Uber's future in London is looking uncertain after TfL decided to renew its licence for just four months.
Uber launched in London in June 2012, around a month before the capital hosted the Olympic Games, and its five-year licence was due to expire on Tuesday, the 30th of June. But instead of granting another five-year licence, Transport for London has postponed its final decision and granted a temporary permit instead.
TfL said in a statement: "Uber London Limited has been granted a four month private hire operator licence. This will allow us to conclude our consideration of a five-year licence."
Uber reacted rather bullishly to the news, saying in its own statement: "Millions of Londoners rely on Uber to get a reliable ride at the touch of a button and thousands of licensed drivers make money through our app. We look forward to continuing to help keep London moving."
The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), which protects the interests of London's traditional black-cab drivers, has consistently argued that the service provided by Uber is unsatisfactory. The app could even threaten public safety, the LTDA has argued.
Responding to news that Uber has been granted a temporary licence, the LTDA's general secretary Steve McNamara told The Guardian: "Uber has still not answered questions that TfL asked months ago. We say they are either safe to license or they're not. You can't be a little bit pregnant. We think that TfL's reason for this temporary licence is unlawful. This is totally unprecedented."
Despite its popularity since launching in 2012, Uber hasn't been immune from negative press or poor feedback from customers. An update the app announced in December was criticised by some users for being "creepy." Since then, another update has enabled customers to check their Uber rating far more easily than in the past.