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Metropolitan Line delays caused by new signalling system

Commuters have expressed their frustration with the London Underground’s Metropolitan Line, after the service was hit by ongoing delays and cancellations.

Commuter Karen Aus, a junior doctor, said the delays have had a big impact on her life, causing her to feel constantly exhausted.

Transport for London apologised and said the issue was down to teething problems with a new £5.5bn signalling system being rolled out across the network.

Producer: Victoria Cook

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Uber loses licence to operate in London

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Media captionJamie Heywood, who manages Uber’s UK operation, says the firm will appeal

Uber will not be granted a new licence to operate in London after repeated safety failures, Transport for London (TfL) has said.

The regulator said the taxi app was not “fit and proper” as a licence holder, despite having made a number of positive changes to its operations.

Uber initially lost its licence in 2017 but was granted two extensions, the most recent of which expires on Monday.

The firm will appeal and can continue to operate during that process.

London is one of Uber’s top five markets globally and it has about 45,000 drivers in the city. Overall, there are 126,000 licensed private hire and black cabs in the capital.

If its appeal is unsuccessful, some think Uber drivers would move over to rival ride-sharing firms such as Bolt and Kapten.”There would be competition that would fill that void quite quickly,” Fiona Cincotta, a market analyst at City Index told the BBC.

Why won’t Uber get a new licence?

TfL said it had identified a “pattern of failures” in London that placed passenger safety at risk.

These included a change to Uber’s systems which allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts.

It meant there were at least 14,000 fraudulent trips in London in late 2018 and early 2019, TfL said.

The regulator also found dismissed or suspended drivers had been able to create Uber accounts and carry passengers. In one example, a driver was able to continue working for Uber, despite the fact his private hire licence had been revoked after he was cautioned for distributing indecent images of children.

Helen Chapman, director of licensing at TfL, said: “While we recognise Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “I know this decision may be unpopular with Uber users, but their safety is the paramount concern. Regulations are there to keep Londoners safe.”

‘I feel safe using Uber’

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Donna Stevens says her experiences of using Uber in London have “always been positive”.

In her job as a carer she often works late, so regularly uses the service. “The drivers are friendly, courteous and professional. I can’t afford to get a metered taxi.”

She says that if Uber were to go, she would probably have to go back to using public transport late at night, which does not make her feel safe.

However, another reader, Kay, says she would not be sad to see Uber go.

“I complained a couple of months ago about a driver who made me feel so uncomfortable I abandoned the ride and walked home in the dark at 11 o’clock at night instead of staying in his cab.”

She says Uber gave her a £5 credit but did not apologise. “How is it OK to employ drivers that make women feel unsafe?” she says.

Is this the end of Uber in London?

Uber lovers in London, fear not! The company’s cars will not suddenly disappear from the capital’s streets.

Uber is going to appeal against this decision so a magistrate will have to decide whether Uber is fit to hold a licence in London, or not.

A decision from a magistrates court could take weeks or months and unless the court decides otherwise, Uber will retain its licence during this period too.

When TfL decided not to renew Uber’s licence in 2017, the company addressed some of the issues raised by TfL back then and then a magistrate later granted Uber a new licence.

On the face of it TfL is standing tough against perceived failings by Uber. But in effect it is letting the courts decide, at a later date, whether Uber should have a licence, or not.

What does Uber say?

Uber said the decision was “extraordinary and wrong”. It said it had audited every driver in London over the past two months and strengthened its processes.

Boss Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted: “We understand we’re held to a high bar, as we should be. But this TfL decision is just wrong. Over the last 2 years we have fundamentally changed how we operate in London.”

According to Uber, 24% of its sales come from just five cities, including London. The others are Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and São Paulo in Brazil.

In a public filing, it said: “Any inability to operate in London, as well as the publicity concerning any such termination or non-renewal, would adversely affect our business, revenue, and operating results.

“We cannot predict whether the TfL decision, or future regulatory decisions or legislation in other jurisdictions, may embolden or encourage other authorities to take similar actions even where we are operating according to the terms of an existing licence or permit.”

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In May, hundreds of Uber drivers in London, Birmingham, Nottingham and Glasgow staged a protest against the firm over pay and conditions

What do others say?

Business lobby group the CBI said customers valued Uber, and encouraged both sides to find a resolution.

But the Unite union – which believes Uber has unfairly taken business from black cab drivers – welcomed the news.

“Uber’s DNA is about driving down standards and creating a race to the bottom which is not in the best interests of professional drivers or customers,” said Jim Kelly, chair of Unite’s London and Eastern cab section.

Where else has banned Uber?

Uber has faced pressure from regulators around the world over the way it treats its drivers, competition concerns, and fears about passenger safety.

The US firm pulled out of Denmark in 2017 because of new taxi laws that required drivers to have fare meters and seat sensors.

Bulgaria and Hungary both stripped Uber’s right to operate following pressure from local taxi unions.

And in May, the ride-hailing firm pulled its UberXL service in Turkey without saying why.

What happened in London in 2017?

TfL first declined to renew Uber’s licence in September 2017, again over safety concerns. Back then it cited Uber’s approach to carrying out background checks on drivers and reporting serious criminal offences.

Uber’s use of secret software, called “Greyball”, which could be used to block regulators from monitoring the app, was another factor, although Uber said it had never been used in the UK.

However, TfL granted Uber a 15-month licence extension – later extended by two months – conditional on it making improvements to its business.

TfL can offer licences of up to five years, but it has been more stringent of late.

In July, Indian ride-hailing company Ola got a 15-month agreement for its entry into the London market, while ViaVan got a three-year licence renewal.


Would you be sad to see Uber go in London? Or would you just move on to another ride-hailing app? Share your reactions by emailing .

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:



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Rape-accused Joseph McCann ‘caught on CCTV at hotel’

Joseph McCann

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CCTV images allegedly showed Joseph McCann at the Phoenix Lodge Hotel in Watford on 25 April

A man accused of rape was caught on camera at a hotel just before one of his alleged victims smashed him over the head and escaped, a court heard.

Joseph McCann went into the Phoenix Lodge Hotel in Watford on 25 April, leaving two women in a car outside, the Old Bailey was told.

He was allegedly captured on CCTV entering the hotel wearing a tracksuit and a baseball cap.

Mr McCann, 34, from Harrow, denies 37 offences against 11 victims.

After going into the hotel, he held the front door open and glanced repeatedly outside while rapping on the window of the reception desk to speak to staff, the court was told.

He then told his alleged captives to get out of the car and smile as he put his arms around them.

Instead, one of them, a 25-year-old woman, grabbed a bottle of vodka and hit him over the head with it before running for help, jurors heard.

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Joseph McCann is accused of 37 offences against 11 alleged victims, including children

The trial continues.

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Unai Emery: Arsenal manager given public backing but ‘things need to improve’

Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Leicester leaves Arsenal sixth in the Premier League, eight points outside the top four

Unai Emery has been offered public backing by the Arsenal hierarchy, but warned results must improve.

Emery’s position is under scrutiny after a run of just two wins from their last 10 Premier League games.

However, Arsenal head of football Raul Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham say they have no immediate plans to make a change of manager.

“We firmly believe Unai is the right man for the job,” they told Arsenal staff at a meeting.

“We are as disappointed as everyone else with both our results and performances at this stage of the season.

“We share the frustration with our fans, Unai, players and all our staff as they are not at the level we want or expect. Things need to improve to meet our objectives for the season.

“We are all working intensively behind the scenes to turn things around and are confident we will.

“We never take our fantastic support for granted. We hope we can all stick together and get behind the team in this challenging period, as together we are stronger.”

Xhaka ‘hurt’ by hostile criticism

Meanwhile, Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka says he has been hurt by the “extreme hostility” directed towards him from the supporters, but has promised to prove his worth.

Xhaka, 27, was stripped of the club captaincy after being involved in an angry confrontation with home fans during the Gunners’ 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on 27 October.

The Switzerland midfielder has not played for the club since.

“It was very hurtful and frustrating,” Xhaka told Swiss newspaper Blick