A STAGGERING 70 per cent of Sun on Sunday readers last night called for embattled taxi firm Uber to be handed back its licence.
Our exclusive poll found almost three quarters are against Transport for London’s decision to revoke its drivers’ rights in the capital.
And 60 per cent reported they cannot afford to take the main alternative — black cabs.
Our online poll was conducted yesterday as anger mounted at TfL and Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan’s shock announcement — with 500,000 across the country signing a petition opposing the move.
On Friday, Tfl said Uber’s licence would not be renewed once it expires on September 30, citing safety fears.
Yet our statistics — correct at the time of going to press — showed the vast majority of readers said they always felt safe using Uber yet 50 per cent reported feeling unsafe at some point using black cabs.
The global giant is appealing TfL’s decision, saying the ban punishes customers and leaves up to 40,000 drivers out of work.
Some 3.5million Londoners have the Uber app.
The firm, which now operates in more than 40 British towns and cities, has vowed to continue taking bookings in the capital until the appeals process is exhausted — which could be months.
There were also claims yesterday that Uber could continue operating in London by using drivers licensed outside of the city.
Greg Hands, the government minister for London, tweeted: “At the flick of a pen, Sadiq Khan is threatening to put 40,000 people out of work and leave 3.5million users of Uber stranded.
“The blanket ban will cause massive inconvenience to millions of Londoners, showing that the mayor is closed to business and innovation.”
Our poll shows that most are nervous about not being able to use Uber in a city where the firm’s fares are often 40 per cent cheaper than those of black taxis.
A total of 33 per cent said they would be worse off once the firm is blocked. Sixty per cent said they cannot afford to take black cabs while 83 per cent said they can afford Uber.
Eighty per cent said they had never had a bad experience in an Uber but 50 per cent reported feeling unhappy with a black cab ride.
Last night more than 500,000 people had signed Uber’s petition for TfL to reverse its decision, and the hashtag #BoycottBlackCabs was trending on social media.
Uber drivers were also bracing themselves for hardship, as rumours circulated that the firm would cease operating as early as October 1.
One female driver in South London was more upbeat. She said: “We are going to be out of work for about a week and then the rumour is Uber will start up again under a different name with better documentation and working closer with TfL.
“Many drivers are confident they will still work. Uber got too big and out of control.
"A new Uber would mean more documentation and probably bigger fares.”
A spokesman for Uber immediately denied these claims.
Black cabs have been lobbying for Uber to be stripped of its licence since it began operating in London in 2012.
There was fury earlier this year after Scotland Yard revealed there had been a 50 per cent rise in sexual assault claims against Uber drivers.
In the 12 months before February 2017, 48 alleged offences were reported compared to 32 the year before.
There have been concerns the firm is not doing enough to screen the medical reports drivers must submit or check their criminal records.
TfL also hit out this week against Uber’s use of Greyball software, which the authority claims prevents regulatory bodies accessing its app to monitor what it is doing.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn backed Tfl’s action, saying the body had looked at the firm and “expressed very serious concerns”.
Ahead of his party’s conference in Brighton, he said: “TfL are there to protect all of us and I think they are doing the right thing.
“Obviously people need to be able to travel, obviously they want to be able to access cabs. Those cabs must be safe, must be regulated and must be available for all.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who backed the TfL decision, said anger from customers and drivers “should be directed at Uber”.
“They have let down their drivers and customers by failing, in the view of TfL, to act as a fit and proper operator,” he added.
“I know that Uber has become a popular service for many Londoners but it would be wrong for TfL to license Uber if there was any way this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety or security.
“As Mayor of London I welcome innovative new companies that help Londoners by providing a better and more affordable service — but providing an innovative service is not an excuse for not following the rules.
“All companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect, particularly when it comes to the safety of customers.
“I suspect it will take some time before this situation with Uber fully plays out.
“In the meantime, I will continue my work to help support innovative businesses in London and to create a vibrant and safe taxi and private hire market.”
An Uber source told Sun Online yesterday the firm might be able to continue operating in the capital by sending in drivers licensed in other areas.
The firm apparently already does this in Coventry — but Uber would not confirm the claims.
Fred Jones, Uber’s UK head of cities, said: “I think people realise that this decision by the Mayor and Transport for London is actually because they have caved to pressure from a small number of individuals and groups that want to protect the status quo and reduce consumer choice and competition from London.”
The 44-year-old said: "I am convinced the decision was the right one to make for London as a whole.
"The first and most crucial reason for this is passenger safety.
"The alarming stats that have only recently come to light with regards to sexual assault and rape claims made against Uber drivers – one every 11 days – is an issue both TFL and Sadiq Khan could not ignore.
"Additionally, when you take into account numerous claims from passengers over the years that they were forced out of an Uber car for reasons ranging from religious views, sexuality and even dependence on a guide dog, you can see why something needed to be done.
"Congestion and pollution in central London these days is a joke.
"The place is at breaking point, with swathes of London at total gridlock. While reasons for this are numerous, the sharp rise in the number of private hire cars is the main cause.
"London without Uber will mean less traffic and pollution. The capital will become a less crowded and happier place."
The 27-year-old said: "I am disabled due to a condition called fibromyalgia. It causes me so much pain all over my body that some days I cannot even walk.
"It has also stopped me from working.
"I rely on Uber to take me to my medical appointments and if it is no longer available to me, life is going to get even harder.
"I will have to get the bus or I will have to spend a fortune on mini cabs.
"A trip to the hospital with Uber only costs £5, so not much more than a bus.
"But taking a minicab costs twice that and a black cab can be as much as £15 for the same journey.
"It’s not just the cost. Every time I’ve used another taxi service they don’t get me to the appointment on time.
"I’ve never had a problem with Uber, but other minicab firms will say that they haven’t got a driver – for as long as two hours sometimes."