Uber is not a luxury. I could never have afforded black cabs when I was too sick for bus trips and going to hospital daily for radiotherapy.

NHS workers, including nurses, also said they sometimes relied on Uber to get them home after late night shifts when other transport options were severely limited.

In Friday’s surprise ruling, TfL raised concerns over Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences and how it obtained enhanced criminal records checks for drivers.

Subhash Thakrar, the deputy president of the London Chamber of Commerce, said: “Generally, the chamber is very much in favour of competition and good competition. But companies should follow the standards.

“The competition is welcome, and reduced competition is not a good thing. If it is proven, and I don’t know if that’s the case, that they have breached standards of operation, they should be addressing them and come back to market on that basis.

“For years we didn’t have Uber – we will cope without it.”

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